- Article published:
- September 26, 2013, 03:26
- José Been
Belgian vying for OPQS roster spot with Bakelants
Thomas De Gendt rode a disappointing time trial in Florence today at the UCI Road World Championships where he finished 49th in a field of 77 riders. With the dissolution of his Vacansoleil-DCM team looming at the end of the season, the 26-year-old Belgian is growing increasingly pessimistic about his options for the 2014 season.
"If I can't sign with a WorldTour squad, I'd better quit cycling altogether," he told Sporza.
De Gendt finished third in last year's Giro d'Italia after his impressive victory on the Stelvio. This year, however, the Belgian only has one victory in his palmares, a stage win at the Volta a Catalunya, and his only other podium finish was third place in the Tour de France time trial to Mont St Michel.
"This year has been disastrous," said De Gendt. "Not only if you look at my own results but also because so many teams are folding."
Two WorldTour squads will cease to exist after this season, De Gendt's own Vacansoleil-DCM team plus the Euskaltel-Euskadi team which for a moment seemed to have been spared at the last moment by Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso only to have the negotiations come to a halt. The demise of two WorldTour squads means there are 55 riders shopping around for a new team. To date nine Vacanseoleil-DCM riders plus one Euskaltel-Euskadi rider have signed agreements for next season, leaving 45 more with uncertain futures.
De Gendt believes he has two options for 2014: Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Lampre-Merida, though the Italian team isn't a very concrete option yet. Patrick Lefevere, Omega Pharma-QuickStep's manager, has one place left in his team for 2014 and he indicated in Belgian media today it will be between Jan Bakelants and De Gendt.
"If you look at this year, Bakelants had a much better season," said De Gendt. "If you take the past five years into account, I should come out on top."
De Gendt had an option to sign with the Belgian team last year and his contract would have started in 2014. "I should have followed my gut feeling then. It would have meant a larger pay check, too."
With a large surplus of riders on the market now things are looking dire for De Gendt. "It's very quiet at the moment. If I can't find a WorldTour team for next year, I'd better quit. It would mean I have to ride a bad program with one-day races in Belgium which are not my cup of tea."
And while Hilaire Van der Schueren, his current sports director, is trying to form a new Pro Continental squad for next season, De Gendt doesn't consider that a viable option. "That's nothing for me. I could do 15 kermesses a year and I am better than that."
- Article published:
- September 26, 2013, 09:43
- Cycling News
Looking for a possible return to Saxo Bank
Alex Rasmussen will not return to Garmin-Sharp in 2014, and has expressed interest in going back to Bjarne Riis and Saxo-Tinkoff. The Dane said that he was told after the Vuelta a Espana that, contrary to earlier indications, he would not be offered a new contract with Garmin.
Rasmussen joined the US-based team in 2012, but was subsequently given a backdated 18-month suspension for whereabouts failures. However the team stood by the rider throughout the period and took him on again when his ban ended this past spring.
He told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that team manager Jonathan Vaughters had earlier told him the contract would be renewed, only to hear otherwise later.
“I got a message from Vaughters during the Tour that he wanted to sign a new contract with me, but then I got a message, that there was no room for me anyway,” he said. That message arrived “just after the Vuelta , but it was perhaps not so much me but the whole team at the Vuelta that Vaughters was a little mad at.”
He told DR Sporten, “I'm super annoyed when I only had a half a season with the team, during which I won a race and completed the Vuelta.” He won the first stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt, shortly after his return to racing.
As to whether he might still possibly have a future with Garmin, Rasmussen told Ekstra Bladet, “You never know with Vaughters , he can change from one day to the other. First I was told that I could go on, then I got the message that it was not possible. I think it's a little ... I'm not happy to know about it so late in the season. When he first says he will extend .. If I had now been told during the Tour, I would have had time to look about for a new team.”
Rasmussen rode for Saxo Bank in 2009 and 2010, and “I have tried to mention it to Bjarne if I could get the Saxo-Tinkoff next year. Otherwise I have to keep all doors open and hope to get a team for next year,” he said to DR Sporten.
- Article published:
- September 26, 2013, 11:14
- Cycling News
Name appears in unredacted O'Reilly affidavit
Freddy Viaene, currently head soigneur for BMC Racing Team, provided testosterone for George Hincapie in 1998, according to the unredacted affidavit of Emma O'Reilly, a former soigneur for the US Postal team. The affidavit , originally filed in the USADA case against Lance Armstrong, was filed as part of the government's recent motion in the whistleblower case against Armstrong.
BMC denied any knowledge of or responsibility for the claimed actions. “This does not relate to the BMC Racing Team and it does not have anything to do with Freddy Viaene while he has been working for the BMC Racing Team,” BMC chief communications officer Georges Lüchinger told Cyclingnews.
Viaene had left the USPS team before the 1998 season, but in “May or June" of that year, Hincapie contacted O'Reilly and asked her to pick up a packet for him from Viaene. She met the Belgian and accepted the packet, saying that if she did not see Hincapie in Spain, she would take it with her to the US and give it to him there.
