Giro d’Italia: Zomegnan reported as having been dismissed from post of race director
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Giro d’Italia: Zomegnan reported as having been dismissed from post of race director

by Shane Stokes at 2:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Former journalist had been seen as inflexible and insensitive to riders’ requirements

Angelo ZomegnanFollowing weeks of rumours that race organisers RCS Sport were less than happy with the event director Angelo Zomegnan, it appears that the former journalist will no longer act in the role of Giro d’Italia race director.

The Italian Cycling Journal has said that his contract has been brought to an end and that he will instead be part of the organising committee of the 2013 world road race championships, which will take place in Florence.

Since coming on board in 2004, Zomegnan has been somewhat controversial during his time at the helm of the Giro, introducing tough routes, long transfers and then, this year, including the new Monte Crostis climb in the parcours. The descent had poor surfaces and steep dropoffs, leading to expressions of concern from a peloton already shaken by the death of Wouter Weylandt in the first week.

Zomegnan refused to move on the course, although the Giro did put up large safety barriers to prevent any riders from going over the edge. Protests continued when it became clear that team cars would not be allowed on the descent. The stage was eventually changed after the UCI’s technical panel intervened. At the time Zomegnan criticised the decision, which had been welcomed by the teams.

During the 2009 race, the Giro d'Italia came under criticism due to traffic on the circuit in Milan. The riders stopped racing during the stage for what they said were unacceptable and unsafe conditions.

In response, Zomegnan blamed an ‘older rider’ for starting the protest, and suggested that the unnamed pro had become soft.

“The course requires explosive power and riders to get their butts out of the saddle. Apparently, some older riders have no desire to do so. Instead, it seems as their legs are shorter while their tongues have become longer,” he blasted.

It was widely believed that he was referring to Lance Armstrong, whom the Giro d’Italia had paid a massive starting fee. When asked if his comments were levelled at the American, Zomegnan said, "I never call people who have disappointed me by name, just as I never mention names of girlfriends who have snubbed me.”

One year earlier, he had come under criticism for massive post-stage transfers. Riders such as the Briton Bradley Wiggins said that they didn’t get to bed before midnight due to the distances covered; in response, Zomegnan said that nobody forced the riders to come, and that they could simply stay at home if they preferred.

The transfer situation was equally tough this year, due to Zomegnan’s decision to visit as many different parts of Italy as possible in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification of the country.

Although he conceded that adjustments needed to be made, he once again said that riders were free not to compete if they didn’t like what the race was about. In an era where the fight against doping has received a lot of attention, the ‘take it or leave it’ approach to rider health and wishes didn’t come across well.

The question remains as to who will organise next year’s race. According to Tuttosport, it is likely to be run by a working group rather than any one individual. It said that those who could be involved are La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Pier Bergonzi and former race winner Francesco Moser, but this remains to be confirmed. What seems almost certain, though, is that Angelo Zomegnan has organised his last Giro.

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