Back in February Sport for Business wrote that “For sheer bloody minded guts, the organisers of the Rás Tailteann Cycling Race deserved to find commercial partners that would justify their never giving in after An Post withdrew their long term support last year.
With the race getting under way on Sunday, that wish came through yesterday when Europcar, global leaders in car hire, was unveiled as official partner to the 2018 Rás Tailteann.
This years event has attracted 12 international teams, 19 doestic and a total of 155 riders.
Supported by its nationwide network of branches, Europcar will provide a fleet of support cars and vans allowing the Rás to fulfil all of their transport needs including lead car, event logistics, delivery and photography cars over the eight day event.
They will also back the King of the Mountains jersey in what is an initial one year deal but which has already seen significant time, energy and enthusiasm going into the event.
The business will bring customers to each of the stages and will offer one cycling fan and their friend the exciting opportunity to follow the Rás in a truly unique fashion by traveling in the official lead car driven by Irish cycling legend Laurence Roche for a stage.
Europcar will provide the winner with one night’s accommodation where they will have the chance to rub shoulders with the stars of the Rás.
“We’re delighted to announce our partnership with An Rás Tailteann,” said Jon Jerromes, Head of Business Fleet Services at Europcar speaking to Sport for Business yesterday.
“As a cycling fan, and a triathlon competitor, this is an event that is close to my heart and one that our business is uniquely positioned to support.”
Jerromes completed Ironman Wales last year and is excited about the possibility of a full Ironman coming to ireland in the coming years.
For now though the Rás Tailteann is the only event on his mind.
“There is an important heritage element to this event and as individuals and a company we wanted that to survive but there has to be a strong business case as well.”
“Our national network fits the map of the Rás and when Eimear Dignamn approached us it was a partnership that really fit.”
“Internationally we are strong supporters at the highest level of the sport.”
“We have a marquee in Skerries for the final stage and we will have a lot of staff and families as well as customers getting involved in the race.”
“It’s something that is different for customers and gets them closer to sport than would ever normally be the case when it comes to sport.”
“Europcar is best recognised for the retail side but we are also the largest fleet provider in the flexible rental sector and that’s the message we want to get across over the week of the race.”
Eimear Dignam has put huge personal effort into keeping the race alive this year and was quick to pay tribute to here employers in Dublin GAA who have given her the freedom to do this alongside the day job.
“We have a number of other potential backers in future years coming along to experience the Rás tailteann this year,” she said.
“We have had great support from our print partners who helped with the total rebrand and from Keoghs Crisps who have given us tractors and trucks with open sides that are providing us with the podium for each stage, and from the towns and local authorities along the route.”
“They have recognised the value the Rás brings around the country.”
“Having Europcar on board has been great and they really have provided such immense support in being there as a brand as we race towards the start line.”
Image Credit: Inpho Photography