Ireland is to host a qualifier for this year's UCI Gran Fondo World Series championships, say Cycling Ireland.
The new gran fondo, announced today at Sligo City Hall, will take place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June 2024.
There will be four events spread over the weekend, including three different road routes: the Gran Fondo, the Medium Fondo and the Sportive, as well as a Time Trial.
The events will be qualifiers for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, with the top 25% of finishers in each category qualifying to compete at the finals in Aalborg, Denmark at the end of August.
The new event is the first time that Ireland has hosted a qualifier for the Gran Fondo World Championships. The UK has previously hosted qualifiers, notably the Tour of Cambridgeshire Gran Fondo which ran for several years until ending in 2023.
There is currently a qualifier on the Isle of Man in July, which until today's announcement was the nearest opportunity for Irish and UK cyclists to qualify for the finals.
Speaking after the launch, Cycling Ireland Sport and Operations Director Paul Watson said:
"We are delighted to be in Sligo today for the official launch of the 2024 UCI Gran Fondo Ireland.
"This is a brilliant opportunity for all our members, especially our Leisure riders, and we are looking forward to seeing a big turnout for the UCI Gran Fondo Ireland this summer, to enjoy the challenge of Gran Fondo riding.
"We are delighted to be partnering with this event and to be able to offer our members an early bird discount on their entry
"Demand for places will be high, and with the total number of entry places available capped - we would recommend early entry to avoid disappointment."
Entries will be available at Eventmaster, with Cycling Ireland offering a 10% discount for the first 1000 members who register.
Details of routes, distances and pricing for the new Gran Fondo are expected to be announced shortly.