Giro d'Italia: Acqua & Sapone team pays tribute to earthquake victims
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giro d'Italia: Acqua & Sapone team pays tribute to earthquake victims

by Conal Andrews at 7:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Special jerseys to be worn on today's longest stage

Stefano GarzelliThe riders of the Acqua & Sapone team are today commemorating the victims of last year’s earthquake in Aquila, wearing redesigned kit during what is the longest stage of the Giro.

The jersey and shorts combo will have all of the sponsors’ logos removed, and will instead simply bear the words "Forza L'Aquila," paying homage to the city which was hit by a large earthquake in April 2009.

A total of 308 people were killed by the earthquake, 1,500 were injured and a staggering 65,000 people were made homeless. The images dominated the TV headlines for weeks, fuelled partly by comments made at the time by the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

He spoke about the homeless victims living temporarily in large tents that they should brighten up. “They should consider themselves to be on a "camping weekend,” he told the German station n-tv. "They have everything they need, they have medical care, hot food... Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary. But they should see it like a weekend of camping.” The comments provoked a furore of complaints.

Efforts were made afterwards to raise funds for those affected, and the Acqua & Sapone team’s gesture is designed to act as a reminder of the devastation that the region suffered. The race itself is also paying tribute by ending the stage in the city.

Team leader Stefano Garzelli will attempt to win the stage, crossing the line clad in the redesigned jersey.

However he has missed a massive break of 65 riders which had 15 minutes and 45 seconds after 109 kilometres of racing.

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