First three overseas teams confirmed for Rás Tailteann

Squads from the Netherlands, Isle of Man and England will be among the international riders lining out next month

The first three overseas teams have been confirmed for this year’s Rás Tailteann, with race organisers announcing that squads from the Netherlands, the Isle of Man and England will be amongst the international and domestic riders lining out in next month’s event. Four years after the final day attack which saw Luuc Bugter overhaul the Swiss rider Cyrille Thiery by a single second, a squad of five other Dutch riders will compete seeking further success.

The Wielervereniging West-Frisia team is managed by Tino Haakman, who was sixth in the 2005 Flèche du Sud, and will be represented by Tijs Dekker, Thomas Hartog, Jim Kes, Guillaume Visser and Stefan Appelman. ”We are very happy to be returning to race in Ireland,” said Haakman, who finished second overall behind Ciaran Power in the 1998 Rás Mumhanand competed in that race on several other occasions. “I think our team has good chances in this race. We know some of the roads in Kerry especially, from our participation in the Kerry Group Rás Mumhan over many years, which is a big advantage for us.”

”Any team that comes from the Netherlands always animates the Rás,” said race organiser Ger Campbell. “We don’t expect any differently this year, especially with the team that Tino is bringing. We look forward to seeing how this Dutch team performs as you can be sure they will never be far from the action.”

Riders from the Isle of Man have featured in past editions of the race, with cycling’s most successful sprinter Mark Cavendish competing in 2004 and finishing fourth on the final stage. Andrew Roche, who competed for both the Isle of Man and Ireland, won the race overall in 1997. This time around the island will be represented by Corrin Leeming, Niall Quiggin, Will Draper, Chris Kneen and James Harrison, and will be managed by Conor Davies.


The latter recognised the efforts behind the race’s return to the calendar and said that “the importance of this great event cannot be understated, not just for our team, but for all of cycling.” There is effectively no other event like the Rás on the international calendar where we have such a unique historical mix of professionals and amateurs competing shoulder to shoulder. We relish the opportunity to return to fierce competition around the roads of Ireland.”

Campbell hailed the team’s return to the race, saying that the race organisers were looking “forward to welcoming the newest generation to an Rás 2022.” The third international squad announced is the England – Spirit RacingTeam, an elite development squad. “We expect this team is aiming like many others, to take the race by the proverbial horns,” said Campbell.” Likely we will see them active in breakaways and eager to make their mark on the 2022 edition with the same enthusiasm and energy they have brought to their performances in the Tour of the North in previous years.”

The line-up is comprised of George Kimber, Farley Barber, Frazier Carr, Josh Housley and Joe Hill. ”As a team we are really looking forward to the Rás, hoping for success on some of the traditional big climbing days and some of our punchier riders for the faster stages,” said its manager Russell Rowles.

“Our ambition will of course be to compete for a GC (general classification)win and hopefully some stage wins along the way. We are very excited and can’t wait.”

Meanwhile a very strong Ulster team has been confirmed for the event. Last Sunday’s winner of round three of the Cycling Ireland National Road Series Matthew Taggart will spearhead the squad, and is in fine form. He also won the two preceding rounds of the series and has a commanding lead heading into Sunday’s fourth round in Cong, Mayo.H e will be joined by Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles), runner-up in the 2018 national road race championships, as well as the French-based riderJohn Buller, Lindsay Watson and Gareth O’Neill.

Team manager Barry Monaghan said there was a very strong response from riders earlier this season when the road commission stated a squad will compete in the Rás. “Selecting the team was a difficult task due to the high standard of riders in the province. Each of the riders picked has the potential to do well on stages and the overall so I am looking forward to the race and seeing what we can achieve on the road.”T

he Rás Tailteann will begin in Dublin on Wednesday June 15th and will conclude on Sunday June 19th. There will be stage finishes in Horse andJockey, Castleisland, Lisdoonvarna, Kilbeggan and Blackrock, Co Louth.