Rás talks to continue with prospective sponsor for 2020

Eddie Dunbar faces unspecified period off the bike after crashing heavily in the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal

Ireland’s  Eddie Dunbar. He showed strong form recently when he was fifth on a stage and seventh overall in the Tour de La Provence. Photograph:  Luc Claessen/Getty Images

Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar. He showed strong form recently when he was fifth on a stage and seventh overall in the Tour de La Provence. Photograph: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

 

Although the organisers of the Rás Tailteann made the difficult decision last week not to run the world-ranked race this year due to slow progress in talks with an Irish company, race director Eimear Dignam has said that she plans further discussions with 2020 in mind.

“We are in contact with the company’s head of communications, and should sit down with them in the coming weeks,” she told The Irish Times this week.

Dignam had hoped to reach an agreement in time for this May’s race, but felt she could not delay further due to the times scale needed to organise the event, secure accommodation and also provide a clear picture to those aiming to take part.

Last week she indicated that there was the possibility that others could run a shorter, non-world-ranked race in place of the Rás this year. She said it was too soon to know if this would happen. “Next week I will have a sitdown with the larger Rás group to discuss the situation with the race.”

Dignam pointed out that even if a three or four-day event was run without the same UCI ranking, and without the same level of international competitors, this would also require funds to be secured.

However the level of money required would be less than for the Rás Tailteann, making it possible that the smaller event could be held as a stop-gap prior to – hopefully – the return of the international event next year.

Banged his head

In other news, Eddie Dunbar is facing an unspecified period of time off the bike after crashing heavily in the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal on Wednesday.

The Corkman’s Sky team stated on Wednesday evening that he had banged his head and also had a suspected dislocated shoulder. It has not updated the situation since, and so it remains to be seen when Dunbar will be back in action.

He showed strong form recently when he was fifth on a stage and seventh overall in the Tour de La Provence, his first race of the season. He was also second in the best young rider classification.

Fellow Irishman Ryan Mullen also started the Volta ao Algarve this week. He finished 82nd on Thursday’s mountain stage, and is 72nd overall. The time trial specialist will aim for a much stronger showing on Friday’s 20.3km individual race against the clock in and around Lagoa.

Elsewhere, Irish road racer Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) rolled in as part of the main bunch on stage one of the Tour of Antalya in Turkey. He is placed 45th.

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