1,800 Cyclists at An Post Tour of Sligo
Last Sunday 8th May the An Post Tour of Sligo proved to be a huge success with 1,800 cyclists from all over the country on their bikes along the roads of Sligo. While the day was dry, the strong winds provided challenging cycling conditions. Cyclists arrived from early morning to the cycle headquarters at the Institute of Technology Sligo and the place was a hive of activity with cyclists getting their final preparations in order and their bikes ready for the road. Cycling legend Sean Kelly cycled part of each event while his wife Linda and daughter Stacey travelled from Carrick on Suir to cycle the 60Km Lough Gill Circuit.
The 160km Ox Mountain Challenge got under way at 9am with 470 cyclists involved and this was followed by the 100Km Innisfree Tour at 10 am involving 485 cyclists. Mr. Michael Ring TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport raised the starting flag for the 60Km Lough Gill Circuit which was the largest event with 490 cyclists involved. The final group of cyclists headed off at 11am on the 10Km Hazelwood Spin For All and this included a large group of 355 enthusiastic family cyclists. This event included special guest cyclists Michael Ring TD and John Treacy Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council.
Feedback from the participants was very positive with everybody enjoying a great day of cycling and while there were many tired bodies crossing the finishing line, the overall feeling was one of a great sense of achievement.
Reflecting on the event, Sports Co-ordinator Deirdre Lavin paid tribute to the many people who made the event such a success. Many cyclists commented on the safety and marshalling on the various routes which was overseen by the Garda Siochana with support from the Civil Defence, Red Cross, Mountain Rescue and a large volume of marshals from community organisations and GAA clubs across the county. The cyclists were very complementary of the welcome they received at the foodstops at Coolaney Development Company and St. Michaels GAA club Ballintogher which were
Co-ordinated by St. Johns Hospital. Central to the success of the event was the strong support from the local cycling clubs Innisfree Wheelers and Eire Og and local agencies including Sligo County Council, Sligo VEC and Failte Ireland. Sponsorship for the event from An Post, the Irish Sports Council, Super Valu, Connacht Gold and Gary Cycles added greatly to the quality and success of a great event.