Belfast Telegraph

Giro d'Italia: Arrivederci to Belfast, buongiorno to Armagh...

By Amanda Ferguson

The ancient Cathedral City of Armagh will host the final stage of the Grande Partenza – Big Start – as Northern Ireland prepares to say 'arrivederci' to the Giro d'Italia cyclists.

Following stage two today, stage three of the world's second biggest cycle race tomorrow will see competitors journey 187km from Armagh city to Loughgall, Richhill, Hamiltonsbawn, Markethill and Keady before crossing the border at Dundalk for the journey on to Dublin.

Today, an Armagh and Italian speciality food and craft market, including a Big Bake Off wood-burning pizza oven, has been organised to tempt people off their saddles.

Urban artist Dean Kane from Visual Waste is to create a Giro-themed artwork, plus music and extreme sports displays.

Riders will sign in for tomorrow's action at the Race Start Village at The Shambles Yard in the city, with the public able to listen to pre-race interviews and watch the athletes' departure at roughly 11.20am.

The Giro publicity caravans will pass through a number of locations ahead of the riders to indicate they will soon be coming through. At each stop there will be entertainment and giveaways for all the family to enjoy.

Special church services will be on for those keen to worship while in Armagh.

There will be Mass at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral tomorrow at 9am.

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At St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, there will be a celebration of Holy Communion at 7am.

The cathedral is open to visitors between 9am and 5pm, and at 3.15pm a service of choral evensong will be staged.

Also on offer tomorrow, after the riders depart, are one-hour guided coach tours of Armagh's apple orchards, departing from Armagh City Hotel.

After the cyclists leave for Dublin, the fun continues on the other side of the border, where 55,000 fans are expected to line the route.

The riders are due at the finish line in Dublin's Merrion Square at 4.30pm tomorrow, where a fun park will entertain families and fans.

Buildings in Dublin have all got into the pink, including Dublin Airport, City Hall, civic offices and Merchant's Arch in Temple Bar.

The weather in the final stretch in the Republic could prove challenging for cyclists and spectators, with Met Eireann predicting cool and breezy conditions with a mixture of sunshine and showers. The Giro, famously won by an Irishman – Stephen Roche – in 1987, has been welcomed as a major boost to the island of Ireland's tourism coffers, with experts saying it could be worth £10m in the long term.

Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana – estimated to be the best climber in the sport – can be easily spotted by his Movistar jersey and is tipped to win the event overall, though he is expected to struggle south of the border since the route will not suit his style.

Road closures

Up to date information on public road closures can be found at trafficwatchni.com/giro.

RESULTS AFTER DAY ONE

1Orica Greenedge0:24:42 
2Omega Pharma-QuickStep0:00:05 
3BMC0:00:07 
4Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:23 
5Team Sky0:00:35 
6Astana0:00:38 
7Cannondale0:00:53 
8Movistar Team0:00:55 
9Giant-Shimano0:00:56 
10Ag2r-La Mondiale0:00:58 
11Trek Factory Racing0:01:00 
12Belkin0:01:01 
13Neri Sottoli  
14Bardiani-CSF0:01:07 
15Androni Giocattoli0:01:14 
16FDJ.fr0:01:18 
17Lampre-Merida0:01:20 
18Colombia0:01:22 
19Katusha0:01:33 
20Lotto Belisol0:01:34 
21Europcar0:01:48 
22Garmin-Sharp0:03:26 

To keep track of all our Giro d'Italia coverage, click here

BACKGROUND

97th staging of the event

During its three days in Ireland, cyclists will travel 426.7km.

Over the three weeks, they will cycle almost 3,450km.

A potential audience of 775 million people is expected across 174 countries.

Expected to generate £2.5m for the economy, with some £10m-worth of international media coverage.

Giro d'Italia route: from Belfast to Trieste

Giro d'Italia route profile: stages 1-10

Giro d'Italia route profile: stages 11-20

Giro d'Italia route map: stages 1-8

Giro d'Italia route map: stages 9-16

Giro d'Italia route map: stages 17-21

Giro d'Italia team colours

Interactive Graphic: Giro d'Italia route

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