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Italy chief hails high quality Gran Fondo Northern Ireland ahead of Rome date

By Steven Beacom

Published 14/09/2016

The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Mark Kane as he wins The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Stephen Roche The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Joanna Miskelly, female winner of the Strangford route.
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Sammy Douglas watching on as he is unable to partake due to a cycling accident earlier in the week during The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Winners of the Strangford team race Titanic Quarter Cycling Club with Giani Bugno and Stephen Roche Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Mourne Route Ladies (L-R) Third Orla Montague, first Kathryn Smyth and Second Laura Wylie Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Mourne Route Men (L-R) ThirdSean McIntyre, first Mark Kane and Second David Hamilton with Mark's nephew Ryan Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Strangford team race Titanic Quarter Cycling Club Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Mourne Route Team race Dave Kane Cycles Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Mourne Route Men (L-R) ThirdSean McIntyre, first Mark Kane and Second David Hamilton with Mark's nephew Ryan Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The largest cycling club Titanic CC The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Irealnd on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Members of the Titanic Cycling Club prepared for the Gran Fondo 2015. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Telegraph man Colin O'Carroll at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gran Fondo winners celebrate. Pic: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Lakeside Wheelers from Mullingar. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Brian Flynn from Waterford. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Sarah, Adele and Matthew Davidson from Newtownabbey. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Duncan Campbell of the Titanic Cycling Club. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Patrick Murphy from Waterford. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo winners on the podium. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Misia Rookigues and Gerard Magill. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Mark Kane winner of the Grand Fondo. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Stuart Millar from Newtownards and Lydia Murphy from Saintfield. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Hand and hand in the rain across the line. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Joe McAuley from Newtownabbey. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Rev John Dickinson from Carnmoney Presbyterian Church. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Jessica (8), Tom and Finley (3) Faulks from Lisburn. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Ryan Kane (6). Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Patrick O'Reilly and Johnny McBrien from Lisnaskea. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Three generations of the Kane Cycles family celebrate Marke Kanes win at the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon. Winner Mark Kane on right with his father Dave nephew Ryan and brother Paul ,(left) who finished second behind his brother.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Winner Mark Kane explains how he was injured with cuts on his arms and legs after coming off in a collision with a police motorbike escort near the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Winner Mark Kane with cuts on his arms and legs after coming off in a collission with a police escort motor cycle near the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Mark Kane wins the Mournes Run of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Joelene Browning from Lisburn. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan Stephen Roche at the start line. The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Paul Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the race leader of the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
First three finishers in the Strangford Route Keith Murphy (2nd), Chris McKeown (Winner) and Paul Mikugis (3rd). Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Chris McKeown winner of the Strangford Route of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Keith Murphy, who suffers from leukaemia, finished second in the Strangford Route of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Joelene Browning from Lisburn at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Jessica (8), Tom and Finley (3) Faulks from Lisburn at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gordon McKay at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Joe McAuley from Newtownabbey at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Alex McGreevy at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Cathir Doyle (13) from Magherafelt, winner of the NI Tourist Board race in the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Belfast Telegraph's Riona O'Kane and Lee Taylor at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Trudy Brown from Belfast saddles up for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Teresa Ramdi from Italy and Isabella Romoli from Dublin with the Giro DItalia trophy at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Charlie Stewart (5) from Ballynure at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
East Belfast MLA Sammy Douglas at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Taveling in tamdem at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
At the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Read for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Thumbs up for the Mourne Route start at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Patrick O'Reilly and Johnny McBrien from Lisnaskea take a breather after the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Mary McCreesh and Grainne King from Co Fermannagh with their medals from the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Ryan Kane (6) at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
John McKeag (93) who worked as a welder at Harland and Wolff at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Hand and hand in the rain across the line at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
John McKeag (93) and his brother Milton McKeag (88) at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Mark Kane winner of the Grand Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Riders taking a corner during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Omagh Wheelers at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Keeping in touch during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gale Sergeant and Boris from Newtownabbey enjoying the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Starting off at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Off the line at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gearing up for the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Richie Port and Stephen Roche at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Stephen Roche moves to the start beside Richie Port at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Whiterock Wheelers checking the brakes ahead of the off at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Miaread McGurk and Samanatha Convery of Carn Cycle Club at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
David Maguire all the way from Sydney Australia at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Denise Todd from Banbridge at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Mambers of the Dave Kane Cycle Club ahead of the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Checking the figures at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Orla Wright, Elaine O'Boyle and Rosemary O'Kane fro the Glenns Cycling Club at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia gets underway at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia heads out of the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia begins at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia heads out of the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.

One of the most influential figures in Italian cycling has praised the success of the Gran Fondo in Northern Ireland.

And ahead of next month's Granfondo Campagnolo Roma in the Italian capital, Gianluca Santilli, who is responsible for amateur cycling in the Italian Federation and promoter of the Bike Economy, has invited riders from Northern Ireland to take part and compete in the big event in the eternal city.

The Gran Fondo Northern Ireland is a legacy of the iconic Giro d'Italia race which started in Belfast in 2014.

The Giro proved to be a hugely popular event with the Northern Ireland public and the Gran Fondo has taken on that mantle with thousands taking part over the last two years.

The success of the Northern Ireland version of the Gran Fondo has clearly made an impression around the globe.

Preparing for the Italian event, Mr Santilli made a point of noting how the public across Ulster have taken cycling to their hearts.

He said: "We have seen the success and growth of Gran Fondo events around the world.

"Look at Northern Ireland - after hosting a very successful Giro d'Italia Grande Partenza, the official legacy event, Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia NI, has been born.

"The people of Northern Ireland are once again falling in love with the bicycle."

Mr Santilli added: "We would welcome Northern Ireland riders interested in coming to Rome in October with open arms."

The Granfondo Campagnolo Roma takes place on October 7-9 and runs a variety of races for experienced riders, cycling enthusiasts and children.

If you are interested in taking part, register at: http://www.granfondoroma.com/

Meanwhile, a special cycling event is coming to Northern Ireland on November 26 with the now annual Emerald Fund banquet being staged at Titanic Belfast.

Among the guests will be former Scratch Race World champion Martyn Irvine, who, fresh from an impressive stint as an Olympic Games pundit for RTE, is coming out of retirement to race again.

Highly respected Irish riders Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche will also be in attendance for the glittering event, which raises money for charity.

Belfast Telegraph

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