||Last Updated: 2 Apr 2018 - 8:45:17 PM
The An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly team will be one of the top draws in the Suir Valley 3 Day, which begins in Clonmel tomorrow afternoon.
Mark Cassidy, Connor McConvey, Ronan McLaughlin, Mark McNally and stagiaire signing Stephen Halpin will line out in the four stage event.
Amongst those taking part will be two Isle of Man teams, with the senior squad being led by former FBD Rás winner Andrew Roche, as well as an Irish under 23 squad, the An Post riders, plus a host of domestic teams.
The Suir Valley race is one of the rare appointments in Ireland for the Belgium-based squad, and will be a big target. Now in its fourth year, it is continuing to grow and has a strong list of both sponsors and teams. It is thought that the organisers are aiming to attain UCI ranking status at some point in the future.
The action gets underway tomorrow afternoon in Clonmel with a 113.4 kilometre race starting and finishing in the town. It includes two hot spot sprints plus categorised climbs at Church Hill, Templeorm and Kilmaganny.
The Sunday morning stage begins in the same town, is 92.8 kilometres long and again features two hot spot sprints and three categorised climbs, with one of these being the well-known Pike. That evening the general classification will be further shuffled with a 2.5 kilometre ‘sprint’ time trial on the streets of Clonmel.
The race then concludes with a 98.9 kilometre road stage on Monday. It once again starts and finishes in Clonmel, and includes categorised climbs at Glocca Morra, Mountain Barrick and Dump Hill. There are also three hot spot sprints, keeping things lively all the way back to the town.
“This year we have a mixture of previous year’s stages with a few add-ons,” said race organiser Declan Byrne. “As you can see from the race profiles, they are a good mix. This year we have opted for a TT on Sunday night in lieu of the criterium.”
A very healthy sign is the number of backers which have been secured for the race. They are as follows:
Clonmel Borough Council
South Tipp Today
Poppyfields Business Park
Every Booming Thing
Tom Skinnys Pizza Parlour
Circles Leisure Centre
World Wide Cycles
Mr. Bumbles Restaurant,
The Cycle Centre
Knockainy B & B
Race Hotel – Hearns Hotel
Race Cars - BMW
Race Nutrition –Optimum Nutrition
Last year’s winner David McCann will not be taking part as he has been racing in Asia. He finished an excellent fifth overall in the Tour de Quinghai Lake in China and, in terms of the number of wins, is the second best rider on the world scene with ten victories this year.
Riders from the following teams will take part:
An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly
Team Isle of Man Senior
Team Isle of Man Junior
The Racing Edge A/B
Myhome engrave it Cycleways A/B
Dan Morrissey Carrick On Suir
Blarney Cycling Club
South Dublin CC
Earl of Desmond CC
Sigma Sport (Stephen Gallagher only)
Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar
Ravens CRT Lucan CC
Rocky Mountain Cycles
US Verne Cyclisme France
KTM Winning Soltuions
Black Rose Racing
Former world number one Sean Kelly was full of praise for the event at the launch. “This is a really nice race,” he said. “It is important to keep the momentum going in a race like this for it to get a good reputation. It takes time to get people to come out to racing event like this. This one has an interesting route with plenty of riders. This takes a lot of hard graft, hard work, effort and time. “
This year’s contest will feature a blue jersey competition which is dedicated to the late Bill Hyland. It is aimed at the best A2 rider and a trophy bearing his name will be awarded.
Stage Start Times:
Stage 1 Saturday 31st July
Sign On from 10.30am to 12.00pm in Hearns Hotel.
Managers Meeting at 12.00pm to 12.30pm; stage Start 1.00pm
Stage 2 Sunday 1st August
Sign On from 9.00am to 10.30am to in Hearns Hotel.
Ceremonial Start 10.45; stage Start 11am
Stage 3 Sunday 1st August Timetrial
Sign On from 6.00pm and 7.00pm in Hearns Hotel; stage Start 7.30PM sharp
Stage 4 2nd August; sign On from 9.30am to 10.45am in Hearns Hotel.
Stage Start 11.00AM to facilitate early finish for safe travelling home
Note: Irishcycling.com will bring you coverage of the race over the weekend.