Video: Sean Kelly hails Giro d’Italia 2014 start in Ireland
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Video: Sean Kelly hails Giro d’Italia 2014 start in Ireland

by Shane Stokes at 5:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Video
States the Belfast-Dublin project will inspire fans of the sport and riders alike

Sean KellyFormer world number one Sean Kelly has applauded the fact that the Giro d’Italia will start in Ireland next year, saying that it is a massive boost for the sport on both sides of the border and also for the Irish riders who could take part.

Speaking at the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team launch on Tuesday in Belgium, he admitted to being surprised that the project was set to be confirmed today. He didn’t explain why, but it is likely a reference to the difficult economic conditions in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the two areas that the race will visit.

Despite that financial pressure, the necessary funding has been secured and the race will visit Ireland for the first time ever next May. Details will be confirmed this morning but it is understood that the race will start in Belfast and also visit Dublin, most likely over a three day time period.

“It is a good thing for cycling in Ireland, because for a race like the Giro to start and have a number of stages – it is great for cycling,” he told VeloNation in the video interview below. “I think it gives a great buzz, it creates a big interest.”

Kelly and his compatriot Stephen Roche were responsible for many young riders taking up the sport in the eighties and early nineties, with the television and press coverage they secured for their successes helping to motivate others to cycle, to race and to try to aim for pro contracts.

He believes that the Giro start could do the same thing. “It is good thing for the younger generation of people getting into the sport as they can go to see it. That will make them very enthusiastic to go on in the sport and to try to get to that level and take part in a race like the Giro and the Tour de France.”

Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin are currently part of the WorldTour peloton with the Team Saxo Tinkoff and the Garmin-Sharp team respectively. They have both told VeloNation this week that they hope to take part in the race, although the ultimate decision will be down to their team management.

Other Irish riders could potentially also be in the running, depending on what teams they are competing for in 2014 and whether or not they have a wildcard entry to the Giro.

Former Vuelta a España stage winner Philip Deignan, Martyn Irvine (UnitedHealthcare) and Irish national champion Matt Brammeier (Champion System) are each racing at Pro Continental level and will hope to be in a position to ride.

Several younger riders are aiming to step up from the Continental level for 2014, although the Giro start may come too soon for them.

Kelly’s thoughts can be seen in the video below. VeloNation will have more from today’s launch shortly.


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