The Errigal International Youth Tour will take place this weekend in Churchill with the first race of the day starting on Saturday at 1pm from the Main Street in the village.
There will be three full days of racing; Saturday and Sunday in and around Churchill and on Monday morning the racing will take place around the one-way circuit down near Century Cinemas.
This is the biggest youth cycling event in the Irish calendar and with over 200 riders coming from the UK and Ireland and as far away as South Africa the Youth Tour will once again offer up a fantastic, colourful celebration of youth cycling.
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.
The importance of this event should not be underestimated, as the children competing here are the lifeblood and future of Irish cycling.
The youth tour is returning for the first two days to 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.
The countdown to this weekend’s race began over six months ago and the success of last years event was due in no small part to the great welcome received from the local community in and around Churchill without whose understanding and support it would be impossible to host an event of such magnitude and logistical headaches.
At the official launch recently held in Glenveagh, John Watson from the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce commented on 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.
Watson 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 200 riders and accompanying parents, family, coaches resulted in a much needed boost of hundreds of additional bed nights for local accommodation providers.
The very nature of the courses in and around Churchill afford spectators a number of ideal locations to view the event throughout the weekend, whilst the criterium event on Monday morning in Letterkenny will allow you to get up close and personal with the riders as they race around the one way system.
Saturday Day 1
Stage 1: Racing Starts 13.00
This will be an exciting fast Road Race that starts and finishes on the Main Street in Churchill, the route heads out from village down the hill and then along the shores of Lough Gartan before looping back to Churchill. U12 (1 lap), U14 (3 laps), U16 (5 laps)
Sunday Day 2
Stage 2: Racing Starts 10.15
Stage 2: A challenging 1.6km hilly time trial starting from race headquarters at Gartan Outdoor Centre and finishing in the host village Churchill. All competitors start separately at one minute intervals, this is a race against the clock that will have a major influence on the overall results.
Stage 3: Racing Starts 15.00
This is the stage that last year had everyone talking with the very steep Keeloges climb back up into Churchill, the hill was lined with hundreds of spectators and the fantastic effort put in by the youths on this stage has to be seen to be believed. U12 (1 lap), U14 (3 laps), U16 (5 laps).
Monday Day 3
Stage 4: Racing Starts 09.30
On Monday morning the competitors will roll out on to a Criterium circuit in the town of Letterkenny. The route starts and finishes on Paddy Harte Road on the one-way system down by Century Cinemas and offers spectators a fantastic view of Crit racing at its best.