TWO teams from Holland will take part in this year’s Visit Nenagh Cycle Classic, which will be staged on April 21. The race, which is in its second year and is already established on the cycling calendar, will also see a return visit by the Ireland Junior Development Squad.
Details of the event were launched by the committee in the Abbey Court Hotel along with details of the stage finish / start in Nenagh by the An Post Ras in May on February 21.
Visit Nenagh committee chair Cllr Virginia O’Dowd welcomed Mayor of Nenagh, Cllr Lalor McGee,; Mayor of North Tipperary, Cllr Michael O’Meara; county manager Joe MacGrath; Nenagh town manager Marcus O’Connor; town clerk Sarah O’Callaghan; LEADER chair, Jim Finn; Tony Campbell, organiser of the An Post Ras and the Visit Nenagh cycling team to the launch.
She also welcomed representatives from Shannon Development, North Tipperary Sports Partnership, sponsors and those who have helped with Visit Nenagh.
“Last year’s inaugural classic had three aims – to have a top class one-day classic style cycle race around North Tipperary, using Nenagh as its base; to attract international riders and to work on having An Post Ras host a stage finish in the town.
I am glad to say we have hit all three targets and this year will see another top class line-up take part in Visit Nenagh, we have two teams coming from Holland and we have the An Post Ras stage finish and start. I didn’t think we would hit our An Post Ras target in the first two years and that is a tribute to the work done by the organising committee of Visit Nenagh Classic and the manner in which they went about choosing the classic route, organising the logistics and all the background work and research that went into it,” she said.
Cllr O’Dowd paid a special tribute to Rene van Dam, Michael Butler and Michael Molamphy for all their work in this area., and to Mary Devine, who co-ordinated events last year.
“I want to thank An Post Ras for their interest and commitment in bringing the stage finish to Nenagh,” she said.
Last year, the Ireland Junior Development Squad took part in Visit Nenagh, and the chair, adding: “I am glad to welcome them back again this year. These are the riders will be hearing about over the next few years. They welcome the event as part of their schedule and appreciate having the cycling facility on the N7, which allow them practice their sprints and team work.”
The squad attend two training camps during the year. One was in Majorca in February, where they were accompanied by World Track cycling champion Martin Irvine. Their second training camp will be during Visit Nenagh, and Cllr O’Dowd said it would be wonderful to have Martin Irvine compete in Nenagh.
Apart from the main event of Nenagh Visit there are also a number of fringe events, which Marie Nagle of Cinnamon Alley will co-ordinate.
“I want to thank Mayor McGee for sponsoring the Visit Nenagh team kit. This was something I did last year and I look forward to it continuing next year and even when Nenagh Town Council is abolished in 2014,” said Cllr O’Dowd, who pointed out that neither of the major cycling events could take place without the help of the voluntary stewards, Nenagh Town Council, North Tipperary County Council, North Tipperary Sports Partnership and the Gardai and Civil Defence.
“The An Post Ras will bring 500 visitors to Nenagh and already the Abbey Court Hotel and apartments are fully booked. The B&Bs are also looking good. The An Post Ras will be the single biggest sporting event in Nenagh, and will bring a huge spending spin-off to the town and surrounding areas.
“Finally, I would like to wish the Visit Nenagh team all the best for the coming year, especially in our own event and the An Post Ras and I encourage people to come out and support them on along the route and at the finish in Pearse Street,” she said.
Cllr O’Dowd also encouraged families to take part in the family cycle organised by Elaine Cullinane in North Tipperary Sports Partnership, which, she said, was hugely successful last year.