Giro hits the scenic north coast

Giro hits the scenic north coast

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.

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.


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