Ballymoney is advancing plans to welcome the spectacle that is the Giro D’Italia when it arrives in Northern Ireland in May.
The event takes place over three days 9-11 May consisting of both time trial and road race events, as well as a full festival programme, before travelling to Italy.
A delegation from Council attended the N I Tourist Board Roadshow in Ballycastle Golf Club on 5th February, joining representatives from Moyle and Coleraine to hear more about the potential of the visit of the world’s elite cyclists as takes in the Causeway Coastal route, visiting Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Bushmills, Ballycastle, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough, Glenarm, Ballygally, Larne, Whitehead and Carrickfergus.
On day two of the Belfast leg, Saturday 10th May, the Giro will visit Ballymoney Council area, travelling along the A26 to the Portrush Road roundabout, through the village of Ballybogey on its journey to Bushmills, Giant’s Causeway, along the Coastline and back to Belfast.
Alderman Bill Kennedy, Chair of Council Development Committee attended the event with his Council colleagues, Councillor Tom McKeown, who chairs the Road Safety Committee, and Councillor Philip McGuigan, a keen racing cyclist.
The Tourist Board Roadshow highlighted the unique opportunity offered by this world class event which is expected to attract 140,000 visitors to the province, secure £10M of media coverage and some £2.5m of economic activity as well as some 775 million people expected to watch on TV globally.
Speaking after the event Development Chair Bill Kennedy said: “There is no doubt of the potential marketing opportunity and economic benefits the event presents to Northern Ireland as a whole and the Causeway Coast and Glens destination in particular. We want to ensure that Ballymoney gets its share of the action. Council has already committed to celebrate the event by dressing key points on the route through Ballymoney, arrange some events and entertainment prior to the event and on the day. We will also be encouraging community engagement at key locations on the route.
Commenting on proposed celebrations the Development Chair said: “We have now started some detailed planning for the event and are engaging with those who have expressed an interest in promoting some events with a Giro theme, including the Chamber of Commerce, cycling groups Road Safety Committee, and others. We will also be holding some business and community engagement events. Pink has become a symbol of the Giro d’Italia and the rider with the lowest aggregate time is the leader of the race and wears the coveted pink jersey. This year we will Think Pink with our floral displays and the town’s “Ballymoney in Bloom” scheme. Concluding Alderman Kennedy said: “I encourage local clubs, shops restaurants, cafes, bars to join in with imaginative themed events, embrace Italian culture, celebrate food with an Italian twist.”