“When I mentioned traveling with the package to the United States, Freddy said something like, 'Don't do that. Give it to George. It is testosterone and you do not want to transport it yourself,'" she said in the affidavit.
She added that while she never saw Viaene administer doping products to riders, “'he did explain to me how certain products worked to the benefit of the riders,” and that “Freddy also told me that there were certain prohibited substances that were used by U.S. Postal Service riders.”
The affidavit was originally filed with the USADA in its case against Armstrong, with Viaene's name blacked out and referred to only as “Other 11”. According to Het Nieuwsblad, Viaene could not be reached for comment.
This is not BMC's first brush with doping or a problematic soigneur. In June 2011, part-time soigneur Sven Schoutteten was arrested in connection with a shipment of drugs seized at Brussels airport in 2009, which he claimed was for his own use. Team manager Jim Ochowicz denied knowing him, saying, “A part-time soigneur for us? His name means nothing to me,” although Schoutteten's name was listed on the team website as having worked for the team for various races in the spring of 2011, including the Giro d'Italia.
In addition, two BMC riders have been mentioned in the Mantova doping case, Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio. The team pulled them from racing in May 2011, after reports of their involvement in the investigation, citing “information received”, but Ochowicz later claimed that he had “never been notified by any authorities regarding these alleged actions and conversations.” The two had also been suspended by the team for a period in 2010 when the investigation was originally announced.
Santambrogio, who rode for the team from 2010 to 2012, tested postiive for EPO during this year's Giro d'Italia.
Ballan suffered very serious injuries in a training crash in December 2012, and was able to return to racing only briefly this season before undergoing further surgery. In July, an Italian judge ruled that Ballan, Santambrogio and 25 others should go on trail for doping in the Mantova investigation.
- Article published:
- September 26, 2013, 11:43
- Stephen Farrand
RCS Sport unveils the full race route
The 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico will again start with a spectacular team time trial on the Tuscan coast and end with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto, with a key mountain stage to Cittareale and a new very steep finish after climbing the 25% 'Wall of Guardiagrele'.
Race organiser RCS Sport presented the route of the race at a special event at the hotel where the Italian national team is staying in Tuscany for the world race race championships.
The weeklong WorldTour stage race will be held from Wednesday March 12 to Tuesday March 18, ending five days before the 2014 Milan-San Remo.
The race includes three stages for the sprinters and two tough days in the Apennines, including a summit finish at Cittareale (Selva Rotonda) on the Saturday. Sunday's stage finishes on the short but steep climb Muro di Guardiagrele, near the town of Chieti. It is only 800m long but is considered the steepest road in Italy. It climbs at an average of 25% with some points at 28%.
Tirreno-Adriatico has become notorious for discovering steep narrow roads up to hill top villages in the heart of Italy. During this year's race, some riders were forced to walk on the Muro di Sant'Elpidio climb.
Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) managed to distance Chris Froome (Astana) during the finale of the rain-soaked stage and set up overall victory.
Stage 1: Wednesday March 12: Donoratico-San Vincenzo (Team time trial): 16.9km.
Stage 2: Thursday March 13: San Vincenzo-Cascina: 173km
Stage 3: Friday March 14: Cascina-Arezzo: 206km
Stage 4: Saturday March 15: Indicatore-Cittareale (Selva Rotonda): 237km
Stage 5: Sunday March 16: Amatrice-Guardiagrele: 190km
Stage 6: Monday March 17: Bucchianico-Porto Sant'Elpidio: 187km
Stage 7: Tuesday March 18: San Benedetto del Tronto (Individual time trial): 9.2km.
- Article published:
- September 26, 2013, 13:02
- Cycling News
Four-day festival at the Barbican starts next week
The tenth edition of the Bicycle Film Festival's (BFF) kicks off on October 3 in London. The four-day event which showcases and celebrates a number of the best cycling films takes place at the Barbican until October 6.
“Whilst the culture of cycling is gaining popularity both as a sport and part of a lifestyle, its inspiration within film is hardly novel. Perhaps it’s due to the simplicity of the machine itself, or the ease with which aspects of the cycling experience can be related to your life, but bikes continue to find their way onto our cinema screens. Our goal of the festival is simply to promote cycling, and arts and the links between,” said Laura Fletcher, organiser of the event in London.
The event began in New York in 2001 and has grown into a worldwide event with festivals taking place in cities around the world including Florence during this year’s World Championships.
"I've attended the BFF in Australia a few times, and it’s an amazing event, bringing together a totally unique mix of cyclists,” Garmin-Sharp’s Nathan Haas told Cyclingnews.
“It’s great though, to tie such a strong medium (film) into a general cycling population, as it’s the perfect blend of our athletic passions with our artistic ones. I personally would like to see more events cross over between cycling and art, and I hope to get the chance to attend the festival in London this year, if I can get a break from racing."
