The inaugural Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif is a pretty spectacular way to show off Ireland’s sports tourism potential on one of Europe’s most dramatic and different touring routes.
In total there are 17 stages to the race and one or all are open to every level of cyclist from leisure to adventure. It is the first of its kind in Ireland and visits nine counties from Co. Cork to Co. Donegal running to the 29th September.
Over the 17 stages, cyclists will experience 2,058 kilometres of spectacular coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way taking in eight lighthouses, two ferry trips to two different islands, 255 towns and villages along the way, 15 signature discovery points along the Wild Atlantic Way and five main climbs including the Beara peninsula and the Conor Pass.
A core element of the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif is how the spectacular coastline scenery combines with the local culture in each of the communities to deliver a unique experience and welcome for the cyclists, with the chance for participants to immerse themselves in the towns along the route.
“The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif got underway this morning in Kinsale, showcasing the spectacular scenery on our coastline to a new audience and giving them the chance to experience the Wild Atlantic Way in an engaging way,” said Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland.
“Leisure cyclists will be immersed in a range of local communities over the next 17 days, with some 255 towns and villages along the route, and further incentivised by the support we are offering with logistics and events planned along the route.”
“We believe that this year’s Sportif will build the Wild Atlantic Way’s reputation as an attractive cycling destination. The event will take place biannually from 2018 in April and September.”
Michael O’Boyle, Tour Director at Ride Wild commented, “This really is an event like no other on the Irish cycling calendar,” said Ride Wild Tour Director Michael O’Boyle.
“We’re confident that this multi stage Sportif will attract a lot of interest this year, further building in 2018 and beyond. We have had great feedback from the cycling community along the route, and people have the chance to register for each stage up to the day before.”
Local communities along the route will play a major role in the spring and summer events in 2018 and beyond with a range of initiatives planned, to include the chance for each host town along the route to nominate a local ambassador who they feel represents the best of their local community to act as the official starter for the Sportif as it leaves their town.
Additionally, local food champions will have the opportunity to be nominated across the route celebrating the range of local fare on offer to the cyclists.
From spring 2018 each Host Town along the route, from Kinsale to Muff, will have the opportunity to partake in the Best Host Town Welcome Award initiative and highlight how their welcome stood out.
Schools will also be involved with a Transition Year students programme whereby one school along the route can nominate up to five TY students to join their local stage of a 2018 Sportif.
See www.wildatlanticwaycyclesportif.ie for 2017 registration information.
Fáilte Ireland, Sport Ireland, Elite Events and Cycling Ireland are among the more than 220 organisations that play an active part of the Sport for Business community.