Darach McQuaid video: Giro 2014 start in Ireland ‘full of positive symbolism’
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Darach McQuaid video: Giro 2014 start in Ireland ‘full of positive symbolism’

by Shane Stokes at 5:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Giro d'Italia, Video
Hoping race brings about renewal of Tour of Ireland

Darach McQuaidOver a decade after it was hoped that a North/South Tour of Ireland might be established and act as a symbolic indication of the peace process, a major international race crossing the border in the island will happen next year after the confirmation of the Giro d’Italia start in Belfast in 2014.

Featuring two stages in the northern capital and then a third leg running from Armagh to Dublin, the event should illustrate that the previous long-running conflicts have dissipated and that there is a clearer spirit of cooperation between communities in the north, and also between that area and the Republic of Ireland.

Shadetree Sports’ Darach McQuaid has been heavily involved in securing the Giro start for Ireland. He agrees that the hosting of the event will be a strong reflection of the peace in the north. “For me as a member of a family that comes from Northern Ireland, the symbolism was always in the back of my mind,” he told VeloNation during a video interview conducted at last Thursday’s announcement.

“I think there is the symbolism of a race that has pink as a colour, not any other colours that people might be wrapped around, the symbolism of the race actually going across a border which doesn’t really exist any more, the symbolism of the Giro starting in Belfast which is such a vibrant city now. It it is quite heavy with symbolism, no doubt, but positive symbolism.”

Like the north, the Republic of Ireland has been affected by the global recession; it also suffered the aftermath of banking crises in the country. Cutbacks are taking place on both sides of the border and so in that light, securing a race costing an estimated €4.7 million is a considerable achievement, even if it is projected that the return could be three times that amount.

McQuaid said that he received important cooperation on both sides of the border and that this was crucial in helping secure the Grande Partenza of what is cycling’s second-biggest stage race.

“Both governments took a very positive view of this bid and supported it in the necessary way to win,” he said. “There were competitive competing bids from other venues for the 2014 start.”

McQuaid is the brother of UCI president Pat McQuaid and previously was involved in running the Tour of Ireland. That took place between 2008 and 2010 but stopped due to difficulties in securing the necessary budget to continue beyond that point.

While bringing the race to Ireland will be a boost in itself, he is hoping that there is a longer-lasting effect. “I think it a massive boost for Irish cycling in terms of one of the world’s biggest races coming to our shores, North and South,” he said.

“My plan is that this creates a legacy to relaunch the Tour of Ireland. It is not just about the Giro coming, which is in itself a massive thing, but I think a profile and the catalyst that this could become is to relaunch the Tour of Ireland.”

Also see:

Giro d’Italia 2014 Grande Partenza confirmed for Belfast

Michele Acquarone Video: It’s very important for the Giro d’Italia to go global


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