Northern Ireland

Giro d'Italia second stage at north coast of NI

Glenarm Giro d'Italia crowd
Image caption The 135-mile (218km) route passed through scenic parts like Glenarm in County Antrim

Tens of thousands of spectators have turned out for the second stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race.

Some of Northern Ireland's most scenic routes featured in the 135-mile (218km) course. Riders set off from Belfast and passed along the north Antrim coast.

The stage ended in a thrilling sprint finish in Belfast city centre.

German Marcel Kittel won in a time of 5:13:12". Australian Michael Matthews took the famous pink jersey for overall race leader.

His team mate Svein Tuft was overall leader on the first day when his team, Orica Greenedge, won the team time-trial on Friday.

However, Irish cyclist Dan Martin was ruled out of the Giro after suffering a suspected broken collarbone in a fall.

Northern Ireland is hosting the initial stages of the race over three days, as 22 teams begin their attempt to win the prestigious title.

In the second stage of the race, the riders travelled through Antrim, Ballymena and Bushmills, before returning to Belfast via Larne and Carrickfergus.

Image caption Big crowds lined the route despite the rainy weather, as riders set off from Belfast's Titanic Quarter
Image caption The peloton made its way through Templepatrick towards the north coast of County Antrim
Image caption Cyclists passed along the north Antrim coast
Image caption Many pink-themed tributes were put up along the route
Image caption The riders finished the 135-mile (218km) round trip in just over five hours
Image caption German Marcel Kittel won in a time of 5:13:12" after a sprint finish in Belfast city centre

Many roads along the route were closed throughout the day at various times, and motorists were warned to expect disruption.

Full details of road closures can be found at

The third and final stage in Northern Ireland begins in Armagh on Sunday, as the competitors race over the border for a sprint finish in Dublin.

The Giro d'Italia is the biggest sporting event ever staged in Northern Ireland, with competitors from more than 30 countries taking part.

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