2008 Tour of Ireland– the toughest yet

he 2008 Tour of Ireland cycle race being held 27th to 31st August is set to be the toughest yet with five difficult stages contested by 16 international teams.

The race starts in Dublin on Wednesday 27th August when 112 riders head out on a route across 12 counties toward the final destination of the City of Cork. The 900km race has been awarded a 2.1 ranking on the UCI (the world governing body for cycling) calendar and will attract some of the best professional teams from Europe, USA, Australia and South Africa. The route embraces key towns and cities as well as iconic mountain passes and splendid Irish scenery.

The Tour of Ireland is being run in association with Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, as part of their campaign to show the countryside of Ireland on world-wide television. RTÉ television will feature the event daily in Ireland and ITV television in Britain will show daily programmes as will France, Scandinavia and USA (Versus Channel) and Asia. Highlights will also be seen in South Africa and Australia.

Paul Keeley, Business Development and Investment Director at Fáilte Ireland said: “We are delighted once again to be associated with the Tour of Ireland through our Sports Tourism Initiative. The event will provide a unique opportunity for television audiences to see the breadth of Ireland’s landscape and scenery and will undoubtedly help boost tourism throughout all the regions over the five days. With diverse countryside throughout Ireland we have much to offer cycling visitors and attract thousands of cycling holiday-makers every year. This year we have invested significantly in cycling hubs to make it easier and safer for cyclists to navigate around Ireland and to help increase the number of people who have cycling holidays.”

At the launch today, the organisers announced that the top team in the world this year ‘Team Columbia’ has already signed up to ride the race. Formerly ‘Team High Road’, their rider list for the race includes recent double Giro d’Italia stage winner Mark Cavendish. The exciting sprinter from the Isle of Man is expected to ride in the Tour de France before participating on the track in the Olympic Games, Beijing. The team will also include triple world time trial champion Michael Rogers from Australia.

Two professional Irish teams, An Post– Sean Kelly Team and Pezula Racing plus an Irish National Team will be competing against some of the best squads on the American and European circuits.

A number of additional sponsors have also been announced. An Post has expanded its involvement to become Official Partner of the race and repeat their sponsorship of the An Post Green Sprinters Jersey.

Official vehicles for the Tour of Ireland will be supplied by Fiat Automotive Ireland who will be providing more than 60 vehicles for teams and race officials.

Official Timing will be provided by Festina Watches who also time the Tour de France, Official Trophies are being created by Waterford Crystal, De Marchi Sport of Italy supply all of the race leaders jerseys, Thule Racks are supplied for all team vehicles and Vittel is the Official Water used throughout the race.
For further information:

Tour of Ireland Cycling Events Limited

Gerry McManus, Press Officer Tel: +353 (0) 87 323 7508 / e: gerry@tourofireland.ie

www.tourofireland.ie

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