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Pink Admiral: the blog of Michele Acquarone and the RCS team

After three weeks of racing Ryder Hesjedal walks away with the Giro

The final Giro d'Italia route

Cycling News
April 23, 2013, 13:00 BST,
April 23, 2013, 14:09 BST

Technical director Mauro Vegni explains the changes to the race route

By Mauro Vegni, the technical and sports director at RCS Sport.

There are just a few days to go to the start of the Giro d'Italia in Naples on Saturday May 4 and in recent weeks we've finalised the stage details and route of the whole race.

Unfortunately the bad weather that Italy has suffered this winter has caused a series of landslides and other problems that has forced us to change parts of several stages of this year's race. This happens every year but Italy has been hit especially hard this winter. We've also made changes to improve the racing and so that the public along the route can enjoy the action more.

An example is the opening stage in Naples. It has been shortened to 130km and a second, shorter circuit will be used for the final part of the stage after four laps of the longer loop to Posillipo. This will make for a more thrilling and entertaining finish.

The Cilento area, south of Naples, has been especially hard hit by bad weather and subsequent land slides that have affected stage 3 from Sorrento to Marina di Ascea. A lot of the problems have been resolved thanks to the great work of the local council but we've been forced to change a key categorised climb, with the race now going over San Mauro Cilento, a tough climb that could cause a selection and so reflect our original plans for the stage.

Rain has also caused floods and damage to a bridge along the route of stage five from Cosenza to Matera in the south. As a result we've had to change the route and avoid Tarsia and Spezzano Albanese. A similar change has been done to part of stage seven from Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia. We've also added an extra circuit to the stage, making a final stage distance of 169km.

We've also made changes to stage nine to Florence. The Tuscany city will host the world road race championships in September and we'd hoped to do a lap of the circuit that will be used. However economic problems and bad weather has delayed the work on the roads and several sections are only now being resurfaced and improved. That means the Giro d'Italia will only briefly cover the road race course and the stage will end in Piazzale Michelangelo, overlooking Florence, with a short climb up to the finish.

We've also made other minor changes to some other stages after talking to local councils and discussing their plans to resurface the roads the Giro d'Italia covers. These are often about choosing a different road to pass through a village or town, so that the local people can enjoy the Giro d'Italia more, or to protect the safety of the riders if we consider a road or junction unsuitable for the peloton.

Safety comes first for us. The stage distances might have changed slightly but the Giro d'Italia hasn't changed.

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) in Milan having secured the Giro d'Italia, the first man from Canada to do so

Giro d'Italia TV coverage

Matteo Pastore, Head of Media Rights and Relations, RCS Sport
April 19, 2013, 12:00 BST,
April 19, 2013, 13:02 BST

Bringing the Giro to the world

Each Giro fan has to be able to follow our main event always (live, delay, news access and hihlights), in any possible way (television, online, tablet, mobile, App) and in any geographical area (from the next edition, in more than 173).The Giro is working hard in order to achieve the best balance between exposure on the biggest number of places and platforms (traditional channels such as analog, digital, satellite and new media generation such as web, mobile, tablet, pay per view) and the economic figures that allow the growth and investment of the Giro.

RAI will ensure the best production as Host Broadcaster of the Giro through a specialist international production team and, for the first time, by HD signal. It will make live programs available guaranteeing 3 hours of the Giro live every day, as well as delayed broadcasts, 5 minutes of new access at the finish, 26 minutes of daily highlights and 52 minutes of weekly highlights with expert English journalist commentary. Three stages (19th May - Col du Galibier, 24the May - Val Martello and 25the May - Tre Cime di Lavaredo) will be produced by RAI in full.

Let's have a look at the countries where the Giro will be broadcasted.

