The McClelland family at the 'Titanic' starting point in Belfast
The McClelland family at the 'Titanic' starting point in Belfast

Hope for a bike boost in Belfast as Giro d’Italia 2014 route announced

It is the first time this prestigious international event is being held outside continental Europe. The Giro d'Italia 2014 will travel from Belfast to Trieste in 21 stages and route details have just been announced.

Friday 9 May sees the Belfast stage, which starts at Titanic Belfast and takes in the Newtownards Road, Stormont, Queen's Bridge, the Ormeau Road, Stranmillis and finishes in Belfast city centre.

The Saturday leg - a 218 km cycle - starts on Belfast's Antrim Road and goes to Antrim, Ballymena, Bushmills, and the Giant's Causeway before taking in the coastline from Cushendall to Larne, then on to Whitehead and Carrickfergus before heading back to Belfast.

On day three, Sunday, the final stage of the Irish leg, the riders will embark on a 187km cross-border pedal. They will leave Armagh and travel to Richhill and Newtownhamilton before heading south, crossing the border at Forkhill en route to Dublin via Dundalk, Castlebellingham and Drogheda.

In Belfast today we are over the moon. Lots of people ,enthusiastic sportif riders and club riders are  looking forward to the event  but we are hoping having such a high profile event here  will encourage cycling and highlight the need for good infrastructure for  everyday cycling to school work and the  shops.
Tom McClelland CTC Right to Ride rep for Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Executive is paying £3m from Tourist Board, EU and Department of Enterprise (Deti) funds to host this exciting event. It is thought that organisers RCS Sport's main drive behind moving the 'Grande Partenza' to Northern Ireland is to see the Giro positioned alongside the Tour de France as one of 2 'ultimate' races of the year that are closely followed by the thousands of fans.

We are working closely with Sport NI and other partners to make sure Northern Ireland uses the Grande Partenza 2014-Giro d´Italia Big Start to bring about a big increase in cycling.  Northern Ireland has the potential to become a hotspot for cycling and the Giro can be a wonderful showcase and an inspiration to a new generation of cyclists. Gordon Seabright CTC’s Chief Executive