\"Seven-time

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will be the star attraction at this year's Tour of Ireland bicycle race.

Cycling: Tour of Ireland route announced

\"Seven-time

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will be the star attraction at this year's Tour of Ireland bicycle race.

The event organizers of the Tour of Ireland bicycle race, in association with Failte Ireland, have finalized the route for this year’s race, which will be held on August 21-23. Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and nine-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish are two notables who have already confirmed a spot.

"We had to slim the race to three days in view of the economy and we have found a route that provides a real challenge for the teams," said Event Organizer Alan Rushton. "It was important to ensure that each of the stages will be a proper challenge, given the quality of the field we have attracted to Ireland.”

“It will also showcase Ireland as a fine holiday destination and I think in this respect too, the route will show the country off well,” added Rushton.

Stage one is approximately 196 kilometers and will begin on Friday, August 21 at the The Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, Enniskerry. The bikers will climb over Mount Leinster on a difficult, yet scenic route to Waterford.

Stage two, which is also 196 kilometers, will begin in Clonmel, Tipperary on August 22. The riders will take on three separate climbs, each with beautiful views of the countryside and mountains. The race-path swerves across Waterford and Cork before finishing in the center of Killarney, Kerry.

The final stage starts in the historic market town and port, Bantry, on August 23, and after a charming ride along the coast to Cork City, the final yellow jersey will be presented to the overall winner of the race. More details concerning the route will be released next week.

"We are delighted to confirm that the last stage finishes on the same tough city circuit that we used last year in Cork. We are completing three circuits which include the famous 25% gradient climb of St Patrick's Hill and there are three other climbs on each lap. It will be a great spectacle to watch,” said Rushton.

The race leader’s yellow jersey will be sponsored by Fáilte Ireland, the green sprints jersey by An Post, and the white jersey for the best cyclist under 25 is sponsored by the Department of Transport's Smarter Travel campaign. The fleet of race vehicles is provided by Fiat Group Automobiles Ltd.

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