By Gregor Brown
The 2020 Giro d'Italia will start in Budapest, Hungary – a first, with no other Grand Tour yet to visit the central European country.
This will be the 14th Grande Partenza to take place outside of Italy, with the first three stages of this year's edition taking place on Hungarian soil.
Budapest follows a progressive international push by RCS Sport. In recent years, it has begun its three-week Italian Grand Tour in Jerusalem, Amsterdam and Belfast. The first ever foreign Giro start was in 1965, when the race began in San Marino.
The 2021 Giro d'Italia is already due to start in Sicily, Italy's southern island. This year's Giro, starting May 11 with Egan Bernal leading Team Sky, will begin in Bologna.
France's Marseille had been in the running to host the 2020 start before the organiser decided on Budapest.
The race should begin on Friday, as other recent Giros have done when beginning abroad. It will allow an extra rest day when returning home to the Bel Paese.
The Giro caravan faces a 550km drive to the nearest city, Trieste in Italy's far northeast, or alternatively it could take a flight to the very south in the heel of the country. In 2014, the Giro left Dublin for Bari in the south east – a 2700 kilometre journey.
No distance appears too far for the Italian organiser, however, after its 2018 start in Jerusalem. The race flew three hours to Sicily, with the hour's time difference, to begin the race 48 hours later. Chris Froome went on to win the race overall.
The Giro/Budapest deal could be linked to Hungarian sponsor Kométa. The Italian-owned meat processor has invested millions in Hungary in recent years.
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