Belfast Telegraph

Visionary route is praised by organiser

By Steven Beacom

The race route in Northern Ireland for the Giro d'Italia has been hailed as visionary by one of the event's top officials.

Paolo Bellino, Director of RCS Sport, who organise the Giro, believes the three days of racing here will showcase Northern Ireland in the best way possible across the globe.

Last night the first stage took place around some of Belfast's most famous sites such as Titanic Quarter and Stormont while today the riders will race on the Causeway Coastal route.

Tomorrow the sights of Armagh will be to the fore before the Giro bids farewell to Northern Ireland and moves south to Dublin prior to the last few weeks of competition in Italy.

Bellino has savoured the warm welcome all connected with the race have received in Northern Ireland and is confident the action and the route will help pay back the hospitality.

"It is a pleasure being here. This is a very important country and we have been given a great welcome," said Bellino.

"Belfast is dressed up for the Giro and we have enjoyed getting to the starting line. Over the weekend we are keen to see how many people will be around the roads to follow the race because we have sensed a great feeling towards the race.

"This is a very important time for the Giro being here in Northern Ireland.

"It is a great sporting event, we have great champions in cycling here and 171 countries will be broadcasting and transmitting the race around Europe and the world. I'm expecting only positive things over the next few days."

On the route, Bellino added: "It was a very good choice between ourselves and the local organising committee as well as the government here.

"It will show some of the best places in Northern Ireland to the world and I think it is a very intelligent vision to promote the country itself around a sporting event. A very good path and very good course have been chosen for all the riders and spectators to enjoy."

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