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by Shane Stokes
December 23, 2017
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Cameron Meyer (Australian national team) in action during the An Post Ras in Ireland, May 2017.
Although the organisers of the former An Post Rás are still searching for a replacement title sponsor after An Post ending its backing, the race director has confirmed the event will take place next year.
New director Eimear Dignam told CyclingTips that talks are ongoing but that the short-term future of the event is not in danger. “We have pitches in with a number of companies but nothing solid,” she said. “We have made a decision that after Christmas we are seeking a number of smaller jersey sponsors, but we are continuing to push ahead with plans as the race will go ahead.”
The race is ranked as 2.2 on the international calendar and attracts a strong field of developing riders each year. It has been won in the past by riders who went on to top-level pro careers, including Stephen Roche and Tony Martin. Australian, American and British squads regularly take part, as well as those from other countries.
Dignam said that the race could be run on a limited budget in 2018. She is still hopeful that a full title sponsor might be secured prior to the running of the race in May, and welcomes approaches from interested companies.
She is the daughter of longtime race organiser Dermot Dignam, who was succeeded several years ago by Tony Campbell. The latter resigned from the post in September, leading to Dignam taking over the reins.
An Post ended its backing of the event due to a difficult financial situation within the company. It also stopped it support of the An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team, which will take a year out in 2018, plus the international Rás na mBan women’s race.