Plans in place to re-launch Tour of Ireland following success of hosting Giro d'Italia

By Matt Westby.   Last Updated: 12/05/14 1:32pm

  • Share:
Huge crowds greeted the Giro d'Italia in Ireland

Huge crowds greeted the Giro d'Italia in Ireland

Sky Bet

Plans are in place to re-launch the Tour of Ireland as early as next year as organisers look to capitalise on the success of hosting the start of the Giro d’Italia.

Tens of thousands of fans defied poor weather conditions to welcome and cheer on a selection of the best cyclists in the world on the first three stages of the season’s opening Grand Tour.

Both Belfast and Dublin were turned pink for the weekend, while towns and villages on the north-eastern coastline ground to a halt to watch the peloton pass through.

Now, Shadetree Sports wants to make professional cycle racing on the Emerald Isle a regular fixture by bringing back the Tour of Ireland, which was held between 2007 and 2009 but then ceased to exist after the global economic crisis led to funding being pulled.

Pushing hard

Darach McQuaid, who is a founding partner at Shadetree Sports and spearheaded the bid to stage the Giro’s Grande Partenza, said: “Shadetree is pushing very hard to re-launch the Tour of Ireland.

“In 2007, 2008 and 2009 there were massive crowds, but unfortunately the economic crisis hit us here in Ireland pretty badly and our title sponsor was the government, so funding from the government went away pretty sharpish.

“We have had some people [potential sponsors] on the Giro in the last couple of days who, you can well imagine, were absolutely blown away by these amazing riders and the public.

“We are hotly pursuing board members of several companies and we are very hopeful to be announcing something very soon.”

"It’s June when the provisional 2015 calendar gets drawn up. It is not a done deal, but that deadline doesn’t scare us."
Darach McQuaid

McQuaid is keen to hold the first edition of the new Tour of Ireland in 2015, meaning securing a sponsor soon is imperative given that International Cycling Union draws up next year’s provisional race calendar next month.

Legacy

McQuaid, however, is confident of completing a deal imminently and confirmed that the race would visit both sides of the border and take 2.1 status, which is cycling’s second tier.

He added: “It’s June when the provisional 2015 calendar gets drawn up. It is not a done deal, but that deadline doesn’t scare us. The status would be similar to the previous Tour of Ireland, so 2.1.”

As well as creating a new race, organisers hope that staging the start of Giro will also introduce a new generation to cycling.

Stephen Roche, who won the Giro in  1987 and contributed to the bid, said: “Hopefully the legacy of this Giro will be that in ten years’ time, the kids who were watching this weekend will be taking part in the Giro or a big tour themselves.”

  • Share:

Related

Giro d'Italia 2014

Nairo Quintana claimed his first Grand Tour victory

Quintana completes Giro win

Nairo Quintana completed overall victory at the Giro d’Italia as Luka Mezgec won the final stage.

Mick Rogers climbed to a famous win on Monte Zoncolan

Quintana to win Giro title

Nairo Quintana has all but won the Giro d'Italia after surviving a 20th stage won by Mick Rogers.

Nairo Quintana claimed his second victory of the race

Quintana wins to extend lead

Nairo Quintana won stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia in style to extend his race lead.

Most Popular

Features

Fan favourite

Fan favourite

Test newbie Jos Buttler's electric batting can re-energise English cricket supporters, says Mike Atherton.

SSN memories: 1998

SSN memories: 1998

Ahead of the launch of Sky Sports News HQ, we look back at our pioneering coverage of yesteryear.

Diamond despair

Diamond despair

Anita Navin blogs on England's last-gasp loss to Australia and the other twists and turns in Glasgow.