Cycling: Giro d'Italia to begin in Ireland in 2014

Belfast, Armagh and Dublin will be taken in before prestigious tour moves to Italy

Cycling's prestigious Giro d'Italia will begin in Ireland next year, organisers confirmed today.

The cross-border start to one of the sport's three Grand Tour races will be held over three stages from May 10-12 and will involve routes taking in Belfast, Armagh and Dublin.

Michele Acquarone, head of the Giro and managing director of Italian race organiser RCS Sport, said: "Belfast will provide spectacular backdrops for the 2014 Grand Partenza (Big Start) and will add something very special into the history of this great cycling event."

The news follows the announcement in December that the first three stages of the 2014 Tour de France will be in England, with two in Yorkshire and the third finishing in London.

The start of the 104-year-old Giro is normally hosted in Italy but in recent times has been awarded to an outside country every two years, most recently in Denmark last year.

More than 200 of the top professional cyclists from across the globe will be in Northern Ireland to take part and there will be a supporting programme of events and activities.

The Giro is expected to attract around £10million worth of international media coverage.

Northern Ireland tourism minister Arlene Foster said: "Plans are already in motion to make the occasion a fabulous celebration worthy of Italian cycling traditions and the maglia rosa (pink jersey) itself."

Sir Bradley Wiggins has said he will focus on the Giro this year rather than defending his Tour de France title.

There is a strong Irish connection with the Giro, with Stephen Roche winning the race in 1987.

First organised in 1909 to promote the newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, the Giro is now one of the world's largest sporting events, watched at roadside by 12.5million spectators over the three weeks of the event.

The routes have not been determined, race organisers said at the launch event at the Titanic Belfast visitors' centre.

Roche attended the launch and paid tribute to the charisma of the Italians.

"The Giro is maybe distinctive in that it is probably the second biggest event for me, in my opinion (after the Tour de France)," Roche said.

"When you consider the passion these people have, the passion these people have shown to us this morning, it is duplicated throughout the whole Italian nation."

He recalled that in 1987 the crowds were warm and enthusiastic.

"When you see all the people on the roadsides of Italy, the enthusiasm of poor and rich, they all come together for this event," Roche said.

He added that the people of Belfast and Italy had gelled and recalled the huge boost of his victory in the Giro as he went on to win the Tour de France.

"It gave me a lot of extra confidence for the Tour," he said. "Then you are surfing the wave and you become, I would not say unbeatable, but the fact that you have one big win under your belt, it makes the rest much more possible."

He said he was quite confident that the spin-off from the tour being in Belfast would be incredible.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game