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Could the 2018 Giro d'Italia be starting in Japan?

Josh Cunningham
11 May 2016

Italian newspaper La Stampa have reported that the 2018 Giro could be starting on the other side of the world, in Tokyo.

Foreign Grand Departs of the Tour, and Grand Partenzas of the Giro, are far from out of the ordinary in these times. Whether it's Yorkshire, Apeldoorn, Belfast, or Dusseldorf, its an increasingly common phenomenon of the modern day Grand Tour. But Italian newspaper La Stampa have caused a stir by reporting that there could be plans afoot for the 2018 Giro d'Italia to start in Japan, which would certainly be unprecedented. 

Race director Mauro Vegni has reportedly already travelled to Japan for talks and the possible outlining of something more concrete, but four stages are rumoured to be on the agenda, in the Shizuoka area east of Tokyo. One stage could include an ascent of the world-famous Mount Fuji, which with paved roads that rise to over 2000m, would certainly provide an early test.  

Perhaps more of a challenge than Mount Fuji for the riders would be the logistics though, which is probably the reason why a 'Grand Partenza' or equivalent has yet to be held outside of Europe. How the surrounding problems would be solved - be that jet-lag, rest days, or else - isn't clarified, however a link with Asatsu-DK, a major advertising agency, is said to be important in the funding of such a venture. 

Japan enjoys a rich cycling culture, not just around the Keirin, but road cycling too, and in an age of ever-increasing globalisation, perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised if the rumours turn out to be true. 

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