By Nigel Wynn
According to organisers of the FBD Insurance Ras ? which starts this Sunday (May 20) in Naas, Ireland ? they have foiled a plot by a bogus Iranian squad to use the race as a means to illegally enter the country.
Apparently, the five-man team from Iran had no intention of taking part in the race itself. Following months of negotiating with what appeared to be a legitimate Vice President of the Iranian Cycling Federation, race organiser Dermot Dignam was alerted to the possibility of a scam over the past few days when agreed procedures were breeched by the Iranians.
Commenting on the situation, Dignam confirmed that "following discussions with the Iranian Embassy and immigration officials we immediately cancelled arrangements for the team?s participation in the FBD Ras."
Meanwhile, teams from the USA, Germany, Estonia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Britain, Australia and the Netherlands are due in today (Friday) and early tomorrow.
The FBD Insurance Ras will get underway on Sunday with a 157 kilometre stage from Naas to Templemore. The riders will cover almost 1,200 kilometres of highly competitive racing as they travel anti-clockwise around the country, taking in additional stage finishes at Loughrea, Sligo, Dungloe, Buncrana, Derry, Newcastle and Skerries.
The race is sponsored once again by FBD Insurances and also receives important backing from the Irish Sports Council.
Event website: www.fbdinsuranceras.com.
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