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Gran Fondo 'was really great fun, I can't wait to do it again next year'

By Angela Rainey

Peter Morrison (40), photographer from east Belfast, said: "It was a tough course but well worth it, I'm glad I took part and also to complete it faster than I did last year, I'm feeling good about it."

Emma McWilliams (45), who completed the 40km Strangford route, said: "It was good fun although there was a few tricky areas, however, overall it really was worth taking part in. I definitely will do it again."

Sean McIntyre (31), software developer, who races for Orchard Cycling Club, Richhill, Co Armagh, said: "I've only been cycling for a few years but I entered because these guys with me sort of talked me into it. It was a great race and I'm delighted to have come third."

Andre Stewart (43), property manager, chairman of the Orchard Cycling Club, said: "I missed the race last year because I was in Italy so I really wanted to do it this year. It was hard in places but I feel great.

"It was a difficult climb, but we had a great group of riders behind us, it was well worth it."

Mark Coleman (38), bus driver from Hamiltonsbawn, Co Armagh, said: "It's my second time taking part, I cycle everywhere and got into it about five years ago with the Cycle to Work Scheme.

I beat last year's time to finish in five hours 11 minutes, so I'm really pleased with that. Everyone should give it a go."

Treasurer David Neill (47), a sales manager at Shelbourne Motors, Portadown, said: "It was a brilliant race. There are similar ones across Europe but it's great to have one in Northern Ireland.

"You don't have to travel far away to enter and it's good for the country to be recognised as a place of great cycling."

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