With the 2014 Giro d’Italia Big Start Stage 1 scheduled to take place between 9/10 and 11 May, beginning in Belfast, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is telling businesses across Ireland to ensure they have plans in place.
The Giro race will begin in Northern Ireland this year before returning to Italy. As a result there will be various road closures implemented in order to host the world’s second largest cycling event. Combined with the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, the Giro d’Italia makes up cycling’s prestigious three-week-long Grand Tours.
Belfast hosts the start on 9 May with two stages in Northern Ireland and one crossing into the Republic of Ireland. The 21-stage race then heads to Italy and finishes in Trieste on 1 June.
FTA is warning businesses that the closures could have major consequences for freight and logistics operators trying to make deliveries during the three days of the event.
Seamus Leheny, FTA Policy Manager Ireland said:
"It’s great news that such a prestigious event as the Giro d’Italia is going to take place in Northern Ireland. But with so many road closures planned in and around Belfast on both 9 & 10 May, this is bound to cause major disruption to drivers in the area. FTA believes it is therefore, vitally important for freight operators to plan any collections and deliveries with their customers in and around the city accordingly, in order to avoid the road closures and traffic congestion due to the large number of spectators expected to attend the event."
A full schedule of events has been planned, and is due to start with the Team Trial being held at the Titanic Belfast on Friday 9 May beginning with a practice session throughout the morning along the route closing roads between and 09.30 to 12.39 and Stage 1 taking place between 17.45 and 20.00 hrs.
Day 1 – Friday 9th May 2014: Stage 1 (16:00 to 20:30)
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.
Day 2 – Saturday 10th May 2014: Stage 2 (08:00 to 17:00)
Belfast Titanic Quarter, Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Bushmills, Ballycastle, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough, Glenarm, Ballygally, Larne, Whitehead, Carrickfergus and Belfast City Hall.
Day 3 – Sunday 11th May 2014: Stage 3 (07:00 to 14:00)
Armagh, Loughgall, Richhill, Markethill, Keady, Newtownhamilton, Forkhill and on to Dublin via Dundalk, Castlebellingham, Ballbriggan and Swords.