By Paul Nugent
This year's Tour of Ulster will take place on bank holiday weekend Saturday April 30 - Monday May 2 and has assembled one of the best fields in recent years.
Leading the way is Banbridge's Tommy Evans (Planet X), a previous double winner (1998 & 2004), defending champion, and a former FBD Milk Ras winner and national road race champion. Other previous winners include: Philip Cassidy (Cycleways, winner in 2000), also a former double FBD Milk Ras winner, and Stephen O Sullivan (Cycleways, winner in 1997). Top riders also include recent Ras Mumham winner John Dempsey (Carrick/Dan Morrissey), runner-up in the Ras Mumham, Emyvale's Conor Murphy (Crannog Ireland), former FBD Milk Ras winner, Andrew Roche (Isle of Man), former Tour of the North winner Ryan Connor (Ballymena/Scotts), recent Tour of the North stage winners Mark Greer (Maryland) and Brendan O'Brien (Roe Valley) and Team Giant Asia professional Paul Griffin (West Clare Composite).
Some of the strong southern teams entered include, Carrick/Dan Morrisey, M. Donnelly/Stamullen, Cycleways, West Clare Composite, Usher Irish RC and Leinster Select. Local teams entered include Planet X, East Antrim/Audi, Crannog Ireland, Phoenix CC, Ballymena/Scotts, Maryland Wheelers and Clann Eireann.