The Tour of Ireland is on course to return in 2015 with a five-day 2.1-ranked race on the cards, according to Dublin-based sports marketing firm Shadetree Sports.
It was hoped to resurrect the race next year but Darach McQuaid of Shadetree has admitted it was “more realistic” for the event to happen in 2015.
The race returned to the cycling calendar in 2007 for three years, with Fáilte Ireland on board as its sponsor, before a financial shortfall led to the cancellation of the 2010 event.
But McQuaid — brother of former International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat — said that the Tour of Ireland is at the “forefront of conversations” and he admitted there is growing interest in the race.
“At this stage, realistically, we’re looking at the Tour of Ireland for 2015, not 2014,” explained McQuaid. “The UCI have already closed the calendar but we’re engaged fairly closely at the moment with some big brands, talking about various subjects. We’ve put quite a bit of investment into marketing materials around the Tour of Ireland.
“In terms of any commercial meetings, the Tour is at the forefront of conversations. This is what you might call the glow period; the anticipation and the positive coverage that we’re getting for any announcement around the Giro is helping us instigate conversations on the Tour of Ireland. We are certainly taking advantage of that and as I may have said, brands are actually approaching me, whereas before I’d be knocking on doors.”
Despite conventional wisdom that the Giro must run well before a Tour of Ireland is given a green light, McQuaid refutes that and says it can run on its own merits.
“I am determined to make the Tour of Ireland happen but even if the Giro wasn’t coming, Irish cycling has been given a huge boost this year. Look at how Nicolas [Roche], Dan [Martin], Philip [Deignan], Sam [Bennett] and Martyn [Irvine] have raised the profile?
“Having said that, I’m very conscious that we must put on a good show [with the Giro]. At the end of the day, it’s down to the Government to fund this so it’s about putting our best foot forward in May and I’m confident that’s going to be the case.”
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