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Ireland Can Take Honours In FBD Milk Ras.
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Ireland Can Take Honours In FBD Milk Ras.
By Press Release 19-05-2004
May 19, 2004

Next Sunday over 140 international cyclists from Ireland , Britain, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Germany, USA  and Wales set out on a gruelling quest for the holy grail of Irish cycling - victory in the FBD MILK RAS. Eight days, 1200 kilometres and 29 major mountain climbs later one will hold the magnificent George Plant Trophy aloft in the Phoenix Park, for one the quest will have ended - who will it be ?

Prior to last weekend David O'Loughlin on the Ireland Thorntons Recycling Team had through his outstanding performances in Ireland and Britain so far this year laid claim to the loyalty and support of his team-mates, then came David McCann great back to back wins in two very tough events last weekend, performances that put him near enough on level pegging with O'Loughlin. Or perhaps one of the other members of the Irish team may emerge, will Kerryman Eugene Moriarty finally realise hid true potential, will France based Denis Lynch make the big breakthrough, will the wily Banbridgeman and former winner Tommy Evans chalk up a second big FBD MILK RAS win.

An Irish win, however, may not come from the ranks of the national team, there's a super new kid on the block. Nineteen year old, Mark Cassidy has taken the 2004 racing season by storm, putting in performances worthy of the best in Irish cycling -will the FBD MILK RAS be a bridge too far. Many think not, ably support on the Meath Lee Strand team by his illustrious father, Philip, winner of two Rasanna and riding as well as ever, Philip Finegan, Stephen O'Sullivan and Aidan Crowley Mark could be the sensation of the Irish sporting year.
Swede, Tobias Lergard finished second last year, losing by a paltry five seconds, Newton, the Brit, the Champion, is unable to defend his title this year. Tobias is fully justified in claming the title the Man to Beat, and wouldn't he be ecstatic at adding the FBD MILK RAS title to hid already impressive international CV. Lergard's team, Bianchi Nordic, one of three professional teams in the race, is managed by legendary Tommy Prim, twice second in the Giro d'Italia, winner on many classics, was best international team last year. Bianchi Nordic and Tommy Prim know what needs to be done to win this race, they are coming by Stena Ferry Link next Saturday to do it.

Kazakhstan, one of the strongest cycling nations in the world, has selected 20 year olds. A similar squad last year finished second in the International Team Award, equally significant Kazak riders finished 1, 2, and 3 in the King of the  Mountain Classification. Teamwork and the ability to outclimb everyone else will certainly play a huge part in the final overall outcome this year. Perhaps Valentin Iglinskiy or Vadim Vdovinov may be the first Kazak names to be inscribed on the FBD MILK RAS Roll of Honours.

Slovenian and German professional teams Team Perutnina PTUJ and Team ComNet Senges respectively, take part in the FBD MILK RAS for the first time. Perutnina Directeur Sportif, Srecko Glivar is an experienced operator, his riders have a wealth of top class racing throughout the fiercely competitive world of Division Three professional cycling, Glivar is not bringing his team on holiday to the Emerald Isle, they're coming to win - Valter Bonca, Igor Kranjec, Massimo Demarin, or whoever, the distinctive Perutnina jersey will be prominent in all the major moves of the race.

ComNet Senges's Tjarco Cuppens rode the FBD MILK RAS in 2000 winning the first stage into Longford, he's been trying to get back to the "best stage race in the world" ever since. Now a pro he finally gets his chance, he's not going to blow it, his hunger for victory in the race he fell in love with will carry him to a very high position in the general classification.

Wales Srena Line is a team of experienced riders always giving a good account of themselves in the big Irish event, Anthony Malarczyk, Huw Pritchard and Paul Shepherd have the ability to emulate Julian Winn's victory in 2000. And what of Winn? now a pro he lines up with the star-studded Yorkshire Team Murphy & Gunn. Winn, Tanner, Lovatt, Dawson, Elliott, most national federations would be  delighted to be represented by these brilliant riders.

Britain has opted for under 23 year olds to carry the national flag. young inexperienced, but ambitious, dedicated and completely committed to defend Chris Newton's title.

Many of the county teams, such as Dublin All Systems, Dublin Dundrum Shopping Centre, Kerry Dublin Excel, Galway, Tipperary Dan Morrissey all contain riders of the highest quality. Paul Griffin, Tim Barry, Rory Wyley are serious contenders for overall honours. Brian Taaffe, Bill Moore, Kieran Keane, Paudie O'Brien while not having the international racing in their legs to beat the pros will be involved in all the action that will determine the final outcome on the intriguing battle about to unfold on Irish roads next week.

The FBD MILK RAS is once again sponsored by the National Dairy Council and FBD Insurance.

 


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