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Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) after winning the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey in 2008
'It would be great for US cycling and the Giro'
US stage racer Christian Vande Velde supports a possible visit to Washington, DC, by the Giro d'Italia in the coming years.
"There would be nothing better than having a prologue down the National Mall in DC," he told Cyclingnews. "I think it would be the biggest thing for the Giro; it would put the World's eyes on the Giro."
Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan said Wednesday that there is interest from District of Columbia officials to be a host city. The city's mayor, Adrian Fenty will help the bid. He is a fan of cycling and competes in triathlons.
"It's my understanding that there have been talks, but nothing is final," Fenty's press officer, Mafara Hobson, told DCist.
Vande Velde met Fenty for the first time last year at the Capital Criterium. He said Fenty "rides a lot".
The Giro first started outside of Italy 44 years ago, from San Marino in 1965. It starts with three stages in The Netherlands, all based from Amsterdam, next year. But none of the three Grand Tours (Giro, Tour de France, Vuelta a España) has ever begun outside of Europe.
"The jetlag, getting back into the time zone," Vande Velde said of the riders' main difficulties. "The stress that your body goes under from not sleeping, wanting to eat in the middle of the night and not in the day. It would be nuts, but it would be cool to do it."
The Giro could also hold an additional two to three stages along the east coast. It could travel to Philadelphia, former home of the national championships for many years, or a stage to New York City.
"You could make it really hard," continued Vande Velde. "I never rode the Tour duPont, but I know that a lot of the stages were in that [District of Columbia] area. There are lots of gorgeous, hilly roads through the woods."
Vande Velde, 33, won the Giro's opening team time trial last year with team Garmin. He held the overall leader's pink jersey for one day.
He finished fourth overall in the Tour de France and eighth this year.
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