Video: Giro media centre abuzz with world’s press

It normally plays host to gigs and plays, and even welcomed US President Barack Obama last year, but for the past week the Waterfront Hall has been home to journalists from across the world as they cover every second of the spectacle that is the Giro d’Italia’s Grande Partenza.

Around 1,000 people received accreditation for the event as press - journalists, photographers, television and radio crews - from countries including Colombia, Denmark, France, Australia, Japan and of course the Giro’s home country of Italy - descended on Belfast for the first stages of the race.

The media centre in the Waterfront hall in Belfast. 'Picture By: Arthur Allison.

The media centre in the Waterfront hall in Belfast. 'Picture By: Arthur Allison.

The studio, a smaller room off the main theatre in the Waterfront, holds rows of tables decked in pink covers where press sit and watch every bit of the race on a projector screen, typing furiously on their laptops or taking calls from editors or people on the ground.

The planning of the Giro’s ‘Big Start’ in Northern Ireland has taken a few years, according to Valetina Cappello, a member of the official press corps.

The event starts outside Italy once every other year.

While the official accreditation process ended at the beginning of the month, Valentina estimates they received between 15 and 20 emails every day asking about press cards or with other queries around the event.

“I think things have gone smoothly so far - it has been almost perfect,” said the 25 year-old.

Italian sports journalist Paolo Viberti, who writes for Tuttosport in Turin, said the setup in Belfast is “perfect”.

Having been a journalist for 35 years, and covered the Giro 28 times, the 57 year-old is something of an expert when it comes to the event.

He told the News Letter he had spoken to Giro winner Stephen Roche, whose son Nicolas is riding with the Irish team, yesterday morning.

“Stephen said to me that Italy was so important for his career and he wanted to take something back to Belfast,” said Paolo.

“He feels the Giro will provide great publicity for Ireland.”