Ireland’s Dan Martin has confirmed he will lead his team Garmin-Sharp in the Giro d’Italia in 2014 which is starting in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

This is a major boost to the Grande Partenza (Big Start) which will see riders tackle two stages starting and finishing in Belfast, followed by a stage from Armagh to Dublin from 10-12 May next year.

Martin is currently ranked tenth in the world, and this year has had massive success, winning the one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April and also winning his first stage in the Tour de France in July.

“I’ll be there for the GC” he told Cyclingnews from his base in Girona, Spain.

“Cycling in Ireland is getting bigger and bigger. Especially with what happened at the it’s going to be an interesting May.”

Darach McQuaid, Shadetree Sports commented “For us as local organisers of this event, we could not be happier to hear that Dan is confirmed as his team leader and will be on the start line next May.

"Naturally, we would also like to see Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan on the start list, but we will need to wait for confirmation at a later date.

"The sport is booming in Ireland and the Giro d’Italia starting here next year, with real Irish contenders as part of the peloton, will create a massive buzz.”

In September, Martin will go to the Vuelta d’Espana as team leader followed by the UCI World Road Race Championships in Tuscany, on a course that suits his climbing talents. Then he will travel to Il Lombardia in Italy on 6 October. 

The detailed route for the 2014 Giro d’Italia will be announced in Milan the day after on 7 October.