Hungary to host start of Giro d'Italia '22 this weekend

May 05. 2022. – 12:06 PM

Hungary to host start of Giro d'Italia '22 this weekend
The Chain Bridge in Budapest was lit up in pink in 2020, 100 days before the start of that year's Giro d'Italia was to be held in Hungary's capital. Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák / MTI


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On Friday, 6 May, the 2022 edition of Giro d’Italia, the world’s second most important cycling race is set to start in Budapest, Hungary.

What’s an Italian race doing in Hungary?

Giro d’Italia was first organised in 1909 as a biking race around Italy. It has 21 stages and lasts a total of 3 weeks and has become one of the most important biking races in the world. This is the 13th time that the competitors are racing outside of Italy as well. Prior to 1996, there were only two occasions when the start was not in Italy (San Marino in 1965 and Monaco in 1966). As of 1996, the organizers have been taking part of the race outside of Italy somewhat regularly – mostly for business reasons.

Every day, several hours of live coverage of the competition are shown to TV viewers around the world, with plenty of time for pictures and even text about the landscapes, tourist attractions and historical monuments. Thus, the race virtually becomes an advertisement for the host country, which is worth investing in.

Hungary has paid millions of Euros to bring the race to the country, hoping that the investment will later pay off in tourism revenue, although this is always difficult to quantify. The original plan was to have the Giro’s start in Budapest in 2020, but this was thwarted by Covid, which is why the Hungarian “Grande Partenza” (the Italian name for “The Big Start”) was moved to two years later.

The race will be hosted by Hungary for 3 stages. On 6 May they will be riding between Budapest and Visegrád, 7 May will be a time trial in Budapest, and on 8 May the almost two hundred bikers will be racing from Kaposvár to Balatonfüred. After the finish line in the town on the shore of lake Balaton, the teams will fly to Sicily and following a day of rest, will continue the race there.

Does Hungary have a history of its cyclists racing at the Giro d’Italia?

Not exactly. We had to wait almost a hundred years for the first Hungarian Giro-contestant. This was László Bodrogi, who competed with a French team (Crédit Agricole) in 2007, and who actually finished fourth at the time trial in Verona in the 20th stage – to this day, this is the best Hungarian stage result in the history of the race.

It was more than a decade later that the country could again cheer for one of its own at Giro d’Italia. Attila Valter debuted at the race in 2020, and Márton Dina also competed in 2021.

Attila Valter greeting fans at Budapest's Heroes' Square at the Teams' Presentation on 4 May, 2022 – Photo: Péter Sz. Németh / Telex
Attila Valter greeting fans at Budapest's Heroes' Square at the Teams' Presentation on 4 May, 2022 – Photo: Péter Sz. Németh / Telex

In last year’s race, after having collected the most points until then, after stage 6 Attila Valter even got to wear the famous pink shirt for three days – it eventually went to the winner of last year’s race, Egan Bernal.

How many Hungarians are competing this year?

This year there will be three Hungarians competing at Giro d’Italia: Erik Fetter (from Eolo-Kometa), Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) and Barnabás Peák (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert Matériaux).

At the Teams Presentation event on 4 May in Budapest, Attila Valter addressed the gathered crowd by saying:

“What matters most is for us all to truly enjoy this, because these will be three beautiful days. I wish you all great cheering! Let’s enjoy it all!”

The start of the race will be on Friday, 6 May at 12.20 pm at one of Budapest’s landmarks, Heroes’ Square.

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