Giro d’Italia to start in Ireland in 2014?
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Giro d’Italia to start in Ireland in 2014?

by VeloNation Press at 11:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Grand Tour cycling could return to northern European island

Giro dFourteen years after the Tour de France started in Dublin, a plan to host the beginning of the 2014 Giro d’italia in Ireland is currently being considered by officials in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

A proposal to host cycling’s second-biggest stage race has been made to representatives from both sides of the border and government officials plus the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) plus the southern equivalent Failte Ireland are considering the cross border submission.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the estimated cost of the project would be £3.8 million (4.7 million euro), while the projected return has been put at up to £10 million (12.4 million euro).

VeloNation contacted the NITB today but was told that no information could yet be provided on the issue. The Telegraph states that the Press Association has seen a confidential report on the issue which suggests that plans are at an advanced stage.

Shadetree Sports, a company which previously was involved in running the Tour of Ireland and which helped secure the 2015 world championships in Richmond, is understood to be involved. Pat McQuaid’s brother Darach has a senior role in the company.

A spokesman for Shadetree Sports said that the project was an ongoing one, and that more details could emerge soon.

The Giro d’Italia has never started in Ireland before, and hosting it in the country would be big news for the sporting and cycling communities. It would also be expected to generate a big tourism boost, both in terms of immediate benefits from the spectators who travel to see the race, and also longer term from the promotional effects of hosting a major televised sporting event there.

The likely date for the 2014 event would see the first stages run off over the bank holiday weekend of May 2 to 4, 2014, with day one taking place in Belfast. It is not yet known which other cities are bidding for the rights.

The fact that the race has never begin in Ireland may boost the chances, given that history will be made if the deal goes ahead. However it will also be necessary for organisers to plan well, given the logistical challenges that would be involved in moving the peloton, the race and others back to Italy or elsewhere in mainland Europe.

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