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The Irish cycling scene gets a new national championships this year, with the gravel discipline being added for late season

Cycling Ireland has confirmed the first National Gravel Championships will be held at the end of this season, with Co Galway playing host to the historic races.

However, the cycling community will have to wait for another year to crown champions proper as this year’s championships will be a demonstration event; a regular feature for new disciplines, including eRacing in Ireland in recent years.

The gravel championships come at a time when interest, and participation, in gravel riding has ramped up in Ireland in recent years. And the championships in Galway will likely appeal to road and off-road riders alike, which should ensure competitive races from the first year.

Galway Bay Cycling Club, which has run the Galway Classic race with gravel sectors in recent seasons, is set to host the demonstration gravel championships over the weekend of September 21st to 22nd.

There will be men’s and women’s races, with each event being a combined age group race; seniors, juniors and masters riders all in the same race.

The championship races will be held on Sunday while Saturday will play host to a participation-based event – not a demonstration championship race – on the course for youth and leisure riders.

Galway Bay Cycling Club has experience of running its Galway Classic as well as ‘The Bog Trials’ gravel racing series and the ‘Galway Gravel Grinder’ leisure event.

Mick Ruane of Galway Bay Cycling Club said the club was delighted to run the Gravel National Championships in September; a first in Ireland that should really aid gravel racing becoming more established in Ireland.

“The race will be run from Ryehill Demesne just outside Abbeynockmoy in east Co. Galway and will be run on a circuit consisting of gravel and boreen roads,” said Ruane. “The route will be very tough and the race is likely to break up into small groups due to the amount of gravel and technical corners.

“It is really a course for strong riders who can handle their bike – tire choice will be crucial in who comes out on top. We can’t wait to welcome the best riders in Ireland for what should be a great weekend.”

Further details about the races will be released closer to the time.

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