This is the traditional and main cycling market reference. Eurosport guarantees three hours of live broadcast of the Giro every day in the 70 countries it covers in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region. The Giro will be visible on satellite, cable and mobile pay TV.
ITALY RAI will broadcast the Giro live both on its traditional generalist channels and its digital ones, as well as on its website. will broadcast both live coverage – in Italian in specific geographical areas – and deferred coverage, with the addition of a highlights program, which will be broadcast worldwide, also in Italian.
In GREAT BRITAIN, where cycling has experienced important growth in the past few years, Sky UK will broadcast the daily highlights.
FRANCE. The coverage takes a new direction with the involvement of Al Jazeera’s new channel beIN SPORT, which already screens soccer’s Ligue 1 and the Italian Serie A in France. beIN SPORT has exclusive rights to both races in France and the United States, while Al Jazeera itself will broadcast both events in the Middle East and North Africa. Beside soccer, it has also decided to invest in cycling and, starting from the next Milano-Sanremo, it will be present with its own crew on site. The Giro will be visible live with highlights on cable pay tv.
SPAIN. In a country where each region has a popular and strong TV tradition, it was decided to sign an agreement for live broadcast with the FORTA circuit which includes four regional Spain generalist channels: TV3 Catalunya, TVG Galicia, TPA Asturias and EITB in the Basque Country, with a live simulcast on the internet.
BELGIUM. There will live coverage on the traditional generalist channel VRT for Flemish supporters. The channel is also the holder of the rights to screen Formula 1 Grand Prix.
NETHERLANDS. The traditional generalist channel NOS will broadcast highlights on a daily basis. It holds rights to events such as the UEFA Champions league and rugby’s 6 Nations Championship.
SWITZERLAND. SRG SSR will broadcast live on its traditional generalist channel.
DENMARK. Tv2, in a country with a cycling tradition, has confirmed live broadcast on the generalist channel after the success of last year’s Giro d’Italia big start.

USA In the United States the agreement with Be In Sport will ensure live broadcast and highlights.
CANADA Important agreements with two terrestrial and satellite channels will allow Giro fans to watch live broadcasts, with internet simulcasting, for the first time, on Sportsnet for English-speaking supporters and RDS for French-speaking ones.

ESPN Sur is confirmed in South America as providing live and highlights broadcast on cable, satellite, IPTV and DTT, plus internet simulcasting in all the region as well as live coverage on ESPN Brazil on the same platforms.
MEXICO. The TeleDeportes Network will transmit live coverage and highlights for viewers in Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

Several interested countries can be found. Al Jazeera will broadcast live and we have renewed the contract with Super Sport for live broadcast on pay TV channels in the sub-Saharan area; it was decided to interrupt live broadcast after the big victory of Gerald Ciolek of the MTN-QHUBEKA team at the last epic edition of Milano – Sanremo. Super Sport also screens Moto GP in the area.

Eurosport will broadcast live in the Asia Pacific area, while in Japan, J Sports will renew its live broadcast on pay and cable tv. This traditional channel also holds rights to broadcast Premier League soccer and Major League Baseball. SBS will broadcast in Australia with live coverage and stage highlights. It also broadcasts top properties such as the UEFA Champions Leagues and FIFA World Cup.
Worth mentioning is the agreement with Channel Six, part of the Sony TV platform which, through a cable platform, will broadcast highlights in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Butan and Afghanistan, while the Treu Vision pay satellite platform will broadcast in Thailand. Channel Six is the exclusive rights holder for Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket, among other major sporting events. TrueVisions will cover both events in Thailand.

This year, for the first time, the Giro will be broadcast live on airplanes, thanks to an agreement with Sport 24, the first live global channel created specifically for airlines. This channel aims to bring the very best sport live to passengers around the world. Contents include live coverage from the Barclays Premier League, Bundesliga, Wimbledon, Roland Garros, the Open Championship and much more.

Further agreements, mainly regarding news and highlights, will be made, as usual, right before to the start of the event with telephone providers, cycling TV, news media and magazines, in order to cover all the geographic areas. The Reuters and SNTV media agencies, in particular, will cover a lot of breaking news through news access.

In comparison to the past, the Giro will cover twelve new platforms: six of which are in Europe, three in America and three in Asia, where the deal with Channel Six will guarantee us huge exposure and new viewers. Last but not least, we are trying to finalize the Giro’s visibility in China, which is a key priority country for us given the huge number of potential viewers.

To all our fans: stay in touch with us from May 4th.

Matteo Pastore, Head of Media Rights and Relations


Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder Hesjedal retained the pink jersey

The logistics behind the Giro d'Italia Grande Partenza in Ireland

Cycling News
February 22, 2013, 18:14 GMT,
February 22, 2013, 18:15 GMT

Meticulous planning will be vital for a special start to the corsa rosa

By Roberto Salvador, head of Operations and Logistics at RCS Sport

Michele Acquarone first introduced me to Darach McQuaid in September 2011, revealing the idea of hosting the start of the Giro d'Italia. When I asked which country, he replied: 'Ireland'. I thought it was a joke at first. Then I realised it was a serious but slightly crazy project.

