The new four-day Tour of Ireland Sportive, which will take place from the May 11-14 2007, was launched on Friday in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. Sean Kelly, Dame Mary Peters and Dave Lloyd added their not insignificant support to the launch of the event, which was also attended by local dignitaries from the various Tour stage towns.

The hotly-anticipated sportive is the brainchild of brothers Joe and Marc Barr. Joe is a well-known ex-international bike rider and Marc is the commercial dynamo behind the event. The four-day event is unique and is a massive challenge for any sportive riders out there.

The four stages are very demanding ? varying in length from 107 miles to 154 miles ? and take in some spectacularly scenic routes starting in Lisburn and then progressing in an anti-clockwise route through Southern Ireland before finishing in Dublin after 500 gruelling miles.

The event is restricted to 500 riders and Sean Kelly is a possible starter, depending on commitments. Having been bitten by the sportive bug (see pages 52-55), Lloyd will certainly be taking part in the inaugural event.

?I am very excited about this new and ground-breaking sportive,? said Lloyd at the launch. ?See you on the start line in May!?.

TOUR OF IRELAND CYCLE CHALLENGE: THE STAGES
1. May 11, 2007 ? Ulster Stage 1: Lisburn to Cavan Town – 164km
2. May 12, 2007 ? Connaught Stage 2: Cavan Town to Galway City – 228km
3. May 13 2007 ? Munster Stage 3: Galway to Kilkenny City – 252km
4. May 14 2007 ? Leinster Stage 4: Kilkenny City to Dublin City – 175km
Total: 819km

You can find out more at www.tourofireland.eu.

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