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Rider protest to delay start of tomorrow's Giro di Lombardia

Peloton acts against prosecutor's comment that all cyclists dope, but strike not supported by all...

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, 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.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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