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Giro di Sicilia switches to Abruzzo as Route d'Occitanie is off for 2024

While the WorldTour stage racing season continues in Italy and France at Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, this week has brought contrasting news for two other stage races in the countries.

There’s good news in Italy as RCS Sport has unveiled the new Giro d’Abruzzo to run from April 9-12 in place of the now defunct Giro di Sicilia.

The race, which was revived in 2018 after a 40-year break, will shift from the southern island amid a reported lack of interest to continue from local authorities. Organisers RCS kept the calendar slot free, however, and have managed to put on four days of racing in Abruzzo in its place.

The region, located in central Italy, is a regular host at Tirreno-Adriatico (stage 5 starts and finishes there this week) and the Giro d’Italia (last May it hosted the Grande Partenza and stage 7 to Gran Sasso d’Italia) and will also host stages at the men’s and women’s Giro this year.

The new race, expected to be run at 2.1 level as it was previously, will start with a flat 161km stage along the coast from Vasto to Pescara before heading west towards the Apennines for three hillier stages, including a summit finish at Prati di Tivo on stage 3 and a final in the region’s capital of L’Aquila.

While the new event is set in the calendar for next month, RCS Sport noted that they will continue to work with Sicilian authorities to bring racing back to the region.

“From 9 to 12 April, RCS Sport, in collaboration with Regione Abruzzo, will organise Il Giro d’Abruzzo, which will take the place instead of Il Giro di Sicilia,” RCS Sport announced.

“This decision was taken in consultation with Regione Siciliana, with which RCS Sport has for several seasons undertaken a path of valorisation and promotion of the territory through the organisation of events with a strong economic impact on the region.

“RCS Sport and Regione Siciliana are working to continue this path and bring major sporting events back to the island.”

Over in France, another race has dropped off the 2024 calendar following November’s announcement that June’s CIC-Mont Ventoux would be cancelled due to resources being needed elsewhere as the Olympic torch passing through the region.

Another race set to take place in June, the 2.1 stage race La Route d’Occitanie, has been called off for similar reasons.

Local newspaper La Depeche reports that local councils seemed reluctant to help put on the race, citing “extraordinary mobilisation of the police a few weeks before the opening of the Paris Olympic Games” as well as the added financial burden of organising the passing of the Olympic Flame.

The four-day race, won in the last two seasons by Michael Woods, was due to be cut down to two days as a result, though organisers have said that the race will return to the calendar in 2025, running from June 19-22 next summer.

“You know my very deep attachment to this event,” Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme told La Depeche. “I know what we owe to it, with the discovery of climbs repeated on the Tour, such as the Hourquette d’Ancizan, the Port de Bales, Col de Spandelles and Plateau de Beille.

“Of course, I had [race organiser] Pierre Caubin on the phone and I can’t wait to meet him again… I can already tell you that I will do everything to make time to be at the presentation of the 2025 route!”

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
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