Hosting the first three stages of this year’s Giro d’Italia cycling race “exceeded our wildest dreams”, government commissioner for an active Hungary Máriusz Révész said in a statement late on Sunday.
Révész said “at least a quarter of a million people” encouraged riders along the route, contributing to “a sensational mood” and “exceeding all expectations of the Italian organisers”.
He thanked the Giro d’Italia organisers, the local governments of the capital and the other settlements through which the race passed and road maintenance company Magyar Közút Nonprofit, as well as volunteers, fans and local residents.
Race director Mauro Vegni said the welcome in Hungary for the Giro d’Italia’s Grande Partenza “could not have been warmer”.
“We want to thank Hungary, the government, local residents, fans and naturally the local organising committee for the Grande Partenza. The last three days have been a real success,” he said.
He added that Hungarians have “ensured their place in the international cycling community”.
Hungary hosted the first three stages of the Giro d’Italia on May 6-8. Cyclists raced 195km from Budapest to Visegrád, via Székesfehérvár and Esztergom, in the first stage, on Friday. An individual time trial followed on Saturday, on a 9.2km stretch in the heart of Budapest. On Sunday, cyclists rode 201km from Kaposvár (W Hungary) along the northern shore of Lake Balaton to Balatonfüred.
Hungary was to have hosted the Grande Partenza of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, but the race was postponed because of the pandemic.
Featured photo illustration by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI