Giro LaunchThe full route of the Giro d’Italia’s Gran Partenza was unveiled in Milan yesterday. One of world cycling’s biggest events will start in Belfast taking in such sights as the Titanic Museum, Stormont and the Giants Causeway before making it’s way south to Dublin on the weekend of May 9th to 11th.

Merrion Square in Dublin will host a two day Giro Festival and it is expected that most of the world’s leading cyclists, including Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans and Mark Cavendish, as well as Irish stars Nicholas Roche and Dan Martin will be taking part.

This is the first time a Grand Tour event has come to Ireland since hundreds of thousands lined the roads of Ireland to watch the starting stages of the Tour de France in 1998.

“We are really looking forward to bringing the Gran Partenza to Ireland in 2014,” said Shadetree Sport’s Darach McQuaid, speaking at the launch in Milan which was attended by Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster. She suggested the value of bringing the race to Ireland would be in the region of £10 million.

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The cost of staging the Belfast, Antrim and Armagh elements of the race is estimated at a little over £4 million.

Sponsorship of the race has largely been focused on Italian facing brands but Carlson Wagonlit Travel, with offices in Dublin, are involved as an official partner. It is likely that other sponsor opportunities around the Irish end will become available and we will carry details of these as the countdown continues.

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