The international Italian bicycle race, Giro d’Italia, kicks off in Hungary next year. The first three stages were announced recently.
Nemzeti Sport reports that the three Hungarian stages of Giro d’Italia 2020 were officially announced.
The first stage will be an individual time trial that starts on the 9th of May in Budapest. The 9.5-kilometre-long stage will kick off from Heroes’ Square and eventually gets to St Stephen’s Basilica along Andrássy Road, from where it continues to Sr Antall József quay. Here, the route continues to the north, crossing the Danube to Buda on Margaret Bridge. Then it goes along Fő Street, all the way to the Buda Castle Tunnel, eventually reaching the Matthias Church in the Castle District.
The second stage, taking place on 10 May, is 193 kilometres long, stretching from Budapest to Győr. It will start in Szentendre and cross the Pilis Mountains near Pilisszentlászló. It will reach the Danube Bend near Visegrád-Lepence, and right after it leaves Esztergom, it turns to Tatabánya. However, the route goes around Tatabánya from the north. Then, it follows Kisbér, after which bikers will reach the scenic Pannonhalma, eventually reaching Győr.
The third stage starts from Székesfehérvár on 11 May, going around Lake Balaton on the Northern Shore, and it ends at Nagykanizsa. The 197-kilometre-long stage crosses Veszprém, Balatonfüred, Tihany, Tapolca, Keszthely, Zalaszabad (the first Hungarian village where a statue of Ferenc Puskás was erected), and Zalakaros.
Máriusz Révész, a government commissioner, told Nemzeti Sport that 3-4000 thousand fans are watching Giro d’Italia daily on the side of the road, and at the same time, the millions of people are watching the race on television. This is a great opportunity to show the beauty, sights, and monuments of Hungary to the world.
Révész hopes that the race will highlight the importance of bicycling in Hungary and will improve its status as well.
Since Giro d’Italia is one of the world’s most watched, most important and most popular sports event, the fact that it has a Hungarian stage is of great importance, representing a milestone in the history of Hungarian biking.
Tünde Szabó, State Secretary for Sports, revealed that organising such an event is a challenge, but the Hungarian team has exceptional organising skills.
Both Révész and Szabó are positive that
fans who come to Hungary to watch the race and people watching the race on their TVs will both remember next year’s event for years.
Giro d’Italia’s race director, Mauro Vegni, revealed that an urban individual time trial was organised in the past years in Dublin, Amsterdam, and Jerusalem, so they have used this method in Bologna this year and will be the opening number of the Grande Partenza in Budapest.
The final 1.5 kilometres of the first stage will close in a 4% slope. So the blue jersey for the best in the mountain classification, the pink jersey for the best in general, the cyclamen jersey for the best sprinter, and the white jersey for the best young rider will be handed out at this stage.
Vegni praised the amazing scenery of the second stage and said that the last 23 kilometres would be good for the sprinters.
The third stage (which is just as beautiful as the previous ones) will go across a plain too, making it a field sprint.
Paolo Bellino, the director of RCS Sport which organises Giro d’Italia, emphasised that almost 800 million people from over 200 countries watch the race each year. Giro gives each nation an opportunity to show their values and beauty to the world, all the while encouraging the younger biker generation to participate in such events, hopefully becoming strong competitors in the future.
The most challenging transfer in the race’s history will involve Hungary,
as this will be the first time that the race moves from abroad to Italy on the next day: the race continues in Sicily on the 12th of May.
None of the big three-week-long events has ever taken place in Hungary before. Giro d’Italia is organised since 1909 and only on 13 occasions was it organised elsewhere than Italy, the last time in 2018 in Israel.
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