INTERNATIONAL CYCLING EVENT LAUNCHED IN IRELAND
The Sky Ride Etape Hibernia to attract thousands of cyclists to County Clare
Ireland is set to become home to an annual international cycling event organised by the world’s largest sports, entertainment and media company.
IMG today, in partnership with Sky, Fáilte Ireland, Shannon Development, the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, Clare County Council, announced details of the country’s first closed road cycle event.
The Sky Ride Etape Hibernia will take place over an 80-mile (approx) course in scenic County Clare on Sunday, August 22nd 2010.
The event organisers expect to attract 2000 entrants from throughout Ireland and abroad this year, bringing significant economic benefit into the local economy, with numbers increasing considerably over the next five years. The mass participation event, which is being marketed internationally and nationally, is open to all standards of cyclists, aged 18-80. The cycle will start and finish in Ennis and travel through County Clare, taking in part of West Clare’s spectacular coastline.
Sky, the UK and Ireland’s leading entertainment company behind the Sky Ride series of events, is the title sponsor of The Sky Ride Etape Hibernia. The sponsorship supports Sky’s aim to encourage one million more people of all ages and abilities to get cycling by 2013. Sky Ride consists of a range of initiatives to get people back on their bikes, with activities like mass city cycling events on traffic-free streets through to local group rides.
As well as Sky Ride Etape Hibernia, IMG have extensive experience organising mass participation events including the internationally renowned events the Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia, Tour de Suisse, Melbourne Marathon, The London Triathlon, Triathlon de Alpe d’Huez and UK Challenge
Speaking at today’s event launch in Spanish Point, County Clare, Jo Dytch of IMG said: “The popularity and growth in road cycling is very exciting. Along with our partners we are looking to lead the way in providing a prestige event for cycling in Ireland and to establish a major fixture on the Irish sporting calendar delivering a significant boost to the local economy. This event will bring a welcome boost to the tourism in Clare annually and will see the most scenic parts of the County and its coastline exposed to the world’s cycling enthusiasts and media.”
Ms. Dytch continued: “Sky Ride Etape Hibernia is Ireland’s first closed road cycle event and is open to the general public. It affords cyclists with the unique opportunity to cycle safely on closed roads, whilst rising to the physical challenge at the same time. We expect to draw enthusiasts, the health conscious, challenge-seekers, charity fund-raisers and lapsed cyclists. For the inaugural Etape Hibernia, we hope to attract as many as 2000 entrants and plan to grow this number considerably by 2014. IMG are grateful for the support of the title sponsor Sky, and regional sponsors Fáilte Ireland, Shannon Development, Clare County Council, and the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, without whom staging this event in Ireland would not be possible and we look forward to making it a legacy event for the region”.
Mark Deering, Director, Sky Ireland said, “We are proud to be the main sponsor for the Sky Ride Etape Hibernia. Our Sky Ride initiatives last year encouraged thousands of people to get on their bikes. We hope, through events and sponsorships such as this, that 2010 will provide more opportunities and inspiration for people to get cycling.”
Speaking about today’s announcement Keith McCormack, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Business and Sports Tourism, emphasised: “As a national tourism authority, we are glad to be ‘in the saddle’ for the Sky Ride Etape Hibernia. This event is a perfect fit for Fáilte Ireland’s sports strategy and our commitment to promoting all of Ireland’s regions as tourism destinations. This event allows us to harness the growing popularity of cycling to the natural charms and allure of County Clare and the Mid West. As well as bringing visitors and revenue to the area, the event will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase the Shannon Region as both a cycling destination, in particular, and a tourism ‘must see’ in general.”
Welcoming the event John King, Assistant Chief Executive of Shannon Development said, “Shannon Development, along with its partners, is delighted to have helped secure this very prestigious event for the Shannon Region for the next five years. Winning this event helps us build on our campaign to promote the Region’s growing reputation as a leading sports and events destination. Etape Hibernia is one of a number of international events we are working on this year to bring additional visitors to the Shannon Region which have the potential to generate 10 million euro in new revenue for the Region. This new cycling event complements our strategy to secure more mass participation events, in particular sports events, which can be firmly rooted in the Shannon Region for many years to come.”
Mr. King noted that the Lonely Planet ‘Best in Travel 2010’ guide’s inclusion of Clare in its top 10 list of ‘Super Cycling Routes in the World’ was a great endorsement of the County’s cycling product. “This endorsement is a testament to the amount of work that has gone into the development of the tourism cycling product in Clare in recent times. We look forward to working with IMG and our partners to ensure the success of this event in terms of delivering additional visitors and revenue”, concluded Mr. King.
Karen Brosnahan of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau noted: “Sports Tourism generates approximately 60 million euro for the Shannon Region annually. We, along with Shannon Development and Failte Ireland, have recently launched a Sports Ambassador Programme to capitalise on this lucrative market even further by getting local people involved in sport to help bid for events like Etape Hibernia that can become legacy events for the entire Shannon Region.”
Mayor of Clare Councillor Tony Mulcahy said the economic and tourist benefits associated with the event for County Clare and the wider region were significant. “I have no doubt that the people of Clare will support the event by joining Clare County Council in welcoming thousands of cyclists to the County, which will allow us to showcase all we have to offer. I especially welcome IMG’s commitment to working with local people to maximise the economic return of the event for all local people”, stated Mayor Mulcahy.
The Sky Ride Etape Hibernia was launched today at an event in The Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Co Clare, which was attended by media outlets from throughout Ireland the United Kingdom. A number of attending journalists also took part in an arranged cycle of a 10-mile stretch of the proposed event route.