Also Italy, in this case represented by the Veneto region, tries to win over ASO and host the 'Grande Depart' of the most important event in cyling with a corageous bid.

The Italian region of Veneto has decided to launch a bid to host the Tour de France Grand depart.  In an official press release from the regional government, the governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, explained “The Tour de France is one of the top races in cycling and the possibility to have it in Veneto is a great opportunity for the whole [Vento] territory.”

If the bid were to be successful, it would translate itself into 120 million euros worth of profits in five days, four days of world wide television coverage, there would be 2000 journalists would be following the stages, 3 billion television contacts, 99% of the hotels would be full and there would be a 10% increase of tourism.

The idea of getting the Tour de France to Veneto was born a few years ago. Although it has only been raised again this year with the partnership between the Veneto government and Venetotour, the association that has decided to promote this bid in the first place.

Zaia knows that hosting such an event may bring a lot of tourism “This sport event can be an important showcase and it will definitely have a ‘boomerang’ effect on tourism in a region, like Veneto, that can already count on 60 million [tourist] visits.”

The governor is certain of the fact that also in this case “We [Veneto] will demonstrate our great organizational and managerial capacity in the great events.”

However, the Governor of the Veneto local government hasn’t specified a date for when they would like to host the start of the Tour. It is unlikely for it to happen next year as the Tour is already starting in the Netherlands, so it could likely be a bid for 2016.

La Grande Guerra or the ‘Great War’ is just one of the two historical references that are going to be used by Veneto and Venetotour to “promote Veneto’s bid to host the start of the world’s third most important sport event, after the [football] World Cup and Olympics” and win over ASO.

Also Ottavio Bottechia, a Veneto-born cyclist and Italy’s first ever yellow jersey, in the 1924 Tour de France, is a historical reference that the promoters are counting on.

In Italy, Veneto is known for its long lasting ‘love affair’ with cycling, as Zaia recalls “Veneto has a special rapport with cycling and in our territory it is put into practice by many passionate people: there are around 500 [cycling] clubs and over 18 thousand practitioners.

“These figures underline the fact of how this sport is part of our region and how the veneti are ready to offer a unique fan frame for the stages.”

This could also be the first time that Italy hosts the Tour de France ‘Grand Depart’.

Picture: flickr.com