The David McCall Foundation continues to put into practice the aims of the organisation by supporting the development of women's cycing in Ulster. In one of their final actions for 2010 they have come to the fore to sponsor the Cycling Ulster Slane Cycles women's team for Rás na mBan. Cycling Ulster and Slane Cycles will also support the women. The Rás is the only women's international event to take place in Ireland. Last year only one Ulster woman, Hannah Francis, took part in the event. Such is the improvement in Women's cycling in the past year that for 2010 Ulster is fielding a ten woman squad.

Pre Race meeting in Belfast

Mark Greer of the David McCall Foundation siad, "The Foundation is more than pleased to support the women in such a prestigious race. With the event taking place in Kerry over three days next weekend we appreciate that the women must be very committed to enter. It is a long journey, involves several days off work and the expense of accommodation and meals. We want to see more women becoming involved in cycling but appreciate that it is not always easy for them."

For some of the ten strong squad this will be their first foray into open racing but they are determined to give it a go.

Team Manager, Tommy Lamb said,"I have every faith in these women. Throughout this year Marian and I have been watching them and noting their committment and dedication. They have worked hard to improve and have faced up to any challenges we have thrown at them."

The race will not be easy with lots of climbs such as Molls Gap. The event will allow the women to take part in a prestigious women's only event and may encourage others to come forth in the future.

Assistant manager Marian Lamb said, "The uptake in cycling among women has continued to grow in 2010 but many lack confidence when it comes to taking part in racing. In Donegal recently I was pleased to see Aileen Togher and Sanda McLaughlin competing in the Tour of the Lakes and riding very strongly. There are many more women like them who just need the added incentive to travel to more events.The team we have selected is a mixture of newcomers and more experienced riders so there is real opportunity for the women to learn from each other."

Last night most of the women met for a pre-race discussion as Tommy Lamb outlined the expectations for the team. Warren Francis, on-road manager, mechanic and back up for the race provided the women with an analysis of the various events.

Rás na mBan begins on Friday 17th September and all at Cycling Ulster wish the women the best of luck over the weekend.

We would also like to thank Slane Cycles and The David McCall Foundation for their continued support of women's cycling.

Marian Lamb Club Development Officer

Cycling Ulster Slane Cycles - David McCall Foundation Team
Tonya Moran (Phoenix CC)
Therese Smyth (Phoenix CC)
Antje Otto (Phoenix CC)
Caroline Patterson (Dromara CC)
Mary Hunter (Dromara CC)
Mandy Collie (Orchard CC)
Ciara MacManus (Unattached)
Louise Fullerton (Ballymena Scott Tiles)
Hannah Francis (Bikeworks)
Kay Hack (Bann Wheelers)