Gearing up for Giro may reviveTour of Ireland

The search is on for funding for the next incarnation of the Tour of Ireland

Ireland’s Stephen Roche on his way to winning the Giro d’Italia in 1987

Ireland’s Stephen Roche on his way to winning the Giro d’Italia in 1987

 

The marketing push ahead of Ireland’s Grande Partenza or “Big Start” to the Giro d’Italia 2014 has begun, and sports marketing firm Shadetree Sports is hoping that one cycling race will lead to another.

Darach McQuaid of Shadetree, the agency that pushed the bid, hopes hosting the stage will lead to a revival of the Tour of Ireland.

That race returned to the cycling calendar in 2007 for three years, with Fáilte Ireland on board as its title sponsor, before a financial shortfall led to the cancellation of the 2010 race.

McQuaid is attempting to raise €1.5-€1.6 million to bring the race back, but says the sponsorship and other funding would need to be in place before Christmas if it is to make another comeback in 2014.

Wine market
In recent weeks, McQuaid (the brother of former International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid) has met sports editors and town and county councils to discuss the three-day Grande Partenza event, which pushes off in Belfast on May 9th and finishes in Dublin on Sunday, May 11th, with a Giro Festival, including an Italian food and wine market, taking place in Merrion Square that weekend.

Although Fáilte Ireland and Dublin City Council both contributed six-figure sums, the bulk of the funding for the Grand Partenza came from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board – which put up £3 million – with the second largest contribution coming from Belfast City Council.

The race’s route around screen-friendly locations such as the Titanic Quarter, the Giants’ Causeway and the Causeway Coast Road is expected to pay dividends in the shape of tourism custom.