Northern Ireland

Giro d'Italia: Belfast City Council seeks cash to improve properties

Day one will see cyclists start at Titanic Belfast before passing Stormont and finishing at Belfast City Hall
Image caption Day one will see cyclists start at Titanic Belfast before passing Stormont and finishing at Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Council is seeking £200,000 from Stormont departments to improve dilapidated properties along the route of the Giro d'Italia.

It has identified over 70 buildings along the route that it would like to carry out work on ahead of the race.

The properties are mainly on the Newtownards Road, Ormeau Road and Shore Road areas.

The Giro d'Italia is expected to attract 40,000 visitors to Belfast and a worldwide television audience.

The opening stage of the race begins on 9 May at Titanic Quarter and ends at City Hall, travelling through east and south Belfast.

The second stage sees the competing cyclists race to the north coast, coming back to Belfast along the Shore Road in north Belfast.

The council is to approach the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for the money.

It says the money will "improve the aesthetics for the route of such a significant sporting and tourism event".

Earlier this month, the Department for Social Development made £145,000 available to a number of other towns along the Giro route to improve buildings and derelict sites.

Prestigious event

The event is taking place in Northern Ireland from 9 to 11 May.

It is one of the three most prestigious events in the sport of road cycling - the others are Le Tour de France and Spain's Vuelta a Espana.

They are known collectively as the Grand Tours.

It is the first time the international event is beginning outside continental Europe since the race began in 1909.

The Northern Ireland Executive is paying £3m from Tourist Board, EU and Department of Enterprise funds to host the event.

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