P&O IRISH SEA TOUR OF THE NORTH
Dutch team WV de Kannibaal, part sponsored by world Cycling legend Eddy Merckx, whose nickname when he was racing was the cannibal, headline the entry list in the Easter P&O Irish Sea Tour of the North International Four-day.
The six-man squad will be lining up at Stormont, home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, for the traditional opening prologue on Good Friday evening as part of a full field of 110 riders.
The Netherlands riders are all Elite category men, and their line-up comprises Ard Aling, Albert Schurer, Benny Ridder, Gerrard van Dijk, Jinne Osinga and Scots rider/manager Steve McEwan.
They will be aiming to produce only the second non-UK/Ireland event winner ever, there being only Belgian Eddy van den Broeke back in 1977.
They are joined by Belgian outfit Decock - Capino Morseele, along with Vendee riders from the La Roche sur Yonne team. National squads from Ireland and Scotland make this one of the best Tour line ups in recent years.
Only one previous winner is in the field, 2004 & 6 winner Ryan Connor, given his alternate year win strategy, the 23 yearold Ulsterman will start as one of the event favourites, and heads a strong Team Pezula trio that includes Adam Armstrong and Martyn Irvine.