Belfast Telegraph

300,000 line route of final Giro leg in Ireland

By Claire Williamson

Hundreds of thousands of people lined highways and byways south of the border to bid arrivederci to the Giro D'Italia.

One of the world's most famous cycle races crossed the border from Armagh into Louth around lunchtime then scorched its way along the east coast towards Dublin.

Along the way young and old packed the streets of Castlebellingham, Drogheda, Skerries, Swords, Malahide and Clontarf for a glance of the speeding peloton and the famous Maglia Rosa – the leader's pink jersey.

The official caravan for the Giro d'Italia stopped in Dundalk, Drogheda, Balbriggan, Malahide and Dublin with promotional items.

Many spectators were kitted out in pink ponchos, raincoats and headwear to protect them from the forecasted rain.

But despite threatening weather in Dublin earlier in the day, the sun came out to welcome the 200-odd top-level cyclists at the end of their 187km route.

Marcel Kittel was in the pink as he celebrated his 26th birthday in style by clinching victory in the stage three Irish leg 24 hours after winning in Belfast.

The German rider collapsed off his bike at the end of a gruelling sprint finish after arriving into a thronged Merrion Square where crowds roared on the competitors outside Government Buildings.

Up to 300,000 people turned out to watch the event throughout the Republic.

Dublin City Council advised spectators to line the route from the O2 along the quays to welcome Giro d'Italia to Dublin city.

The three-week race, which was won by Ireland's own Stephen Roche in 1987, now heads back home to Italy, but those who watched it will never forget it.

Belfast Telegraph