Belfast Telegraph

Giro d'Italia: Eyes of the world will be on iconic race as millions set to tune in

By Claire Williamson

Get ready to feast your eyes on an event of a colossal scale.

The Giro d'Italia is unparalleled as one of the world's most iconic cycling events.

Over the next few days, more than 140,000 visitors are expected to descend on Northern Ireland, with 42,000 of those coming from outside the country.

They will all be battling for the best spot to watch around 200 of the world's toughest cyclists from more than 30 countries – together with their technical teams and sponsors – storm in to Belfast. The race is set to attract massive international media coverage. According to the organisers, last year's Giro was broadcast in 174 countries, reaching 125 million households and a global audience of about 775 million people.

More than one billion unique users on websites across the world followed the 2013 Giro d'Italia 2013.

And let's not forget the scores of media Press teams arriving in their droves to capture every second of the event. Going on last year's figures, there will be approximately 1,595 journalists, including 463 photographers from around the world. This year marks the 97th staging of the race, which started in May 1909. Since 1996, the country hosting the Big Start has changed every other year.

Northern Ireland is joining an impressive hall of fame along with Austria, France, Belgium and Greece, who have all held the Big Start. The race lasts for three weeks and the winner of the gruelling event is determined by their total time over the three weeks, rather than the first past the post. During the three days in Ireland, cyclists will be travelling up to an exhausting 60km/hr along the 426.7km and will cycle a total distance of almost 3,450km.

The first Irishman to win the Giro d'Italia was Stephen Roche in 1987 – the same year he won the Tour de France and the World Championship. This is the 11th year the Big Start will be outside of Italy.

Factfile

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.

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