OFFICIAL GIRO BIG START LEGACY EVENT RETURNS TO NORTHERN IRELAND
SUNDAY 4 JUNE 2017 WILL SEE THE THIRD EDITION OF THE GRAN FONDO GIRO D’ITALIA NORTHERN IRELAND
New Start/Finish Venue and Economic Impact Grows
Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia is moving to a new venue for the start/finish , rider registration and event expo. Stormont Estate, which was featured in the iconic opening team time trial of the 2014 Giro d’Italia Big Start, will be the new headquarters for the event on June 3rd and 4th.
Darach McQuaid of Shadetree Sports, the event organisers said: “We have really enjoyed our two years of having the event based at Titanic Belfast. We had great partners there from TB to TQL and the Harbour Police. Moving to Stormont Estate we hope to minimse the impact our event road closures have on Belfast in particular. The route changes are minimal and the overall length of both the Mourne and Strangford routes will not see much of a change. We are excited to move to Stormont Estate which saw such big crowds during the 2014 Giro d’Italia Big Start opening stage. In particular, the estate will offer our riders and their families a beautiful setting throughout the weekend to relax and enjoy the grounds. Also for Shadetree Sports, delivering on our economic impact aims for our key partner Tourism NI is very important, and this has been a success.”
A short list of previous big events, which have been held at Stormont Estate:
The 2014 Giro d’Italia Big Start
Red Bull Crashed Ice
The Queens visit
Race for life (Cancer Research)
Walk Ten (Marie Curie)
Memory Walk (Alzheimer’s Society)
Run In The Dark (The Mark Pollock Foundation)
There will be free parking within the grounds on Saturday and Sunday for Gran Fondo participants. Further details of the registration and Gran Fondo Expo will be released in the coming days.
Tourism Northern Ireland’s Director of Business Support and Events, Aine Kearney, said: “The Gran Fondo is a major legacy event following 2014’s hugely successful Giro d’Italia Big Start, with a growing economic impact on Northern Ireland. It showcases our beautiful landscape to riders and international media, increasing awareness of Northern Ireland as a premium cycling and tourism destination.
Almost a quarter of participants in the 2016 Gran Fondo were from out-of-state and the economic impact was immediate, with riders and their families filling local hotels and restaurants.”
The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia is the official legacy event from the 2014 Giro d’Italia Big Start. Each year the event has grown and 2017 will see its biggest field yet, with riders registered from Russia, USA, Canada, Australia, all over Europe and Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
The economic impact of the event has grown year on year. In 2016 over 23% of the participants were from out of state and over 7750 bed nights were generated for the Northern Ireland economy. The 2016 event generated an economic impact of over £1.5m for the local economy with over 88% of our visitors describing the event as “good” or “extremely good.
The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia NI weekend is fast becoming one of the “must-ride” sportives in the UK and Ireland. Cycling Plus Magazine placed the event in the Top 5 “Best of 2016” and Cycling Weekly Magazine rated it “One of the top 16 sportives to ride in the UK and Ireland.” The event is rider-focused and we understand what is important to Gran Fondistas and aim to deliver a special experience.
Richie Porte, Gianni Bugno and Stephen Roche have been part of our ride and we will be announcing big name stars in the coming weeks who will help us celebrate the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia with some special events.
The Giro d’Italia trophy, “Trofeo Senza Fine” will be on site at the Giro Expo and will be available for riders and fans to get their photos taken with this iconic sports trophy.
The Giro Expo will take place Saturday 3 June and Sunday 4 June. Rider registration, cycle industry, Food NI vendors and post ride pasta party will all be buzzing over the whole weekend.