For the first time ever Mayo cycling will get a big boost with 2 teams competing in the An Post Ras.
The Mayo Centra team to compete in the An Post Ras was announced after months of hard preparation and racing.
The squad of seven, comprised of Western lakes and Covey wheelers Westport club members, have gone through a full transformation from normal club racers who competed locally to full fledge elite racers. As part of the training the squad has already stepped up to compete at International level races like Ras Mumhan (Kerry 4 day) and the Tour of Ulster (Ulster 3 day). Having the opportunity to race in the 60th edition of the 8 day An Post Ras is the reward for all their hard work.
The team will be led by the experienced Padraig Marrey (Westport Postman) who headed up the project as coach and organiser and will under take to complete his 10th Ras.
Michael Brady (Plaster Westport) will be the second most experienced rider of the squad who is looking to finish his 2nd Ras.
JJ Flaherty (Fish Farmer Renvyle) has stepped up in category this year and his training has payed off with some good results.
Michael Flanagan (Engineer Killconly ) has turned his focus away from mountain biking and has concentrated fully on road racing this year.
The final member of the squad is Charlestown based ex lorry driver Donal Harrington, Donal went from been obese at 110kgs some 18months ago to one of the strongest racers in Connacht a staggering statistic considering the time scale.
The team aim to be competitive in the county team classification and hope that luck might aid them in the hunt for a good stage placing.
The Support crew is full of experience with Dublin based Myles Gallagher an ex professional Manager with the Murphy&Gunn team, Westport man Ray Staunton and Brendan Scullion (Claddaghduff) will make sure that all the mechanical needs of the finely tuned racers are adhered to. Melissa Irvine will give the physio to the aching bodies after each stage, she comes all the way from the Newtownards and is the sister of Martyn Irivne who is Olympic bound n August.
The team will be clad in the blue and yellow colours of the Centra Supermarket chain, thanks to shop proprietors’ Higgins and Keegan.
“The Centra food range meets the high standards of Elite sports persons who require optimum nutrition,” says a Centra spokesperson”.
To put a squad in the An Post Ras the following sponsors are also on board, Champion Systems UK will sponsor the race cycle clothing, Erin Recyclers Donegal/Sligo are sponsoring accommodation, Insignia Plus Westport are sponsoring the leisure clothing, Marrey Bikes Ballinrobe will provide Sports Nutrition and equipment, Tim Hastings motors Westport will sponsor race vehicles for the 1200kms race.
With the 180 strong peloton racing through 35 towns and over 30 categorised climbs reroute to the Finish at line in Skerries Co Dublin.
The 3rd stage of the Ras finishes in Westport on Tuesday the 22nd at approx 2pm, it will be coming from Gort, via, Galway, Oughterard, Maam Cross (Climb), Maam, Lough Nafooey(CLIMB) Maamtrasna (Climb) Tourmakeady, Killvalley finishing on Mill St.
Anyone interested in following the daily activities of the Ras should look up http://www.anpost.ie/AnPost/IrishCyclingRas/Route/ for live up dates.
Also follow the team’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TheroadtotheRAS
Mayo Centra Team
John James Flaherty
Manager Myles Gallagher
Mechanic Ray Staunton
Assit Mechanic Brendan Scullion
Physio Melissa Irvine
Centra food store chain
Champs systems UK