an affair not only of the heart – Antonio Ruzzo’s blog

Piazza Michelangelo half empty? The Florentines annoyed because the Tour paralyzes everything? And then what does the Tour have to do with Tuscany, Romagna, Piedmont? And who knows how much it cost to bring it …

an affair not only of the heart – Antonio Ruzzo's blog

Piazza Michelangelo half empty? The Florentines annoyed because the Tour paralyzes everything? And then what does the Tour have to do with Tuscany, Romagna, Piedmont? And who knows how much it cost to bring it here… As often happens in our parts, it is difficult to enjoy the beautiful things that then thank goodness somehow arrive because with the current climate for “big events” if someone doesn’t come to bring them to us between crisis, bureaucracy and antiquated facilities it is difficult to set them up by now. And to realize this, just think that to organize the European Football Championship in 2032, we had to ask Turkey for help. But that’s how it is. But then you just have to see Pogacar, Vingegaard, Van der Poel, Van Aert, Evenepoel, Roglic, Thomas, Ciccone and company parade through the park for the Grand Departure and the controversies vanish. Those who love cycling will feast their eyes: the Tour of Italy? And when does it happen again? “The Tour de France has never started from Italy in 120 years and it was a kind of anomaly, of inconsistency. An error that we have remedied…” the owner has said and said again in recent days Christian Prudhomme which in recent weeks has been touring a bit everywhere in the Belpaese to convince, but there was no need, that his is a fantastic “product” and does not fear competition. An act of justice and heart even if obviously it’s not just like that, it’s not just a tribute. The 2024 Tour, number 111, starts tomorrow and ends on July 21st: 3,492 km scheduled with the first three stages on our roads. The first, 206 km from Florence to Rimini; the second, 200 km from Cesenatico to Bologna; the third, 229 km from Piacenza to Turin. On the fourth day we start from Pinerolo and then enter France and face Sestriere, Montgenevre and Galibier. Two time trials: one individual 25km from Nuits Saint Georges to Gevrey-Chambertin, the other on the last day of 34km from Monaco to Nice. There will be dirt roads and cobblestones and obviously there will be climbs: in the Massif Central, with the finish line in Le Lioran and then the Pyrenees with the inevitable arrival in Pau before the high altitude arrivals in Saint Lary Soulan (Pla d’Adet) in Plateau de Beille, in Isola 2000 and on the Col de la Couillole. An unparalleled spectacle for those who love cycling. And the “Tour d’Italie” for those who are passionate about cycling is a great gift, a beautiful Italian postcard to send around the world. But not just a romantic homage because the Tour which, after the Football World Cup and the Olympics is the most followed sporting event, is above all a business where a lot is spent and a lot is collected which generates a turnover of over 150 million euro, thanks to an audience of 3.5 billion viewers connected in 190 countries. Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Piedmont and the city of Turin have invested a total of 11 million in order for the French race to pass through their roads, which is no small sum but which, as always happens with the Tour, is an investment that returns at least three times as much if not more. Any examples? A few days ago the statistical study center of the Metropolitan City of Florence quantified an economic impact that will be close to 20 million euros between consumption, overnight stays, catering, tourist expenses, accompanying team staff, over 250 accredited journalists and so on. It’s not a small thing but it will be better for Emilia-Romagna as the Tour has secured it for two days: the calculated revenue is around 30 million with over 150 thousand visitors in Rimini alone which has 90 percent of its hotel facilities booked . Lower figures for Piedmont which invested three million to bring the Tour to the Region, first in Turin and then in Pinerolo. That said, the discussion could end here. But the question remains. Why does the Tour have to start from Italy? Because today cycling is what pandemics, wars, economic crises allow it to be, that is, a sport with the red accounting light on and with the need to find sponsors and money where there is still someone willing to open the purse strings. The Tour is the Tour but now, like many great sporting events, it has also become something else. What kind of cycling is it? It is that of modern times, the result of a state of necessity, where champions count but so does money. Indeed more.