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Belfast hosts start and finish of first two stages before race heads over the border

The 2014 Giro d’Italia will, as expected, start in Northern Ireland then cross the border into the Republic of Ireland, with Belfast, Armagh and Dublin all hosting stages. The news was confirmed at a press conference in Belfast today.

Stage 1 of the race on Saturday 10 May 2014 will start at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and finish at the Northern Irish capital’s City Hall. The same locations will provide the start and finish of Stage 2, while Stage 3 will begin in Armagh and head to a finish in Dublin City Centre. Full details will be released in due course.

Speaking at the launch in the Titanic Quarter this morning, race director Michele Acquarone said: "Belfast will provide spectacular backdrops for the 2014 Grand Partenza and will add something very special into the history of this great cycling event."

He added that the race’s visit to Ireland would also look to commemorate Italian links with the country’s two greatest ever cyclists, Stephen Roche, winner of the Giro in 1987, and Sean Kelly, twice victorious in Milan-Sanremo and a three-time winner of the Giro di Lombardia.

Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland tourism minister, commented: “Plans are already in motion to make the occasion a fabulous celebration worthy of Italian cycling traditions and the maglia rosa itself.”

Back when Roche and Kelly were racing, security issues would have made it impossible for Northern Ireland to host an international event of the Giro’s magnitude, let alone one that crossed the border.

From that aspect the Italian race is also following a pattern set by the Vuelta, which two years ago returned to the Basque Country after an absence of nearly four decades, and the Tour de France, which this year starts in Corsica, its first ever visit to the island, with threats of terrorism the chief reason for both races' absence from those regions in the past.

The only previous visit of one of cycling’s Grand Tours to Ireland was the Tour de France in 1998, the year the race was overshadowed by the Festina Affair. Chris Boardman took the maillot jaune in the Dublin prologue, but lost it after crashing on Stage 2 to Cork.

Less than two months after the Giro's Grande Partenza in Ireland, the 2014 Tour de France will get under way in Yorkshire.

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.

10 comments

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Gkam84 [9088 posts] 3 years ago
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At least the Italian flag is a tricolour, there should be no problems having it flying over there  19

But its nice to see the Giro stretching out and involving other places further afield. Although I think the Japan idea is a little to far away, as is America for the TdF

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ubercurmudgeon [169 posts] 3 years ago
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I think future generations will look back on the move of grand tours to more northerly locations for starting stages as one of the first signs of the impending global warming catastrophes that shaped their world. That will, of course, be a world in which the Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta all take place entirely on the parts of Svalbard that remain above water...

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MartyMcCann [240 posts] 3 years ago
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Was over the moon when Belfast was first mooted, and even more so now Armagh is on the agenda too- I was a bit jealous with all the Yorkshire folk talking about how the pro-peleton would be using their favourite roads-now I can do the same. Submitting my annual leave choices to work for next year now!

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giff77 [1256 posts] 3 years ago
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Doing the same myself. Everything within spitting distance from my mum and dads. Hoping stage1 goes over some of my loops whenever I'm back home. Though it does mean KOM on some of them is stuffed  2

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Leviathan [2126 posts] 3 years ago
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ubercurmudgeon wrote:

I think future generations will look back on the move of grand tours to more northerly locations for starting stages as one of the first signs of the impending global warming catastrophes that shaped their world. That will, of course, be a world in which the Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta all take place entirely on the parts of Svalbard that remain above water...

I think the Alps might still be there in 50 years time. I would be more worried for those 'Northern' European countries; it is England, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark that have the most to loose.

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Leviathan [2126 posts] 3 years ago
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Back on topic, couldn't they at least swap the start/finish over for day two to give it more variety?

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ubercurmudgeon [169 posts] 3 years ago
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Presumably the first two stages are starting and finishing on the same locations to give each side of the sectarian divide an equal chance to disrupt the race with protest marches.

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Seoige [104 posts] 3 years ago
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ubercurmudgeon wrote:

Presumably the first two stages are starting and finishing on the same locations to give each side of the sectarian divide an equal chance to disrupt the race with protest marches.

Funny  24 I was thinking that they were finishing in Dublin...what a party that would have been where the river liffey flows with Guiness  4

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Blackhound [441 posts] 3 years ago
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Get over there if you can to watch. Northern Ireland is a friendly place to visit and ride.

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PRINCIPIA PHIL [57 posts] 3 years ago
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Great to see the Giro coming to my part of the world as the Olympics were so far away that it might as well have been on the far side of the world.
This is a chance for Ireland (North and South) to have a legacy from professional cycling, it brings back memories of the Nissan Classic back in the late 80's.
Rumour has it that the first stage will feature the North Coast while the second stage will feature the Mournes - hopefully the first stage will include the North Antrim coast road and Torr Head (a beautiful road which would look great from a tracking helicopter), while the second stage could be arond Slieve Croob and Spelga Dam i'd imagine along with Annaborough/Castlewellan (a nice wee rise,should there be an intermediate sprint in Castlewellan town centre).