Tomorrow’s Giro di Lombardia, the last big race of the 2010 cycling season, risks being overshadowed by a rider protest against recent comments by Ettore Torri, chief anti-doping prosecutor of CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, that all riders dope and performance enhancing substitutes in the peloton should be legalised.
Although CONI and Torri sought to distance themselves from his remarks the following day, as reported last week on road.cc, the damage was already done, with his comments attracting widespread condemnation throughout the sport, although some conceded that Torri has done more than most to fight doing, including his determined pursuit of the now banned Alejandro Valverde.
Yesterday, after winning the Giro del Piemonte, Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Philippe Gilbert, favourite for tomorrow’s race in which he is defending the title he won 12 months ago, confirmed that he had been approached by Roman Kreuziger of the Liquigas-Doimo team regarding the protest, according to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
"We will probably leave Milan ten minutes or so late,” said the 28-year-old. “It's a good idea that we take action,” he added, “because we cannot accept this situation."
The proposed action doesn’t have universal support within the peloton, however. HTC-Columbia’s Marco Pinotti, had been one of the first riders to condemn Torri’s statement last week.
“If you interrogate rider connected with doping, what did you expect them to say?” he asked, adding “They prefer to hide behind the belief "everyone is doping" instead admitting they are losers, wanckers [sic], cheaters, liars.”
This morning, the Italian rider used the same medium, his Twitter feed, to say: “According to Telegraph [sic]’? I personally don't know about any delayed start,” adding “And I personally don't agree with it.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.