I haven’t had time until now to respond to this, but the planners of the Giro D’Italia have had an interesting week and some news. Some good, some bad. What do you want first? The Good news eh? OK, The good news is this: Lance will be there. He has confirmed with organizers that he will be at the start of the Giro and the collarbone is healing well. Good for Lance. Maybe that isn’t good news for you, but that’s all I got.
OK and now the BAD news. The Cima Coppi….is gone. Or at least, it’s changed. To be honest with you, I don’t even know where it has been changed to. Here are the reasons why it has been changed: 1. Lance, 2. Snow, 3. Radios??? Ok, I don’t want to be little-miss-rumor-starter or a conspiracy theorist, but when I first read this story, I swear to all things biking that the reason given for the route change was because of Lance. Here’s why. The fear is that the AFLD will ban Lance from competition in France for his initial refusal to provide a sample and sight-of-line defiance when he took a shower. (The sample turned out to be fine when he did give it 20 minutes later). This has comically and dismissively been termed “shower gate” by Armstrong, but it is a dumb-ass stupid thing that he did and he knows it.
So now, understandably, Giro organizers want Lance to be there and if he is banned from competition in France that would have ruled out the Giro as well. Why? Well because Col D’Izoard, this years Cima Coppi, is IN France. Insert suspenseful music here. So now, it’s changed. I tried very hard to find the first breaking article which I read that cited Lance’s possible exclusion as the motivation for the route change, but now I can’t find it. Damn the infinitely vast and updateable internet. Now the reasons given are snow (never been a problem in the past, in fact the Giro is known for snowy stages) and radios…what????? THIS is 2009, not 1949, when the same stage was used and Coppi had no problems decimating Bartali by 11 minutes and winning this stage. How can it be possible in 1949 but fear-inducing in 2009, when the support is vastly superior than 50 years ago? One answer: Lance.
I found the quote from cycling news where they say: “He [Armstrong] is set to race the Giro d’Italia, and just in case that little problem [AFLD beef, which has now been cleared] doesn’t evaporate before May, the Italian tour organisers just so happened to alter the queen stage so that it no longer crosses onto French soil. Of course this had nothing to do with Lance – it was the snow. Honestly. We swear.”
So this changes entirely the 10th (my 16th) Cuneo>Pinerolo stage for me. It raises the question? What do I do? Ride the new planned stage, which is entirely in Italy? Ride the old planned stage, and call the bluff of the “snow/avalanche” excuse? Skip it altogether, and head South, which actually makes sense? Outside of the reasons why it was changed, what should I do? More on this to come.