Talk to any rider who has raced in the Giro or any spectator who hassimply watched the race in the flesh from the sidelines, and they willtell you the Italian spectacle is the best cycle tour in the world.
By
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Talk to any rider who has raced in the Giro or any spectator who has
simply watched the race in the flesh from the sidelines, and they will
tell you the Italian spectacle is the best cycle tour in the world.

The race is tougher, the roads are steeper, the crowds are more passionate and the wine and food…..well, say no more!

I'm told the whole package even surpasses the Tour de France – if that is possible.

Unfortunately,
I haven't sampled the Giro experience – the closest I have been is on
the odd occasion when the Tour has crossed borders as was the case last
year on the second rest day in the city of Cuneo.

It goes without saying Italians have always embraced world cycling.

There's
no denying the national colours are clearly visible from the tens of
thousands who line the roadways when supporting most races in Europe,
let alone their own nation's Grand Tour.

So why then doesn't the Giro enjoy the same world-wide profile as the Tour de France?

I
feel it has much to do with the television coverage and the way the
Italian executives have marketed their race compared to the French
owners of the Tour de France.

Not surprisingly, Italians have called the Giro "their own".

In
the past they have refused to "share the love" with cycling fans who
have been exposed to the sport only by watching the Tour.

For
the first time since SBS covered European cycling in the late 1980s,
network officials have decided to screen extended half hour highlights,
along with the daily morning updates.

It's a similar package to
the way the Tour was initially handled prior to SBS screening every
stage live from 2004 and hopefully, it could mark the start of a new
era in the way the event is covered in the future.

With the
world becoming increasingly linked by modern technology and the
multi-million dollar windfall and economic gain a big race such as the
TdF enjoys, it's no wonder Giro officials seem to have finally woken up
to the fact that they are sitting on a "gold mine".

Statistics
have proven that thousands of international travellers have chosen
France as a tourist destination simply by watching coverage of the Tour.

The same cannot be said for Italy and the Giro.

I
must confess you don't need a bike race to lure tourists to that part
of the world, but it would surely help if the Giro was marketed and
promoted in a similar way to the TdF.

Who knows, the fixation
and appeal for world cycling, which many Australians have come to enjoy
from the TdF for three weeks every year, may double sooner or later.

For that to happen Italian TV must come to the party.