Thousands make tracks for Sean Kelly cycle tour in Waterford

Event in Dungarvan worth over €1.5m to local economy

The Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford 2013 at Dungarvan. Photograph: Patrick Browne

The Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford 2013 at Dungarvan. Photograph: Patrick Browne

 

Thousands of cyclists and their families descended upon the quiet seaside town of Dungarvan, Co Waterford, over the weekend, to take part in the seventh Sean Kelly Cycle Tour.

The event which has grown every year since it began in 2007, is worth over €1.5 million to the local economy and is organised by Waterford County Council, Waterford Sports Partnership, local cycle clubs and Sean Kelly.

Don Tuohy, senior executive officer at Waterford County Council and one of the organisers, said that such was the success of the Sean Kelly Cycle Tour in 2012, which drew over 6,200 cyclists on the Sunday of the event, a cap of 5,000 cyclists had to be placed on it this year.

On Saturday, the newly constructed smarter travel cycle paths along the scenic route of Abbeyside, Clonea and the Gold Coast were abuzz with families taking part in the 12 km Kelly Spin.

“There was no cap for the family cycle on Saturday, which drew over 2,000 cyclists,” said Mr Tuohy. “The family cycle was in aid of the South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association, while the main event on Sunday is in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation. ”

On Sunday, thousands of cyclists from across Ireland, as well as from Europe, USA, New Zealand, Australia, and other countries, lined up at Dungarvan Sports Centre to take part in the 160 km Kelly Comeragh Challenge; the 100 km Kelly Heritage Route; and the 50 km Kelly Cruise.

Sean Kelly was there in person at the start of each of the challenges to speak with cyclists and fans and offer them an encouraging word or two. His namesake, Sean Kelly, the Munster MEP, also took part in the cycle event, as did Tipperary native and model, Roz Purcell; along with Olympic medalist, John Treacy who is Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council.

Mr Tuohy paid tribute to the 400-plus volunteers who helped over the weekend.“This event wouldn’t work without the help of all the local volunteers,” he said. He also thanked all the sponsors of the Sean Kelly Cycle Tour, including Flahavan’s, the Gathering initiative and many other local businesses; as well as the emergency services for their support.