Preparations in place as Giro set to hit the road

Belfast City Hall  ready for this year's Giro d'Italia.
Belfast City Hall ready for this year's Giro d'Italia.

When the much anticipated Giro d’Italia gets under way in Northern Ireland next week, there will be number of temporary crossing point closures in addition to the main road traffic diversions.

More than 200 of the world’s top cyclists will be taking part in the spectacle and a special Giro caravan will be travelling ahead of the riders – handing out promotional items at various locations along the route.

The first traffic diversions will take place around Belfast City Hall on Thursday evening for the pre-race team presentation, with the event itself getting under way on Friday afternoon, May 9.

Friday’s road closures – between 4pm and 8.30pm – affect: Belfast Titanic Quarter, Upper Newtownards Road, Stormont, Newtownards Road, Queen’s Bridge, Oxford Street, Ormeau Road, Stranmillis Embankment, University Road, Bradbury Place, Wellington Place and Belfast City Hall.

However, there will be a practice session in the morning along the same route and roads will be closed from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

On Saturday, roads along the route will be closed between 8am and 5pm, taking in Belfast Titanic Quarter, Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Bushmills, Ballycastle, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough, Glenarm, Ballygally, Larne, Whitehead, Carrickfergus and Belfast City Hall.

Sunday’s race begins in Armagh with the roads closed from 7am. The third and final day begins in Armagh, passing through Loughgall, Richhill, Markethill, Keady, Newtownhamilton, Forkhill before crossing the border on the road to Dublin. All roads will be reopened by 2pm.

With the race expected to attract thousands of spectators, Armagh Presbyterian Church will be entering into the Giro spirit – serving pink bacon butties outside the church from 9.30am as the riders pass through the cathedral city on Sunday.

The Sunday service will be held in the church at mid-day. Minister Tony Davidson said the congregation wanted to be part of such an exciting day.

“We believe God has called us for this time and in this place to be a witnessing and worshipping community to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“We would like to celebrate together what God is doing in our city.”