In so doing they won the hearts of fans around the country as they battled it out in the rain and cold on the mountains and the gruelling marathon stages.
At the end of the day the Kazakhstan team were rewarded with two riders in the first three on the most mountainous stage from Letterkenny to Buncrana and they ended up second to Sweden in the international team classification.
Now fans can expect more of the same when the 2004 edition of Europe’s best pro-am race gets under way in Dublin on May 23 as Kazakhstan, one of the strongest cycling nations in the world, has confirmed their participation.
This time national team director Valentin Rechert has selected a powerful team drawn from the very best of the country’s young development squad sending Valentin Iglinskiy, Alexandr Dymovskikh, Ivan Andreev, Vadim Vdoniov and Alexandr Dyachenko to the line.
They are building on the experience gained from riding the race last year, according to a Kazakhstan team official who said that now they know how competitive the race really is, they will be much better prepared and expect to be in the reckoning for overall honours.
Other teams already confirmed are Germany, Scandinavia, Britain, Wales Stena and the USA.
Scandinavia will be represented by the professional Team Bianchi Nodic while the German interests will be maintained by another pro- team, Comnet Senges and Team von Hacht from Hamburg.
Britain’s national U23 squad will also be a very potent force over what promises to be an exciting eight days of racing.
The route features 26 major mountain climbs and includes finishes in Trim, Oranmore, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Millstreet, Seskin Hill near Carrick-on-Suir, Tullow and the final stage will bring the field to the Phoenix Park in Dublin on May 30.