Giro d’Italia officials arrive in Belfast for race planning
Tens of thousands expected to line route North and South for one of cycling’s elite events
The peloton rides during stage one of the Giro d’Italia in Naples, Italy, last year. Photograph: Getty
Giro d’Italia officials have arrived in Belfast to organise one of the world’s greatest sporting events.
The PSNI has also outlined Northern Ireland’s largest temporary road closure and traffic management scheme for the cycle race which begins on May 9th.
Some 198 of the world’s top riders, 22 cycling teams and nearly 2,000 support staff will be in place when the great race gets under way at the city’s Titanic centre.
Their numbers are dwarfed by the tens of thousands expected to turn out to see the elite riders in Belfast where the Gran Partenza or Big Start of the race takes place. Three stages of the race will be hosted in Ireland with Stormont, the Giant’s Causeway, the Antrim coast road, Belfast city centre and Co Armagh providing the setting.
The race leaves Armagh city for the third stage on May 11th to Dublin, taking in south Armagh, Dundalk and Castlebellingham in Co Louth, Meath and north Co Dublin including Balbriggan and Swords.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Bord Fáilte are capitalising on the huge event to promote tourism. Last year’s race attracted a total of 12 million spectators onto the roads of Italy and a staggering worldwide television audience of 775 million.
Organisation of the event is expected to eclipse that needed for the G8 summit held in Co Fermanagh last June.
More than 400km of roads will be closed on both sides of the Border on a rolling basis as part of a huge operation.
Political parties in the North have already agreed a ban on election posters connected with the local government and European Parliament polls along the route.
Roy Gordon, of the Northern Ireland Roads Service said the massive operation was already under way with road signs in the giro’s signature pink being put up along the route.
“We’ve started erecting approximately 1,700 pink and black information signs,” he said.