CYCLING FBD Insurance Ras gets underway on Sunday in Tallaght

FBD INSURANCE RAS
Sunday May 21st – Sunday May 28th

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Next Sunday (May 21st) the ancient village of Tallaght, nestled in the foothills of the Dublin mountains, will reverberate to all the excitement, colour and pageantry of a major, modern-day, international event when the Ceremonial Start of this year’s FBD Insurance RÁS takes place outside the Dominican Church at midday.

 In a major break with the traditional start from the GPO over 140 racing cyclists from nine countries will parade up Main Street led by the Tallaght Youth Band. Following a ten minute stop the race will set off on the first of eight days of gruelling racing with stage finishes in Enniscorthy, Cobh, An Daingean, Listowel, An Cheathru Rua, Westport, Clara, with the finish in Skerries on Sunday 28th May.
 
When the final stage of the FBD Insurance RÁS finishes in the Skerries the rider most likely to win a professional contract in the coming months will be the rider to don the Irish Sports Council's white jersey as the most promising young rider of the race.

The coveted jersey will reflect the Irish Sports Council's financial support for the race, which is one of the select group of world races eligible to award qualifying points for World Championships and Olympic Games.

Commenting on the funding, Irish Sports Council Chief Executive, John Treacy, said “I am pleased the Irish Sports Council is associated with the recognition of young talent in such a tough international event as the FBD Insurance RÁS." He also praised FBD Insurance for its continuing support for Irish sport.


After 8 days of gruelling racing, the recipient of the Irish Sports Council's best young rider jersey will be looking forward to a bright future in world cycling.

Countries already confirmed as starters for the race include Britain, Poland, Norway, Canada, USA and of course the Irish national Grant Thornton team and sixteen county teams. Further teams are due to be announced later this week.
 
The innovative start in Tallaght has the support of South Dublin County Council, local community organisations and the recently formed South Dublin Cycling Club, which is based in the area.

The line-up of this year’s FBD Insurance RÁS has been further boosted by the confirmation that double winner Ciarán Power will take part in this year’s race, which starts in just over two week’s time.

After winning overall in 1998 and 2002, Power last competed in the FBD Insurance RÁS three years ago when he won stages into Ballina and Oldcastle and finished second in the points classification.
 
Since then he has missed the race due to commitments with his professional Navigators team, but will return this year as part of his build-up to full fitness after an operation earlier this season. In recent years Power, who was a superb 13th in the Olympic road race in Athens, had been increasingly affected by a blood flow obstruction that led to numbness and a loss of power in one of his legs. That problem has now been successfully treated and he is raring to go.
 
“I am feeling really great now, I can’t remember the last time my legs felt this good,” he says. “The problem seems to be totally fixed.”
 
Power returned to racing last weekend after an eight month absence and immediately showed strong form, dominating the King of the Mountains classification in the Tour of Ulster. He was also fifth and sixth on stages and finished the three day race a very respectable sixth overall.
 
He is likely to further build form in the next fortnight and is looking forward to the FBD Insurance RÁS. “I am going to do the race with the Tipperary Dan Morrissey team,” he says. “I spoke to Frank Campbell, manager of the Irish team, and he said that maybe I could do it on the Irish team, but I didn't want the pressure of that.  I want to be able to train through it, but obviously do a good Rás too so I can prove to myself, to Tipperary Dan Morrissey’s and also to my Navigators team that I am going well.”

For more information visit www.fbdinsuranceras.com