Five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault will make his first appearance in an Irish cycling event when he participates in the Tour de Conamara, details of which were announced today.
The Tour is the Irish leg of a new international cycling sportive taking place during May 2012. Other mass participation cycling events will be held in Ayrshire (Scotland), Pembrokeshire (Wales) and Brittany (France).
The Irish event, the first mass cycling event to take place in the Connemara region, will be held on Sunday May 27th in Clifden with 140km and 80km route options.
“The Tour de Conamara event has already attracted registrations from France, UK and the USA, providing a significant economic boost for Clifden and the wider Connemara region”, explained organiser of the Celtic Series and Tour de Conamara, Mr. Pádraic Quinn.
Mr. Quinn, a former international cyclist and TG4 cycling commentator stated: “The idea is to provide cyclists of all abilities with a different cycling sportive experience for 2012 and the first of its kind in Galway against the spectacular backdrop of Connemara. The Tour de Conamara will be one of four events in four Celtic nations and the organisers were looking for a route that reflected unique cycling routes in the host country.”
“The routes in the 140km and 80km events, which are chosen to accommodate and test all levels of cyclists, will avoid busy roads and operate on a rolling road closure so riders can enjoy the scenery in a more secure setting. On Saturday 26th May, a Family Cycle will take place in Clifden providing everyone with an opportunity to hop on their bike over the weekend”, added Mr. Quinn.
He continued: ‘Working with the events from the other Celtic regions made us realise how attractive Ireland has become as a cycling destination. The Bretons are planning to travel here in big numbers and the most famous cycling Breton of all, Bernard Hinault will attract a large French following due to his iconic status in the area. The Mayor of the region, a very high political office in France, is also travelling to the west of Ireland to take part in the cycle.”
Hinault, nicknamed Le Blaireau (the Badger) is one of only five cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours and the only cyclist to have won each more than once. He won the Tour de France in ’78, ’79, ’81, ’82 and ’85. He came second in ’84 and ‘86 and won 28 stages, of which 13 were individual time trials.
The Tour de Conamara is supported by Fáilte Ireland and Forum Connemara Ltd., with sponsorship being provided by Aer Arann, Galway Water, PowerBar, Velotec, Foinse, and Le Comptoir Irlandais.
Participants who register for the Connemara event before April 10th will also receive a limited edition event jacket. Event information and registration is available on www.celticseries.ie.