The 2013 International Junior Tour of Ireland cycling race will be held in County Clare from July 2-7, event organisers have announced.
The world’s longest junior (U18) stage event at 500 kilometres will once again attract strong international competition with some of the best junior cyclists in the world competing against Ireland’s most promising young cyclists.
Last year’s six-stage event, which was held in County Mayo, was won by 17-year-old Colin Joyce of U.S. team Hot Tubes who finished ahead of U.S. teammate Curtis White. Stena Line Ireland team member and Newry-native Cormac Clarke, also 17, finished in third.
Previous winners of the prestigious international bike race include professional road cyclist Nicholas Roche and current Irish national U23 cycling champion Sam Bennett, who now rides as a professional with the An Post – Sean Kelly Team.
Each of the Stages will start in Ennis with two finishing elsewhere in County Clare. Full details regarding the Stage routes will be announced at an official launch event in Clare on March 19th which will be attended by former world number 1 and event Patron Sean Kelly.
Welcoming the news that Clare will host this year’s event, Mayor of Clare Cllr. Pat Daly said: “Clare has hosted some large cycling events in recent years including the Tour de Burren and Etape Hibernia, which has helped the growth of sports-based tourism in the County. The sport itself has witnessed a huge increase in participants locally and Clare has a number of thriving cycling clubs including Banner Wheelers, Dolmen, West Clare, Burren and Clare Crusaders. Clare County Council and the other event supporters look forward to welcoming competitors from all over the globe to the County this July.”
Race Organiser, Alice Sherratt of Irish Road Club stated: “The Junior Tour represents the biggest opportunity young Irish cyclists will get to compete against some of the best junior cyclists from the United Kingdom, South Africa, United States, The Netherlands and Belgium. For many it will dictate whether they decide to pursue cycling with the aim of going professional.”
“We are delighted to be able to bring the longest international junior stage race in the world to County Clare and look forward to working with event supporters Clare County Council, Shannon Sports and Conference Bureau and Clare Sports Partnership in the coming weeks and months,” Ms. Sherratt added.
The main sponsor of the 2013 Junior Tour of Ireland is warehouse.ie, owned by renowned Clare man and sports patron Martin Donnelly. Other sponsors include I.V.C.A (Irish Veterans Cycling Association), Cycling Ireland and Stena Line Ireland.
For more visit www.juniortourofireland.com.