Give us a Follow 😉 @Irish_Cycling
by Tommy Campbell
‘I had a dream?’ Remember those words spoken by
Martin Luther King, many years ago.
Well, he may not have been famous worldwide! But, here in Ireland the man from Birr, Co. Offaly. The late Joe McCormack was in many ways unique, and that goes without saying! Yes, he had a dream similar to Martin Luther King. Sadly both have passed on and possibly are still living the dream.
He started the Junior Tour back in 1978 against all the odds. NO, I am not going to dwell on the subject. Let’s just say it has withstood all difficulties up to the present moment. In recent years the lady behind the event, Alice Sherratt from the Usher Road Club has guided the ‘tour’ to what has now become in many eyes as the foundation stone for ‘juniors’ to participate in a stage race based here in Ireland and beyond these shores.
Of course ‘sponsorship’ is vital to the success of any event. When, you are putting on an event which has attracted overseas riders.
The list of former winners stands out to the success of the event. Particularly, when you can name off! Former, overall winners. They have added history to an event, year-in, year-out which goes from strength to strength. Mark Scanlon from Sligo a former winner back in 1998 certainly rubber stamped the future development of the event winning the Junior World Cycling Road Race. As did, Martin Earley!
The first winner of the event as a noted professional cyclist on the continent.
Alice Sherratt, race organiser has guided the event through tough times particularly through a number of years.
Thankfully, this year with the main sponsorship from Eurocycles/Eurobaby, the road ahead looks positive.
The event will be based in Tracey’s Hotel for six days on the Ennis Road, Ennis, Co. Clare, who incidentally sponsors the opening event a time trial tomorrow evening (Tuesday).
Unfortunately, the event has lost the new All Ireland Junior champion, Adam Ward who’ll be on international duty this week. Last Sunday in Cranford, Donegal he was in scintillating form in the JG Memorial for his team Powershouse RT. Naturally everybody wishes him well and his team mates.
Last year another piece of history was created when Ben Walshe of the Irish Junior Team, led the event from pillar to post.
A first ever for this unique event from the man ‘who had a dream.’ That became a reality.
This evening (Tuesday) the 41st edition of the Junior Tour sponsored Eurocycles/Euro Baby, starts six days of racing in the surrounds of Co. Clare. The opening stage of the ‘tour’ is a race against the clock on the outskirts of Ennis. Competitors from Great Britain, USA, Holland and South Africa, with a strong Irish contingent who have quality in their ranks.
Interestingly, you would have to note that the South Africans and the Dutch are also back in numbers.
But, the most interesting scenario is the number of American teams has quadrupled this time around.
It was a winter of discontentment for the three major stage races on the domestic season with the cancellation of the sponsorship by An Post of the Ras Tailteann and the Ras na mBan which failed to land an overall sponsor. Whilst the Junior Tour lost their anchor sponsor Scott Cycles.
Two months ago, Eurocycles/Euro Baby added their name as a title sponsor to the Junior Tour.
Give us a Follow 😉 @Irish_Cycling