By Shane Stokes
Following announcements that T-Mobile and Unibet squads will compete in the Tour of Ireland, the start list has expanded further with the news that the Ceramica Panaria-Navigare team will compete in the world-ranked event.
Although the line-up will be confirmed closer to the August 22 – 26 race date, the Professional Continental team is expected to make a good impression in the 2.1 Irish tour.
In recent weeks the team competed in the Giro d'Italia and made a strong impression there, with Emanuel Sella finishing 11th overall and Luis Felipe Laverde taking stage six. Fortunato Baliani got into important breaks on the mountain stages and finished in second place in the mountains ranking and third in the most combative rider classification.
Team sprinter Maximiliano Richeze has been confirmed for the race and is likely to be in the centre of the fight for stage wins. He has been riding strongly this year, just missing out on Giro stage victory on the final day in Milan when beaten by Alessandro Petacchi. He also finished on the podium six times in the Tour de Langkawi, which was held earlier this season.
The five day Tour of Ireland is sponsored by Fáilte Ireland and is organised by The Events Group in co-operation with Shadetree Sports. More teams will be confirmed in the coming weeks.