What? Tour of Connemara
When? 23 May
Why? They call it Ireland’s most scenic sportive and that’s quite a statement.
What makes it better is how the locals respond to it and there’s always a really great atmosphere in Clifden, where the event starts and finishes. Some will quibble at the €40 entry fee but if you register before April 19th you’ll get a quality rain vest – something that could come in very handy on the day. And costs twice the price of the entry.
Also included are PowerBar energy products, feed stations, bike and medical back-up facilities and a finishers’ medal.
Routes: There are two routes; 140 kilometre and 80 kilometre events, both travelling through some remarkable countryside. Click here for more.
What? Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford
When? 23 August
Why? This will be the ninth year of the event which continues to grow year on year.
Last year saw over 6,500 take to the start-line and a similar number is expected this year. There are four routes with varying degrees of difficulty. Undoubtedly, the climb up to Mahon Falls is what draws people back every year but the chance to ride alongside one of the country’s greatest ever sportsmen is no less of an attraction.
Routes: Saturday, 22 August; The Kelly Spin, 12km.
Sunday, 23 August; The Kelly Cruise, 50km, The Kelly Heritage Route, 100km, The Kelly Comeragh Challenge, 160km. Click here for more.
What? Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Northern Ireland.
When? 21 June
Why? The Giro d’Italia coming to Ireland last year was a first for the country and to continue that legacy, Shadetree Sports and Tourism NI have planned the first of what they hope will be the annual Gran Fondo.
Participants will enjoy mechanical support on route, fully stocked food and hydration stations, a Giro gift bag with unique items, a post-ride pasta party with beer and wine, and finishers’ medals.
Routes: The Mourne Route, a 177 kilometre ride, will challenge the fittest riders by providing tough climbs and inspire each rider by bringing them through some breath-taking scenery.
The Strangford Route, a 58 kilometre loop touching the shores of Strangford Lough, is achievable for beginner and novice cyclists. Both routes start and finish in Belfast, at the iconic Titanic Belfast building. To register, click here.
What? Wicklow 200
When? 7 June
Why? Few cyclists can say they’ve completed a 200-kilometre ride in one day but more and more are joining the club. The Wicklow 200 in the middle of summer is one such ‘bucket list’ sportive and with a stunning route, great marshalling, post-event photos, quality food, and a friendly atmosphere it’s hard to find fault with it.
This year will be the 33rd staging of it and only a successful event lasts that long. The demands are huge, given the hilly parcours but start training now and you should be well able to get around in a little over 10 weeks! To enter, click here.