Japan is in contention to host the opening stages of the 2018 Giro d’Italia in a move that would see the cycling ‘Grand Tour’ commence outside Europe for the first time in its history, according to La Stampa.
The Italian newspaper said talks have taken place over a plan that would consist of four stages held in the Shizuoka area east of Tokyo, including one that climbs Mount Fuji. La Stampa said the total budget to organise a ‘Grande Partenza’ in Japan would be around €35m ($40.3m), with each team likely to receive between €250,000 and €500,000 as compensation for making the long trip to Japan.
The newspaper stated a contract could even be signed in the coming weeks if a delegation from Japan visits this year’s Giro d’Italia, which has now arrived back in Italy after the Dutch province of Gelderland hosted its opening three stages.
The 2017 Giro is expected to remain solely in Italy to mark the centenary of the race. A start in Japan for the 2018 Giro would mark the 13th time the event has commenced outside Italy, but the first outside Europe. The US city of Washington D.C. was close to a deal to commence the 2012 Giro only for talks failing to come to fruition.
Talk of a possible Japanese start for the Giro d’Italia first emerged last year. When contacted by the Cyclingnews website, Giro organiser RCS Sport preferred not to comment on the report in La Stampa.