As 2023 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the remarkable journey of cycling in Ireland over the past twelve months. This past year has been a pivotal year for the Irish cycling community, marked by significant achievements, inspiring events and notable advancements in cycling infrastructure.
Let’s revisit the highlights that shaped the Irish cycling scene in 2023. From the thrilling races that captivated enthusiasts to the grassroots initiatives that brought more people onto their bikes, we’re only too excited as to what 2024 will bring!
Success both at home and abroad for Team Ireland
In famed Grand Tours like the Giro d’Italia, Irish riders continued to impress with their resilience and competitive spirit.
Ben Healy made his Grand Tour debut for Team Ireland at this year’s Giro d’Italia, and on 13th May won his first Grand Tour stage a week later! Meanwhile, seasoned rider Eddie Dunbar came a respectable 7th place overall, a fantastic achievement for the Cork-born cyclist.
UCI Road World Championships
The 2023 UCI Road World Championships saw a strong Irish team participating, with representation in the elite men and women, U23 men and women, as well as junior men and women’s events!
The Irish side’s commendable performance in the Championships was a testament to the growing strength and depth of Irish professional cycling this year. Stand out performances include Áine Doherty who achieved an impressive 39th place overall and Lucy Benezet Minns who followed in 43rd place within the junior women’s category.
Rás na mBan
As Ireland’s premier women’s event, this year’s Rás na mBan was certainly an affair to remember with fantastic performances from some of the world’s best cycling stars.
It was a great start for the Irish side, as Mia Griffin secured the opening stage win. Ireland’s Caoimhe O’Brien and Ellen McDermott also achieved second and third place positions respectively in Stage 6.
In the end, Dutch powerhouse Manon de Boer managed to hold her ground against persistent late challenges to claim the 2023 Rás na mBan magenta jersey and overall title. Take a look at the full Rás na mBan recap here for full details on how each stage unfolded!
Brand new Irish cycling infrastructure and initiatives
One of the most notable developments of 2023 in Ireland was the substantial investment in cycling infrastructure. New bike lanes and cycling-friendly urban planning initiatives in cities and towns right across the island have made cycling safer and more accessible.
Work recently commenced on a brand-new cycling lane that will run alongside an existing train line between Malahide and Donabate, which is perfect for avid cyclists in North County Dublin. There was also the welcome news earlier this year that the Irish government has committed to spending €290 million on 1,000km of new walking and cycling infrastructure across the country. More information about the scheme can be found here.
Grassroots efforts flourished this year, with lots of community-led cycling events and programmes open to enthusiasts across the country. From Bike Week, HER Outdoors Week and Ride with Pride, thousands of cyclists took part in these brilliant events which championed everyday people.
The Škoda Tour de Conamara and Škoda Ring of Clare which form part of the Škoda Celtic Series were also huge successes. These non-competitive cycles are perfect for cyclists looking for a social ride around some of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery. Back in June, we chatted to Tour de Conamara participant Libor Pavlas who told us more about the event and why it’s so popular.
With an increasing number of people in Ireland embracing cycling and a competitive scene which is going from strength to strength, the coming year is set to be really promising. Here’s to 2024!