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Multiple stage-winning team amongst squads announced for 2018 Rás Tailteann

Monday, 16th April, 2018 8:15am
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Multiple stage-winning team amongst squads announced for 2018 Rás Tailteann
Multiple stage-winning team amongst squads announced for 2018 Rás Tailteann

A week after the announcement of the first two international squads for this year’s Rás Tailteann, two more teams have been revealed for the race.

The Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam team has shone in the past two editions, winning two stages under the Cyclingteam Join's - De Rijke name in 2016 and then repeating that tally last year via Jan Willem Van Schip and Daan Meijers.


In addition to that, Ike Groen was a superb second overall, while Meijers won the points classification.


“Our first goal is to win a stage,” states team manager Jim van den Berg. “We strongly believe in by riding for day wins, the classification will follow automatically. We will not start with protected riders who will try to save energy. That might be a tactic later on, when the general classification comes within reach.”


Van den Berg has named  Jason van Dalen, Adriaan Janssen, Gijs Meijer, Sjoerd Bax and Rens Tulner as the five riders most likely to take part. Van Dalen won a stage in last year’s Okolo Jiznich Cech/Tour of South Bohemia and was sixth in the recent Tour de Normandie. Janssen was a stagiaire last year with the WorldTour Lotto-JumboNL squad and won the Omloop van Braakman. Meijer was second in the 2017 Ronde van Zuid-Oost Friesland, while Bax won the Eurode Omloop top competitive event. Tulner was 12th in the under 23 Dutch national time trial championships.


The team will do a series of 1.2 ranked races in the Netherlands and Belgium to ensure it is in the best possible shape for the Rás Tailteann.


The Britain Team KTM squad is the second confirmed today, and it is making its Rás debut. The listed riders are Will Fox, Andy Turner, Callum Ferguson and Fraser Rounds. Either Peter Barusevicus or Kieran Brady will complete the line-up.


Fox was fourth on a stage of last year’s Tour of Bulgaria, while Turner was third in the Severn Bridge road race. Ferguson was second on the queen stage of last year’s Tour of Bulgaria and third in the best young rider competition. Rounds was originally an elite triathlete, but began focussing on cycling. He was fourth in the Mark Bell Memorial Road Race earlier this month.


“At the outset we are planning to have three to four riders as high on GC as possible and aim for the team prize,” said team manager Paul Lamb. “We have a team of good all-rounders and a rider in Will Fox who we will target selectively for stage wins.


“Depending on how the race pans out we may then select a protected rider if we have someone in the top 10 on GC.”


Both teams will travel to Ireland in the build-up to the race start in Drogheda on May 20th. “We are looking forward to seeing both squads performing in the Rás Tailteann,” states race director Eimear Dignam. “The Netherlands Delta Cycling Rotterdam team has been one of the strongest in recent editions and, in addition to the stage wins achieved, did much to animate the racing.


“As for Britain Team KTM, we are confident that they will race hard and aim for a big debut in the Rás.”


This year’s Rás Tailteann totals eight days and 1168.7 kilometres in length, and is ranked as a 2.2 event on the UCI’s international calendar. It will feature four gruelling category one climbs plus 30 other categorized climbs, as well as stage finishes in Athlone, Tipperary, Listowel, Glengarriff, Mitchelstown, Carlow, Naas and Skerries.


Previously known as the An Post Rás, the event is searching for a new title sponsor. The race recently announced an initiative with cycling clothing manufacturer Spin 11, whereby a commemorative cycling kit is being produced and will help secure the future of the race.


The jersey and gillet feature the names of the Rás champions dating back to the first event in 1953. Proceeds will contribute to the running of the event.


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