Rás Tailteann

Rás Tailteann

An Rás Tailteann - The Rás
Local name:An Rás Tailteann (Irish), The FBD Insurance Rás
Date:Late May
Type:Stage Race
First Edition:1953
Number of Editions:55
First Winner:Colm Christle flagicon|IRL
Most Wins:Sé O Hanlon flagicon|IRL, 4 times
Winner of last edition:Stephen Gallagher flagicon|IRL

The Rás Tailteann (Irish: An Rás Tailteann, aka The FBD Insurance Rás) is an annual 8 day international cycling stage race, held in Ireland in May. Around Ireland, the race is referred to as "The Rás". By naming the race the Rás Tailteann the original organisers, members of the National Cycling Association (NCA), were associating the cycle race with the Tailteann Games an ancient celtic sporting event in Ireland.

The event started in 1953 and was organised under the rules of the Republican-influenced organisation - the National Cycling Association(NCA). At that time competitive cycling in Ireland was deeply divided between three cycling organisations, the NCA, Cumann Rothaiochta na hEireann (CRE) and the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation (NICF) due to the issue of nationalism and the division of Ireland into Northern Ireland and the Republic. The NCA wished for a United Ireland and refused to recognise Northern Ireland or to confine their jurisdiction to the Republic of Ireland. The Rás Tailteann was the biggest race that the NCA organised each year.

As a result of a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) motion, the NCA was banned from international races and all teams affiliated with the UCI were banned from competing in races organised by the NCA. Therefore only teams that were not affiliated with the UCI or who were willing to take the chance of serving a suspension for competing in the Rás Tailteann competed in the Rás Tailteann. During this time the NCA cyclists achieved prominence in the Rás with Gene Mangan, Sé O'Hanlon and Paddy Flanagan being several legends of the race. Mangan won only one Rás but featured in the race throughout the 60's and early 70's winning a total of 12 stages while O'Hanlon won the race four times and won 24 stages. Flanagan won the Rás three times and had 11 stage wins.

The NCA and the CRE together with NICF began unification talks in the late 1960's and early 1970's. As a result, a CRE team which included Pat McQuaid, Kieron McQuaid and Peter Doyle was able to enter the race in 1974. Doyle won the race and the McQuaids won two stages each. The first Rás open to the two associations CRE and the NICF was in 1979 and enabled Stephen Roche to compete the event as part of the Ireland team. Roche won the event.

The race has developed into a much sought after event by professional and amateur teams from many parts of the world.As part of the elite international calendar it is eligible to award qualifying points that are required for participation in Olympic Games and World Cycling Championships.

The first edition was held in 1953 as a two day event but quickly developed into a week-long event. It has ran every year since uninterrupted.

The most recent edition (2008) was won by Stephen Gallagher from the An Post team.

The race is a UCI 2.2 event.



* cite book
last = Daly
first = Tom
title = The Rás – The Story Of Ireland’s Unique Bike Race
publisher = The Collins Press
date = 2003
id = ISBN 1-903464-37-4

External links

* [http://www.fbdinsuranceras.com/event/index.shtml "An Rás Tailteann official homepage"]

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