Belfast Telegraph

Gran Fondo Belfast traffic and travel: Roads closed as thousands expected for 'Big Ride'

Thousands are expected to descend on Belfast for the Gran Fondo this Sunday with traffic management in place for closures along the two routes.

The Gran Fondo - or 'big ride' - is a legacy event from the Giro d'Italia, now in its third year. And this weekend's event will see participants take on two new routes in a change to previous years in order to minimise disruption to the city's traffic.

Both routes start and end at Stormont with one heading out to Strangford for a 'leisurely' 58km run and the other a more testing run to the Mournes and back coming in at 175km.

"We've really enjoyed our two years having the event from Titanic," said event organiser Darach McQuaid.

"Moving to Stormont we hope to minimise the impact our event road closures have on Belfast in particular."

"We are excited to move to Stormont, which saw big crowds for the 2014 Giro d'Italia Big Start Opening Stage."

Diversions will be in place for access to the Ulster Hospital, with anyone intending to visit asked to allow extra time for their journey. While there will be no restrictions around Belfast City Airport, motorists are advised to allow extra time.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd added: “We have invested significant time and effort in planning for Sunday’s event with organisers and partner agencies to ensure that this year’s Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia passes off successfully whilst causing as little disruption to normal everyday life as possible.

“For the safety of riders and spectators it is essential that all roads are clear from vehicles and that no one parks on any of the planned routes. 

“I want to reassure the public that we will do our utmost to keep disruption to an absolute minimum, however I would advise anyone if they are not planning to attend the event to avoid the routes which the race will take place and if you are travelling on the road networks on Sunday to allow extra time for their journey.”

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