Saturday, March 26, 2011

Whispers & Rumblings: No Giro in D.C. Next Year

There are whispers and rumblings that the 2012 Giro d'Italia will not start next year in Washington D.C. To repeat, these are whispers and rumblings, totally unconfirmed.

It was back in November, 2009, when according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Giro d'Italia was considering starting its three-week race outside of Europe for the first time. "For some time we have had the idea of holding the Giro's start in America. But now there exists a concrete interest from the city of Washington," said race director Angelo Zomegnan. Wahington's then Mayor, Adrian Fenty, a cycling fan was very interested in the project and was supporting it (see Parts I, II, and III for more details).

Italian ambassador to the United States Giulio Terzi, Mayor Adrian Fenty, and Angelo Zomegan

Two important meetings took place in Washington in December, 2009, between a delegation from RCS Sport, led by Angelo Zomegnan, and Mayor Adrian Fenty and city authorities.

In February, 2010, Washington D.C. a reception was held at the Italian Embassy with Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Washington D.C Mayor Adrian Fenty and Giro director Angelo Zomegnan. Although nor formal announcement was made the working group updated the gathering on the planning. The original plan of a prologue plus a stage was changed. The new plan called for a prologue on a Saturday, return to Italy on Sunday, rest day on Monday, and the Giro then starting on Italian soil on Tuesday.

In May, 2010, a delegation from Washington D.C. visited Amsterdam to get an idea of the logistics involved with putting on the start of a Giro.

July, 2010, presented an opportunity for D.C. to prove its ability to host a large-scale pro cycling road race when the Capital Criterium race took over Pennsylvania Avenue, organized by the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (WCSA). The race’s director, Washington Attorney Mark Sommers, is also chairman of the working group of the 2012 Giro D’Italia. Before the start of the race Mayor Fenty rode for charity sporting a pink jersey. Fenty was optimistic, saying ”I really do envision the race coming and just sending an electric bolt through the world of cycling.” Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata was optimistic:

In September, 2010, Fenty lost Washington D.C.'s mayoral primary election to Vince Gray. "Washington, D.C., is doing some fantastic things right now, and we both want those fantastic things to continue," said Fenty.

Since then the project has gone quiet in the media. The political demise of Mayor Fenty may have been the undoing of the project.

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