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Stage 1: Belfast Team Time Trial (Friday 9 May 2014)

Route Overview

Start: The opening 21.7km Team Time Trial (TTT) will begin at Titanic Belfast

mapPicTitanicBelfastThe world's largest Titanic visitor experience and a 'must see' in any tour of Belfast and Northern Ireland. Located in Titanic Quarter, right beside the historic site of the world famous ship's construction, this six-floor, state-of-the-art attraction tells the story of Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end.

Look out for:
The distinctive yellow Harland and Wolff Cranes, which dominate Belfast's skyline - affectionately known by locals as Samson and Goliath; SS Nomadic, the fully restored, first and second class passenger tender to Titanic - come on board and experience over 100 years of authentic maritime and social history.

Marker 2: Newtownards Road

Newtownards Road, BelfastThe route continues along the Newtownards Road, home to some of Northern Ireland’s unusual public art in the form of wall murals.

Look out for:

• 'Titanic Ship of Dreams' wall mural on the Newtownards Road. Unveiled in June 2010 it is dedicated to the shipbuilding legacy of East Belfast.
• Titanic Wall Mural at Dee Street - commemorating Titanic and the Harland and Wolff shipyard workers who created the ship.
• Two Narnia murals, featuring scenes from the Belfast-born writer C.S. Lewis’ work, ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’.  Find them off East Belfast's Dee Street (near the Titanic mural) and Ballymacarrett Road - both off the Newtownards Road.

Marker 3: Parliament Buildings, Stormont

mapPicStormontNow home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, this imposing, purpose-built structure is an important part of the political history of Northern Ireland. Made of Portland stone mounted on Mourne granite, Stormont was built on land acquired in 1921 for Northern Ireland's new seat of Parliament, and was officially opened in 1932 by the then Prince of Wales, on behalf of King George V.

The building stands at the top of the mile-long Prince of Wales Avenue behind a statue of Lord Edward Carson and is topped by the figure Britannia. The surrounding parkland, with its sweeping city views, is open to the public and has marked paths and an excellent children's playground.

Look out for:

Several sculptures include Reconciliation, a small water sculpture depicting a couple embracing across a divide. Copies of this symbol of peace are also in Coventry, Hiroshima, Jerusalem and Berlin.

Marker 4: Queen's Bridge

mapPicQueensBridgeThe Queen’s Bridge was opened in 1849 by Queen Victoria. Many Harland and Wolff workers would cross the Queen’s Bridge each day, making their way to and from the shipyards, where Titanic was being built.

Look out for:

Thanksgiving Beacon (or Beacon of Hope) - made of stainless steel and cast bronze, this sculpture features a woman spiralling upwards and holding aloft 'the ring of thanksgiving; the quirky, blue Salmon of Knowledge (or the 'Big Fish' as its also affectionately known); the striking Waterfront Hall; St. George’s Market, a bustling weekend market with an array of local crafts and delicious dining delicacies to buy.

Marker 5: The Ormeau Road

Ormeau Road, BelfastThe Ormeau Road in south Belfast is one of the oldest and most significant thoroughfares in the city.  Starting at the city centre end of Ormeau Road, the first historic building you will arrive at is the Gasworks site. Belfast was one of the first towns in Ireland to utilise coal gas for lighting purposes. Also along the Ormeau Road, there is an abundance of bars and eateries to try.

Did you know
that the Ormeau Road was the site of a milestone in modern cycling history?  Read about the story of John Boyd Dunlop and Willie Hume, where local innovation and sporting achievement led to a world revolution in the use of bicycles – 125 years before the Giro will travel the same stretch of road.

Look out for:

Ormeau Park, the oldest and one of the largest parks in Belfast with playgrounds, bowling greens and sports pitches, as well as seasonal bedding displays. Its ornate bandstand is now a listed building.

Marker 6: Stranmillis

Stranmillis Road and Ulster MuseumStranmillis, an area in south Belfast popular with tourists, is part of the Queen's Quarter and is the location for prominent attractions such as the Ulster Museum, Lyric Theatre and Botanic Gardens. The northern end of the Stranmillis Road is only seconds away from the main building of Queen’s University, the Lanyon Building, while several other prominent university buildings are located on the road itself, including the dominating David Keir Building and the Ashby Building.

Look out for:

Queen's Film Theatre (QFT), Belfast's only full-time provider of non-mainstream cinema, and the trendy cafes, coffee shops and restaurants that make Stranmillis village special.

End:  Belfast City Hall

mapPicCityHallStage one will conclude in front of Belfast City Hall in Belfast City Centre.

Iconic Belfast City Hall, home of Belfast City Council, was officially reopened by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 following a two-year refurbishment programme. Opening its doors in 1906, during a great time of prosperity for the city, it is a magnificent Edwardian 'wedding cake'.  Today, the building is a lasting memorial to Belfast's success and a great source of civic pride.  The beautiful grounds outside provide the perfect location for an al fresco lunch and spectators can view big sporting events on the large outdoors screen.  Take a free tour of the building and discover some of its finest features.

Look out for:

The Titanic Memorial Garden, in the grounds of Belfast City Hall, opened in 2012 on the 100th anniversary of the sinking and pays tribute to those who lost their lives on Titanic.

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