Giro d'Italia to start in Belgium in 2016?

Acquarone opens doors for more international starts

Michele Acquarone and RCS Sport have shown they are not afraid to innovate by deciding to hold the Grande Partenza of the 2014 Giro d'Italia in Ireland, with stages in Belfast and Dublin, before a transfer back to Italy.

UCI rules no longer allow rest days early in stage races or allow them to be used for long transfers. The 2014 Giro d'Italia will begin with three stages in Ireland, with stage four in Italy being held the following day. The whole Giro caravan will fly between Ireland and Italy. It could be a logistical nightmare but if RCS Sport pulls it off, then future editions of the Giro d'Italia could start from anywhere in the world.

"The start in Ireland will be a big test for the future of the Giro d'Italia. Everything has to work perfectly. If it works, we can go everywhere: Belgium, the United States and yes, even Dubai," Acquarone said.

Antwerp is apparently a strong candidate to host the start of the 2016 edition in Belgium. The Giro d'Italia most recently started in Belgium in 2006.

"There's no place in the world where cycling is loved like in Belgium.

"It's loved in Italy but it's the national sport in Belgium," Acquarone said, happy to flirt with candidate cities.

"We've had a lot of talks with different countries to talk about the Giro d'Italia in the future, including some in Belgium. The 2015 Expo in Italy will probably mean the Giro d'Italia will start in Italy then but we could start in Belgium in 2016. Why not? We're speaking to people and I hope to soon announce a Grande Partenza from Belgium it's always been a great start in the past and so I can't wait to go back."



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