An Post is new Rás Sponsor
An Post extends its support for Irish cycling to include Rás from 2011
GPO, Dublin, 27thSeptember: An Post is the new sponsor of the “Rás”. The event will be known as the “An Post Rás” from 2011 onwards with the sponsorship continuing for at least three years.
The 2011 An Post Rás is the only UCI recognised Irish race in the world cycling calendar.
An Post already has a strong track record of supporting grassroots and developmental cycling in Ireland.
- Since 2007, the Company is a title sponsor of the Sean Kelly Cycling Team which supports elite young Irish riders at international level from the Belgium based Sean Kelly Academy.
- In 2009, leisure cycling received a massive growth in interest due to the An Post Cycle Series, a community cycling initiative in association with the Irish Sports Council. The Cycle Series, five events across the country from May to September saw a 100% increase in participation numbers this year. An Post also supported the Tour of Ireland from 2007 to 2009, and was involved in the 2010 National Bike Week.
“Our support of cycling in Ireland is second to none, extending from grass roots participation events, such as the Cycle Series, to helping the development of our best young elite riders, through our partnership with the Sean Kelly team” said An Post Chief Executive Donal Connell “Our support for cycling now includes the Rás, a competition that has been part of Irish cycling heritage for so long, and like An Post, it is an institution based in the heart of Irish communities.”
“Dermot Dignam and the volunteers who make the Rás possible have done a trojan job in nurturing and developing this uniquely Irish sporting event. We look forward to working with Dermot and the Rás team over the coming years.”
“We are always looking to evolve the Rás and improve how we support our riders, from elite to serious amateur” said race organiser Dermot Dignam. “We have been very lucky with our sponsors in the past, and we know from what they have done for Irish cycling over the past few years that we have a hugely supportive partner in An Post, who will help us grow and improve the An Post Rás.”
At today’s announcement were An Post Sean Kelly team member Páidí O’Brien, county rider Stephen O’Sullivan (Engraveit.ie/jade.ie/Dunboyne CC) and Neil Delahaye, Irish National Team.
“The Rás is a very special event; there isn’t a rider out there in Ireland who would not want to take part in this race. I was gutted to miss the 2010 Rás through injury, nothing beats it for atmosphere” said O’Brien. “I have taken part in Rás six times and the support you get riding through towns and villages across the country is unbelievable, it’s an experience that certainly keeps me motivated when I’m back in team base in Belgium.”
An Post take over the sponsorship from FBD Insurance, race sponsor since 1984.
The historic, eight stage Rás is known world-wide as a challenging tour and for its open racing style, pitting amateur riders against international teams. The 2011 An Post Rás will take place from 22nd to 29th May, full route details will be announced in the New Year.