As most people will be aware the Cycling Development group have been approached by several riders interested in riding Rás 2010, and have met several times to discuss a possible Wexford team’s entry. Wexford has been well represented in the past few years by Martin Gill and Frank Dunne but both have had to ride on ‘foreign’ teams! For the first time in recent history there is a feeling that there is enough strength in the region to contemplate a full Wexford team.
The logistical and financial challenges a Rás entry entails are huge. The costs of entry, accommodation, transport and equipment for the 5 man team and 4/5 person support team will run to maybe €8-10,000 for the week. On top of this participation in stage races like Rás Mumhan and Tour of Ulster before hand would be essential preparation.
Derek Webb & Pat Whitney have been active in trying to push the idea forward. Derek has made some important progress on sponsorship but this is probably the worst time imaginable to be trying to secure scarce funds from any business. Club reps at the meetings have also indicated their willingness to get behind any fundraising efforts that might happen.
One of the many items discussed is the need to have a panel of maybe 6/8 riders who would be committed to preparing for the event, taking part in the important lead up races and putting themselves forward for selection for the 5 man team. Having a larger panel would allow for riders who might suffer illness or injury not to be pressurised to ride such a high standard event in anything less then 100% condition. Apart from the five riders a back up team of manager, mechanic, masseur and drivers would be required for the week.
Whats needed now?
Riders: Derek & Pat would be delighted to hear from any riders out there who are perhaps thinking of the Rás but haven’t come forward yet.
Support Team: Likewise a shortlist of people who would be prepared to commit themselves to the team for 2010 is required. Obviously certain specific skillsets – mechanic, physio / masseur etc will be essential.
Funding: If anyone reading is aware of a potential sponsor, or feel they have any specific influence which might lead to a sponsor making a positive contribution please contact Derek/ Pat. Likewise if any clubs have idea for a fundraising venture for this purpose.
The FBD Rás is the iconic event in Irish cycling. Anyone who has competed in the event have set themselves apart in cycling terms. It would be a testament to the progress made in cycling in this region if we were able to prepare a team of riders and support crew to the high standards required for this race. The Rás starts on May 23rd 2010 so time is very limited in terms preparing riders and securing funds.