The second year of the re-incarnated Tour of Ireland will begin on August 27 for a 900km race beginning at the Grand Canal Square at Hanover Quay, Dublin Docklands. 16 teams will travel across 12 counties on their way to the final city destination of Cork on August 31.
The route of the 2.1 ranked UCI race embraces key towns and cities as well as iconic mountain passes and splendid Irish scenery. Team Columbia, Tinkoff and Garmin Slipstream / Chipotle headline the team list which also includes Karpin Galicia, SouthAustralia.com/AIS, CSF Navigare, Team Type 1 and Rabobank.
Quadruple Tour de France winner Mark Cavendish is named in the Columbia team with Bernhard Eisel, Frantisek Rabon and Marco Pinnotti also in the seven man team.
Daniel Martin arrives back in Ireland at the head of the Garmin / Chipotle team with a star studded line up. Martin will wear the Irish road race champions jersey that he won back in June following his earlier victory in the Route Du Sud in France . The Garmin-Chipotle team includes former Tour de France yellow jersey holder David Millar and former Paris- Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt.
The Irish team of An Post/ Sean Kelly has FBD Rás winner Stephen Gallagher (Armagh), Paidi O'Brien (Newmarket, Co Cork) and Mark Cassidy (Meath) challenging for honours on home soil alongside top British riders Daniel Lloyd and Dan Fleeman. Fleeman is a former British road race champion who nailed his credentials as a climber on to the notice board when he won the Tour of the Pyrenees in France this month and he could figure in the tough stages through the counties of Cork and Kerry.
The Irish national team includes top riders Paul Griffin (Tralee) and former multiple Irish champion David McCann (Belfast) who won this year's Tour of Ulster and finished fourth in the tough Tour of Qinghai Lake in China last month. Miceal Concannon (Kerry) justified his Irish team selection when he won the 100-mile stage two of the Surrey League Five Day race in England this weekend, where he beat Tom Southam (Team Halfords) in the sprint after the duo finished over two minutes ahead of the bunch led home by British champion Rob Hayles.
Pezula Racing's team line up includes David O'Loughlin (Cong Co Mayo) who finished 11th in the men's individual pursuit in the Beijing Olympics last Friday and Ciarán Power (Waterford). Pezula have signed two new riders from Sweden ahead of the race run in association of Failte Ireland. Rapha-Condor-Recycling and Pinarello RT are the top British sides making the short trip over the Irish sea.