Rás Tailteann organisers announce race return in June

Stage race was last held in 2018 with organisers planning to follow proposed 2020 route

Team Delta X UCI Continental’s Luuc Bugter celebrates after winning the 2018 Rás Tailteann in Skerries. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Team Delta X UCI Continental’s Luuc Bugter celebrates after winning the 2018 Rás Tailteann in Skerries. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Approaching four years after the race was last held, the organisers of the Rás Tailteann have indicated plans for the event to return in June of this year.

Organising group Cáirde Rás Tailteann has announced that the iconic contest will be run over five days between Wednesday, June 15th and Sunday, June 19th, a significant boost to Irish cycling. The race was first held in 1953 and became a UCI-ranked event in 2000, taking place until 2018.

It was backed for several years by An Post and while this support ended in 2017, a reserve fund enabled it to take place again the following year. An unsuccessful search for a new sponsor meant the 2019 race was shelved.

Cáirde Rás Tailteann then took over the event and scaled it back, reducing costs by removing it from the UCI calendar. Planned editions in 2020 and 2021 were subsequently cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, Cáirde Rás Tailteann expressed an intention to use the same route originally envisaged for 2020 and then 2021 and this will be evaluated in the near future.

“Over the next weeks the committee will be reassessing the individual elements of the route, accommodation, and safety measures, considering the enforced postponements during the last two years, triggered by the onset of Covid 19,” the organisers said.

“This is necessary to ensure that there have not been and will not be any major obstacles or planned changes along the physical route, that could influence the safe running of the event.”

Cáirde Rás Tailteann also stated that Ger Campbell is taking over as race director from Eugene Moriarty. The latter is based in Amsterdam and the group said that the change is “primarily due to practical reasons after intensive efforts since 2019 to get the event back on the road”.

It said that Moriarty remains a key member of the original six-man group organising the race; the others are Campbell, Séamus Domegan, Pat O’Shaughnessy, Colm Rigley and Ciarán McKenna.

Meanwhile Megan Armitage concluded a four-day block of racing at the Santos Festival of Cycling when she competed in the Trek Night Riders Criterium in Adelaide on Wednesday.

The Australian Georgia Baker (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) won, beating Josie Talbot (Sydney Uni Staminade Women’s) and a group of riders to the line. Armitage finished 13 seconds back in 44th place.

She rode aggressively in the three-day Santos Festival of Cycling stage race, going on a long solo move near the end of stage two and ending the day with the most aggressive rider award. Armitage finished 22nd overall in the event and continues to show strong progress since taking up the sport just two years ago.

She will continue to race in Australia in the immediate future before returning to Europe for the road season there.

SANTOS FESTIVAL OF CYCLING TREK NIGHT RIDERS CRITERIUM

Adelaide, Australia: 1 Georgia Baker (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 46 mins 52 secs, 2 J Talbot (Sydney Uni Staminade Women’s), 3 M Plouffe (Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast), 4 R Roseman-Gannon (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), 5 L Hanson (Team Westpac), 6 L Stewart (Team Garmin Australia) all same time

Irish: 44 M Armitage (Team Westpac) at 13 seconds. DNF: S McCurley (Knights of Suburbia Racing).

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