Little Italy in Washington?

Talk continues of prestigious bike race coming to nation's capital

By Andy Salsman
|  Thursday, May 27, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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Little Italy in Washington?

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24 May 2001: Zanini of team Mapei Quick Step celebrates victory after the7th Stage of the Giro D''Italia Rieti - Montevarchi. DIGITAL CAMERA. Yuzuru SUNADA / GRAZIA NERI. Mandatory Credit: Grazia Neri/ALLSPORT

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The Tour de France isn’t going anywhere, but there's still talk of one of the world’s other premier bike races coming right here to Washington.

It has been rumored for months that organizers of the Giro d’Italia are looking to bring the race to the nation’s capital. In case you’re not a cycling aficionado, the Giro d’Italia is one of the three races that make up the “Triple Crown of Cycling.” And in case you aren’t fluent in Italian, Giro d’Italia means “Tour of Italy.”

So how in the world could a Tour of Italy somehow weave through the streets of Washington? Welcome to the world of cycling! The race has actually taken place outside of Italy several times. In fact, the first three stages of this year’s race took place in the Netherlands.

The director of the Giro d’Italia continues to talk about bringing the race to the U.S. in 2012. He’s got some big ideas, should the race land here in Washington.

“The first stage would be a time trial around the famous monuments in Washington, D.C. -- the monuments to Jefferson, to Lincoln, the Capitol,” Angelo Zomegnan told Velo News. “It would be amazing TV images. And we could show the American fans the beauty of the Giro.”

Zomegnan also wants President Barack Obama to be the first stage presenter of the winning pink jersey.

“Can you imagine the image for cycling if Mr. Barack Obama presents the pink jersey?” Zomegnan told Velo News. “It would be a beautiful way to start the Giro. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start the Giro in North America.”

If that dream actually comes true, let's hope by 2012 that Obama has rocked the red at least once at the Verizon Center before he starts handing out pink jerseys...

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