Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegni has hinted at a possible revival of a decade-old idea of a Grande Partenza in the United States in the future of the race. Asked on Rai Sport over the weekend if he thought this was a possibility, Vegni replied: "Why not?"
The possibility was last touted in 2010 by former Giro d'Italia director Angelo Zomegnan, who attended a reception at the Italian embassy in Washington, DC for a project to bring the race there in 2012. The city was considered a front runner out of three candidates, but faded after the DC Mayor Adrien Fenty lost his re-election bid and Zomegnan was removed as race director.
However, it would appear that the success of the Giro d'Italia's start in Israel, the first ever outside Europe, has revived the debate about the idea of a start on the other side of the Atlantic.
Vegni also discussed the Giro's Grande Partenza in Israel with RAI, pronouncing it a success. "I was very convinced this adventure could work, I knew the [organising committee in Israel] when they came over here, and I can say our bet has been won.
"There's been an overwhelming response from the public, which was hard to imagine, but the Israel organising committee has done a brilliant job in the build-up to our arrival there."
As for what the next frontier could be, Vegni replied, "this is a bet we've won, I'll repeat that, and I'm convinced that to reach real globalisation we need to take the big events through the world. The Giro d'Italia in America? Why not?"
Giro d'Italia leader Rohan Dennis, talking on Sunday evening in Israel, said that, in his opinion, he considered anything up to a five-hour flight on an opening transfer day - after a Grande Partenza like the one in 2018 - as acceptable. He also highlighted the huge numbers of people in the Israeli stages in the urban areas that the race passed through, in contrast to some other races held outside Europe, the Americas and Australia.
If the USA sounds exotic for the Giro d'Italia, there were reports in the media in 2016 about starting the Giro d'Italia as far afield as Japan, with a possible slot in 2018. However, the alleged four-day project was never confirmed by the race organisers themselves and has never been revived.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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