Successful Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Northern Ireland
The inaugural Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Northern Ireland took place over the weekend of June 20/21 and it has been hailed as a huge success.
Titanic Belfast, was the main hub over the weekend which saw 3,200 cyclists and their friends and families arrive to collect their bib numbers, timing chips and Giro Gift bag on Saturday.
The Gran Fondo geared up on Sunday morning with the 173km Mourne Route starting at 7.30am and the 58km Strangford Route starting at 8.00am. The sight of over 3,000 cyclists lined up in various grids on the Titanic Slipways was incredible.
The cyclists were greeted with huge crowds, pink balloons, decorated roundabouts, banners all along the route and most importantly.
Speaking on the success of the event Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Naomi Bailie said, “The Council is particularly pleased to be part of this hugely successful Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia which featured both the Strangford and Mournes. With the event committed to Northern Ireland for three years we looking forward to working with the promoters to grow this event, encouraging greater community involvement and raising the profile of the Mournes and Strangord as a cycling destination.”
With Belfast man Mark Kane winning the 173km Gran Fondo event, there followed many hours of cyclists of different levels arriving, all with epic tales of their experiences cycling through spectacular scenery, up challenging climbs and through welcoming communities. The post ride gourmet pasta party was a site to behold. Riders enjoyed pasta, Moy Park chicken parmigiana and pizza served with Menabrea beer and Fantini Wines. A very Italian way to end their day.
Global stars Richie Porte and Stephen Roche were on hand to present the prizes at the Gran Fondo podium to the various category winners. It was fitting that Titanic Quarter Cycling Club, set up last year as a direct legacy of the Giro d’Italia Big Start, should win the Moy Park Team Giro first prize on the Strangford Route. Dave Kane Cycles won the Moy Park Team Giro for the Mourne Route.