Momentum gathering for Conamara cycling festival

Five times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault has already announced his intention to compete in this year’s Tour de Conamara.

Organiser Padraic Quinn says Hinault will return to Clifden for this year’s event which is shaping up as one of Galway’s largest “Gathering 2013”.

“The 2013 Tour de Conamara is already generating interest among the diaspora with an early surge in entries from overseas,” he says, with cyclists from Britain, USA and France already registered.

“ We are launching a new Celtic Cousins initiative in February to attract more Irish cyclists from overseas to come back for a weekend of cycling activity.”

This year’s Tour de Conamara features a number of new additions. The main sportive event takes place on Saturday May 25 featuring 140km and 80km routes. The following day sportive cyclists have an opportunity to sample a multi-category team time trial - the first of its kind in Ireland - which takes place over a 40km route, starting and finishing in the village of Carna.

Quinn says the Tour de Conamara has grown into a cycling festival.

“In developing the event and encouraging people to attend as part of The Gathering we developed a weekend of cycling activity to include the main sportive and team time trial.

“Cyclists can do one or all of the events and sample back-to-back days cycling, just like the professionals. There will also be a lot of cultural activity in the Conamara area that will give visitors a real flavour of the west of Ireland.”

This year’s event will also boast a “Family Funathlon” on Sunday in Carna.

The Tour de Conamara is the Irish leg of the annual Celtic series of sportives that brings together events from Brittany, Wales and the Isle of Man. All event details are available on www.tourdeconamara.com

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