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Ireland's only UCI-ranked event unable to run in 2019

Joe Robinson
15 Feb 2019

With no more sponsorship from Irish national lottery, the Ras Tailteann is unable to continue

Ireland's largest and most prestigious stage race will be abandoned for 2019 as organisers fail to find a replacement sponsor. The Rás Tailteann has been forced to step down as a UCI-ranked event this season following the withdrawal of Irish postal service An Post in 2017.

The multi-day event managed to continue into 2018 with reserve funds but was unable to secure its financial future for 2019. The race has now been downgraded from its UCI 2.2 rank and will reduce from eight stages to potentially just three.

Organiser Eimaer Dignam had been in conversation with various replacement to An Post over the past week but she confirmed these had failed to come to fruition and that efforts would now turn towards the race returning for 2020.

'I am extremely disappointed,' Dignam said. 'I have been involved in the race my whole life. But I am satisfied that I explored every opportunity available 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.'

Dignam confirmed plans to run a smaller race in 2019 with 'an option there for a three or four-day race to be run by a separate organisation committee', although firm discussions around this cannot take place for a few weeks.

Previously known as the An Post Rás, the race had been part of the UCI calendar since 2000, having first taken place in 1958, and provided an opportunity for young riders to race a multi-day event at an advanced level.

Multiple time trial World Champion Tony Martin and former Giro d'Italia pink jersey wearer Lukas Postlberger are among previous winners of the race.

The An Post Rás has also long operated as Ireland's only UCI-ranked event and will now see cycling's highest level of race leave the country.

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