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Lance Armstrong (Astana) in conversation with the announcer at the start of stage one.
Return to five days a sign of 2009 success
After a successful edition in 2009, next year's Tour of Ireland will be held from August 18 to 22 and returns to a five-day format.
This year's edition featured the participation of Lance Armstrong, the American coinciding his appearance in the race wih a global cancer conference in the Irish capital. His appearance drew massive media and spectator interest, which in reality helped the event survive.
The return to a five-day format may be evidence of this, with event organiser Alan Rushton admitting that the success of this season's race allowed for additional support in 2010.
"The race achieved fantastic results for us despite the challenges faced due to the economic climate," said Rushton "The very tough finale in Cork provided dramatic racing watched by thousands of spectators who lined St Patrick's Hill and the rest of the city circuit.
"With the major TV and press coverage achieved there is now an excellent opportunity for key sponsors to come on board to capitalise on the domestic, European and Worldwide exposure."
Rushton explained that he is pleased with the date allocated by the UCI; falling in the space between the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Tour of Ireland should again feature some of the world's best riders.
"We are delighted with the dates for next year," said Rushton. "Our spot on the calendar will help us in attracting another world class field in Ireland again next year.
"This will be the fourth edition of the race which has been gaining larger audiences and press coverage every year. Having Lance Armstrong and Mark Cavendish on the race in ‘09 helped increase the profile of the event."