Cycling legend Sean Kelly led almost 140 amateur riders off on a 640km charity cycle around Munster yesterday.
Kelly, who won nine monument classics and 193 professional races including the Paris–Nice seven years in a row, will complete the entire Tour de Munster over the coming days.
And the Lord Mayor of Cork John Buttimer joined the peloton for the first leg from City Hall to Glanmire.
Now in its 12th year, the event, which is supported by the Irish Examiner, will continue until Sunday, with cyclists covering an average of 150km a day.
All the proceeds will go to Down Syndrome Ireland’s Munster branches.
Pat Clarke, the chief executive of Down Syndrome Ireland, wished riders well as they set off from City Hall just after 10am.
“In the current economic climate, every bit of financial help is most welcome to support the work of our Munster branches,” he said.
Tour organiser Paul Sheridan praised the support the tour gets in every county.
“It makes this event what I believe to be the best charity cycle out there, with an incredible atmosphere and fantastic results for a very worthy cause, Down Syndrome Ireland,” he said.
Each cyclist covers their own expenses so that all money raised goes directly to the charity.
The event is also supported by Red FM, Spin South West, Clare FM, Tipp FM and WLR FM.
* You can follow the riders’ progress on www.tourdemunster.com, or on Twitter via @tourdemunster.
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