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Lineup Of Irish Continenral Team Confirmed

Lineup Of Irish Continenral Team Confirmed
By Race Adm.
May 15, 2006

With less than a week to go until the start of the FBD Insurance RÁS, the lineup of the final Continental/Professional team to take part in this year’s race has been confirmed.  

John O'Shea Murphy & Gunn
The highly promising Murphy & Gunn / Newlyn Group team has shown the benefits of their expansion, being in dominant form all season and taking several important victories. The team for the FBD Insurance RÁS will be led by two very experienced riders, 1997 race victor Andrew Roche and Paul Healion.


Roche has shown excellent for this season, riding well in a number of stage races and taking an excellent victory in the Shay Elliott Memorial race last month. Paul Healion spent the winter riding road and track races in Australia and is in the best form of his career, winning the Credit Union Ras Mumhan in April, scooping two stages of the Tour of Ulster and placing third overall, and then finishing a very strong second in the Lincoln Grand Prix in England. He is the number one ranked rider in Ireland and has taken six wins thus far this year.


They will be supported by John O’Shea, John Dempsey and Morgan Fox, the latter a former continental professional and national road race champion who adds a huge wealth of experience to the team and whose role as captain will be of vital important should one of the riders take the race lead.


The team is very motivated to do well. “When we formed this team at the start of the year, we always had the FBD Rás high on our list of priorities and targets,” stated chief sponsor Stephen Murphy. “The Rás is not only the biggest race in Ireland but is one of the biggest and best run races in Europe, and as such is the ultimate goal of every aspiring Irish cyclist. While Murphy & Gunn / Newlyn Group have been dominant at home so far, the Rás attracts Europe’s top riders and with just five man teams is a notoriously unpredictable race to control. We are the first totally Irish pro team to ride and are hoping for perhaps a stage win or maybe more, the problem being everybody else will be hoping the same!”


John Dempsey Murphy & Gunn
“It’s the most important race of the year for every Irish cyclist,” says Paul Healion. “I’ve trained very hard all winter in
Australia and have always been aiming for the Rás but didn’t realise I would be going so well coming into the race.  Hopefully I will be trying to get up there for the overall classification and maybe try and win a stage but I won’t worry too much about stages if I can get up on GC. It‘s a very hard race to control, eyeballs out from start to finish every day. You have to be up there every day and can‘t ease up or lose concentration in case a move goes and you find yourself ten minutes down.”


This year’s FBD Insurance RÁS will begin with a 121 kilometre stage from Tallaght to Enniscorthy on Sunday May 21st, and finish over a thousand kilometres later in Skerries on Sunday May 28th. The world-ranking race will also feature exciting stage finishes in Cobh, An Daingean, Listowel, An Cheathru Rua, Westport and Clara.


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