Andrea Bartali, the son of Gino Bartali, has expressed his disappointment at ASO’s decision to award the start of the 2014 Tour de France to Yorkshire rather than to Florence.
Florence had hoped to host the Grand Départ as part of celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of Gino Bartali’s birth. The double Tour winner, who died in 2000, hailed from Ponte a Ema on the outskirts of the city.
Publicity for Yorkshire bid had included a series of adverts in L’Équipe and a sizeable presence in Paris on the final day of the 2012 Tour, and its campaign was enough to see off competing bids from Florence and Edinburgh. Speaking to Tuttobici, Andrea Bartali criticised ASO, saying that it had based the decision to award the start to Yorkshire on financial considerations alone.
“I’m asking myself how they can ask to riders and experts to give a good example when the ones who should be doing that in the first place act like this. All of this is absolutely not moral,” Bartali said.
“In effect, champions like my father, Gastone Nencini, Fiorenzo Magni, Fausto Coppi and many others were put up for auction, and that’s not a correct way of acting,”
While Bartali labelled Friday as “a sad day for the sport of pedalling,” he expressed the hope that the 2014 Giro d’Italia might start from Florence to pay tribute to his late father. The Tuscan city is already hosting a stage finish next year, taking in part of the circuit of the 2013 world championships road race.
“The idea is to seek the start of the 2014 Giro d’Italia from Florence,” Bartali said. “That would be a nice response and I’ll act from tomorrow to reach that objective.”
Cyclingnews understands that a joint bid from Dublin and Belfast to host the start of the 2014 Giro is already under consideration from RCS.