Stalemate between Giro Donne organisers and Italian Federation about paying for live coverage

Giro d'Italia Donne 2022

The countdown is on for this year’s Giro Donne, and with only just over a week to go a new controversy has seen the light of day. At an Italian Cycling Federation meeting at the conclusion of the Giro d’Italia U23 race for men, a discussion was had about the issue surrounding the Giro Donne this year. It boils down to who is going to pay for the TV production.

This year’s Giro Donne has already got off to a slow start, with a route not made available until a few weeks ago and even then only with very basic information. Official stage profiles for instance aren’t available, although it’s possible to see them here. It’s all led to a bit of a sour taste when riders find out the Tour de France Femmes route months in advance and are able to recon its stages. The Vuelta Femenina was criticised for being late with its route announcement by some teams but even they weren’t quite this late.

The lack of promotion for this year’s race seemed linked to the decision made by the Italian Cycling Federation to put the rights to host the 2024 and future editions of the Giro Donne up for tender earlier this year. There was criticism at the time for the way the tender was written, as it effectively ruled out all other potential applicants other than RCS, the organisers of the men’s Giro d’Italia.

So it was rather a slap in the face for Starlight/PMG, who had hosted the Giro Donne the last 2 years and done a pretty decent job. Still with work to do around the edges sure but a massive improvement on the old Giro Rosa organisation. Ever since the announcement of the result of that tender, which predictably went to RCS, it’s been like hens teeth trying to get information about the 2023 Giro Donne race.

The latest battle then, between Starlight/PMG and the Italian Cycling Federation is about who will foot the bill for the live TV coverage. One of the many factors that saw the race demoted from the Women’s WorldTour in 2021 was that it failed to provide the required standard of coverage in 2020. Suddenly that status begins to feel at risk once again, although the RideLondon Classique got away with a promise and evidence to show all stages live in 2023 after only showing 1 of 3 stages live in 2022.

It appears that the contract with RCS to host the 2024 event is dependent on the race remaining in the Women’s WorldTour as well according to Italian sources. Which all rather puts the Italian Federation over a barrel in this stalemate.

There are options here. The Italian Federation ‘wins’ and forces Starlight/PMG to pay for the coverage. Starlight/PM ‘wins’ and the Italian Fed pays for the coverage, the 2023 race gets cancelled thereby not breaking the tv coverage rules or the race goes ahead with no live coverage and RCS tells the UCI it was a giant mess not of their doing and promises it’ll be better under their control next year.

There is infighting within the Federation itself about the best course of action with some inclined to pay up and some not. Honestly, at this point, it’s hard to really know for sure which way this will end up.

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