FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2017 file phtoo, the pinnacles of the Duomo cathedral are lit by the afternoon sun and backdropped by the new Business Center, in Milan, northern Italy. The Italian Olympic Committee sent a letter of intent to the IOC on Thursday, March 29, 2018, stating its plans of combining Milan and Turin to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, files)

Milan and Turin join forces for 2026 Olympic bid

The Italian Olympic Committee sent a letter of intent to the IOC stating its plans of combining Milan and Turin to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Milan and Turin are combining to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) sent a letter of intent to the International Olympic Committee on Thursday, stating its plans.

While there is usually one host city, the IOC’s new bidding process allows for the Games to be spread over bigger areas, although the competition can only be named after one city.

CONI said it would let the IOC decide which city received naming rights.

Related: Calgary considers bid for 2026 Olympic Games

“CONI reminds that the dialogue period foresees collaboration between CONI, the city and the IOC to verify the best solution for the country’s needs,” the Italian committee said in a statement.

Subject to approval by the new government, the bid could prompt ceremonies and winter sports in Milan with other events staged at venues built for the 2006 Turin Olympics.

There could be speedskating in Turin, ski jumping at Pragelato and luge, bobsleigh and skeleton at Cesana. Alpine skiing may be held in Sestriere, like in 2006, and in Bormio, north of Milan.

Milan and Turin are 145 kilometres (90 miles) apart and are connected by a highway and a high-speed rail line.

Italy awaits a new government following an election this month that yielded no clear majority.

CONI’s decision eliminates a prospective bid from the Veneto and Dolomites region which would have centred on 1956 Winter Olympics host Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino supports the bid despite divisions in her own party, the populist 5-Star Movement.

CONI’s Rome bid was dropped for the 2024 Summer Games after opposition from Mayor Virginia Raggi, who also represents the 5-Star Movement.

Other cities to have shown preliminary interest for 2026 are Stockholm, Calgary, Sion and Sapporo.

Related: Winter Olympics options limited by warming planet: research

The 2026 host will be decided at the IOC Session in Milan in September 2019.

In the past, session hosts could not bid but the IOC has said that is no longer an issue.

___

Andrew Dampf, The Associated Press

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