Giro d'Italia 2014 - It all starts here - Big Start Northern Ireland 21 November 2013

Giro d'Italia 2014 starts in Northern Ireland -- taking in Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and Armagh. This annual multiple stage bicycle race is primarily held in Italy and along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Giro makes up cycling's prestigious, three week-long Grand Tours. The Grande Partenza or 'Big Start' of the Giro d'Italia will take place over three days from 9 -11 May 2014 and involves routes in Belfast, around the stunning Causeway Coast and Armagh before moving on to Dublin. First held in 1909, the Giro d'Italia is a long distance road bicycle stage race held for professional cyclists over a three week period in May and June annually. The Giro is hosted primarily in Italy, with a tradition of the start of the race being held outside the country. The Giro is one of the three Grand Tours (the others being the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España), and is part of the UCI World Ranking calendar. It is considered to be second only to the Tour de France in terms of prestige in the cycling world. The Giro is viewed around the world by a potential audience of 800 million, and 12.5 million people attended the Giro in 2011. The 2012 Giro was completed over 21 stages (three of which were in Denmark) and involved 22 teams with over 200 of the world's best riders taking part. Over 200 of the top professional cyclists from across the globe will be in Northern Ireland to take part and there will be a supporting programme of events and activities. There will be three days of pre-race celebrations in Belfast, followed by spectacular opening stages in Northern Ireland before racing from Armagh to Dublin. After the opening three stages the cyclists will fly from Dublin to continue the race in Italy. http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/Giro-dItalia-Big-Start-2014-Belfast-P34041