Dazed and Confused wrote:Italy with the best cycling terrain in the world wants to find roads in Ireland. Everybody wants to milk the Sky cow.
You know if they had decided to start anywhere else but freekin Belfast, one might detect a bit of willful projecting on your part. However, given the history Northern Ireland has with Britain means that your assertion is grounded.
Then this is what La Gazzetta dello Sport had to say in today's paper:
"Once again La Gazzetta's race is unleashed from abroad, while it's not by chance that it will be an English speaking country that hosts the "Great Departure." It's not by chance because the world of cycling has expanded its horizons, and in recent years the sport's growth has largely taken place in countries that speak the Queen's tongue (the US, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland...)."
The article goes on to report that it was through the auspices of Darach McQuaid, Pat's brother, who raced in Coppi's time, and 5 million euro supplied by the local administration, that the improbable design has worked out. Improbable, because it's the most complicated Grand Tour start ever, given that the first two stages will be held in Belfast (capital of N. Ireland, which is part of Great Britain), while Monday 11 the stage takes off from Armagh and arrives in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland.
It would have been impossible, according to La Gazzetta, just fifteen years ago to unify the two antagonistic states because of the legal, cultural, religious and political dichotomies that have separated them through centuries of conflict. Great strides, however, have been made over recent years, again according to La Gazzetta, along the path of reconciliation and harmony, while the Giro intends to be a symbol of that progress and will be an occasion to emphasize the trend.
PS: As well as tapping into the Sky cash cow.
PSS: As an aside, in a second article in the same daily, an interview with Stephen Roche, who lives between Antibes and Majorca (lovely places!), the Irish ex-champion says his son Nicholas is strong and this year with Contador at Saxo Bank will have some nice satisfactions. Yet his other son, 14 year-old Alex, who has just started racing with a Nice based team - naturally on Carrera bikes - Roche claims is a phenomenon. "He's got the peddle stroke of athletes of talent. I'm sure he will win the Giro and Tour of 2024. You wanna bet?"
So there you have it, you heard it first hear.