Donegal is set to stage the International Youth Cycling Tour after successfully staging the prestigious event for the first time over last weekend.
The Tour, which is in its 13th season, and staged mostly in Kerry and Mayo up to this year, was an outstanding success with the leading young riders from England, Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Basque Country in Spain and South Africa along with Irish riders taking part.
“It was a tremendous success and the feedback we have received so far has been brilliant and we definitely hope to host the Tour again next year,” said race director James Harkin of the Errigal Cycling Club.
“The Scottish team have already e-mailed us to tell us to widen the roads as they were returning next year with even an larger team.
“We had some fabulous racing over the three days, with 181 young riders, both boys and girls across the three age groups - U-12, U14, and U-16 - competing. There was a brilliant atmosphere on all the stages with the highlight of the weekend, the second stage on Sunday afternoon around Churchill and Templedouglas. It was just like Tour De France.”
Local riders P.J. Doogan and his sister Ciara from Gortahork, Dylan Traynor from Crolly, Noel Sweeney, Falcarragh, Shauna McFadden, Letterkenny, Dylan McGarrigle, Jordan McGinley from Letterkenny and Ciaran McFadden all did well in their respective age groups.
Ciara Doogan was the U-12 girls winner with her brother P.J. third place in the boys U-12. Dylan Traynor, was the first U-11, while Noel Sweeney, was well up the field in the U-14 race, as was Shauna McFadden, in the girls U-11.
Both Dylan McGarrigle and Jordan McGinley had good runs in the boys U-16, while Ciaran McFadden, who along with McGarrigle was on the Ulster team for the weekend, recovered from a first day fall to record a fifth place finish in Sunday morning’s time trial.
The Gartan Outdoor Pursuit Centre was the race base for the event which got underway on Saturday morning with a run around the roads of Churchill and Gartan.
Sunday began with a time trial from the Gartan Centre to Churchill Village and this was followed with a stage run from Churchill to Templedouglas and back to Churchill and the Tour finished with a criterium around Letterkenny on Monday morning.
The International Youth Tour is a recognised top international event for young cyclist and was supported by both Cycling Ireland and Cycling Ulster.