The world’s top three teams plus the sixth-ranked Carvelo Test Team will be part of an impressive line up for this year’s Tour of Ireland.
Saxo Bank, currently second, and Cervélo were have been confirmed to join the previously-announced Astana and Columbia HTC teams in the race, which will run from Friday, August 21-Sunday, August 23.
Both squads had excellent showings in the Tour de France, with Saxo Bank netting second and fifth overall thanks to brothers Andy and Frank Schleck, who held the yellow jersey for several days with Fabian Cancellara and won three stages.
The Cervélo Test Team featured 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd, who won the green points jersey for most consistent rider. The Swiss-registered team also won stages with Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler.
It is as yet unknown which riders these teams will field but Columbia HTC and Astana will send two major guns to take part, and these are expected to draw huge crowds.
Event organiser Alan Rushton said: “This year’s line-up is a very strong one, and features two out of the three biggest names currently in cycling. “Having Mark Cavendish back again is fantastic and he obviously enjoyed himself last year when he won three stages. Lance Armstrong is a legend in cycling and it will be great for fans to see him race on Irish roads.
“Team Saxo Bank, Cérvelo, Columbia-HTC and Astana all had great results in this year’s Tour de France and we are sure that racing in Ireland will be very competitive.”
The teams at The Tour of Ireland are - Columbia HTC, Saxo Bank, Astana, Cervélo Test Team, Rabobank, BMC Racing, ISD Neri, Team Type 1, MTN Energade, Joker Bianchi, Rapha Condor, Halfords Bike Hut, CandiTV Marshall’s Pasta, An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly squad, Irish national team, Australian national team.
A charity event called Ride4Life will tie in with the Tour of Ireland programme on Saturday, August 22 in Killarney. It will take place in advance of the arrival of the second stage, using some of the same roads, and is in aid of the Irish Cancer Society.
Stephen Roche, the 1987 Tour de France winner, will lead the ride, with participants having the choice between 85km and 44km routes. More details are available from www.ride4life.ie