Washington, DC, has begun a push for the right to host the first two stages of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. The United States' capital city wants to hold a prologue and circuit race, both passing many national monuments.
"The course promises to be one of the most spectacular prologues ever used in a Grand Tour. It seems very appropriate that the prologue for the first US start be held in the heart of the nation's capital," said Mark Sommers, race director of DC's Capital Criterium.
Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan said two weeks ago that there is a possibility of the race starting in the USA thanks to the interest from DC. Sommers and g4 Productions have started to design two possible stages for proposal to Giro organisers.
The prologue would pass the Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington monuments, the National Mall, the US Capitol and other US national monuments.
Stage one would stay in Washington, DC, for a circuit race. It will use most of the prologue course with a climb through one of the city's neighbourhoods. It will likely finish on Pennsylvania Avenue, which joins the US Capital and the White House.
"We recognize that the potential economic impact of bringing the Giro d'Italia to Washington, DC, is tremendous," said Gregory A. O'Dell, president and CEO of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority. "Hosting this race would not only provide the District with a tremendous economic boost, but further legitimise its status as an international destination for world-class sporting events, conventions and tourism."
The city's mayor, Adrian Fenty, is expected to support the bid. He is a fan of cycling and competes in triathlons.
The Giro started outside of Italy for the first time 44 years ago, from San Marino in 1965. Next year, it will start with three stages in The Netherlands, all based from Amsterdam. However, none of the three Grand Tours (Giro, Tour de France, Vuelta a España) has ever begun outside of Europe.
The problems faced by both Washington, DC, and Giro organisers are travel time and jet lag to resume the race in Italy. It takes eight hours to fly from DC to Milan and there is a six-hour time difference.
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