News today that world champion, Martyn Irvine will NOT be taking part in this year’s race which travels around Northern Ireland for three days in May.
This is a huge disappointment not only for Irvine and for his legion of fans throughout Ireland but indeed so too for the local organisers since he was seen as one of the main marketing assets for promoting the tour.
The 28-year-old from Newtownards who won the scratch race at the 2013 World Track Championships was recently voted as BBC NI Sports Personality of the Year ahead of the great AP McCoy.
He will not be taking part because his United Healthcare team have not been given a place in the event.
Another disappointed man is Irish national under-23 champion Sam Bennett’s whose own hopes of participating have also been denied as his Net App Endura team also failed to gain a place in the team event.
Although both Irvine and Bennett’s teams were on the ‘short list’ remaining three places have gone to Italy’s Bardiani-CSF and YellowFluo-Neri Sottoli and the Colombia national squad.
Recently, Irvine told BBC NI Sport that participating in the Italian race would be a massive moment for him, but he has earmarked an individual medal at the summer’s Commonwealth Games as his main objective for 2014.