The Northern Irish Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has said that efforts should be put into attracting more big sporting events to the North, and that the Tour de France should be the next target. This follows on from the Giro d’Italia starting in Belfast last year.
There have been rumours that the Giro will return in future years, and the Sports Minister has indicated that she would be delighted with its return. However, she would also like to entice the Tour de France to start in Northern Ireland.
The Tour started in Ireland back in 1998, and it consisted of a prologue in Dublin, followed by a stage which started and finished in the capital having travelled through Wicklow. The final stage was from Enniscorthy to Cork, before the race returned to France.
She told The Belfast Telegraph: “We should always aim high in trying to attract big sporting events here. Why not aim for the Tour de France? It’s been to Yorkshire, so why not here? When talks first came up about bringing the Giro d’Italia here there were people saying it could not be done, but I would always say there is no reason why we can’t, so let’s explore it.”
“This island is a beautiful island and there is scenery to boast about and a tourism product north, south, east and west. We have the infrastructure and now on the back of the Giro we have great experience under our belts and we have shown we can deliver international and world events.”