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Tour of Ireland gets earlier start in 2009

Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia) was a deserving

Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia) was a deserving (Image credit: Stephen McMahon)

The 2009 Tour of Ireland will be a week earlier next year with the five-day race running from August 19 to 23. The UCI approved the change in the European Continental Calendar following a request by the race organisers.

"The new date will allow us to avoid clashes with major events like the Vuelta España," said Event Director Alan Rushton. "The August sporting calendar is very busy in Ireland, too, and avoiding key Gaelic sporting dates will allow even more people to come out to watch what is just a superb event."

This year's race saw Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia) win the first three stages before his Italian teammate Marco Pinotti wrestled the yellow jersey from the shoulders of Russell Downing (Pinarello CandiTV) on the dramatic final day in Cork city.

"We were privileged to see some great racing this year," continued Rushton. "We had some large crowds on the route and the TV figures for world wide audiences were excellent. We are already in the process of planning next year's route and should be able to announce full details by the end of March. It was great to have top teams like Columbia and Team Garmin-Chipotle in the race this year and we believe that the success of the race will tempt even more big names to the Emerald Isle for next year's race."

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.