Will we see another foreign Grande Partenza in 2026? Albania leading the bids to host the Giro d'Italia start

The 2024 Giro d'Italia may have only just ended, but the planning of future editions is already in the motion. Next year, the riders should start from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in northeast Italy with the route to be revealed in October. However the situation surrounding 2026 Grande Partenza is much less clear, with multiple parties still in the contention, but a foreign start sounds to be the most likely scenario.

An audacious idea for Saudi Arabia and the AlUla tourist resort to host the Grande Partenza in 2026 has apparently been scrapped or at least put on hold. The current uncertainties in the Middle East have been cited as one reason, with the still ongoing construction of hotels and other facilities another reason for the delay.

A delay to the Saudi Arabian plans could mean Albania could win the race to welcome the start of 2026 Giro d'Italia. This would be the second ever Grande Partena at Balkan península. In 1996 edition won by Pavel Tonkov, the Italian grand tour started in Athens, Greece with a sprint victory for Sweden's Glenn Magnusson.

The Albania bid is backed by Italia’s right-wing prime minister Giorgia Meloni, who has close ties to the Albania prime minister Edi Rama due to a deal to send immigrants to the country.

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