2012 Giro d’Italia to be confirmed at a later date
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2012 Giro d’Italia to be confirmed at a later date

by Conal Andrews at 6:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Cycling history looks set to be made tomorrow with the expected announcement that the 2012 Giro d’Italia will indeed begin in Washington DC. It will be the first time a Grand Tour has ever featured stages outside Europe, and will be a massive boost for the sport in the US.

It has long been known that talks were taking place between the Giro organisers and officials from Washington DC, including Mayor Adrian Fenty and now, according to Il Sole 24 Ore, an agreement will be made official tomorrow.

The newspaper states that the 2012 race will begin on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, in front of the National Archives, and a short distance from the White House. It will then pass by the FBI building, Freedom Plaza, the Ellipse, move behind the White House, onwards to the obelisk at the Department of State, Virginia Avenue, Watergate, Rock Creek Park and back.

Taking place in front of the Arlington Memorial Bridge is symbolic, in that the Arts of War sculptures there, "Sacrifice" and "Valor", were cast in Bronze by Leo Friedlander in Florence in 1950 and given to America by the Italian people one year later.

Il Sole 24 Ore states that Mayor Fenty, Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata and Giro organiser Angelo Zomegnan will announce the historic project tomorrow at the Italian embassy, informing the national and international media of the plans and also beginning the search for American sponsorship.

The logistics of the Giro start there will be a massive task. If the current information is correct, the prologue will be the only stage to be held on American soil; the riders, race officials, team staff and journalists will fly out that Saturday evening, land in Italy on Sunday, have a rest day on Monday and then resume one day later.  Several cities have been mentioned if Italy's Grand Tour is to remain in the US for more than one day, including Philidelphia and New York.  The working committee has also mentioned the possibility of two race days in the Nation's Capital.

Fenty has a large interest in cycling and triathlon and had grandparents from Frosinone. “One grandparent's name was Bianchi, like the brand of bicycles,” he said. “This Giro will be fantastic; for me, being able to have it in my city is a source of pride.”

It is also huge news for cycling in the US, and for the sport in general. It continues on the pattern of globalization seen with the expansion of the Tour of California, the growth of the Tour Down Under and the hosting of ProTour races in Canada later this year, and should lead to a considerable boost in participation and media coverage.

Update: Big names gathering, but no confirmation just yet

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