A new International Tour of Ireland Cycle Race was officially announced today at an event hosted by Fáilte Ireland in Dublin Castle.
RTÉ will have live coverage of the August event every day, with repeat highlights every evening presented by Jimmy McGee and Phil Liggett.
The Events Group (TEG) were the former organisers of the prestigious Nissan Classic cycle race which ran successfully from 1985 to 1992 and the race was won four times by Sean Kelly.
Approximately 126 riders will compete in the five-day event, which takes place from 22-26 August.
It will begin at Kilkenny Castle and the 864km race will finish in Merrion Square in Dublin.
The route announced today will take in much of the south, west and midlands.
Stage 1 – Wednesday, 22 August - 160km Kilkenny Castle to Cork- via Clonmel, Carrick- On-Suir, Lismore and Middleton.
Stage 2 – Thursday, 23 August - 167km Clonakilty to Killarney – a fantastic scenic route via Skibereen, Bantry, Glengarriff and Kenmare.
Stage 3 – Friday, 24 August – 190km Tralee to Ennis via Ballybunion, Foynes, Limerick City Centre, Killaloe and Tuamgraney.
Stage 4 – Saturday, 25 August – 212km – Galway to Galway, a circuit taking in Cong, Westport, Louisburgh, Leenáun before returning to Galway city.
Stage 5 – Sunday, 26 August – 135km – Athlone to Dublin via Mullingar, Kinnegad and Enfield before finishing in Dublin for 10 laps of a circuit based on Merrion Square.
Top European teams are expected to be keen to enter the inaugural tour.
Invitations will be extended to the Irish professionals who are part of successful professional teams in Europe and in the USA, including Philip Duignam and Nicolas Roche (Crédit Agricole), David McCann (Coalvita), David O'Loughlin and Ciarán Power (both Navigators Insurance), current Irish road race champion, Paul Griffin (Giant Asia) and the successful Irish based Murphy and Gunn team.