Giro d’Italia race director is still fuming at the rider protest in the Milan stage yesterday. "The action taken by the riders is disrespectful towards the Giro and towards the people of Milan. The fact of the matter is that on this circuit you were supposed to launch continuous attacks. You were supposed to get your backside out of the saddle. But as some people age their legs get shorter and their mouths get bigger."
Most riders are feeling the heat of media pressure which is attempting to communicate a one-side view implying the riders have disgraced the race. As the Italian Gazetta writes "Regardless of which side you take, the ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia was ruined by the protest of the riders more so than by the “flaws” of the circuit designed by the organisers."
Basso defended the protest action "Twenty riders fell after the first lap and the peloton feared injury more than it desired to fuel controversy"
Race director Angelo Zomegnan has defended the course which "passed inspection" however did acknowledge that they messages in advance of the stage criticising the course as being dangerous. The dangers apparently were not obvious for the fans however a number of riders have commented, included Lance Armstrong "Tram tracks running in the same direction as the course, parked cars on the roads … Unfortunately not the best day for the fans OR the riders".
The Peloton in disagreement?
The Gazetta is also trying to show a rift in the Peloton with Di Luca saying "Once the neutralisation of the breakaways had been obtained, the sprinters protested and asked for protection. The idea, therefore, was to arrive all together, without sprinting, and to let Rabobank win and dedicate his stage victory to Horrillo, who yesterday almost lost his life. Then, as always happens in cycling, someone had other ideas, confirming once and for all that in this sport there will never be unity. The Lampre team? Yes, they pushed in the last few laps, but they weren’t alone"
It is probably up a few more riders to confirm whether they did agree to this course of action, with 190 riders there are certainly differing opinions as yesterdays stage winner explained "Everyone sees it differently. In the Giro there are only 4-5 sprint stages and anyone who doesn’t want to make the dash doesn’t have to".
The Giro picks up Pace
Without actually being on the bike as part of the Giro, it can be hard to cast judgement, Di Luca responded to Cipollini’s scathing attack of the riders "It’s not very smart for Cipollini to complain because he was the first to complain if the stage began with a climb – maybe he’s forgotten what it’s like to be a rider.
When the Giro continues tomorrow the pace will pickup as many teams have been trying to save their energy. The riders are certainly hoping to make it up to their fans, who, while divided on the protest action, certainly won’t be thrown off by this small upset – The Race is On!