By Shane Stokes
The first of several strong overseas teams for this years FBD Insurance Rás has been named by race organiser Dermot Dignam.
The Czech Republic - AC Sparta Praha team has been confirmed for the 2.2 ranked event, which begins in Naas on Sunday May 20th.
Two years ago Rostislav Krotky finished sixth, tenth, eleventh and eleventh again on stages en route to a solid 14th place overall. He is now racing with AC Sparta Praha and is likely to be one of the squad for the Irish event, joining the other riders in targeting stage wins plus a high overall finish. The line-up will be confirmed closer to the start of the eight day race.
This is one of the top pro teams in the Czech Republic and we are expecting great things from them, said Dignam this week. They will be coming with their sights set on being the first team from that country to win the FBD Insurance Rás.
Dignam said he is looking forward to a high standard in this years contest. I would expect most of the teams coming to this years race will either be UCI Continental teams or national squads. There is great strength in depth in these teams and the Irish riders will be up against it, he said.
This years FBD Insurance Rás will be almost 1200 kilometres in length and will feature stage finishes in Templemore, Loughrea, Sligo, Dungloe, Buncrana, Derry, Newcastle and Skerries.
The 2006 event was the closest ever, with British rider Kristian House (Recycling.co.uk) finishing on precisely the same time as former world under 23 time trial champion Danny Pate (TIAA-CREF) but winning out due to better stage placings.