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After 2-year wait, Hungary to get Giro d’Italia start

104th Giro d'Italia 2021 - Stage 13

VERONA, ITALY - MAY 21: Dries De Bondt of Belgium and Team Alpecin-Fenix, Matteo Badilatti of Switzerland and Team Groupama - FDJ, Attila Valter of Hungary and Team Groupama - FDJ & The peloton at start in Ravenna- Piazza del Popolo during the 104th Giro d’Italia 2021, Stage 13 a 198km stage from Ravenna to Verona / @girodiitalia / #Giro / #UCIworldtour / on May 21, 2021 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images,)

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BUDAPEST, Hungary -- The 2022 edition of the Giro d’Italia will start with three stages in Hungary, just as it was scheduled to do last year before the coronavirus pandemic.

Giro organizers made the announcement in Budapest, detailing the first three stages and indicating that the rest of the route will be presented in instalments over the next week. That process will culminate in the unveiling of the final stage - expected to be a time trial to Verona.

The Italian grand tour was due to start in Hungary in 2020 but the pandemic forced organizers to reschedule the race to October and move the start to Sicily.

Under the original plans, the 2020 race was meant to start with a time trial in Budapest but that has now been moved to the second day in a much-revised Grande Partenza (Big Start) schedule. The 2022 Giro will instead get underway with a road stage from Budapest to Visegrad on May 6. The undulating 195-kilometer (121-mile) route will be best suited for sprinters although it does include an uphill finish.

There is also an uphill finish to the individual time trial through Budapest on day two, with peaks of 14% in the first section toward the end of the 9.2-kilometer (5.7-mile) route.

Stage three is another one for the sprinters, on a 201-kilometer (125-mile) leg along Lake Balaton from Kaposvar to Balatonfured.

The Giro will have its first rest day on May 9 as the riders transfer to Italy.

Attila Valter was at the presentation. He became the first Hungarian cyclist to wear the leader’s pink jersey when he moved into the overall lead after the sixth stage of this year’s Giro. He wore the maglia rosa for three days before eventually finishing 14th.

“This year, one of the most exciting things happened to me - I wore the Maglia Rosa,” Valter said. “It’s a feeling you cannot compare to anything else. Next May, all my fellow Hungarians will be able to feel some of this excitement and get much closer to cycling.

“In my eyes it’s the most important sports event ever in my country, and I really wish ... that I can start the race, and repeat something really great in 2022 at my home country.”