Very strong five-man Irish team named for Rás Tailteann

Posted on: May 15th, 2018

Jake Gray is one of the youngest riders named by Cycling Ireland on the combined U23 and elite Irish team for next week’s Rás Tailteann.


Cycling Ireland has named a powerful Irish team for next week’s Rás Tailteann.

On the team are Robert Jon McCarthy, Darnell Moore, Marc Potts, Jake Gray and James Curry.

National coach Neill Delahaye said the team was a mixture of youth and experience. And he said though Robbie McCarthy was very experienced internationally, he was still just 24 years.

“He is capable of stage wins and a strong overall performance,” he says of McCarthy, a former Rás stage winner and yellow jersey.

“This will also be his first cap for Ireland, after years of racing for Australia,” added Delahaye.

“Some of the younger guys don’t yet have experience in the Rás but do in other races.

“We probably won’t start off with a protected rider, as such. There are some riders who we expect to do very well on the terrain the race offers, and we have some fast finishers.

“With Marc Potts, we have someone who is seeking Olympic qualification on the track. And this will be an important block of racing for him to build his condition.

“He also has a significant engine, which will be very useful at the end of hard stages. Neil Martin will manage the team and he will deliver the strategy before the race.

“We are going to be on the hunt for stage wins. And, as the race unfolds, we are going to be mindful of the GC.”


Robert Jon McCarthy JLT-Condor

James Curry & Robbie McCarthy.


Rás director Eimear Dignam has already welcomed international teams from the USA, Belgium, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Wales.

And she believed the Irish team named today could excel at the race.

“The team looks very promising and will be keen to leave its mark,” she said. “Robert Jon McCarthy has already taken a stage and has the ability to do so again

“The other riders will also play a big part in shaping the race, and in chasing success for the Irish contingent in the Rás.”

McCarthy is currently in his second season with JLT-Condor in Britain since coming back to cycling after a near two-year break.

In 2014, when riding to An Post-Chainreaction, he took the opening stage of the Rás and the race lead.

He was recently 5th on a stage at the Tour de Yorkshire and is capable of at least a stage win next week.


Darnell Moore Tour of Ards

Marc Potts

Darnell Moore & Marc Potts.


Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles) won the Shay Elliott Memorial last year. He is also the reigning national cyclocross champion and hill climb champion.

Now one of the very strongest riders on the domestic front, he has already ridden on the Irish team this year; at the U23 Nations Cup.

Marc Potts is national criterium champion; the Neon Velo rider claiming that title last summer.

Since then had has focussed mainly on his international track career. His best result to date riding on the boards for Ireland was 4th at the European Championships in the scratch race.

Last month he rode track, road and MTB at the Commonwealth Games in Australia for Northern Ireland.

Like Moore, Jake Gray has also ridden on the U23 national team at Nations Cup this year. He is now plying his trade for VC Toucy and has been riding well.

James Curry is also riding in France this season; for VC La Pomme Marseille. The 20-year-old is a very capable climber and may surprise a few people at this Rás.

While the team is a strong one, the fact a national selection is in the race at all is a welcome development.

And the continued involvement of Neil Martin in the national set-up is also important.

It indicates Cycling Ireland is maintaining its relationship with Martin and Kurt Bogaerts.

That is especially important this year as the trade team they work with – An Post-Chainreaction – is not racing, though is looking to return next season.