Leaders hail success of Giro d'Italia

Leaders hail success of Giro d'Italia

The First and deputy First Minister have hailed the Giro d'Italia a "resounding success" following its Big Start in Northern Ireland over the weekend.

Thousands of people lined the streets to watch the world-famous cycle race pass through Belfast on Friday, up to the North Coast on Saturday and out from Armagh on Sunday.It was the first time the event has been held outside continental Europe and DUP leader Peter Robinson said the people of NI helped make it one of the best in the Giro's history.He said: "Northern Ireland has enjoyed a tremendous few days which has undoubtedly reinforced our profile on the world stage."I commend the citizens right across Northern Ireland for their phenomenal support over the last few days which has helped to make this Grande Partenza one of the best in the Giro's history one of the most colourful and exciting events we have ever hosted."The deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, said there will be long-lasting benefits for local tourism in the region."The long-term benefits from a tourism perspective for us will be long-lasting. It is another great event we can point to when bidding for further world class events to be staged here."Most importantly the Giro has provided a timely reminder of the power of partnership and what can be achieved when all our people unite together."Tourism Minister Arlene Foster added that people in Northern Ireland had taken "the race to its heart"."The weather wasn't great on Saturday [but] I was in Bushmills myself and the crowds were huge," she said."It was really great to see everybody enjoy themselves and enjoying something completely different."Stage Two and Three winner Marcel Kittel from Team Giant Shimano commented that the riders appreciated all those who turned out during the drizzly conditions."There was a really crazy atmosphere, really awesome, the people (provided a) lift for those cycling, next to the roads for those three days," he said.

© UTV

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