As Northern Ireland gears up to host the first three stages of the world’s second largest bike race, the Giro d’Italia, in May, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) launched a new campaign to encourage people throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to ‘Be Part of the Start’ and join in with the festivities that will be taking place around the country.
The Grande Partenza or ‘Big Start’ of the race will see around 200 of the world’s best cyclists from over 30 countries converge in Northern Ireland for the biggest sporting event of 2014 and Irish cycling legend Stephen Roche, a former winner of both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, flew into Belfast to launch the NITB campaign which is expecting to attract around 140,000 overnight visitors, including 42,000 from out of state.
In addition, a massive audience of an estimated 800 million is expected to tune in from across the globe to watch the cyclists compete along Northern Ireland’s spectacular Giro routes on TV.
NITB Destination Marketing and PR Manager Ruth Burns has urged people to ‘Be Part of the Start’ and stressed that the Giro d’Italia will be an event for everyone, and not just cycling enthusiasts.
“Obviously, the fact that Northern Ireland is hosting an event as prestigious as the Giro d’Italia is a dream come true for the legions of cycling fans throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic, but the excitement will not only be for the cycling community,” said Ruth.
“In addition to the feast of cycling, there will be a fantastic array of family-friendly events and festivals in Belfast and Armagh in the run up to and during Giro with lots of music, food and live entertainment for visitors to look forward to.
“As Northern Ireland embraces the pink of the leader’s jersey, this will be a hugely colourful and not-to-be-missed experience which is why we’ve launched our ‘Be Part of the Start’ campaign to urge everyone in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to come along and join in the festivities in May,” she added.
The public will catch their first glimpse of the world’s best cyclists at the Giro d’Italia Team Presentation in Belfast on Thursday May 8 with the competitive action getting under way on Friday May 9 with the Team Time Trial from Titanic Belfast to Stormont and finishing at Belfast City Hall.
Saturday (May 10) will see the competitors travel up to the North Antrim Coast and race along the Causeway Coastal Route back to Belfast before concluding on the Sunday (May 11) with a road stage from Armagh to Dublin. For further details or to attend the Giro d’Italia ‘Grande Partenza’ contact the Northern Ireland Tourist Board by clicking on www.discovernorthernireland.com/giro2014 and by using hashtag #girostart2014.