Rás Tailteann Bid for Survival

It was some weekend for Irish cycling with the Ras Tailteann coming to a successful conclusion in Skerries and Sam Bennett winning a third stage on the Giro d’Italia.

There was a genuine fear that the Rás with its long history and tradition might not have taken place this year at all after the withdrawal of An Post as sponsors.

The team behind the race gathered their courage, spent what had been built up in recent years as a ‘rainy day’ fund and gathered just about enough backers to get the race on.

They encouraged towns that were hosting stages to invest something in bringing the race back from the brink and they brought commercial backers to the table for a taste of what a long-term relationship might look like.

Europcar were the biggest names, with a tradition in backing sport in Ireland and cycling around the world. Keoghs Crisps were evident at every podium having supplied the staging via a trailer. Simple steps on the road back but important in keeping the race to the fore.

The race organisers, led by Eimear Dignam, invited others to see what it could be like for them in future years and put on a professional show in terms of media coverage on social media.

The race ended up being won by a single second, as dramatic as it could be in a race that took eight days to wind its way around Ireland.

The Rás survived 2018. Now there will be a wait to see if it did enough to persuade backers that its place on the Irish sporting calendar is strong enough to worth preserving.

It has given itself every chance of success. It deserves to find a backer.

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Image Credit: Bryan Keane Inpho Photography

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