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Ireland on view for 750 million in Giro spectacular

AROUND 750 million people worldwide will get to see Ireland as the Giro d'Italia cycle race speeds down the east coast into Dublin this weekend.

The race that was famously won by our own Stephen Roche in 1987 will travel from Belfast tomorrow, arriving in the capital on Sunday afternoon.

And in the words of Tourism Minister Michael Ring, it is "publicity we could not buy".

The logistics behind the event are immense, and apart from the 200 competitors there will be nearly 100 support vehicles and hundreds of foreign journalists.

COVERAGE

More than 20,000 people are also expected to travel to Ireland to catch a glimpse of the race, with an obvious boost to hotels, bars and restaurants north and south of the border.

"We are delighted to have this event in Ireland. It is important, not only because it is a big cycling event, but because cycling tourism is growing in this country," said Minister Ring.

"From the coverage we hope to get many thousands of visitors in the years ahead."

Dublin's Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn said he hoped that the city would enjoy a taste of la dolce vita on the banks of the Liffey from the Italian-themed cultural programme surrounding the event.

The bid to bring the 'grande partenza', or big start, of Giro 2014 to Ireland was led by Shadetree Sport's Darach McQuaid, who said the race will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the world's finest cyclists compete on our doorstep.

The third stage sees the riders travel from Armagh at 11.45am on Sunday, through Drogheda, Dundalk, Balbriggan, Swords, Malahide, along the coast road through Clontarf before making its way to the finish line at Merrion Square at approximately 4.15pm.

There will be plenty of vantage points for spectators along the route and it is all free.

But what about the weather? Met Eireann has predicted it will be cool and breezy with a combination of sunny spells and showers.

The event will mean road closures on the day, with details on the www.discoverireland.ie website.

In Dublin the Howth Road from Kilbarrack Road to James Larkin Road, Clontarf Road, Alfie Byrne Road, East Wall Road, North Wall Quay, Custom House Quay and Talbot Memorial Bridge will be closed from 1.30pm to 5pm on Sunday.

CLOSED

City Quay, Lombard Street, Wastland Row, Lincoln Place, Merrion Street Lower, Clare Street, Leinster Street South and Merrion Square North will be closed from 12.30am to 5pm.

Merrion Square South will be closed from 5am on Saturday to 11pm on Sunday. Merrion Square West and Mount Street Upper from 4pm Saturday to 11pm Sunday. And Merrion Square East, Merrion Street Upper and Fitzwilliam Street Lower from 9am Saturday to 11pm Sunday.

Minister Ring has urged election candidates to remove their posters from lamp-posts along the route until the race is over.

CFEEHAN@HERALD.IE


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