Ruan’s Imogen Cotter says she is honoured to be a part of the Irish cycling team at Rás na mBan.
“Before this year any time I’ve been selected to race I’ve suffered an injury. It was a really big goal of mine heading in to this year to wear the Irish kit so I’m delighted to do it.”
Back in June 2019, she was selected to ride for Cycling Ireland at the Kreiz Breizh Elites Dames in Brittany but was unable to race after fracturing her sternum. She was asked to represent Cycling Ireland at Rás na mBan that same year but she injured her radius and another opportunity to represent her country went abegging.
When the pandemic led the Rás and other events to be cancelled, it appeared that Cotter may have missed her opportunity to represent her country. She never lost faith though and finally got the opportunity to wear the green jersey in the Kreiz Breizh Elites Dames at the end of July and will now get another shot at Rás na mBan.
“I have accepted that crashing and injuries are a part of cycling. It is a scary thing to accept. I told myself that I will wear the Irish jersey one day.”
Cotter, who trains in Belgium, comes from a cycling background with her uncle Jamie McGahan winning Rás Tailteann in 1981 while another uncle, Ronan Cotter, has competed at the event several times.
The opening stage of the 2017 Rás na mBan was Cotter’s first ever road race.
“The Rás has always been special for me. When you complete it, you get known as a Woman of the Rás. My two uncles had competed before, so I wanted to face my own doubts and finish the race.
The 28-year-old admits it was a special moment for her when she was able to represent Ireland for the first time at the Kreiz Breizh Elites Dames.
“I got a bit emotional when I got to wear the Irish kit. It is a lovely feeling representing your country. You are always motivated when cycling but it gave me extra motivation to do well. It was an honour to represent my country.”
by Ivan Smyth