Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly saddles up as amateurs take Giro route
Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly joined 1,000 enthusiastic amateur riders for a Big Italian Bike Ride ahead of the Giro d'Italia.
Inspired by the imminent 'Grande Partenza' – Big Start – the amateurs took to the roads that the world's top cyclists will be tearing up in a few days.
Northern Ireland is hosting the first three days of the 97th Giro d'Italia race from Friday until next Sunday.
Ahead of the start, Queen's University will also be embracing the pink theme of the world-famous road race.
A series of public events, including a six-hour Giro-themed spinathon, begins at Queen's at 1pm and a garden party with Italian food and drink, competitions and music starts at 3pm.
Queen's Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tony Gallagher, said: "We look forward to staff, students and visitors taking the opportunity to see first-hand one of the world's most elite and iconic cycling events."
Students' Union president Niall McShane added: "It is fantastic that we have the Giro d'Italia coming to our front door and we encourage students to get involved in the festival of activities on offer."
BBC Northern Ireland will follow every high-speed twist and turn as some of the world's top cyclists negotiate three stages taking them to the north coast, through the Glens of Antrim, and from Armagh to Dublin. Shane Glynn, editor of BBC Sport NI, said: "The colour, the speed, the sheer size of the peloton and the support crews is going to be spectacular and I'm absolutely delighted that BBC Northern Ireland is going to be bringing our audience live coverage."
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "Anticipation is high as we prepare to host over 200 top professional cyclists from across the globe, who will push themselves to the limit as they battle to earn the right to wear the coveted pink jersey."
Thursday: Team Presentation public event at Belfast City Hall
Day 1, Friday: East and South Belfast, passing Stormont. Start Titanic Quarter; finish Belfast City Hall
Day 2, Saturday: East and north Antrim coastline, returning via Ballymena. Start Titanic Quarter; finish Belfast City Hall
Day 3, Sunday: The Mall, Armagh to Dublin City Centre