Following this year's UCI World Road Championships in Varese, Italy, another Italian city, Florence, has launched its own bid to host the world titles in 2013. 'FI2013' Committee members Eugenio Giani, Michele Bartoli and Gabriele Sola announced their intentions in Dugenta Salone di Palazzo Vecchio, in the heart of Florence.
Gabriele Sola, director general of the Varese 2008 worlds and the man responsible for marketing and communications at the 2004 event in Verona, has grand visions of Florence as the epicentre of cycling for a week in 2013. "The cycling world championship is, after the Tour de France, the most popular cycling event in the world," said Sola. "The television broadcast of the event reaches over 100 countries to an estimated audience of 450 million.
"Imagine Piazza della Signoria, the beating heart of social life [in Florence] and the town hall with the majestic Palazzo Vecchio, the ideal location for the opening ceremony that week," he added.
Former professional Michele Bartoli will act as technical director, a role he's well qualified for. Bartoli provided a few insights into what could be expected from the course. "Florence and Fiesole possess ideal environments to host an event such as this," he said. "If we look at the time trial route, we can see that it has been designed with Paoli Avenue as the departure and arrival point.
"This will be case for all the races, held on a challenging and spectacular circuit that alternates between extensive technical sections with corners with steep slopes that exceed 10 per cent," he added. "It's an interesting track on a tactical level."
Having heard from his two fellow committee members, Giani's message was simple. "Today we present a team that has all the credentials to bring to Florence a great sporting event, which is missing from our city for too many years."
The launch of Florence's bid for the 2013 event has been anticipated for a number of months. The group behind the event told Cyclingnews in September it was interested in bringing the event to Florence in the future.