Northern Ireland

Gran Fondo cyclists left hungry for more

Cyclists Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption The mass-participation cycling event is a legacy of the Giro d'Italia

Riders have been hitting back at organisers following this year's Gran Fondo event over what they said was a lack of food.

"Everything was perfect - except for that," Robin Mc Gloughlin told the BBC's Evening Extra programme.

Riders bemoaned the food provided along the 110 mile route, with one Facebook user calling it "a joke".

The event organisers said there was food for all, but some riders took more than they should have at food stops.

Following the weekend-long event, social media was awash with praise for marshals and police officers.

Image copyright Facebook

The mass-participation cycling event is a legacy of the Giro d'Italia - part of which was staged in Northern Ireland in 2014.

Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption One post called the food stops "appalling"

Now in its third year, the races have grown in popularity - attracting record numbers.

"The cycle itself was great but the lack of food just made a hard day more difficult," another user said.

One post called the food stops "appalling".

Image copyright Facebook

"No food at the first stop and we were the first half of cyclists. Only bites and jellies at the second stop," it said.

"At £65 that was the most expensive caramel wafer I will ever buy. Asked for two and was told there weren't enough," another joked.

Darach McQuaid, of organiser Shadetree Sports, said they were "happy to take criticism on the chin," but blamed some riders for taking "more than they should have" at food stops.

"There was enough food for all the riders," he said.

Image copyright Marty McIlmail
Image caption Cyclists taking part in the race at Drew's Hill, Dromara, County Down