Race to start in Belfast and will then head for Dublin... press conferences in both capitals tomorrow

Ireland is expected to be confirmed tomorrow as hosting the opening stages of next year’s Giro d’Italia, with the race beginning in Belfast and crossing the border for a stage finish in Dublin before heading back to its home country.

Further details of the Irish Grande Partenza should be confirmed at press conferences being held tomorrow at the Titanic Belfast visitors’ centre and Dublin’s civic offices, reports the Belfast Newsletter.

The Grande Partneza of the 2014 Giro will take place less than two months before the 101st edition of the Tour de France gets under way in Yorkshire.

Like the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia nowadays stages foreign starts every two or three years, with last year’s race beginning in Denmark. This year’s edition starts on Italian soil, in Naples.

The cross-border bid to stage next year’s race has been backed by the governments of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and is supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) and its counterpart in the Republic, Failte Ireland.

It has reportedly been co-ordinated by Dublin-based Shade Tree Sports, which was co-founded and is managed by Darach McQuaid, brother of UCI president Pat McQuaid.

The only previous visit of one of cycling’s Grand Tours to the Emerald Isle was the Tour de France in 1998, the year the race became embroiled in the Festina affair.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.