The Giro d'Italia has requested a change of dates from 2023, with the Italian Grand Tour ending in early June instead of late May to include the Festa della Repubblica national holiday on June 2.
Race organisers RCS Sport hopes the date change will increase the number of fans who head to the decisive mountain stages and also reduce the risk of snow and extreme weather in the final week.
"We've approached the UCI to move the date of the Giro d'Italia by a week," Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegni told Cyclingnews in Santarcangelo di Romagna on Wednesday.
"We've been considering the idea for a couple of years because we believe it's only right that the Giro d'Italia, like the Tour de France, can take advantage of a national holiday during the race. The French have July 14, while in Italy on June 2 we celebrate the Festa della Repubblica."
Republic Day celebrates Italy voting to remove its monarchy and become a republic in the aftermath of World War II. In 2023, the public holiday falls on a Friday, with Italians enjoying a long weekend break.
The Giro was once held across May and June, but it shifted to an earlier slot twenty years ago to give riders more time to recover for the Tour de France. With few riders now riding both Grand Tours, this is no longer a problem, and RCS Sport wants to reposition its race to take advantage of the Italian national holiday.
"We were always close to June 2 with the current May slot and that's why we've asked to move the Giro d'Italia by a week so we - the race - can celebrate the Festa della Repubblica too. We're convinced it can help boost the Giro by attracting bigger crowds along the roadside," said Vegni.
"The weather is an additional reason. It's always difficult to predict, but going into the high mountains of the Alps and Dolomites a little later means we can perhaps avoid any bad weather and snow, and race in higher temperatures. We always have to have alternative routes ready for the big mountain stages. From a strictly sporting point of view, this would give us a bit more tranquillity."
The Giro route has suffered regular interruptions due to the weather conditions in recent seasons. In 2013, the stage over the Stelvio to Val Martello was cancelled due to heavy snow, while the Gavia was removed from the route in 2019. Last year, the Passo Pordoi and Passo Fedaia were stricken from the route of stage 16 to Cortina, while the conditions on the Passo Giau prevented the broadcast of live footage of Egan Bernal's race-winning attack.
In a recent interview with Wielerflits, UCI president David Lappartient declared himself open to making significant alterations to the WorldTour calendar, citing the success of the recent Autumn editions of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, which were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The UCI are the ones who decide but we think our reasoning is fair," said Vegni. "We hope they help us improve the Giro."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.