Crowd entertainment in Skerries in 2015

A very sad day for Irish road racing as the organisers of the Ras Tailteann announced officially and with great sorrow the cancellation of the UCI 2.2 event this year in May. A desperate search for the main sponsor came to nothing and due to no more funds available, they had to abandon the 2019 edition of this famous and only UCI road race in Ireland. A blow to the whole cycling fraternity in Ireland, shattering the dreams of our upcoming talents and provincial home teams to compete with continental pros and foreign national teams on our doorstep. Every year I was looking forward to meet such teams and support our lads in May, an opportunity to talk to the riders, taken close up photos and interview the Man of the Ras..Will it come back ? It remains to be seen if they can find a main sponsor who can provide the funds to the race, as it is a very costly affair to run (Approx €300.000) and that is not easy to find these days. Here below the press releas of Race director Eimear Dignam, who has been involved with the race all her live and most be devastated to have to announce such sad news in behalf of her team of volunteers. My heart feels for her and her loyal friends, hopefully their life work will not be in vain and they can find a solution for 2020.


Following a long and committed search for sponsorship for the Rás Tailteann, the organisers have today taken the difficult decision not to run an eight-day world-ranked race in 2019.
The event is a 2.2 event on the UCI international calendar, earning world-ranked points for those who excel on stages and in the overall classification. It has been part of that calendar since the 2000 edition and while this has added greatly to the prestige of the event, the extra requirements under UCI rules have greatly ramped up the budget.


The race finances were covered in recent years by An Post, but it stepped back from its backing of the race specifically and cycling in general in 2017. The Rás Tailteann took place as usual last year thanks to a reserve fund, but the depletion of that made it vital that new backing was secured for 2019.
“We have exhausted all opportunities in relation to sponsorship for a UCI race this year,” states race director Eimear Dignam. “I am extremely disappointed. I have been involved in the race my whole life. But I am satisfied that I explored every opportunity for us to secure a sponsorship. We never envisaged that it would come to an end like this, but hopefully, it won’t end. “The 2019 international event will be put on hold with the hopes of coming back stronger in 2020.” The Rás Tailteann was first to run in 1953 as a two-day event. It expanded to a nine-day event and, more recently, has been run over eight days. It has been won by some of the greats of Irish cycling, including Stephen Roche and four-time champion Sé O’Hanlon, as well as overseas competitors who then went on to be top professional riders such as multiple world time trial champion Tony Martin.

However, Dignam stresses that it is premature to say that no event will be held this year. “There may be an option there for a three or four-day race to be run by a separate organisation committee,” she explains. “It would be a smaller, non-UCI race. Those discussions will be held in the coming weeks.
“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.” Dignam had been talking in recent months to an Irish company about possible sponsorship. No decision has been made as yet by that company but, with time running out and no sign of a commitment in the immediate future, she has accepted that time has run out for this year. “We couldn’t drag things out for more weeks; we have already waited a long time to try to get something finalised. We are open to continuing those talks, though, and will do what we can to bring back the international event next year.” Race Director: Eimear Dignam, 
Email: eimear@rasireland.ie