Giro d’Italia 2014 start in Ireland set to be confirmed next week
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Giro d’Italia 2014 start in Ireland set to be confirmed next week

by Shane Stokes at 10:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Belfast and Dublin launches point to official announcement

Giro dGiro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport appears poised to confirm the start of the 2014 edition of the race in Ireland when it holds a launch next Thursday, February 21st, in Belfast and Dublin.

Titled ‘the Giro d’Italia lands in Ireland’ and billed as an ‘official presentation of a new collaboration between RCS Sport and the island of Ireland,’ the twin launches come after considerable speculation in recent months.

The race has never begun in the country, which hosted its only GrandTour start in 1998 when the first three days of the Tour de France were held there.

Last October the Belfast Telegraph revealed that plans to host the start of the race were being considered by officials in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, including government employees plus those working for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) plus the southern equivalent Failte Ireland.

It said that the estimated cost of the project would be £3.8 million (4.7 million euro), with a projected return of £10 million (12.4 million euro). At the time the NITB told VeloNation that it could not yet comment on the matter.

On January 11th of this year l’Equipe reported that it had been decided that the race would start in Belfast and that Dublin would also feature.

It is believed that the likely date for the event would see the first stages run off over the bank holiday weekend of May 2 to 4, 2014.

RCS Sport gave a firm ‘no comment’ at the time, but the news of the joint launch to be held in Belfast and Dublin in five days now makes it all but certain that the race start in Ireland next year.

The project is being organised in conjunction with Shadetree Sports, a company which previously was involved in running the Tour of Ireland and which helped secure the 2015 world championships in Richmond. Pat McQuaid’s brother Darach has a senior role in the company.

The Belfast launch will be held at the Titanic Belfast building, with the Dublin launch to follow five hours later at the Dublin Civic Offices on Wood Quay.

Once confirmed, it will mean that the first two Grand Tours of 2014 will begin in islands in Northern Europe. Next year’s Tour de France will start in Yorkshire in Britain.

Ireland’s Shay Elliott took the country’s first Grand Tour stage win in 1960 when he won stage 18 of the Giro. Martin Earley took a stage in 1986, while Stephen Roche became the overall race winner one year later.

His son Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo Tinkoff) told the Irish Independent today that if the race starts in Belfast next year, that he hopes to take part. First cousin Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) is also on a team that will race, while Irish pros such as Philip Deignan and Martyn Irvine (UnitedHealthcare) plus road race champion Matt Brammeier (Champion System) will also hope to be part of squads with invitations.

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