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East Meath set to turn pink for Giro d'Italia

Story by John Donohoe

Friday, 25th April, 2014 8:06pm

East Meath set to turn pink for Giro d'Italia

Dublin footballer Kevin McManamon and Summerhill's Marie Lousie Reilly, Irish Women’s rugby player with Hannah Brannigan and Jake Harris in Dublin's Italian Quarter to prepare for the arrival of the Giro d’Italia, on Sunday May 11th.

For one fleeting moment, the east Meath countryside will be visible across the world next month as the famed international cycle race, the Giro d’Italia, passes through.
The 97th running of the classic race sees it starting in Ireland for the first time, and day three of the event will see the extraordinary entourage of colourful riders pass through the county on their way from Armagh to Dublin. The race starts in Belfast with a time trial on 9th May, followed by the first stage in Northern Ireland on 10th May, and the 187 km trip from Armagh to Dublin on Sunday 11th May.
A key location on the trip down the old Belfast to Dublin route will be Julianstown, where the Giro’s travelling ‘Open Village’ will arrive on the morning of the race passing through. In Italy, these open villages attract hundreds of thousands, and are open to the public, where all sorts of merchandising is available, as well as entertainment as people wait the arrival of the cyclists.
Last year, the Giro crossed 17 regions and over 500 cities, with 207 riders coming from 30 different countries. The international media presence following the Giro will be substantial, with 1,595 personnel accredited. Some 78 international newspapers, 25 photo agencies, 1,132 journalists, 463 photographers, eight international radio stations, 30 Italian and international TV companies, 10 international news agencies, 70 international websites and 35 international magazines will be following the race, and that’s apart from the domestic Italian media. Social media plays a big part in the coverage, while TV broadcassts worldwide reaches a global culminated audience of 591 million in 174 countries.
Stephen Roche famously won the triple crown of the Tour De France, Giro d’Italia, and World Championships in 1987, and his son, Nicolas, and nephew, Dan Martin, will provide an Irish interest in this year’s Giro. Both riders are very familiar in Meath, a county with a huge cycling and Ras Tailteann tradition, where many have taken up the sport again in recent years. Roche runs an annual cycle tour around the county, organised by his uncle, Laurence, who lives in Dunshaughlin, while Martin leads the charity Cycle4life from Dunboyne, also traversing the roads of Meath.
Martin will lead his team, Garmin Sharp, in the Giro. He is this month defending his one day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege title, won last year, and also won his first stage in the Tour de France last July. Roche, who was injured in training in January, will be back in action to represent his Tinkoff Saxo team. Another Irish cyclist, Philip Duignan will also be hoping to take part with Team Sky.
‘The Big Start’ of the Giro will see a week of festivities in Dublin and Belfast in the run up to the opening stages. The ‘Fight for Pink’ is the theme of the race, as the leader wears a pink jersey, the ‘Maglia Rose’. Pink is the paper colour of the La Gazzetta dello Sport, the founding newspaper of the race, which started the race in 1909 as an effort to boost circulation.

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