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Published on : Thursday, May 21, 2015
For amateur cyclists around the world, these closed-road Gran Fondo sportives are limited in number to keep them unique, but the special welcome Northern Ireland gave the professionals last year has earned a three-year legacy from the Giro organisers.
The first Gran Fondo, on 21 June, promises a very special event on the global sportive calendar.
The 1987 Giro d’Italia champion and legendary Irish rider Stephen Roche will be there to welcome cyclists, tell stories and ride the route, giving riders an opportunity to ride alongside him.
Team Sky rider and world number two-ranked professional Richie Portewill also take part, and more well-known names from the cycling world will be announced in the run-up to the event.
Starting and finishing at the iconic Titanic Belfast, the Gran Fondo’s two routes will take riders through the Mourne Mountains or along the shores of Strangford Lough.
Everything will be aimed at creating an authentic Giro d’Italia experience, including fully closed roads, mechanical support, the famous Northern Irish welcome and stunning routes.
The Mourne Route, a 177 Km ride, will challenge the fittest riders by providing tough climbs and inspire each rider by bringing them through some breath-taking scenery.
The Strangford Route, a 58 Km loop touching the glistening shores of Strangford Lough, is achievable for beginner and novice cyclists.
Both routes start and finish at the iconic Titanic Belfast building, where two of the Grande Partenza stages started, and take in Titanic Quarter views of the iconic Harland and Wolff cranes and shipyard.
Participants can avail of fully stocked food and hydration stations on both routes, a Giro gift bag with unique items, a massive post ride gourmet pasta party with beer and wine, and finishers’ medals.
The Gran Fondo will be preceded by cycling events and activities on the day before the main event.
Tags: Northern Ireland style