Lige wants 2006 Giro start
Thursday, March 24, 2005 12.00am
Flushed with the success of hosting last year's Tour de France start, the province of Liege now want
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM After hosting the start of last year's Tour de France, the Walloon city of Lige is hoping to attract another of cycling's grand tours to its streets by pitching to host the start of next year's Giro d'Italia. The proposal is to spend 1.25m euros - about half what it took to attract the Tour - on bringing the Giro to Belgium. The plan proposes the opening stage taking place in Seraing on May 5 next year, followed by a stage from Mons to Charleroi, then by a stage from Perwez to Namur, and finally a stage leaving Wanze and heading to Italy via Germany. The Giro came to Belgium back in 2002, when a similar long-distance start to the race took it from Groningen in Holland, via Belgium and back to Italy. The Walloon proposal faces competition from rival bids from Amsterdam in Holland and also from Switzerland. Walloon regional government president Mr Van Cauwenberghe told La Dernire Heure that, contrary what has been reported in some sections of the Belgian media, the deal has not been agreed yet, but confirmed talks had taken place with Giro organisers RCS. According to DH, the initial contact came, in fact, from RCS, who wanted to find a finishing point for a proposed stage from Amsterdam. When the Dutch city began to cool on bringing the race to Holland, Lige was approached as a possible alternative starting point. "2006 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Belgo-Italian convention on immigration," said Van Cauwenberghe. "Bringing the Giro to towns with a strong Italian influence such as Seraing, Mons or Charleroi is also symbolic. We will try to include the final Walloon provinces in the plan, but the route is not the main priority at the moment."
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