Whether you’re a cycling fan or not, the advice being given out ahead of the Giro d’Italia’s arrival in the borough next month is ‘be prepared’.
Northern Ireland will host ‘The Big Start’ of the race, welcoming 200 of the world’s top cyclists, from May 9-11 and they will pass through Antrim on their journey around the North Coast and back to Belfast on Day Two (May 10).
Attracting over 140,000 visitors with 42,000 expected to be out of state, it is a huge event capable of generating a minimum £10 million media coverage which will be viewed by an estimated 800 million people worldwide.
Eddie Rowan of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, which made the successful bid to bring Giro to the province, said he believed it to be “the biggest event that has ever happened to this country, bar none”.
Roads in the borough on the Giro route will close at 8.30am, re-opening by 12.30pm, with the peloton coming into the borough from the M2 at Templepatrick, along the Antrim Road, through Dunadry, then onto the Belfast Road, along Fountain Hill and Stiles Way, heading along the Ballymena Road to Dunsily, where it will head to Ballymena along the A26.
There will, however, be controlled crossing points at Stiles Way/Steeple Road to faciliate access across the local route.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd confirmed “there will be disruption” but organisers will do all they can to keep disruption to a minimum.
“My advice to people is - if you are a cycling fan make your plans early, get up early and get a good place. If you’re not, have a lie in, make plans for somewhere else that day. - If you don’t want to be part of it, give it a wide berth,” ACC Todd said.
Antrim Council has organised a number of viewing points, with family entertainment at a number of sites including Stiles Community Centre and Antrim Civic Centre.
There will also be post event celebrations in Antrim town centre from 12 noon to 3pm, with lots of fun activities planned for all the family.