Giro organizer promises a ‘party’ in Budapest, as long as you’re not gay

Giro d’Italia organizers RCS Sport said they did not wish to enter into a discussion of political and human rights in relation to Budapest’s Grande Partenza.

The first three stages of the Italian Grand Tour 2022 will take place in Hungary, where “homophobic and transphobic laws”, as described by Amnesty Internationalwere adopted in 2021.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who passed these laws, recently won a fourth general election to extend his term as prime minister, which began in 2010. Monitoring team of 200 people with the dispatch of UN observer status, this is only the second time this has happened in an EU member state.

After the election, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was confident the two countries could continue their close relationship “despite the difficult international situation”.

Orbán banned the transfer of weapons to Ukraine, which shares a border with Hungary, and the prime minister also called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky an “opponent”.

It is in this context that the start of the Giro d’Italia 2022 will take place.

“Given that Viktor Orban is an ally of Putin, and also that Hungary has passed anti-gay and anti-trans legislation in recent years, what would be your message to gay, trans and Ukrainian people about how they can take advantage of the start of this Giro d’Italia in Hungary? CyclingTips asked during a panel discussion with RCS Sport Managing Director Paolo Bellino.

“I think I would like to be honest,” Bellino began, promisingly. “To go out [to Hungary] and not to consider politics or other things.

“I think we as RCS Sport, we as Giro d’Italia, we guarantee everyone, in general, the possibility of having an incredible event and an incredible time with us. So I have no barrier, I think our intention is to create an incredible event, Italian style of course, with all the best riders in the world competing and giving the opportunity for a great party.”

“I don’t…I don’t get into any political or other situation, because if I…because if sport…I mean, I’m a sports organizer,” Bellino continued. “I think sport is the only time in our life and in society where everyone is free to demonstrate their abilities, their passion, there are no barriers. And I would like that for the Giro also in Budapest, we can do the same.”

“I would like to follow up on this question,” replied another journalist. “Like last year you probably remember all that happened at the European Championships with the rainbow rides, is there any concern in the organization that this thing might appear again. So maybe there is a concern for the political issues being raised?”

“I think on this one we’re going to have to cut because Paolo has already answered that question,” interrupted the public relations spokesperson who was leading the call. “If we could move on to another question, more about the Giro.”

A pause, then a question about RCS Sport’s intention to improve its women’s racing offer.

“Thank you very much for your question,” Bellino replied to the subject change.

There’s no doubt that the beautiful and historic city of Budapest will throw a “big party” to kick off the Giro d’Italia 2022. But if you’re gay, trans or Ukrainian, you might not find your name on the list guests.

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