Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly, has today been confirmed as a participant in the 2010 Sky Ride Etape Hibernia, Ireland’s first closed road mass participation cycling event which takes place in County Clare on Sunday August 22nd.

Kelly was one of the world's most successful road cyclists of the 1980s, and one of the finest classics riders of all time. Turning professional in 1977 he won nine monument classics, including two wins at the mythical Paris-Roubaix race, and 193 professional races in total before his retirement from the sport in 1994.

The Waterford native is the latest addition to a dazzling roster of celebrities and professional cyclists, who will assemble on the start line in Ennis next month.

Team Sky members Dario Cioni and Davide Vigano were confirmed as participants last month, while Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis and leading Irish comedian PJ Gallagher are also set to take on the challenge alongside an estimated 2000 participants.

The event will attract everyone from novice cyclists up for a challenge to keen club riders eager to cycle on traffic free roads in some of West of Ireland’s most scenic locations, including the Atlantic coastline and the world famous Burren Region.

Speaking about his participation in the Sky Ride Etape Hibernia, Sean Kelly said: “I am immensely proud to be taking part in Sky Ride Etape Hibernia this year. County Clare has some of the best scenery Ireland has to offer, and the fact that the event is taking place on completely closed roads is fantastic.”

He continued: “Cycling in Ireland is on the up once again, and events like the Etape Hibernia will only enhance our reputation as a cycling nation and great hosts to visitors and tourists, I hope it is successful in its first year and grows in years to come”.

Jo Dytch of IMG said: “We are honoured to have Sean Kelly on the start-line with us next month. He is a true legend in Ireland, his prowess in cycling and high-profile nature will bring star quality and offer all levels of cyclists the chance to ride alongside one of the legends of the sport. Entries are selling quickly but we still have a few places left, it is set to be a firm favourite in Ireland’s annual cycling calendar”.

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 event is being organised by IMG, in partnership with Sky, Fáilte Ireland, Shannon Development, the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau and Clare County Council.

For more on the Sky Ride Etape Hibernia visit www.etapehibernia.com, see www.twiiter.com/etapehibernia, email info [at] etapehibernia.com or call 0044(0)2082335900.