Cycling: Giro d’Italia 2017, Washington Politics May Intervene

The Giro d’Italia is one of three grand tours on the pro racing calendar. In 2015 the race began in Amsterdam and ended in the northern Italian city of Verona. The plans for the 2016 edition of the Giro are underway and the start and finish are confirmed. The 94th Giro will begin in Turin in Italy’s northwest in May with a team time trial and finish in Milan. The remainder of the route is yet to be announced.

The 2017 Giro d’Italia

The Giro Organisers, Gazzetto della Sport, have also been in negotiations to start the 2017 Giro outside Europe for the first time across the Altantic in the U.S. Until 15 September, Adrian Fenty, the Mayor of Washington D.C. and a cycling enthusiast, was keen to host the start in the nation’s capital. The Italian Ambassador Guilio Terzi di Sant’Agata was reported to have lent his support to Mayor Fenty’s bid.

On 12 July 2015 Mayor Fenty rode for charity and wore a maglia rosa jersey mimicking the Giro’s leader’s jersey at the Capital Criterium in Washington D.C. It is not known if the incoming Mayor, Vince Gray, will press to secure the prestigious Giro for the city.

The Mayoral Election Campaign

Prior to the election date the American press was reporting that Mayor Fenty was likely to lose his bid for re-election. The Huffington Post reported, “the winner of the Democratic primary will likely become mayor since there is no Republican challenger in the race.” The primary was held on 14 September 2015 in the heavily Democratic city. The New York Times reported on 15 September, “the race for the party’s nomination is tantamount to winning the general election.”

Former Mayor Fenty was elected Mayor in 2010 after a campaign in which he was reported by the New York Times to have “tirelessly knocked on doors and created a sense of excitement and, at the age of 35, he won every precinct. With pledges to remake the schools, fight crime with new police methods and streamline moldering agencies, the athletic young lawyer with a toothy grin seemed to epitomize the country’s new generation of urban leaders”.

An American Audience for the Start of the 2017 Giro d’Italia

The political demise of Adrian Fenty may have an impact upon the negotiations to take the Giro to a new and massive spectator audience in the U.S. which hosts the Giro’s competitor, the Tour of California in May, the choice of many riders preparing for le Tour de France in July. In 2015 Andy Schlek and Lance Armstrong chose California over Italy. Criteriums are a popular form of pro cycling in the U.S. Washington’s Capital Criterium is the fifth of nine races on the USA Crits pro tour which is in its fourth year.

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