Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent/Evening Herald/Sunday Independent
The cycling season is usually well advanced before the Mayo Wheelers CC comes out of hibernation and launches its cycling programme for both the racing fraternity and the leisure riders. Not so this year. In the Atlantic Coast hotel yesterday evening the club announced that one of its showcase events, the Atlantic Coast Hotel/Sheeffrey Grand Prix will be run this year in march and will be the first event in its Classic Series.
Organiser Joe McGuire said, "traditionally [the Atlantic Coast Hotel/Sheeffrey Grand Prix] was held in late August, but it was generally accepted in cycling circles that an early slot would be of benefit to competitors who were gearing towards the FBD Insurance Ras. It will also be ideal also for the promotion of the sport in the West and particularly in the Westport area."
Although this is now an early-season event, it should certainly provide some tough preparation for riders targeting the FDB Ras. Its sting is a 15 mile circuit will bring the competitors through Westport six times and that includes a climb that will certainly separate the men from the boys.
It is anticipated that the defending champion, David McCann who was the Classic Series winner last season will be on the start line.