The inaugural Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Northern Ireland takes place this weekend, June 20/21. For the first time, a very international peloton of 3,200 cyclists from amateur to professional, have the chance to participate in a cycling event that will showcase the beauty of Northern Ireland on closed roads, Giro d’Italia style.
The Mourne Route is 173km with over 2.500mt. of climbing over some very tough climbs through the Mourne Mountains. The Strangford Route is 58km and brings the riders along a lovely route alongside Strangford Lough.
The success of this official legacy event from last year’s Giro d’Italia Big Start can certainly be qualified by the international attendance. Over 400 riders are traveling from the Republic of Ireland and many more from England, Scotland, Wales and Australia, New Zealand, USA, Malaysia, Lithuania, Poland and of course, Italy.
The organisers are putting together an unforgettable experience for the riders at the start / finish zone of Titanic Belfast. The set up and structures will mirror the Giro d’Italia itself. The celebratory finish line and handing out of the finisher’s medals will be quite the spectacle. Post ride, the participants will enjoy an official Gourmet Pasta Party where they will feast on DeCecco Pasta, Moy Park chicken parmigiana, Fantini Wines and Menabrea beer. Certainly they will have deserved this!
Darach McQuaid, of Shadetree Sports said: “We are very happy to be almost on the start line of our first Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia NI. I would like to express my thanks to our partners Tourism NI, PSNI and Newry, Mourne & Down Council amongst others in helping us make this event a big success. Northern Ireland continues to prove itself globally as a great destination to visit and we plan to grow this event over the coming years.”
Setanta Sports and TG4 have been confirmed as covering the event with broadcasts going out next week.
There is plenty going on for the family at Titanic Belfast over the weekend – Street Velodrome, an amazing pop-up velodrome will be on site and seeing this track racing up close will be a great thrill for all ages. Sustran’s NI are organizing a “Piccolo Fondo” on Saturday morning with kids rides coming in on various greenways to finish at the Gran Fondo event site.
Wednesday 17th June the Giro Trophy made an appearance at our partner Shelbourne Motors dealership in Portadown. A huge crowd turned out to get their picture taken with this iconic trophy.
In the official event App (iOS and Android), which is being released 18th June, there will be rider and spectator photo competitions in association with our official media partner, Belfast Telegraph. It also feature unique riders location functionality so family and friends can keep an eye on a rider’s progress .
So make sure to download the app and be in with a chance to win!
The Closing Ceremony will take place at 17:00 on Sunday 21st June where various category winners will be presented with prizes.