Top European cyclists for AmberGreen Energy Tour of Ulster
Cycling enthusiasts are set to relive the brilliance of the Giro d'Italia next May as teams from across Europe will descend on Northern Ireland's roads for one of Ireland's longest running races, the AmberGreen Energy Tour of Ulster.
Established in 1957, the Tour has become embedded in the local racing calendar and is expected to attract top riders from Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Italy, Holland, Great Britain and Ireland.
The event, which was launched outside Stormont last week, will see Northern Ireland turn pink once again as cyclists battle it out for the race leader's coveted pink jersey as they compete through the four-stage route.
Cyclists will be taken on a route that leads from Belfast to Newry then onto Armagh before finishing in Cookstown during the 2015 May Bank Holiday weekend.
Chairman of AmberGreen Energy, Neil O'Brien, said: "The appetite in Northern Ireland for cycling is unbelievable. Earlier this year, figures revealed that cycling and mountain biking tourism is worth about £100m to the Northern Ireland economy.
"This is a sport which has phenomenal support with people donning their cycle gear at every available opportunity - in hail, rain or shine.
"The atmosphere during the Giro d'Italia was amazing. Everyone seemed to embrace the 'Fight For Pink' as the teams travelled the length and breadth of the country.
"We are delighted to take this opportunity to show our commitment to the people of Northern Ireland, to celebrate the legacy of the Giro d'Italia and to begin a long-term relationship with Ireland's most famous cycling race."
Dr Howard Hastings OBE, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, added: "The AmberGreen Energy Tour of Ulster will be a fantastic way to celebrate the legacy of the Giro d'Italia.
"This will be yet another platform to showcase our region as a great place to visit where sporting events, like cycling races, are celebrated by everyone."