By Tommy Campbell
Conditions on mainland Europe in recent weeks has not been conducive to any type of cycling competition. The majority of the professionals have had their events curtailed or in some cases cancelled in and around the Benelux countries. So, faced with lack of both racing and training, the Navigator Insurance pair of Ciaran Power and David O'Loughlin bee-lined it back to Ireland.
Martin Philips of the Limerick Cycling Club, who promotes the Ras Luimini this Sunday in Fedamore, was in a great mood when he heard the news of the pair's return to home soil. "Talk about hitting the jackpot - I'm brimming with confidence after being assured that Ciaran will be at the Co. Limerick venue on Sunday," said Philips.
"We have been talking to Ciaran and he has assured us that he'll be along this weekend. He explained that their activities, particularly in Belgium, have been disrupted and he is anxious to get some training and racing miles in his legs. Last week, he was house-bound. So the obvious solution was to head back to Waterford. This will certainly add a lot of gloss to our programme of events on Sunday.
"For the last number of years, the area was void of competition. So a number of us got together and decided to revive the event. It is a real bonus that Ciaran has signaled his intentions of coming down to us. But, prior to that we were actively seeking out the last winner of the event which was held four years ago. It is not every day of the week that not one professional may turn up, but maybe David O'Loughlin could be here also," added Martin.
Ras Lumini now looks to be shaping up for a right ding-dong battle between the fancied Ciaran Power, Rory Wyley plus of course last weekend's winner, Vincent Gleeson. Going head to head with Limerick which is out of the blocks at one o'clock is the Newbridge Credit Union promoted by Newbridge CC at 12.30. Back at the coal face of promotions Saturday is the Navan/Avonmore CC, who stages the Dunsany GP, which is an 11 o'clock start for 60 kilometres.