Official Lauch of Errigal International Youth Tour 2013

Launch of the Errigal International Youth Tour

A large crowd attended the Visitor Centre in the scenic setting of Glenveagh National Park this week for the official launch of the 2013 Errigal International Youth Tour. For the second year running Errigal Cycling Club have agreed to promote the prestigious event that is the largest youth race in the Irish Cycling Calendar.

Club Chairman, Derek Alcorn, opened the proceedings by welcoming everyone to the launch and thanking the especially invited guests, which included Michael McBride (Donegal County Council), John Watson (Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce), Tommy and Marian Lamb (Cycling Ulster) and Paul Devenney (Event Commissaire).

Following Derek’s introduction an exciting, professionally produced video, of last year’s event was then screened that on completion had all in the room applauding, the video illustrates all that is good about the Youth Tour and can soon be viewed on the club website www.errigalcyclingclub.com.

Following the screening, John Watson from the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce commented that the video very successfully captured the determination, fun, camaraderie and craic, which was evident in the 2012 tour. He went on to congratulate Errigal Cycling Club for bringing the event to Donegal as not only did it showcase the beauty of the County but brought a much needed boost to the local economy. John encouraged local businesses to support the event this year and offered the commitment of the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce and his own business to help out in any way they can.

The statistics associated with last years inaugural tour are quite impressive; it is estimated that the event, which was held over the three days of the August bank Holiday generated income into the area in excess of €250,000 and with a field of over 270 riders and accompanying parents, family, coaches etc resulted in thousands of additional bed nights for local accommodation providers.

Tommy Lamb, Chairman of Cycling Ulster, remarked on the large crowd attending the launch and said that this in itself was proof of the enthusiasm and community spirit evident in the Errigal club. He wished the club every success in the event but reminded the young riders present that whether you win or lose, race or simply cycle for pleasure the most important thing was to keep riding your bike.

Councillor McBride praised the club for the professional way in which the event was organised for encouraging young people from around the world to come together and enjoy their sport. He said the memories they had from such events would last them all their lives and that today in these health conscious time events such as the Youth Tour could only help to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Paul Devenney who acted as a commissaire at last year’s event said that the riders were excellent and listened carefully to all his instructions and commended the young cyclists for their courtesy, patience and goodwill.

Marian Lamb said she was delighted to attend the launch. She had been with the club since their formation only a few years ago and said it was like watching your child grow and mature and achieve wonderful things. She said that while it was fantastic that the club wanted to promote prestigious events such as the International Tour it was more fantastic to see them caring for the very youngest of riders as well. Earlier that evening Errigal had held their Youth Cycling Registration evening that was set up for children aged 6 – 14 years to increase their cycling skill set through a programme of fun events and targeted coaching.

James Harkin, Race Director, spoke of the hard work and commitment that was required to promote an event of this calibre. He said 2012 was a learning experience as it was the very first open race that Errigal had ever organised. He feels that the club has learned from last year and hope to do even better this year. He stated that none of it would possible about the dozens of helpers and volunteers who managed so many things in the background.

The 2013 Errigal International Youth Tour will again be held over the Bank Holiday weekend of the 3rd, 4th & 5th August. It is a festival of competitive cycle racing for boys born 1997 to July 2003 and girls born 1995 to July 2003 and is the premier youth event on the Irish cycling calendar.

Make no mistake this is the one they will all want to win!

The event itself is endorsed by both Cycling Ireland and Cycling Ulster, with each body represented by their own hand-picked teams and with all the thrills, spills and excitement of top class racing, competitions is keen, and never more so than when the cream of Irish talent meet the best from the British Isles. With the Irish Boys Youth Team having just won the Youth Tour of Scotland and an Irish girl winning the Girls event, teams from Scotland, England and Wales will be out to show that they can compete equally as well on Irish soil!

The Isle of Man, with a rich cycling pedigree, was particularly well represented in 2012 with a notable well-wisher and former member being 2011 professional road race champion, Mark Cavendish.

Having competitors from, as far afield as the Spanish Basque Country and South Africa further enhanced the field in last year’s event and the importance of this event should not be underestimated, as the children competing here are the lifeblood and future of Irish cycling.

Feedback from all visitors, riders and support crew has been overwhelmingly positive; with almost all promising to return in 2013, it is therefore believed that this year will be bigger and better.

The event in 2013 will return to both Letterkenny and the picturesque village of Churchill in the heart of Donegal, due in part to the wonderful atmosphere afforded by the surrounding area, fast roads, sharp bends and steep climbs… think tour de France in miniature! And not forgetting the warm welcome received from the local community, without whose understanding and support it would be impossible to host an event of such magnitude and logistical headaches. Race headquarters will, once again, be in Gartan Outdoor Education centre where members of the organising team will be on hand to offer help and information, the centre also provides parking, team accommodation and camping facilities.

For more information on the tour and to view the video of last years’ event visit www.errigalcyclingclub.com.

Saturday Day 1 Programme (provisional)

Stage 1: Road Race to roll out from Churchill and neutralised for approx 1km. Cat 3 & 3a race will be over a 7.5km route finishing in the village. Cat 2 & 2a will follow with 3 laps of a 9.5km circuit and Cat 1 & 1a completing 5 laps of the same.

Sunday Day 2 Programme (provisional)

Stage 2: A challenging 1.6km hilly time trial starting from race headquarters at Gartan Outdoor Centre and finishing in the host village Churchill.

Stage 3: Road Race starting in Churchill with the U12’s contesting 1 lap of a 9.5km course, U14’S completing 3 laps and the U16’S completing 5 laps.

Monday Day 3 Programme (provisional)

Stage 4: On Monday morning the competitors will roll out on to a Criterium circuit in the town of Letterkenny. This promises to again be a great spectacle.

All stages are routed through hilly terrain and as this is a youth tour are of a lap nature, thus making it more spectator friendly for the following support, mentors and parents alike.