We were delighted to see cyclists back for the 2023 edition of the Škoda Tour de Conamara, which took place last month. This year’s Tour saw riders navigate either an 80km or 140km route along Ireland’s stunning Wild Atlantic Way, helping to officially welcome the summer cycling season in style!
We look back at the event with the help of cycling enthusiast Libor Pavlas, Product Manager at Škoda Ireland, who participated in this year’s Tour!
1. Libor, can you tell us a bit about the Škoda Tour de Conamara?
The Tour de Conamara is part of the Škoda Celtic Series– of which Škoda is very proud. Cycling plays a crucial role in the Škoda story, because we actually started out producing bicycles before progressing into the car brand we know today. Thanks to this historical connection, Škoda Ireland wanted to create an event which would celebrate cycling in such a uniquely Irish setting – and so, in 2013, the Tour de Conamara was launched to much excitement.
The Tour de Conamara is a sportive event which sees over 3,000 participants take part in each year. We find that it gets booked out in just a few days when the event is launched each season, and it has really grown to become an important event in the Irish cycling social scene.
2. How did you prepare for this year’s Tour?
As I do cycle regularly, I’d not really trained specifically for the Tour de Conamara. Every Saturday, I go for a spin with my local cycling club in Dublin or I cycle around the beautiful Wicklow Mountains. I really enjoy cycling in the mountains as the whole area is picturesque – and I can gain some elevation metres while I’m at it!
Because the Tour de Conamara is more of a sportive – or ‘socialising on a bicycle’ as one of my friend’s has described it! – the preparation doesn’t quite require you to pass the Team Jumbo-Visma pre-season camp! I’m a big believer that anyone can do either the 80km or 140km course. It’s just important to make sure that your bicycle is ready for the cycle and is in good nick both technically and visually. In the end, a clean bike is a fast bike…
3. What was your favourite element of this year’s Tour?
My favourite element of the Tour de Conamara has to be the people who participate. Last year, I met a great bunch of individuals from all around the world and it was fantastic to stand with them again on the start line of this year’s edition. The route starts and finishes in the lovely town of Clifden, which is bursting with character, and there’s plenty of rest and refuel stops dotted along the scenic route.
The friendly cycling community is what makes the Tour de Conamara special. On top of that, the setting of the Conamara National Park is just spectacular, and always takes my breath away!
4. Are there any other cycling events you are planning on participating in over the next year?
It’s always pleasantly surprising how many cycling events happen in Ireland each year. As I really enjoy the Irish cycling culture, the Tour de Conamara is not the only event I will aim to take part in over the coming months. I’m especially looking forward to the second Škoda Celtic Series event, the Ring of Clare, in July. This midsummer sportive shows off the best of what Clare has to offer cyclists looking for a sociable cycle in another stunning area of Ireland.
5. Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about participating in next year’s Škoda Tour de Conamara?
My only two pieces of advice would be, “Stop thinking and do it,” and “Have fun!”
If you’re super keen on taking part in the Celtic Series fun, registrations are now open for the Ring of Clare in July, which is not to be missed!
Want to learn more about the Škoda Celtic Series? Take a look at our overview of the events to learn more about the series!