2012 Giro d’Italia to begin with three stages in Denmark
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Friday, April 1, 2011

2012 Giro d’Italia to begin with three stages in Denmark

by Shane Stokes at 7:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Organisers also confirm route change to this years stage 17

Ivan BassoConfirming recent rumours, RCS Sport has said that next year’s Giro d’Italia will kick off with three stages in western Denmark.

The race will start with a prologue in Herning, hometown of Saxo Bank SunGard team owner Bjarne Riis. The following day will start and finish in the same city, following a mainly flat route close to 200 kilometres in length.

The third stage will cover a similar distance and will be hosted in the nearby location of Horsens. Following its conclusion, the riders will transfer back to Italy where the rest of the race will take place.

“We look at this agreement with great pleasure,” said race director Angelo Zomengan. “From the most northern spot where the Corsa Rosa or any other historical stage race has ever started, a grand opening of the Giro d’Italia will take place. Thanks to the aims of the organising committee in Denmark and the positive experience in The
Netherlands in 2010, we believe that the three stages that will be held in Herning and Horsens will support the global image and excellence of both the Giro d’Italia and Danish cycling.”

Today’s news makes official that the bid to host the race start in Washington has not been successful. The distance of the transfer back to Europe was known to have been one area of concern, but the biggest issue is likely to have been the change in the city’s mayor last Autumn. Adrian Fenty was a longtime fan of the sport, and had been a big part of the push to host cycling’s second-biggest race there.

Like the Tour de France, the race sometimes starts outside the native country. It happened somewhat rarely in the past, with San Marino hosting the race in 1965, Monte Carlo doing so one year later, and then Verviers in Belgium and the Vatican doing so in 1973 and 1974 respectively.

Since 1996 foreign starts have happened with greater regularity. Athens hosted the race then, and was followed by Nice in 1998, Groningen in the Netherlands in 2002 and from Seraing in Belgium in 2006. This year’s race will begin in Turin.

Matti Breschel, one of the country’s top professionals, has said that he’d like to take part in the 2012 edition. “If such a big race like the Giro d’Italia starts in Denmark, then it is clear that I’d like to do it. It is something special to put on the start here at home,” he told DR Sports.

A big reason for countries to host races is to boost visibility and tourism through television images and other exposure; the Giro d’Italia organisers promised that they will reward the race hosts. “At RCS Sport we are impressed by the commitment and professional approach that the Danish authorities have displayed while creating and presenting the project to host the Giro d’Italia in their country,” said RCS Sport CEO Giacomo Catano. “In return, RCS Sport will put maximum effort in providing value and visibility to the grand opening in Denmark to more than 300 million fans of the Giro all over the world.”

The race start will be the latest in a line of cycling-related links to the country. The road world championships will be held in Copenhagen this year, as will the championships for BMX racing and paracycling.

Route change for this year’s edition:

Meanwhile this year’s race will see a change to the route on stage 17. Starting in Feltre, it had been due to finish in the town of Sondrio, but the arrival has now been transferred to the nearby town of Tirano due to safety issues. The modification means that a leg which was previously set to be the longest in the race at 246 kilometres is being cut to 230km. Stage two from Alba to Parma will now cover the greatest distance, 244kms.

The new route for stage 17 will see the riders scale two categorise climbs. The first is the 1,883 metre high Passo del Tonale, with the second being the 1,173 metre Passo dell’Aprica. The latter tops out 18.5 kilometres from the line.

Ivan Basso won last year’s Giro d’Italia. He will focus his efforts on the Tour de France this year, though, with team leadership passing to Vuelta a España champion Vincenzo Nibali. The 2008 Giro winner Alberto Contador is likely to start as race favourite.


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