Buongiorno from Stage 2 of the 97th Giro d’Italia, starting and finishing in Belfast (219 km) via a stage route that circles the north-eastern part of Northern Ireland and resonates with allusions to the common cultural heritage of Northern Ireland and Italy. A peloton consisting of 196 riders passed kilometer 0 (Antrim Road, A6) at 10.53 am.
Maglia Rosa (pink) Balocco’ (leader, General Classification): Svein Tuft (Orica GreenEdge)
Maglia Bianca (white) ‘Orsero’ (leader, Young Riders born on or after 1 January 1989): Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEdge)
(At the end of today’s stage, the first red Maglia Rossa “Algida” and blue Maglia Azzurra “Banca Mediolanum” will be awarded, respectively, to the leaders of the mountains and points classifications).
Belfast, stage start: Light Showers, 13°C. Wind: SSW, 18 kph. Good visibility.
Bushmills (km 92.7): heavy rain, 10°C. Wind: SSW, 11-16 kph. Moderate visibility.
Larne (km 179.1): light showers, 14°C. Wind: E, 21 kph. Good visibility.
All roads have central cats' eyes. The route heads north out of Belfast along broad roads punctuated by a number of turns and roundabouts. The feed zone is at Bushmills (km 92.7) and the first categorised climb of the Giro is at Cushendall (km 126.9). A technical descent leads to the road that follows the coast and will eventually lead very close to the stage finish. The second categorised climb (km 195.4) precedes the intermediate sprint at Carrickfergus (km 202.1). Gentle downhill gradient leads into Belfast.
Last 3km descend slightly into the city. The road is mostly straight until final, 90-degree turn into home straight, 300m long (same is in team time trial), on 8m wide asphalt.