It’s been a topsy-turvy 24 hours in the world of the 2023 Giro Donne. The race has had huge issues to deal with this season. It largely stems from the decision to award the race from 2024 to RCS (organisers of the men’s Giro d’Italia) by the Italian Federation. The timing seemed to backfire on the Federation as Starlight told them around the same time that they wouldn’t foot the bill for the TV coverage. A bill that is mentioned as being €730k to go to production company InFront.
Starlight informed the Federation in January 2023 that they wouldn’t pay this cost, with the writing on the wall and a soft agreement made with RCS to host the race from 2024 already in place. When the tender process began in February 2023, it was written in such a way that only RCS could realistically apply. Thereby the Federation effectively alienated the organiser of the 2023 edition and provided no encouragement for the 2023 race to be spent above and beyond.
It’s sort of hoped that a professional organisation would act accordingly, seeing out the agreement in its final year to a high standard. Especially as the 2022 race was probably the best edition run up to this point. However, Starlight became hostile, effectively holding the race to ransom to not pay the €730k tv production cost. They also stated in private that there would be no race without the TV production. Partly because sponsors expect it but also it would no doubt see it demoted from the Women’s WorldTour as well. That in turn would negate the deal the Federation had struck with RCS.
It’s unclear how much back and forth there was since January but the stalemate continued well into June 2023, where the upcoming deadline of the actual race seemed to focus minds. However, there was infighting within the Italian Federation. The President was happy to pay the money to see the race go ahead, they could afford it after all, but other members of the head council didn’t want to see budgetary funds diverted from other areas to pay for this.
An emergency meeting was called last night, where a vice president and 4 other councillors found excuses to not attend. That meant there was no quorum at the meeting and a decision could not be made. A further meeting was scheduled for 8am this morning to try and resolve the issue.
In the end, that meeting did not take place because an overnight agreement with the Italian state broadcaster RAI had been reached. They would step in to do the tv production of the 2023 Giro Donne and at a lower, but unconfirmed, cost than the original €730k. The president of the Italian Federation forced this through with a presidential resolution. It may still need ratification by the council but is expected to go through.
For now, at least, the Giro Donne looks set to go ahead on 30th June with a 4,4km TT in Chianciano Terme.