The stage details have been announced for the 2014 International Junior Tour of Ireland cycling race scheduled to take place in County Clare again from July 15 to 20.
Following on from the success at its new base in Clare in 2013, the world’s longest junior (U18) stage event will see cyclists compete over 532 kilometres of road.
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, United States and across Europe. For many it will dictate whether they decide to pursue cycling with the aim of going professional.
Previous winners of the prestigious international bike race include professional road cyclist Nicholas Roche and Sam Bennett, who now rides as a professional with German team Netapp Endura.
The defending champion is Eddie Dunbar from Banteer in County Cork who will have the rare opportunity to line out again next month in a bid to become the first competitor ever to retain the title.
“Dunbar has been in scintillating form this season, clocking up the wins at senior level against some of the best domestic Irish cyclists. But like any stage race in the West of Ireland, nothing is a sure thing, and with the increased level of interest from abroad, it will certainly make for an interesting battle this July,” explained Race Organiser, Alice Sherratt of the Irish Road Club.
“With the tough rolling roads once again proving a big test for the young riders who compete in this International event as a stepping stone towards competing in many future top level events, whoever the winner will be, will surely be a deserving one,” she said.
This year’s Junior Tour event sponsors include Clare County Council, Treacy’s West County Conference and Leisure Hotel, IVCA (Irish Veterans Cycling Association), sprintdesign.inc and Cycling Ireland. The event is also being supported by Shannon Sports and Conference Bureau and An Garda Síochána.
Stage 1 (15 July): Time Trial, 6.2km Ennis – Drumquin
Stage 2 (16 July): 116km – Ennis – Ennistimon – Lahinch – Cliffs of Moher Category 2 – Fanore – Black Head – Ballyvaughan – The Burren Category 3 – Kinaboy – Corrofin – Ennis
Stage 3 (17 July): 123km – Ennis – Crusheen – Gort – Kinvara – Carron Category 3– Ballyvaughan – Corkscrew Hill Category 1 – Lisdoonvarna – Doolin – Castle Hill Category 1 – Cliffs of Moher Category 3 – Liscannor – Lahinch – Ennistymon
Stage 4 (18 July): 118km – Mountshannon – Scarriff – Category 2 – Caher – Killaneana – Maghera Category 2 – Feakle – Bodyke – Tuamgraney – Ogonnelloe – Kilnabarnan Category 2 – Tuamgraney – Scarriff – Mountshannon – Whitegate
Stage 5 (19 July): 101km – Ennis – Barefield – Crusheen – Killaneana – Kilcarron – O’Callaghans Mills – Broadford – Sallybank Category 2 – Truagh – Meelick – Windy Gap Category 2 – Sixmilebridge – Cratloe – Gallows Hill Category 1
Stage 6 (20 July): 70km Circuit race. 7 laps of 10km circuit – Ennis – Ballyea – Kildysart Road – Clonroadbeg – Ennis.
Entries are now open for this year’s event with the entry form available at www.juniortourofireland.com.