Giro d’Italia race organisers pay visit to Northern Ireland

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Organisers of the Giro d’Italia cycling race visited Northern Ireland this week to scope out potential routes for the prestigious event, which Larne Council is hoping will include the Antrim Coast Road.

The Grande Partenza or ‘Big Start’ of the Giro, one of professional cycling’s three Grand Tour events, will take place over three days from May 10-12, 2014 and involves routes in Belfast, Armagh and Dublin.

The Italian race organisers, RCS Sports, came to NI to carry out detailed inspections in preparation for the race.

As previously reported, Larne Council is advertising the Coast Road as a perfect location for a special stage of the race.

Council officers even travelled to Italy to experience this year’s race and go behind the scenes to observe the logistics involved with hosting a stage.

The Times asked the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment if the race organisers would be coming to the Larne borough as part of their visit, but the Department was unable to comment.

Meanwhile, Larne Council said it was unaware if the delegation would be visiting the borough.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: “I believe we in Northern Ireland can work with RCS Sport to deliver a fantastic spectacle that will satisfy cycling fans here and around the world.

“I have no doubt that the Giro will be an unforgettable experience for everyone in Northern Ireland and those who travel here to see it. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close to some of the world’s best cyclists and experience a world-class event.

“Our spectacular backdrops will not only showcase Northern Ireland, they will also create excellent broadcast images.”

The entire route of the Giro, including the Italian stages, will be officially announced in October.