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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Washington, DC still hopeful of a start in coming years
The prologue and first two stages of the Giro d'Italia 2012 will be held in Denmark, it was confirmed Friday morning.
Washington, DC had bid to become the first city outside of Europe to host a Grand Tour. Robin Morton of g4 Productions, who is working with the DC organising committee, had previously indicated to Cyclingnews that there were a number of unsolved issues which would eliminate Washington's chances for the coming year, but that the city still had good chances in the future.
Following Friday's announcement, Morton announced via press release that the prospects of the Grand Tour race heading the United States' capital was still "alive and well."
"A number of months ago, RCS (the organizers of the Giro d'Italia) and the Washington, D.C. stages working group concluded it best to reposition the possible start of the Giro d'Italia in Washington, D.C. after 2012," he explained. "RCS and the Washington, D.C. working group continue to work on this historic sports initiative and believe that the obstacles previously preventing a grand cycling tour from starting outside Europe can be overcome."
The Danish media had speculated earlier that the Italian Grand Tour would make its Scandinavian debut next year.
"We look at this agreement with great pleasure. From the most northern spot where the Corsa Rosa or any other historical stage race has ever started, a grand opening of the Giro d’Italia will take place. Thanks to the aims of the organising committee in Denmark and the positive experience in The Netherlands in 2010, we believe that the three stages that will be held in Herning and Horsens will support the global image and excellence of both the Giro d’Italia and Danish cycling," said Angelo Zomegnan, Giro d’Italia Director.
The Giro will get underway on Saturday, May 5, with an individual time trial starting and finishing at the Exhibition Centre in Herning, Mayor Lars Krarup told ekstrabladet.dk. The second stage will also start and end in the city, after running through Jutland for around 200 kiilometres.
Stage three will then start and end in Horsens, after completing a nearly 200 kilometre loop through the hilly countryside of eastern Jutland. That same day, Monday, May 7,the Giro peloton will transfer to Billund to fly to Italy.
"A lot of negotiations which must now be made about he specific routes. Sprints can of course be settled in several places, and cities can pay for the right to take part,” Krarup said.
The city of Herning had actually bid for the Giro start one year later, in 2013, which will be the city's 100th anniversary. “But when we got in contact with the Giro organisers, it soon became clear that the only realistic option was 2012, and then we just glossed it over with the anniversary," Krarup said.
Washington, DC, had been expected to get the nod for the 2012 start, but the mayor's defeat last fall put a crimp in the American city's plans. “That gave our campaign sudden momentum,” according to Krarup.
Herning is the birthplace of Saxo Bank-SunGard's Bjarne Riis, but he was not actively involved in the Giro plans. “He has known about it a long time because we felt it was important that he could smile and nod in agreement when he met people who had to do with the Giro,” Krarup said.
The mayor of Horsens admitted that the timing of the announcement could have been better. “I can assure you this is not an April Fool's joke,” said Jan Trøjborg.