'Hopefully it won’t be an end' - Organisers forced to cancel this year's Rás Tailteann

The decision has been made due to a lack of sponsorship.

Cyclists approaching Tinahely last year.
Cyclists approaching Tinahely last year.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

THERE WILL BE no Rás Tailteann in 2019, it was announced today. 

The history of the eight-day race around Ireland goes back all the way to 1953, but it has been 2.2 event on the UCI international calendar since 2000.

And while that has added prestige, it also means the budget has been significantly higher since the turn of the Millennium. 

In recent times, An Post were the main sponsor but, after they pulled out in 2017, a reserve fund was used to cover costs last year. 

Unable to find the required investment, organisers have been forced to cancel the upcoming edition.

“We have exhausted all opportunities in relation to sponsorship for a UCI race this year,” race director Eimear Dignam said in a statement.

“I am extremely disappointed. I have been involved in the race my whole life. But I am satisfied that I explored every opportunity to us to secure a sponsorship. We never envisaged that it would come to an end like this, but hopefully it won’t be an end.

The 2019 international event will be put on hold with the hopes of coming back stronger in 2020.”

Riders on Wicklow Gap Category 1 KOM Riders during Stage 7, from Carlow To Naas. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The aim is to return in 15 months’ time, and there could yet be an alternative event to take its place this year. 

“There may be an option there for a three or four-day race to be run by a separate organisation committee,” Dignam adds. “It would be a smaller, non-UCI race. Those discussions will be held in the coming weeks.

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“Our hopes are that a smaller race will happen in 2019 and then the full international race will come back stronger than ever in 2020.”

Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey break down Ireland’s dogged win against Scotland in Murrayfield, and look at the room for improvement, in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

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