Skip to main content

Washington DC a front runner for Giro 2012 start

Image 1 of 24

Mayor Fenty's parents were there, too.

Mayor Fenty's parents were there, too. (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 2 of 24

Angelo Zomegnan gave a brief speech expressing his desire to see the Giro start in Washington.

Angelo Zomegnan gave a brief speech expressing his desire to see the Giro start in Washington. (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 3 of 24

Universal Sports representatives were on hand to ensure television coverage.

Universal Sports representatives were on hand to ensure television coverage. (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 4 of 24

Mark Sommers expounds on the benefits of bringing a Grand Tour to DC

Mark Sommers expounds on the benefits of bringing a Grand Tour to DC (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 5 of 24

The Giro DC 2012 working group: Mark Sommers with g4's Alice Armstrong, Kristen Reiss and Robin Morton

The Giro DC 2012 working group: Mark Sommers with g4's Alice Armstrong, Kristen Reiss and Robin Morton (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 6 of 24

Mayor Fenty, Angelo Zomegnan and Ernesto Colnago

Mayor Fenty, Angelo Zomegnan and Ernesto Colnago (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 7 of 24

Ernesto Colnago presents Mayor Fenty with a new ride

Ernesto Colnago presents Mayor Fenty with a new ride (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 8 of 24

The bike had Mayor Fenty's name on it and everything

The bike had Mayor Fenty's name on it and everything (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 9 of 24

Ernesto Colnago and Mayor Adrian Fenty

Ernesto Colnago and Mayor Adrian Fenty (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 10 of 24

Ernesto Colnago

Ernesto Colnago (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 11 of 24

A meeting of the minds

A meeting of the minds (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 12 of 24

Expect more beautiful women in pink if the Giro comes to DC

Expect more beautiful women in pink if the Giro comes to DC (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 13 of 24

USA Cycling's Jim Patton was on hand for the festivities

USA Cycling's Jim Patton was on hand for the festivities (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 14 of 24

Washington Convention and Sports Authority president Gregory O'Dell can help assemble city resources to host the event.

Washington Convention and Sports Authority president Gregory O'Dell can help assemble city resources to host the event. (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 15 of 24

The Italians are coming! Gregory O'Dell is president of the WCSA.

The Italians are coming! Gregory O'Dell is president of the WCSA. (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 16 of 24

Of course, the Italians have lovely ladies in pink to usher in the guests.

Of course, the Italians have lovely ladies in pink to usher in the guests. (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 17 of 24

Gregory O'Dell, Mark Sommers and NY Nicks star Danilo Gallinari

Gregory O'Dell, Mark Sommers and NY Nicks star Danilo Gallinari (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 18 of 24

Ernesto Colnago brought along some of Italy's finest to show off.

Ernesto Colnago brought along some of Italy's finest to show off. (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 19 of 24

A stack of helmets from Giro.

A stack of helmets from Giro. (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 20 of 24

Angelo Zomegnan, Danilo Gallinari Italian ambassador Giulio Terzi and Mark Sommers

Angelo Zomegnan, Danilo Gallinari Italian ambassador Giulio Terzi and Mark Sommers (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 21 of 24

Washington DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is an avid cyclist

Washington DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is an avid cyclist (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 22 of 24

The working group's motto...

The working group's motto... (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 23 of 24

The owner of the Kelly Benefit Strategies team John Kelly

The owner of the Kelly Benefit Strategies team John Kelly (Image credit: Laura Weislo)
Image 24 of 24

Mayor Fenty is encouraged to take his new wheels for a spin

Mayor Fenty is encouraged to take his new wheels for a spin (Image credit: Laura Weislo)

The striking architecture of the Italian embassy in Washington, DC provided a grand setting on Thursday evening for one of cycling's most ambitious initiatives: bringing a Grand Tour to United States of America soil. The members of the Giro DC 2012 Working Group, the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (WCSA), the DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Guilio Terzi, the Italian ambassador to the United States and Giro organiser Angelo Zomegnan came together with the purpose of educating city leaders and potential sponsors about the race and its grand objectives.

Under the banner ‘History is made but once’, a pre-recorded presentation video emphatically stated that the Giro d'Italia would start in Washington in 2012, but the chair of the working group responsible for the bid, Mark Sommers, and Giro director Angelo Zomegnan were more cautious in their pronouncements. Zomegnan expressed optimism about bringing his country's biggest race to the US capital, promising to prepare "something special" and to bring "great days to a great town". Speaking with Cyclingnews, he said that the city is one of three bidding for the 2012 departure, but Washington is "the front runner".

The only obstacle in his mind is the issue of jetlag and its effect on the riders. "The athletes are our greatest asset, and we must consider carefully how this will affect them," he said.

The final confirmation for the host city of the 2012 Giro d'Italia start is still several months off, but Zomegnan said he was confident that the city and working group will be able to assemble the necessary resources to host the event. A corporate sponsor has not yet been named, but the desire to bring the race to DC is clearly there on both sides.

Mayor Fenty, an avid cyclist, vowed to do everything in his power to ensure that the bid can go forward, praising the work of the working group. "We're in the final processes, we have our fingers crossed - it looks good, but we're taking nothing for granted," said Fenty.

For the cycling enthusiasts, the benefits of bringing a Grand Tour to the USA for the first time in history are obvious, but the words of Ambassador Terzi and Sommers placed the importance of the race in a broader perspective: one of highlighting Italian culture and friendship and promoting health and green initiatives through the promotion of bicycling.

Terzi called the idea of hosting the Giro d'Italia in the United States an opportunity to not only provide entertainment and competition, but to share Italian culture with America.

"It would be wonderful to see Washington sporting new pink jerseys. The organisation is ready and in the coming months will set in motion the plans for the Giro,” said Terzi. “I deeply welcome the encouragement and the very sincere commitment of Mayor Fenty to this cause."

Sommers drove the point even deeper, saying that not only would the Giro in DC help to "solidify DC as one of the world's leading sports destinations", it could also be used to drive social change - for healthier, more active children and to help reduce the carbon footprint of the city by encouraging bicycle use.

Of course the most immediate desire for the city of Washington, DC, is to drive tourism, something that was at the top of WCSA president Gregory O'Dell's agenda. Events of the magnitude of the Giro d'Italia would be huge for the area's hotels, restaurants and tourist destinations, and he said that his agency is doing everything it can to make sure the working group can put together a sponsor package that shows they're ready to pull this event off.

"That's been their challenge right now, and from our perspective, we'll give them whatever support they need to let them know the city's behind them to get this done," he said.