The Giro d’Italia sprint stage that will go through Dundalk on Sunday 11 May will be watched by 775 million people. And that’s just the television audience.
The number of visitors expected to come to Ireland for the race is 18,000, according to Ciara Sugrue of Failte Ireland. Three-hundred journalists and photographers will also cover it.
Ms Sugrue was speaking at a Giro d’Italia promotion in the Town Hall Dundalk last week. Also there, Cllr Eamonn O’Boyle chairman Dundalk Town Council, Frank Pentony Dundalk Town Clerk, and Dara McQuaid organiser of this year’s Irish start to the race.
The Armagh-Dundalk-Dublin route will start in Armagh at 11.45am.
A publicity caravan of about 80 vehicles will travel along the route about 90 minutes ahead of the race entourage and 200 riders handing out free merchandise adding to the party atmosphere.
Then, when the riders reach Dundalk they will sprint to the line at the Green Church.
This will be the only sprint this side of the border.
The race will then go through the town and out the old Dublin Road to Castlebellingham, where a feed station will operate - supplying bottles of water as the riders sail through - and on to Dunleer, and Drogheda and so to Dublin.
Dundalk is expected to have a festival atmosphere on the day, for this, the world’s second largest cycle race.
Pink is the race colour and Dundalk will have pink decorations for the day
There will be road closures on the Sunday between 12 noon and 3.30pm. The crossing points will be Ballymac roundabout; Ann Street - Thomas Street Stapleton Place; Xerox junction, and in mid-Louth, Mullin’s Cross (Dorian’s).
Failte Ireland, which is sponsoring the three Irish stages see the event as a great tourism opportunity and Cllr O’Boyle said it will show that the country can hold a world class event and Dundalk will be part of it.