However at RCS Sport we love a challenge and so I started working on the idea with my logistics team, especially with Luca Piantanida, who is responsible for cycling. We also included the other areas of RCS Sport, including Sport, Marketing and Communications to understand the problems that a Grande Partenza from an island 2000km away from Italy would cause.

We quickly realised that it wouldn't be easy. To make things even more complicated, the UCI introduced a new rule that stops the first rest day of a race being placed before six stages have been completed. That meant that after three stages in Ireland, we'd have to return to Italy and hold stage four on the very next day.

Starting in Ireland would mean that all the structures we use at the stage starts and finishes would have to be created twice: for Ireland and for Italy. Other cars and motorbikes would also be needed, with training for people to get used to driving on the right of the road.

The most difficult moment will be the transfer back to Italy and for the teams, that means looking after the riders. Everything will have to be planned in detail and carried out with military precision. We've already opened talks with the teams and rider associations (the AIGCP for the teams, headed by Jonathan Vaughters, and the CPA, headed by Gianni Bugno), to study things in detail to plan the logistics and the organisation of the stages. As well as the 2000 people that make up the Giro d'Italia race caravan, the riders' bikes will also have to be ready to fly back to Italy.

Northern Ireland became involved in the project at a later date and the Grande Partenza from Belfast has added a further political and cultural dimension to everything we will do. In Italy we've always been proud that the race helped unite Italy, even in difficult historical moments. We're proud that the Giro d'Italia can help play a small part in helping the relationship between the two parts of Ireland. Belfast will host two stages, with a third stage from Armagh to Dublin.

We've already given Darach a list of all our needs and the problems we will face. The perfect organisation of our trips to study the stages, the meetings with key partners and the police, has convinced us that the Grande Partenza from Ireland was possible.

Some people in Italy don't understand why the Giro d'Italia needs to start in other countries and are often critical of our decision, thinking it's purely an economical decision. Yet RCS Sport's first objective is to create events that entertain our fans, be they in Italy or anywhere in the world. We consider starting from Ireland or from the Netherlands or Denmark – the last two international Grand Partenza, a unique experience for everyone.

We officially presented the 2014 Grande Partenza from Ireland yesterday and it was an emotional moment for everyone involved. We had messages of congratulation from all over the world! It was a first success for us.

Now it's time to begin the operative part of the project, to make it happen. We've planned everything very carefully and nothing has been left to chance. It's going to take a huge effort to pull it off but we're sure it'll be something special.


Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) wields the trident of Tirreno-Adriatico victor.

Get ready for a spectacular Tirreno-Adriatico

Cycling News
January 21, 2013, 15:30 GMT,
January 21, 2013, 15:18 GMT

Technical director Mauro Vegni reveals some details of this year's race

Alberto Contador, Cadel Evan, Vincenzo Nibali, Joaquim Rodriguez and Bradley Wiggins have all included Tirreno-Adriatico in their race programmes, confirming that this year's race will be one of the most spectacular editions for many years. And these big-name overall contenders are just a few of the stars who have opted to ride this year's race; there are also the sprinters and classics riders from the 18 WorldTour teams and the aggressive wild card teams we've invited too.

We'll officially unveil the full route on January 28 in San Vincenzo, on the Tuscany coast, where the race will start, but I'm going to reveal a few key details in this blog.

Evans and Nibali will be chasing a second victory after winning in 2011 and 2012. Rodriguez is the king of the steep Montelupone climb and is now targeting overall success, while Contador and Wiggins are looking to add the 'Race of the Two Seas' to their prestigious palmares.

Who is going to win? That's a fascinating question. I always believe there are two key ingredients to overall success at Tirreno-Adriatico and to most stage races: good form and a rider's ability on the race route. Of course a bit of luck also helps, as does special talent, a myriad of tactic decision and instinctive racing skills.

Most riders will be at their very best in mid-March and I'm happy to reveal that this year's Tirreno-Adriatico race route is finely balanced, with stages for every kind of rider, which will crown the very best rider in the race. There is an opening team time trial in San Vincenzo on the Tyrrhenian coast just like last year and the traditional final individual time trial in San Bendetto del Tronto on the Adriatic coast.

