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Giro d’Italia to Start in Japan in 2018?

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A report in the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, surfaced today hinting that the 2018 Giro d’Italia could start in Japan, with four stages held in the Shizuoka area of Tokyo, to include an ascent of the Japan’s famed 3,776 meter Mount Fuji. 

According to the article, Giro d’Italia race director, Mauro Vegni, is reported to have recently travelled to Japan, in order to meet with officials to discuss the details of a possible Grand Depart. 

In addition, it’s also reported that the Japanese advertising agency, Asatsu-DK, is involved in the plans as well, and would help fund the costs via major sponsors. Furthermore, well-known race organizer, Enzo Cainero, is believed to be involved in the plans also.

Rumors of a possible Japanese Grand Depart first emerged last year, however, Vegni down-played the report, while also not ruling out the possibility either.  

“There’s always a lot of interest in the Giro d’Italia and I’m not going to deny that there’s been contact with people in Japan but it’s very premature to say if anything will come of it,” Vegni said.

A start in Japan would not only represent the thirteenth time the Giro d’Italia started outside of Italy, but would mark the first time it got underway outside of Europe.

Given the success of the Giro d’Italia’s 2014 Grand Depart in Ireland, along with this year’s start in the Netherlands, many view the likelihood of Japan hosting the start of the Italian grand Tour in 2018, as a real possibility.

La Stampa reports that the total budget to organize a Grand Depart in Japan would cost an estimated 35 million Euro, with each team being offered 250,000 and 500,000 Euros to compensate them for the 14-hour transfer from Japan.

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