Ennis has been named as the host of a major new cycling event that will take place on the August Bank Holiday Sunday.
The SKODA Granfondo Hibernia is part of the international SKODA Celtic Cycling Series for sportives and will welcome 1,000 cyclists of all standards to the banner county.
The July 31st event will provide cyclists with the option of 150km and 100km routes starting and finishing in Ennis.
Speaking at the announcement of the new Clare cycling event, Cathal Kealey, PR, Sponsorship and Events Manager for SKODA outlined the process for selecting Clare.
He explained: “We have created the SKODA Celtic Series to develop a number of events that showcase some of the best cycling destinations in the country. These are then marketed along with a series of international events to attract overseas cyclists. We hope the Granfondo Hibernia will become an annual event. Based on the spectacular routes selected we’re confident that cyclists will have a great day out on the bike.”
“There are already some great cycling events in Clare and the Granfondo will bring cyclists to the southern half of the county along the estuary before reaching the Wild Atlantic Way,” he added.
The two routes start in Ennis and travel along the estuary to Kilrush. The Granfondo 150km route takes in the Loop Head Peninsula, Wild Atlantic Way to Kilkee and Doonbeg before returning over The Hand and home by Kilmaley.
The Granfondo 100km returns to Ennis from Kilrush through Coolmeen and Kildysart before the grandstand finish at Treacey’s West County Hotel in Ennis.
The event operations director Ian Falconer said the route was selected to showcase the best of what Clare has to offer.
“The event goes through a varied series of backdrops from taking in the Estuary, parts of Loop Head and bringing cyclist along segments of the Wild Atlantic Way they may not be familiar with. It’s a spectacular route and using Ennis as a base is already a big attraction for cyclists. The event is designed to have a major sport tourism impact on the area and we hope that it will become one of the bigger events in the cycling sportive calendar in the coming years. We hope that the event becomes a major legacy from Clare’s designation as the County of Culture 2016,” Mr Falconer said.
The 2016 event is open to non-competitive cyclists and is capped in year one at 1,000 cyclists and registration is available online at www.granfondo.ie.
The first of the Irish based SKODA Celtic Series events was hosted in Connemara was sold out after 46 days with 2,500 cyclists taking part. The final leg of the series takes place in Drogheda on September 17th.
The charity partner for the event is the Clare Crusaders Children’s Clinic and the event will also support a number of other local sports clubs and community organisations across the county.