By Shane Stokes
Irish continental team Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group/M. Donnelly Sean Kelly spends much of the season based at the Kelly academy in Belgium, but the squad will return home for the 50th running of the Shay Elliott Memorial on Sunday April 22.
With Murphy & Gunn also sponsors of the event, regarded as one of the toughest one day races in Ireland, the riders will do their utmost to repeat the win taken out by Andrew Roche in 2006. It is expected that some riders may travel across from the UK for the event, which commemorates Ireland's first wearer of the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.
The race was first run in 1958 as the Route de Chill Mhantáin, with John Lackey coming out best in that inaugural edition. Fittingly, the trophy used now is that presented to Elliott as best amateur in France in 1955.
As has been the case in recent years, the 160 kilometre course will include the tough ascents of Old Wicklow Gap, locally known as Croghan, and Glenmalure. A memorial to Elliott is positioned at the summit of the second climb.
The race will be backed by Murphy & Gunn and Stena Line. Further information is available on www.braywheelers.com.