By Shane Stokes
As the countdown to next month's FBD Insurance Rás continues, the new-look MyHome.ie/Cycleways.com team was launched this week in Dublin.
The property and homes portal has come on board as a co-sponsor for the 2006 season and with its backing, the prominent amateur team will aim for strong performances in events such as the Rás, the national championships and this weekend's Ras Mumhan in Kerry.
The team includes Philip Cassidy, who has been one of the most successful domestic-based riders for over 20 years. In that time he has been national champion and taken two Rás titles. Others who are expected to ride strongly include Eugene Moriarty, Brian Kenneally, Stephen O'Sullivan, Mehall Fitzgerald and Aidan Crowley, the latter an IT manager with MyHome.ie who helped secure the new backing.
The team will also include those such as the promising young rider Tim O'Regan, plus Keith Bannan, Kate Rudd, Ian George and Paul Teahan, four who are likely to compete in track races during 2006 and also line up with the rest of the squad in road events.
The Cycleways team was originally founded in 2002, and since then has taken many important results including the team prize in the FBD Rás and the Irish road race championships. The new backing sees MyHome.ie come on board, and the team hopes that this will coincide with even bigger success in the future.
Team captain Philip Cassidy is pleased with the deal. "It is great to get backing this for the team," he stated. "It should work out well, because it will bring good awareness for MyHome. Cycling clothing is very brand friendly, it will promote their company and their web site quite well.
"They took it on for a year to see how it will develop. If everybody is happy, then next year we will go with it again. It is up to us to prove that it is a good medium for them."
With Cassidy sticking by his decision not to ride the FBD Insurance Rás this year, team leadership will fall onto the shoulders of Eugene Moriarty. He has proved to be one of the most consistent Irish riders in recent years, placing highly on several stages of the race and showing that he can mix it with the professionals and international riders who travel to Ireland for the race. That'll be the aim again this year.
"The major goal will be the Rás, of course," he said. "There are two stages in Kerry, so I will be motivated for that. The race seems to suit me each year; I think it is more like the international stuff, that I have got used to over the last couple of season. I probably switch on a bit more for it as well. With the added bonus of those two stages in Kerry, everybody is trying to say that there is going to be pressure on me as a result. But I gave up feeling pressurised about things like that years ago. Hopefully I will do well, though."
"The national championships will also be a big target for the team, and so too the Ras Mumhan this weekend and the Tour of Ulster a little later on."