Tour of The North.

08 April 2012

Borough hosts Tour finale on Easter Monday

Ballymena will host Easter Monday’s final stage of the P&O Ferries Tour of the North cycle race when the surviving riders, from the 100 who started the race, will assemble for the official start on the Woodsides road at 11.15am.

Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles – will be represented by Ryan Bankhead, Chris Beattie, Matthew Brennan, Simon Taggart and guest rider Stevie McAllister from Ballymoney. The team will be managed by Hall Booth.

Three of Britain’s top outfits, IG Sigma Sport, Node4 Giordana and Rapha-Condor-Sharp along with teams from Holland, Belgium, the UK and Ireland are also on the entry list.


The schedule for this final stage, for those who wish to spectate, reads: Woodside road to Deerfin road, Rathkeel road and on to the Larne road, at the Battery (5.8 miles 11.29am).

Then it’s on to the first KOH climb of the stage at Shane’s hill with 12.8 miles covered (11.46am).

Next it’s a fast descent to Kilwaughter and left on to Deerpark road. (15.8 miles 11.53am)

The race continues and joins the A2 coast road after 24.4 miles at 12.14pm next it’s on to Glenarm village (12.22pm)

There is another KOH climb at the top of Glenarm glen, with 31.2 miles completed, at 12.30pm.

The descent to Carnlough (41.2 miles:12.54pm) takes the race back on to the coast road and the diversion up Tower road before heading on to Waterfoot and the final KOH climb of the tour at Glenariff, where the riders are expected at 1.31pm. The race distance at this point is 56.8 miles.

The final miles are in through Cargan and Martinstown to Rathkenny (63.7 miles:1.48pm) where it’s a left turn on to Knockan road and on to Broughshane (67.9 miles:1.58pm).

The stage finishes in the Woodside road industrial estate, at 2.04pm, with a total stage distance of 70.3 miles.

The event will have a total of four stages, and will cover just under 220 miles of racing, over the Easter weekend.

Friday 6th April will see 100 international riders assemble for the now traditional opening Time Trial stage in the grounds of Stormont Estate in Belfast with the race getting underway with a prologue 1.1 kilometres hill climb ascent of the Prince of Wales drive in Stormont.

Stage two, which is based in Rathfriland, will have three climbs in the AA sponsored King of the Hills competition. These will include the legendary Spelga Dam as well as the Santa’s cottage climb at Rostrevor before the sting in the tail finish back in the County Down town.

Counties Londonderry and Tyrone play host to Sunday’s stage, with Magherafelt the location for another 70 mile test. From there the riders will race out to Moneymore and then complete two laps of a 28 miles circuit which takes in Cookstown, Lough Fea (with two KOH climbs) Draperstown, Desertmartin and Moneymore before returning to the finish in Magherafelt via The Loup.

Good luck to the Ballymena team and all the other competitors.