Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster, congratulated legendary cyclist Stephen Roche on being inducted into the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame.
The Minister was speaking at the Causeway Hotel, at an event to honour the former Giro winner, who becomes only the third rider to be inducted into the race’s roll of honour.
Taking place outside Italy for the first time, the Hall of Fame event was hosted by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB), in association with race organisers RCS Sport and media partner la Gazzetta dello Sport.
Arlene Foster said: “In advance of the Giro d’Italia coming in May, RCS Sport has extended its commitment to Northern Ireland by opting to hold the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame event here. It recognises the riders who have made cycling history and Stephen Roche is very much in that category.
“We know that Stephen touched greatness when he became only the second person ever to win the triple crown of victories in the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and World Championship in 1987. It is fitting that he is being inducted into the Giro Hall of Fame in the same year as the great race comes to Northern Ireland.”
The NITB event marked another highlight in the build up to the cycling spectacle, which will take place from 9 – 11 May across Belfast, the Causeway Coast and Glens and Armagh before finishing in Dublin. The event is supported by NITB and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.
Arlene Foster added: “As Northern Ireland embraces the pink of the leader’s jersey, there is no doubt this event will be a significant boost for tourism across the board. Hotels, restaurants, town centres, villages, local communities, and most of all the economy, all stand to benefit.
“In addition to the feast of cycling, there will be an array of family-friendly events and festivals, with lots of music, food and live entertainment for visitors to look forward to.
“Hosting the Giro not only gives us the chance to witness one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles up close, it will let us showcase our unforgettable scenery, as well as demonstrating that Northern Ireland really is the home of great events.”