In between there are two stages for the sprinters, with sprint finishes almost certain as long as their teams are ready to work hard to control the breakaways. Tirreno-Adriatico crosses the Apennines and so there are climbs on every stage and two stage are perfect for the Classics stars. The stages roll through the hills with constant short but steep climbs and testing descents. The hilly stages are perfect preparation for Milan-Sanremo and the Tour of Flanders and always inspire some spectacular and aggressive racing.

There is a mountain stage in this year's race and it's a real mountain stage. The time of year and the risk of snow means we can't take the race up to 2000m but we can string together a series of tough, steep climbs that are also up to 12km long. I can't say where the stage will be just yet but I can confirm that the mountain stage will definitely shape the overall classification of this year's race and likely decide who will lift the stunning trident winner's trophy as winner of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico.

With such a spectacular race route and star-studded start list, this year's Tirreno-Adriatico promises to be one of the best ever editions of 'La corsa dei due mari'.

Mauro Vegni

Merckx leads his rivals on the Stelvio in 1972

Giro d'Italia: The Last Judgement

Marco Gobbi Pansana
December 10, 2012, 14:14 GMT,
December 10, 2012, 14:18 GMT

Selecting the greatest moments in Giro history

According to Mayan Prophecy, on 12-12-2012, the world will end. If that were to happen, what would we remember as the greatest moments in the history of the Giro d’Italia?

We have asked a panel of 100 cycling journalists and industry figures from all over the world to help us decide on a “podium” of the 10 moments that have defined the history of the corsa rosa.

We will compile the “Last Judgement” of each colleague, and this will establish the “Ultimate and Final Classification” which will take in the best of 103 years of the Giro d’Italia.

We have also decided to ask our fans for their greatest memories and final judgements of the Giro’s rich history. Please post your answers to the questions in the Cyclingnews comments section below.

Please provide three answers for each question.

1- Which are the most dramatic moments in the history of the Giro d’Italia?
2- Which are the three best editions of the Giro d’Italia of all time?
3- Which are the three best stage victories of all time?
4- Which Champions have best represented the values of the Giro d’Italia?
5- Which are the biggest sporting rivalries in the Giro d’Italia?
6- What are the most iconic images (pictures) of the Giro d’Italia?
7- What are the most poignant gestures of sportsmanship during the Giro d’Italia.
8- Which are the three statements or quotations that best represent the spirit of the Giro?
9- What have been the biggest surprises of all time at the Giro d’Italia?
10- Which are the most impressive sporting feats in more than 100 years of battles on the roads of the Giro?


Gerrans stands on the podium as the second man to win Milan-San Remo from Australia in as many years.

Why Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia have moved to Sunday

Cycling News
November 29, 2012, 14:30 GMT,
February 11, 2013, 10:48 GMT

Michele Acquarone explains the reasons for the change

Yesterday the UCI approved and announced the change on date of our two monumental classics: Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia.

Today we want to explain why we asked to move the races to Sunday.

All the major cycling classics including the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege are all held on Sunday and our decision was based on three fundamental aspects:

Increased road safety. There is less traffic on Italian roads on Sundays and so there will be a lower risk of problems and less disruption for local residents along the route.

Better global television coverage. Sunday is traditionally a day of sport and Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia are watched on television all over the world. Some people have suggested there are a lot of other sporting events on Sundays. That's true but we believe cycling has a huge appeal and so we're not worried about competition from other sports.

Starting from 2014, we want to offer cycling fans a chance to ride events linked to the two races. The idea is to organise them in the cities that host the race finishes and we believe Sunday is the perfect day to hold these events.

We saw that Fabian Cancellara said in a Tweet that he was worried about not racing for four days between Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo. We had already considered the problem and Mauro Vegni and his team is already working on a situation to find a solution so that there is a race on either Thursday or Friday.

Pink Admiral: the blog of Michele Acquarone and the RCS team

From Strade Bianche to Lombardia, via the Giro d'Italia, Michele Acquarone and the RCS Sport team will navigate the season with us, bringing Cyclingnews readers behind the scenes, as they discuss the challenges that face race organisers and share their fresh and innovative approaches to cycling.