By Nigel Wynn
Lance Armstrong and Mark Cavendish have both been confirmed for a shortened version of the Tour of Ireland (August 21-23, 2009) by the event's organisers.
Seven-times Tour de France winner Armstrong and current Tour green jersey wearer Cavendish will compete in a shortened, three-day Tour of Ireland.
Two stages have been trimmed from the event due due to lack of sponsorship. Cavendish will have to win every stage to match his tally of three stage wins in last year's event.
"We have had great support from the event sponsors, teams and local authorities to keep the race on the road in what is a very tough economic climate," said event organiser Alan Rushton.
"As a result our event is leaner and fitter and the race will show a large international television audience that Ireland has a great deal to offer visitors. We have over 550km of racing through spectacular countryside and victory will be a hard fought affair."
Although full stage details are yet to be released, Rushton did confirm that the first stage kicks off at the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, County Wicklow, on Friday, August 21. The 196km stage takes the 112 riders up Mount Leinster and on to the finish in Waterford.
A total of 16 teams will take part in the race including Armstrong's Astana team and Cavendish's Columbia-HTC line-up.
Last year's Tour of Ireland was won by Italian Marco Pinotti riding for Columbia. Britain's Russell Downing (Candi TV) was second.
2008 Tour of Ireland: Pinotti wins
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