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Mourne's Giant Fondo

THE stunning backdrop of the Mourne Mountains played host to more than 100 cyclists for The Giant Fondo, a new sportive for the cycling community, on Sunday, 23 September.

Welcoming riders from the local area, across Northern Ireland and further afield, the Giant Fondo provided 78km of awe-inspiring vistas, enjoying three climbs of Spelga.

The inaugural Giant Fondo was powered by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and supported by Chain Reaction Cycles in Belfast and supermarket group Lidl Northern Ireland.

Oksana McMahon, vice chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said: “As a council, we are delighted to have brought this fantastic new event to the sporting calendar.

“To have so many keen cyclists enjoying the unrivalled welcome and scenery of our region is a testament to the draw of the mountains, our coastline and our people.

“That we can support such fantastic organisations and charities including Newry Gateway, Air Ambulance NI and Glebe House, is something I am proud to be associated with.”

Inspired by the popularity and success of the Giro d’Italia and powered by demand from local and international visitors for new and unique ways to experience the landscape, the ‘Giant Fondo’ proved a success for both the Mourne region and Northern Ireland.

Stephen Laird, store manager of Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast retail store, said: “At Chain Reaction Cycles, we are seeing a noticeable upsurge in interest and involvement for cycling as a discipline across our stores and we were thrilled to be part of the first Giant Fondo event.

“Cycling’s popularity is increasing at an exponential rate with club memberships and equipment sales through the roof and we were delighted to provide mechanical support and an event shop for riders throughout the day.”

The Giant Fondo route provided cyclists of all fitness levels with an enjoyable and manageable challenge, with plans already underway for 2019’s event, follow Visit Mournes on Facebook for updates and news.

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