Giro hits the scenic north coast

Published Saturday, 10 May 2014
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Thousands of people lined the route for Stage Two of the Giro d'Italia as around 200 cyclists set off from Belfast to travel along the north coast before returning to the city on Saturday.

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This was the first chance the rest of Northern Ireland had to see the Giro, following an opening ceremony and first stage in Belfast on Friday.

The event took in the Causeway coast in a mammoth 219km stage before travelling back to Belfast City Hall for the finish.

Starting at Belfast Titanic Quarter, the convoy travelled to Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Bushmills, Ballycastle, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough, Glenarm, Ballygally, Larne, Whitehead and Carrickfergus.

In Ballycastle yellow man had gone pink for the occasion at the beginning of a steep ascent up into the Glens of Antrim and back down onto the dramatic coastal route which brought the competitors back to Belfast.

German rider Marcel Kittel claimed victory as the stage ended in a bunch sprint along Donegall Square North in the afternoon.

It is understood the costs to run the first three stages across Ireland stands at around £5.5m but deputy First Minister McGuinness believes those fees have already be recouped.

He added: "I think the returns from this event will far exceed the money we have spent to put it on. I'm just absolutely gobsmacked by the number of people who have come out to watch this."

First Minister Peter Robinson said: "This is a real opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland.

"Literally hundreds of millions will see the bright sunshine, the impressive scenery and Belfast and all of that is good for tourism and good for investment."

On Sunday the action switches to Armagh as competitors race from the city to Dublin.

© UTV News
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12 Comments
David in Belfast wrote (74 days ago):
Great showcase now but within a few months there's a fair chance it will all be blown again during the marching season when the TV cameras are showing the different side of this country which harks back hundreds of years and stirs up hatred, bigotry & triumphalism every year!
Will in Belfast wrote (74 days ago):
EH in the port ahh they haven't been to Ireland yet think that's on Sunday
Fiona in Antrim wrote (74 days ago):
Well done Ireland,great support from the country so far,looking forward to Armagh and Dublin.
John in Belfast wrote (74 days ago):
A great day for Northern irish people, I was so glad that both sides stood side by side and cheered and clapped as they welcomed the riders to our country.
Joe in Co Down wrote (74 days ago):
Ah sure its great to the Giro on this island of ours made we have more events like this here.
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