Florence to bid for 2014 Tour de France start
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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Florence to bid for 2014 Tour de France start

by Samuel Morrison at 7:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Gino Bartali's family behind push for Grand Départ

The city of Florence wants to host the start of the 2014 Tour de France in honour Gino Bartali.

"It would be great if undertaking succeeds," Andrea Bartali told Tuttobiciweb.com. "Besides honouring the memory of champions like [Gastone] Nencini and [Franco] Ballerini, it would be a great way to remember my dad in 2014, 100 years since his birth."

Bartali won the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948. He is the only cyclist to win before and after the Second World War and holds the record for the longest time between two titles. He also won Italy's three-week race, the Giro d'Italia three times (1936, 1937 and 1946).

He was born just outside of Florence and lived part of life in the famous art city. He died there in 2000, at the age of 85. His son, Andrea has discussed the possibility of Florence hosting the Tour de France's start over the last five years.

"I was called by the vice mayor, Dario Nardella to talk about the proposal," added Bartali's son, Andrea. "He gave the go ahead yesterday [December 30 - ed.] to request to [race director, Christian] Prudhomme to have start of the 2014 Tour de France in Florence."

The Tour de France will start in the Vendée department of western France this year, but has started outside the country's borders 18 times in its 97 editions. In 2012, the race will begin in Liège, Belgium, and last year, it began in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Italy has never hosted the start of the Tour de France. Beginning in Florence would require the organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) to schedule around two additional race days to reach France. Nearly 450 kilometres separate Florence from France's southeast boarder.

If the city succeeds, it would be the second international cycling event for it to host in less than a year. On September 29, the International Cycling Union (UCI) awarded Florence the right to host the 2013 edition of the World Championships.

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