Olympian launches North coast Cycle

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Ireland’s first ever Olympic track cyclist, Martyn Irvine, joined local rider John Madden and Beverley Pierson from Outdoor Recreation NI (formerly CAAN) to announce the date for this year’s Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive in association with Chain Reaction Cycles.

This mass-participation cycling event, which is set to carry on from its huge success last year, is expected to attract up to one thousand amateur cyclists to Ballycastle on Saturday 15 September and Mr Irvine believes that sportives such as this can be the perfect introduction into road and indeed track cycling.

Mr Irvine said: “I only bought my first road bike seven years ago and now I am preparing to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games this summer. Before this, I worked as a mechanic in Bangor and would never have discovered cycling if it hadn’t have been for my colleagues urging me to enter events such as these.”

“I am a huge advocate of cycling sportives in general and it is such an exciting time to have this iconic event growing from strength to strength here in Northern Ireland. Even after only one year, the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive is fast becoming one of the most talked about sportives in the UK and Ireland.”

Mr Irvine continued: “This exciting reputation is testament to Beverley and the rest of her team who have put a lot of effort into designing three superb routes each providing achievable challenges to all levels of cyclists”.

With over 600 cyclists taking part in the first ever Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive last September, Outdoor Recreation NI estimates that the event generated approximately £70,000 in direct economic benefits to the local economy.

Beverley Pierson explains, “We want to use this sportive to highlight Northern Ireland as an ideal cycling destination as well as help to elongate a typically short tourist season here on the North Coast”.

Miss Pierson continued: “Our vision is that by 2014, this sportive will be self-sustaining, attracting cyclists from all across the UK and Ireland. This will not only inject hundreds of thousands of pounds into the local economy but will also provide a fantastic fundraising platform for our two nominated charities, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Action Medical Research”.

Local cyclist John Madden, who himself was first over the finish line at last year’s event, commented: “It is absolutely no surprise to me that this sportive is growing at such a rapid pace.

“The routes are well thought out, the organisation is very professional and of course the scenery is second to none. It is also great to see the local community getting involved with Central Wine Bar providing the catering for the event and O’Connors Bar being the top spot for the post event entertainment.

“It is a fantastic celebration of cycling and we should be very proud that we have this here in Ballycastle.”

Online entry is now open for the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive on Saturday 15 September and more information including detailed route descriptions, maps, online entry and indeed advice from local cycle training experts Forme Coaching is available on the event website www.giantscausewaycoastsportive.com.