DCSIMG

Tickled pink by talk of a legacy..in lycra

The peloton takes it easy on Marine Highway as the race  passes the sprint marker at Carrickfergus Castle (pic by Ronnie Moore). INLT 20-402-RM

The peloton takes it easy on Marine Highway as the race passes the sprint marker at Carrickfergus Castle (pic by Ronnie Moore). INLT 20-402-RM

Rain, traffic and flags of the non-pink hue were no longer talking points after the main show rolled into Carrickfergus this afternoon (Saturday).

Upwards of 20,000 people lined Marine Highway, straining necks almost as competitively as the elite cyclist strained sinews to catch a glimpse of the time trials which took place against the backdrop of Carrickfergus Castle.

The arrival of the second biggest event in world cycling in the historic borough was heralded by the Giro Caravan, a multicoloured procession which appealed, in particular, to young spectators eager to get their hands on promotional items to prove - whether in school on Monday or years to come - “I was there”.

The throngs had made their way to the waterfront location after sampling entertainment, Italian-themed of course, at the nearby High Street and in the restaurants, hotels and hostelries that entered into the spirit of the occasion with special menus and Giro refreshments.

Hometown mezzo Sarah Richmond with soprano Giselle Allen set the mood for the day with Italian opera, a sound echoed in performances from CWA Brass Band.

Council, traders, townsfolk and visitors set the tone...pink, positively pink. Shop windows, bunting, hair, hands, ponchos, Marine Gardens clock tower and the castle all carried the colour of the jersey sought after by upwards of 150 riders from more than 30 countries.

Even the flower beds beside the highway had extra pink varieties, observed more than one floral enthusiast. Householders along the road joined in with pink balloons, flower boxes or bikes - painted specially - outside the front door or gate.

On the borough’s busiest route, broadcast cars with cameras on their roofs, support vehicles with extra frames and emergency services were mainly the exception when, for once, pedal power was the order of the hour.

The Grande Partenza may well have provided the starting point to a debate about how the future of the waterfront could/should be.

“A legacy in lycra,” quipped former mayor Councillor Jim McClurg who was keeping the beat with Sir Henry Inglesby’s Corp of Fife and Drums.

Well, the French famously laid claim to the castle. Time now to turn the tables and to lay claim to the Tour de France?

“Why not? Yorkshire is involved in this year’s Tour,” added Mr McClurg.

The colours are already in place. Now, about the weather...

 
 
 

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