Giro to start in Ireland in 2014

MILAN -- The Giro d'Italia in 2014 will begin in Northern Ireland and Ireland. Giro director general Michele Acquarone hopes the race can "unite the entire island of Ireland."

The three-week cycling showcase will start May 10 in Belfast and pass through Dublin and Armagh on May 11 and 12.

This will be the 11th time the race will start outside Italy. The others were San Marino in 1965, Monte Carlo in `66, Belgium in `73, Vatican City in `74, Greece in `96, France in `98, Netherlands in 2002, Belgium in `06, Netherlands in `10 and Denmark in `12.

The Tour de France announced in December the first three stages will be held in England in 2014.

This year's Giro runs May 4-26, beginning in Naples and ending in Brescia.