Friday, May 9 – The 2014 edition of the Giro d'Italia will begin in the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Stage 1 is a 21.7 kilometre team time trial. The stage finishes in the city centre. (Route and profile maps)
Giro 2014: Route stage 1: Belfast – Belfast
Foreign Giro start
The first time the Giro started abroad was in 1965 yet still took place within Italian borders. Quiz questions: 1/ how is that possible, 2/ in what country did the 1965 Giro d’Italia start?
The last time the Giro d’Italia started abroad was in 2012 with the race beginning in Copenhagen. 2014 will see the first visit to Ireland however.
Giro’s stage 1 and Belfast
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, has a population of slightly under 300.000. It’s located at the mouth of River Lagan and at the end of an estuary that runs to the Irish Sea. The city has a rich maritime industry and is the birthplace of the Titanic.
Stage 1 of the 2014 Giro is a team time trial that never leaves the city limits of Belfast. The total length is 21.7 kilometres
The stage starts in the Titanic Quarter, a relatively new area on the water side. After some initial steering, riders head west – taking the long and straight Newtownards Road. The first intermediate time control takes place at Stormont– after 7.9 kilometres. A negligible bump will likely dampen the momentum somewhat, but there’s no real climbing today.
After a short ‘Giro di Stormont’, the route takes the riders back on the road they came. The second intermediate time check is at 15.3 kilometres on Oxford street. The last few kilometres are more technical which makes sense given we are in the city centre. The finish line is at Donegal Square in the heart of the city.
Answer quiz question
How is it possible for a race to take place within a country’s borders and still be abroad?
If the foreign country is within those borders. The 1965 Giro started in San Marino, a tiny country bordered only by Italy. San Marino is the world’s oldest republic, it has a population of just 31,000.
Giro 2014 Stage 1: Images and more!
Click on the images to zoom.