Cycling Ireland has announced a strong six-man line-up for the forthcoming Tour de l’Avenir (2.Ncup) which starts on 17 August.
Mark Downey (Team Wiggins), Eddie Dunbar (Aqua Blue Sport), Daire Feeley (U.C. Monaco), Michael O’Loughlin (Team Wiggins), Darragh O’Mahoney (C.C.Nogent-sur-Oise) and Matthew Teggart (Team Wiggins) are the six riders who will line up at the start in Grand-Champ.
The race consists of ten stages including the final two Alpine stages finishing at Val d’Isère and Saint-Colomban-des-Villards Col du Glandon.
Other riders set to start and expected to be in contention for stage wins or the overall include Max Kanter (Germany), James Whelan and Robert Stannard (Australia), Stephen Williams and Mark Donovan (Great Britain), Edoardo Affini (Italy), Tobias Foss (Norway) Tiago Antunes, Rui and Ivo Oliveira (Portugal) and Brandon McNulty (USA).
The race provides a great opportunity for up-and-coming talent with many contenders going on to successful professional careers. Last year’s race was won by Egan Bernal who went on to sign for Team Sky and other winners in recent years who went on to race at the WorldTour include Marc Soler, Miguel Angel Lopez, Warren Barguil, Esteban Chavez and Nairo Quintana.
Matthew Teggart was Ireland’s best placed finisher overall at last year’s race, finishing in 42nd place. The Banbridge rider also wore the KOM jersey for half of the race. Mark Downey also achieved a number of top-ten stage placings, finishing 7th on the opening stage, 8th on stage 4 and 6th on Stage 6.
Tour de l’Avenir Stages
Stage 1 – Grand-Champ › Elven (132.5k)
Stage 2 – Drefféac › Châteaubriant (137.6k)
Stage 3 – Le Lude › Châteaudu (165.8k)
Stage 4 – Team Time Trial – Orléans › Orléans (20.2k)
Stage 5 – Beaugency › Levroux (130.4k)
Stage 6 – Le Blanc › Cérilly (183.5k)
Stage 7 – Moutiers › Méribe (35.9k)
Stage 8 – La Bathie › Crest-Voland Cohennoz (106.2k)
Stage 9 – Séez › Val d’Isère (89k)
Stage 10 – Val d’Isère › Saint-Colomban-des-Villards Col du Glandon (150.8k)