As excitement grows in advance of the Omagh event at the end of July, another boost for the event comes with news of an Isle of Man team confirmed for the Women’s race. Team manager, Andrew Roche, confirmed the details to Race Director Stevie McKenna.
The 4-woman team is made up from three members from the Gotland, Island Games Team. Two from the road and one from mountain bike. Emily Looker has made an impressive move from the mountain biking scene to road racing over the last year and half. Locally she constantly placed herself in the top 3 ladies in the local races so far this year and is most definitely one to watch in the future. She will be racing with Eleanor Davies, a seasoned performer, Eleanor worked her way through the junior ranks and is now a regular Team leader for the girls. The 19 year old was 4th at the Island Games road race and gold medal team. Also in the team is Kate Priest, Kate was also part of the gold winning Island Games team and also completed her first the Ras Na Mbann last year. Ellen Barker, will be riding with the IOM girls team for the second time at Omagh. Ellen, 17, who rides for Team On Form finished 2nd in the ladies Isle of Man Championships this year. She has been racing in the UK mostly this year competing in the Junior Road Races.
Director McKenna was delighted with the news “Growing the Women’s race was my main target for 2018. I wanted to build on the Women’s race from 2017, which proved to be the most exciting race yet. In addition to the Isle of Man team, we’ve confirmed teams from Cycling Ireland, provincial teams from Ulster and Leinster along with a number of other British riders guesting on Irish teams. However, whilst raising the standard of the race is a goal, I also want to preserve the event as a stepping-stone for club level riders. As such, we have been working with Cycling Ireland and Cycling Ulster to develop a handicap system, which will use the new Women’s ranking system as a guide. The new format will hopefully allow club level riders to benefit from the experience of this unique race, whilst still providing National level competition for the best riders”.
Another change to the format for this year is the non-aero Time Trial. McKenna added “With many riders travelling the length of Ireland or from GB, we want to ensure we provide a level-playing field for all riders. So both the A4 and Women’s riders will solely use road bike setups for the TT”.
The event takes place from 27-29th July, and online entry opens from 27th June to 3rd July at www.entrycentral.com/too. Entry for the Women’s race will extend to 13th July as race approval is not required. Further information can be found on our website www.tourofomagh.co.uk or on our Facebook page https://m.me/SPARTOO17