By Shane Stokes
An incentive to encourage women's cycling in Ireland will get underway this Sunday with the start of the revamped Zoo Hair Salon/Velotex Women's National League series.
This year, the women will line out with the other riders in the senior 3/junior/veteran group rather than having their own separate race, as was the case before. Each woman will instead be given their own handicap in points, giving non-elite women an advantage over the others and thus encouraging them to take part. Where possible, race organisers will give non-elite women a slight head start on the road.
Orla Hendron of Cycling Ireland's Women's Commission said that she was happy with the backing of the league. "We are very pleased to announce the continued sponsorship by Shay Dempsey of The Zoo Hair Salon in Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 this year, and are also delighted to welcome on board Justin McGee of Velotex Sportswear Ireland. Velotex will supply the race leaders' jerseys for the league.
"It is great news for women's racing that these two companies are prepared to get behind us in our goal to increase the participation of women racing in this country."
The first race in the 2007 league is the Waller Cup in Bohermeen.