By Shane Stokes
A strong Garmin Chipotle team has been announced for the Tour of Ireland, with David Millar, Magnus Backstedt, Julian Dean, Christophe Laurent and Martijn Maaskant joining Irish road race champion Daniel Martin for the 2.1 ranked race.
The event runs from August 27th to 31st and will feature sixteen international teams. Double Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish has already been named by the organisers as competing with the Team Columbia squad, and the Garmin Chipotle line-up is another good addition to the event.
Martin said that he was looking forward to showing off his new Irish champion's jersey. "I can't wait to get back to racing on Irish roads again," he said. "I know that a really hard course has been announced and the team is really motivated to do well. There was a real fight to get into the team for this one but obviously being Irish champion helped me get in. The guys are excited to be coming to Ireland to race. We should be one of the strongest teams."
Martin is a reserve for the Olympic Games road race but even if he ends up not riding in Beijing, he has a busy schedule in August.
"I have got a heavy program in the next few weeks," he said: "The Tour of Portugal finishes a couple of days before Ireland. The Portuguese tour is 12 days long and it will be interesting to see how I cope with so much racing, but I will definitely be taking it a bit easier there and saving something for Ireland. The last stage into Cork will be really hard so I am definitely thinking about that one. There will be an incredible atmosphere up on St Patrick's Hill and we are hoping that we can do something on the stage and in the overall classification."
The Tour of Ireland will run from Wednesday August 27th until Sunday August 31st. It goes from Dublin to Cork and will feature sixteen teams and a total of 112 riders.
Tour of Ireland stage details: