Armstrong and Bruyneel say Radioshack opted not to ride Giro d’Italia
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Armstrong and Bruyneel say Radioshack opted not to ride Giro d’Italia

by VeloNation Press at 8:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 

Lance Armstrong has rejected media reports that the Radioshack team was turned down for the 2010 Giro d’Italia, stating instead that the team itself decided not to take part.

The seven-time Tour de France winner was speaking in advance of today’s announcement of the teams for this year’s race. Giro director Angelo Zomegnan has already said that RadioShack will not be one of those participating.

“Interesting 2 read that @teamradioshack  not selected 4 the Giro,” said Armstrong on Twitter. “Unrelated - guess they got our letter Jan 23 saying we wouldn't be coming.”

VeloNation reported RadioShack's comments on the possibility of not racing the Giro d'Italia in late January.

This was echoed by the team’s general manager Johan Bruyneel, who wrote at length on the subject on his blog.

“To accurately clarify the situation - Yes, we won't be participating in the Giro, but the truth is that we communicated this to the Giro organizers, RCS,” he indicated. “I like the Giro, I think it's a great race, but to be quite honest, we are putting all our focus on the Amgen Tour of California and don't have objectives for the Giro.

“Now you may be saying, "Wouldn't you rather win a Grand Tour compared to a week long stage race in the USA?" Fair question, but California holds a lot more value to us than the Giro. With our main sponsor RadioShack, as well as our other partners (Nissan, Trek, SRAM, Nike, Giro, etc) having a strong US connection, California automatically becomes more important to our partners and therefore the team. Not to mention we are registered as an American team, so it's important to our ownership group as well.”

Bruyneel pointed out that the team also featured a rider (Levi Leipheimer) who has won the race three times and that it was natural that it wanted to defend it.

Team not willing to ride both races:

Many of the major teams in cycling will however compete in both events. RadioShack’s current roster features 26 riders, nine more than would be required to compete in the Giro d’Italia and Tour of California. Even if RadioShack put top name riders such as Armstrong and Leipheimer into California, as well as a good sprinter such as Daryl Impey or Gert Steegmans for the flatter stages, it would appear to have enough decent riders left over to send a strong team to the Giro.

It would also give promising young competitors the chance to go for the white jersey in the Italian Tour. 

However Bruyneel rules this out, implying that the team would have had no goals in Italy. “I've always believed that to enter a race there needs to be objectives - for both the overall team and individuals,” he wrote. “Now we may not always achieve those objectives, but we're not just going to enter races to enter races. I communicated this a number of months ago to RCS.

“Simply that this year's Giro did not fit within the team's objectives and plans. If anything, I think this showed respect to RCS and the Giro in that they could put in a team that had specific race objectives.”

He said that RCS didn’t take the news well, and decided not to invite the team to Tirreno-Adriatico.

Some tensions cropped up last season between Armstrong and Giro director Zomegnan. The Texan was rumoured to have been paid an appearance fee of £2 million to take part in the race, but was then involved in a rider protest in Milan. He was also critical of aspects of the race’s safety on his Twitter account.

Zomegnan wasn’t impressed saying, according to the Guardian, that the rider had "sent me emails saying that the riders were having to take too many risks. [Armstrong] was instrumental in this protest. He came looking for me during [Sunday's] race – there's a certain age at which your legs start to get shorter and your tongue longer."

Armstrong had been due to ride Milan-Sanremo on Saturday, another RCS Sport event. However the team indicated the day beforehand that he would not be taking part, citing gastroenteritis as the reason.

He is due to line out in the Critérium International next weekend. The race will see his first 2010 meeting with Alberto Contador (Astana), who won last year’s Tour.

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