TRALEE is gearing up to become a mecca for bicycle fans this summer when the town will host the biggest leisure cycling event in Ireland.
The first-ever Kingdom Alliance Sportive - proudly sponsored by The Kerryman - is to be staged in Tralee from June 1 to 3 amid a huge influx of cyclists and against a backdrop comprised of some of the finest scenery in the country,
Starting and finishing in Tralee every day, the Sportive will take cyclists throughout the majestic scenery of the Dingle Pensinsula, the dramatic and rugged passes of the McGillicuddy Reeks and the more gentle, but no less enchanting plains of north and east Kerry - in three challenging 100mile circuits.
Hosts Tralee Cycling Club are putting the finishing details into a logistical campaign set to make this one of the best cycling events in the country. Leisure and competitive cyclists are asked to enter before February 1.
"Lead cars will take the racers out ahead of the casual cyclists to make it safer and more enjoyable for people of varying fitness levels," said PRO Dick McElligott.
"Leisure cyclists will be challenged by the distance to be travelled, while the competitive cyclists can strive to cover the course as quickly as possible.
"Each stage will start at the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre with a long (c100 miles) and short ( c50 miles) route. All riders will have the benefit of support vehicles and first aid if needed. Off the road, all participants will find ample accommodation in the town of Tralee for the weekend with secure storage for bicycles at the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre," Dick added.
Stage one will see the cyclists head east to Castleisland, north to Tarbert via Abbeyfeale and Listowel and back to Tralee along the coastal route. The peloton will complete the Queen's Stage the following day, through Killarney, Fossas, up the Gap of Dunloe and home via Glecar and Killorglin.
The final stage - on the Bank Holiday Monday - will traverse the Dingle Peninsula taking in the testing Conor Pass at least once.
Dick McElligott paid tribute to sponsors The Kerryman, Lee Strand and Tralee Chamber Alliance: "This is very much a tourism and sporting initiative with great potential to generate a major economic boost to Tralee and many other parts of Kerry. Anyone who enters before the end of January will secure the best value entry fee but the price will go up from the 1st of February," he said.
The Kingdom Alliance Sportive is open for registration and anyone who wants to learn more about the event can contact 066-7105765, 0876370738 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.