After a 15 year hiatus, the Tour of Ireland has returned to the international racing calendar and is attracting teams from both Europe and the United States (Navigators Insurance, Slipstream/Chipotle and Colavita-Sutter Home).
The five stage tour starts in Kilkenny and ends up in Dublin, traveling through the rolling hills of Southern and Western Ireland. Tour organizers are hoping for good weather, as cold rain and winter-like temperatures have messed with Ireland's short summer season. Weather forecasters are calling for partly cloudly skies for most of the week.
There will be 109 riders from 16 teams. Some of the big names scheduled to appear include the Schleck brothers from Team CSC, Bernhard Eisel and Aaron Olson from T-Mobile and Baden Cooke and Luis Pasmontes from Unibet.com. Irish locals will likely be cheering for native sons Nicholas Roche (and the Irish National team), David Deignan, David McCann and David O'Loughlin. Ireland's Continental team Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn Group/M. Donnelly Sean Kelly will also be making an appearance.