Giro d'Italia: Washington organizers not optimistic about possible race start

The Giro d'Italia has finished its expedition to Denmark and returned to Italy on Monday evening. The flight, however, was shorter than it would have been had the Italian Grand Tour started in Washington, DC, as had been considered previously. US organizers now have their doubts as to whether the Giro or any other European race will ever make the step across the ocean, although race organizers have expressed renewed interest in the idea.

Washington had bid to hold the start of this year's Giro, and negotiations seemed promising. However, in April 2011 it was announced that the race would start in Denmark, which had initially asked to host the 2013 edition.

Robin Morton of g4 Productions, who was on the 2012 Giro d'Italia Working Group, said there were two main reasons that Washington was not chosen. The first one had been that city mayor Adrian Fenty was defeated in the fall of 2010. "He was the cycling advocate within the DC government. The new administration had many other issues to deal with; this was not a priority," Morton told Cyclingnews.

Nor was it the only important personnel change. Former race director Angelo Zomegnan was removed from his job, as well. "Zomegnan was the cornerstone of the project. Without him to lead the charge from the RCS side it was a difficult sell," Morton added.

Nevertheless, there is still interest to launch the race in the US, she said: "I have also heard rumblings about a start in Manhattan."

Morton was however not optimistic about the US' chances. "The UCI does not look favourably on starting the Giro (or perhaps any Grand Tour) outside of the continent. This could change if there was significant money/sponsorship involved and the teams were on-board.

"It's my guess that a Grand Tour start would happen in Russia or China before the US."

She might take heart, however, from new race director Michele Acquarone, who this week told Het Nieuwsblad that "I want even more in the future, I want to go out of Europe." Specifically, "I dream of a start in the United States."

Acquarone acknowledged that "such a start is very expensive and with the current economic crisis, it is not an option. I do not know whether we can afford it, but if the globalization of cycling continues, the Giro should also participate in that evolution. Once we have outgrown the crisis and cycling has handled its problems, it should be achievable.

"A start in the US, a few stages on American soil and then the riders fly by night, in business class to Italy. Then we do a couple of days in Italy, some short and flat stages to overcome the jetlag and then we get right back in again. I really think it's possible. "

It won't happen on the short term, "a little further in the future" than 2015, he said.

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