Rás Tailteann guide: Nicolas Roche to lead Trinity Racing

A lowdown of all the Irish and international teams due to take part in the upcoming race

Multiple Irish champion Nicolas Roche never competed in the Rás Tailteann during his years of competition but is set to experience the race for the first time this month, guiding the Trinity Racing UCI Continental team in the event. The recently-retired professional rider will be the sporting director of the squad during the five day contest, which begins in Dublin on June 15th and will conclude in Blackrock, Co. Louth on June 19th.

He will draw on the experience he built up over a long professional career to help secure the best-possible performances from the team selection, which has been unveiled this week. Trinity Racing is one of three additional international teams announced as participating in the event, thus joining the Dutch, English and Manx squads unveiled last week.

Trinity Racing’s five-man selection includes two Irish riders, Kevin McCambridge and Matthew Devins. McCambridge is the national under 23 time trial champion and was previously the national junior title holder in 2019. He picked up two victories in Spain earlier this season, dropping all the other riders in the uphill Gran Premio Comarca de Polopos in Andalucía on March 20th to win by almost two minutes. He then won the Cronoescalada a la Ermita de San Isidro uphill time trial one week later.

He made his debut with Trinity Racing in Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux on April 1st but crashed out in the stage 3a time trial two days later. He fractured both wrists and also suffered a concussion, experiencing some memory loss after the accident. McCambridge has since returned to racing and soloed to victory in the Haldane Fisher North Down Grand Prix on Sunday, showing his form is building well.

Devins was silver medallist in the national junior time trial championships in 2020 and was ninth on stage three of the Flèche du Sud on May 27th. The lineup is completed by Alex Malacarne (Brazil), Adrien Boichis (France) and Cameron Mason (Great Britain).

Trinity Racing is a UCI-registered Continental team owned by Irishman Andrew McQuaid. It is recognised as a very strong development squad and has helped riders such as the talented Briton Tom Pidcock and new Irish professional Ben Healy to World Tour careers. McQuaid, a former Rás participant and nephew of the 1995 Rás champion Paul McQuaid, said that seeing his team compete in the event was important to him. “It is great to see this historic event returning this year and we are very excited to have a team travel home to Ireland in the Trinity Racing colours to participate.”

The squad will be one of two UCI Continental teams in this year’s Rás and race director Gerard Campbell expects big things from it. “We anticipate some impressive performances from this team and look forward to welcoming Trinity Racing to its first ever Rás. This team has proven itself as one of the most successful incubators of talent in cycling across multiple disciplines, so we can be sure it will be one of the teams to watch in the 2022 edition.”

The second international squad announced this week was the Brocar Aleteam. “We are excited to extend a hearty céad mille fáilte to this team representing Spain,” said Campbell. “We are expecting exciting things from this team and look forward to watching how the race unfolds for them in their first participation in An Rás Tailteann.” The team will be represented by Louis Sutton, Tom Martin, Alvaro Sagrado Perez, Sergio Jimenez Duran and Nathan Kurensky.

Campbell is also expecting big things from the Spokes Racing Team from Scotland. The Dundee-based development team has helped over a dozen riders secure contracts with European squads, including the-now Team DSM rider Oscar Onley and the current Commonwealth Games Points Race champion Mark Stewart, who competed in the past with the An Post team.

”The Rás just wouldn’t be the same without a Scottish team,” said Campbell. “Who knows, maybe they will be able to emulate the efforts of the great Glaswegian and uncle of Irish international rider Imogen Cotter from Co Clare, Jamie McGahan. The man who left a lasting impression with his superb performance to win the 1981 edition of an Rás.”

The selection for the race features Lee Rosie, Jacob Smith, CameronBrown, Craig Paterson and Scottish time trial champion Daniel Kain. ”Our current team is gaining in strength and confidence with Lee Rosie in particular having some good results in UCI and British premier events of late,” said Team Principal Craig Grieve. “We are eager to travel to Ireland to participate in this legendary event where we expect some fine performances from our team, especially considering the performances we had at Rás Mumhan over Easter.”

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

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling