ROME — Italy's three-pronged bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics has been reduced to a two-city candidacy featuring Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Following Turin's exclusion, the Italian Olympic Committee is sending a delegation featuring Milan and Cortina representatives to meet with IOC leaders on Wednesday.
The move comes after government undersecretary and sports delegate Giancarlo Giorgetti told the Senate on Tuesday that the three-city proposal "is dead."
Turin's exclusion follows infighting between Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala and Turin counterpart Chiara Appendino, who had been arguing over the bid's leadership and naming rights.
Peliminary bids are due to be presented at IOC meetings in Buenos Aires next month.
"The candidacy needs to be saved, so we're open to moving forward together," Veneto region president Luca Zaia and Lombardy region president Attilio Fontana said in a joint statement.
"If Turin is withdrawing, which upsets us, at this point two realities remain, and they are called Veneto and Lombardy. So we are moving forward with the Lombardy-Veneto Olympics."
Under the revised plan, hockey and speedskating — which had been slotted for venues built for the 2006 Turin Games — would be held in Milan. Alpine skiing would be held in 1956 host Cortina, while biathlon would be slated for nearby Anterselva — a regular stop on the biathlon World Cup circuit.
Three other bids remain in contention for 2026: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; and Erzurum, Turkey.
The Japanese city of Sapporo dropped its bid on Monday following a recent earthquake.
International Olympic Committee members will pick the host in Milan in October 2019. While IOC rules have long prevented bids from the host country of an IOC session, new rules have created more leeway.
Italy is anxious to bring a bid through the entire process after two Rome candidacies were withdrawn.
Two years ago, Italy was forced to end Rome's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics because of staunch opposition from the city's mayor. And in 2012, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped the city's bid for the 2020 Olympics because of financial concerns.