First the team, and now the race… Halfords Bikehut’s financial commitment to cycle racing stepped up a gear today when the UK retailer was announced as title sponsor of the Ras de Cymru in July.

Previous title sponsors Lifeforce pulled the plug on all sports sponsorship at the end of May due to a management reshuffle leaving the 2008 Welsh stage race with a bulging start list but no financial backer.

Top British riders Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley are down on the start list for the six-stage race, which is based around the University of Wales Campus, Newport, Gwent from July 2-6.

Stage 1, July 2, Llangybi-Llanhennock, 4 miles
Stage 2, July 3, TBC, 40-50 miles
Stage 3, July 3, Abergavenny/Raglan/Abergavenny, 15 mile TTT
Stage 4, July 4, Usk, 68 miles
Stage 5, July 5, Storey Arms/Brecon/Defynnog, 60 miles
Stage 6, July 6, Abergavenny/Three Cocks/Llangynidr, 60 miles

Ras de Cymru website