As plans for An Post Rás na mBan 2014 gain pace, the organisers of Ireland’s premier women’s stage race are delighted to announce a partnership with Fuji Bikes for this year’s event.
To celebrate the association, the winner of the 28th international women’s stage race in Ireland will be presented with a Fuji Supreme – the brand’s top-of-the-line, women’s-specific,C10 high-modulus carbon frameset with patented RIB technology – at the conclusion of this year’s five-day event in Ennis, County Clare on September 14th.
As one of the most consistent supporters of women’s bike racing over the past 40 years, Fuji has established itself as one of the most important brands in world cycling with some of the top names in the sport having ridden their products to glory.
Included on a who’s who of women’s international cycling to have raced to success on Fuji bikes are double world road race champion Giorgia Bronzini, twice Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong and Germany’s former world road race champion Judith Arndt.
Fuji currently supports the US-based women’s professional team TIBCO which last year counted Irish national road race champion and 2013 Rás na mBan runner-up Melanie Späth in their lineup.
This year the firm is well known to Irish fans as the bike supplier to the NetApp-Endura team of Sam Bennett and the Synergy Baku Cycling Project squad of Matt Brammieier, Connor McConvey and Philip Lavery.
Announcing the partnership with Fuji, An Post Rás na mBan race director Valerie Considine expressed her delight at attracting support from a major international bike manufacturer.
“I’d like to welcome Fuji to our event and I see this association as another excellent endorsement of the work we’ve done over the last ten years to reinforce the credibility of women’s international bike racing in Ireland.
“The prize of a Fuji Supreme frame for the race winner is an excellent one and is another great incentive for the riders from all over the world who’ll be racing on the roads of Clare next September.”
Fuji Bikes CEO Pat Cunnane reaffirmed his company’s commitment to women’s cycling and looked forward to September’s race in Ireland.
“At ASI, we’re committed to growing the role of women in our industry. I’ve spoken at several conferences about workplace demographics and opportunities to better address half of the market.
“And our VP of Marketing Karen Bliss, who’s now on the UCI’s Women’s Commission, has been advocating for equal prize money and an extended race calendar for women pro cyclists,”explained Fuji President and CEO Pat Cunnane.
“So when we were approached about helping to sponsor Ireland’s women’s international stage race – an event showcasing and providing opportunity to some of the best female cyclists in world – it was a no brainer. Not to mention my love of the country and my Irish heritage.”
About Fuji Bikes
A sponsor of the first U.S. Women’s National Cycling Team in 1974 – 10 years before women cycling became an Olympic sport – Fuji has a long history of supporting women in the sport of cycling. And since the mid ‘70s, the brand has consistently sponsored elite and amateur women racers across all cycling disciplines, as Fuji is proud to support the goals and ambitions of female cyclists worldwide.
Some of the biggest names in the sport have ridden and won on Fuji, including 2-time World Road Champion Giorgia Bronzini, Giro Donne Winner Mara Abbott, World Time Time Trial Champion Amber Neben, 2-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong, 7-time Liberty Classic winner Petra Rossner, and Tour de l’Aude Winners Claudia Häusler and Trixi Worrack. Fuji has won two World Road Championships: Judith Arndt in 2004 and Regina Schleicher in 2005 – plus 2-consecutive Marathon World Championships in 2011 and 2012 with Annika Langvad. Current Fuji VP of Marketing Karen Bliss, dubbed “The Winningest Female Cyclist in North America” during her career, got her start with the Fuji-Suntour team.
In 2013, Fuji-sponsored women’s pro team TIBCO utterly dominated the women’s pro circuit aboard their Supremes. Sam Schneider won the USA Crit Finals; Melanie Spath won the Irish National Road Championship; Shelley Olds won the Tour of Elk Grove and Nature Valley Grand Prix GC; TIBCO won the Team Classification at both events; and TIBCO was named the National Racing Calendar’s #1 Team. Fuji will continue to sponsor TIBCO into the 2014 season.
Also in 2013, Fuji-sponsored Pasta Zara-Cogeas’ Ingrid Drexel won the Mexican road title on her Supreme; Inga Cilvinaite won the Vuelta Costa Rica; and Agne Silinyte won the Lithuanian National Road Championship.
Fuji additionally sponsors pro women triathletes Sarah Haskins and Sara McLarty. Haskins is arguably the best female triathlete in America: 4-time winner of Life Time Chicago Tri and Life Time Tri Minneapolis and 2-time winner of the Race to the Toyota Cup series title. Sara McLarty is a 15-time NCAA All-American swimmer and 2010 Race to the Toyota Cup Series Champion.
Over the years, Fuji’s learned a lot about what it takes to produce the perfect fit for women of all sizes – lengthening head tubes, shortening top tubes, modifying carbon layups for a woman’s traditionally lighter body mass, and selecting specific components (ie. women’s-specific saddle, short-reach brake levers), in an effort to match the unique proportions of female riders to allow for more speed, control, and comfort.
Fuji has been producing premium bikes for women since the early 1970s. However, it was in 2006 that the brand first introduced a line of women’s-specific performance bikes with the aluminum Fuji Finest. A year later, Fuji released its first generation, carbon, women’s-specific Supreme. Today, there are 4 women’s-specific performance platforms within the Fuji lineup (2 Road, 2 Mountain), with plans for significant expansion in 2015 and beyond.
For more information, please visit: www.fujibikes.com.