Ireland could host the Giro d’Italia in a little over 18 months’ time with tourism bosses on bothe sides of the border putting together a joint bid to bring the start of the 2014 edition of the Corsa Rosa - the Pink Race - to the Emerald Isle.
According to a report in the Belfast Telegraph, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Failte Ireland are co-operating on the bid £3.8 million bid, which has the backing of governments on both sides of the border.
It is believed that staging the opening days of the race, planned for the bank holiday weekend from 2 to 4 May, 2014, could benefit the local economy to the tune of £10 million.
Under former race director Angelo Zomegnan and his successor Michele Acquarone, the Giro has pursued a strategy of internationalisation, including increasing the frequency of the Grande Partenza being held outside Italy.
This year’s race began in Denmark, while two years ago the opening stages were held in The Netherlands, with Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins taking the maglia rosa in the Amsterdam Prologue.
The bid to bring the Giro to Ireland, which is reportedly yet to be formally submitted, is being co-ordinated by Shade Tree Sports, a company co-founded and managed by Darach McQuaid, brother of UCI president Pat McQuaid.
The company, which has offices in Dublin and Richmond, Virginia, was also behind the successful bid by the latter for the UCI Road World Championships in 2015.
A spokesman for the company said, “It is an ongoing project" and added that further details might be made public in early November.
The Republic of Ireland hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 1998, and in Stephen Roche has a former Giro d’Italia champion.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.