The tour was part of the Sport Ireland Cycle Series of five cycling events throughout Ireland in 2017 and in aid of the Solas Cancer Support Centre in Waterford.
Hillview Sports Club was the food stop at the 115K mark on the 160k Kelly Comeragh Challenge for the 1,100 cyclists that took part.
Dungarvan looked resplendent on Saturday morning as over 1200 cyclists from seven months to 70 years took part in the 12k Kelly Spin. It was a sight to behold as the multitude lined up on the Causeway entertained by Dungarvan Brass Band. Cllr. Pat Nugent, Mayor of Waterford City and County Council, officially started the event as a sea of smiling faces moved off from the start line on a route which saw them take in Abbeyside-Ballinroad-Ballinacourty-Gold Coast Road and the Abbeyside section of the Greenway.
The 12k has now firmly established itself as one of the most enjoyable and uplifting events over the course of the weekend. The sheer joy and sense of achievement that the children experience as they cross the finish line to the cheers and applause of the crowd is fantastic. There were smiling faces after the event as crowds remained in Walton Park to enjoy the food stalls and a picnic, face painting and music. Event partners Dungarvan Credit Union were also on hand to give out souvenir medals and other goodies to all the finishers.
The rain moved in on Sunday morning just as the 160k cyclists were lining up at the start line, but it did not serve to dampen in any way the spirits of the 3,500 participants who took to the roads of the county as part of the tour. The three routes were officially started by Cllr. Pat Nugent and John Treacy, chief executive officer of Sport Ireland. It was a challenging day for cyclists and stewards alike but already as the positive feedback flows in from the participants you get the sense that all the hard work and planning paid off.
There are so many ingredients that make the Sport Ireland Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford the success it is, but foremost in the organisers minds after such a challenging day is the unique ‘Waterford Welcome’ afforded by the 500 volunteers to all of the cyclists. Organisers recognise that primarily this event would never take place without the goodwill, enthusiasm, dedication and hard work of the volunteers.
Organisers also wish to thank the sponsors and all those who supported the event’s chosen charity, the Solas Cancer Support Centre, by directly raising money, supporting their raffles or by the giving of their time to help out over the weekend.