The event will showcase over 40 unique films and programmes including Moonrider, an honest and heartbreaking picture of the extreme and lonely life of a young championship rider and Baisikeli, which follows the Kenyan National Cycling team as they hope to emulate the success of their running brothers and make a career in the sport.
The event also holds an exclusive exhibition of photographer Kristof Ramon's images from racing this year.
For more information on the event, click here.
- Article published:
- September 26, 2013, 13:42
- Daniel Benson
Cookson blocks McQuaid's staff from counting votes
With the UCI presidential election set for Friday, candidate Brian Cookson has been accused of ‘subversive legal tactics and intimidation’ by one of Pat McQuaid’s supporters. The allegations stem from the President of the St Lucia Cycling Association, Cyril Mangal, who in an extraordinary seven-page letter identifies what he believes are similarities between Cookson’s campaign and apartheid in South Africa.
Mangal’s concerns arose after respected Belgian journalist Pascale Schyns allegedly sent him a message via Whatsapp; a free texting service that allows users to send written messages, photos and emoticons. Schyns used to be a UCI commissaire but resigned in 2011.
"St Lucia is very concerned that when we were contacted by someone supporting Cookson, the person indicated 'I would like you to be on the right side after the election, so you are on the priority list of the Federations which would be helped'," Mangal wrote in the letter, which Cyclingnews have obtained.
"We sincerely hope that this would not be the way Mr Cookson would operate should he win the Presidency of the UCI,” the letter continues.
Cookson, who is meeting delegates in Florence ahead of Friday’s UCI Congress, has denied that the third party contact came from his camp.
Mangal’s letter was sent to all 178 countries which are members of the UCI.
Those allegations aside, the letter from Mangal opens with the show-stopping line, “Prime Minister Winston Churchill won us the Second World War but Britain voted him out of office immediately after the war.”
It goes on to say that, “UCI President Pat McQuaid has launched an aggressive and uncompromising assault against the cheats in cycling, but even before the battle has been fully won, some want us to blame and crucify him. The sustained attacks against Pat McQuaid and the unsubstantiated attempts to blame him for the dirty deeds of coaches, doctors and team officials driven by greed, is a dishonest attempt to taint a champion of anti-doping in cycling.”
The letter does not make reference to how the UCI handled the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong in which the sport’s governing body, under McQuaid, attempted to wrestle jurisdiction from the US anti-doping organisation.
“Were it not for the leadership of Pat McQuaid, the scandalous behavior of many participants in the sport would not have been uncovered,” Mangal adds without providing precise examples.
Mangal does not mention either of the UCI’s legal cases against Paul Kimmage or whistleblower Floyd Landis, who provided the initial confession that helped lead to USADA’s investigation.
Mangal then takes aim at the backers of Cookson’s campaign.
“But Pat McQuaid is the one who led the fight, so how can we now sacrifice him for a candidate whose main backers are the commercial interests whose demands may well have caused the cheating in the first place?”
“It is time for the Cookson Camp to come clean and abandon its devious and dishonest campaign to unseat Pat McQuaid by subversive and undemocratic tactics.”
Ahead of any vote for the Presidency between Cookson and incumbent McQuaid, the UCI Congress must vote on Article 51.1 of the UCI’s constitution. With McQuaid lacking the necessary backing from his own national federation and an unsuccessful attempt to win favour in Switzerland, where he now resides, he has been forced to rely on support from Thailand and Morocco. Any support from such federations will come down to how the current rules are to be interpreted, and whether Morocco and Thailand can be considered "the federation" of McQuaid.
This is separate from the Constitutional amendments, which were designed to stop such an interpretation being appealed in the event of victory.
Mangal goes on to support the rule change but adds further flames to the fire by likening Cookson and his camp to South African Apartheid. Ironically, McQuaid was banned from competing in the Olympics after he competed in South Africa during Apartheid under a fake name.
“South Africa had rules in the Apartheid era which were discriminatory and perpetrated atrocities on the majority of population for decades, until the world said enough is enough. The Cookson campaign is reminiscent of this scourge of history as they try to bully the majority into accepting their way. In 2013, this must not be allowed to succeed and the UCI Congress as Cycling’s highest decision making body must assert its right to change a rule which has clearly been abused, to try to subvert rather than enhance democracy in the electoral process. This is a struggle to secure the soul of Cycling and it is bigger than Pat McQuaid or Brian Cookson.”
Cookson is unlikely to give much attention to Mangal’s letter, his attention recently focused on last minute meetings with delegations. However the voting procedures also took centre stage on Thursday when the Daily Telegraph reported that Cookson had stopped colleagues of McQuaid, UCI lawyer Philippe Verbiest and manager of national federations Dominique Raymond, from being part of the verifying party tasking with counting votes.
Mangal's letter in full:
22nd September 2013
OPEN LETTER TO UCI NATIONAL CYCLING FEDERATIONS
Prime Minister Winston Churchill won us the Second World War but Britain voted him out of office immediately after the war. UCI President Pat McQuaid has launched an aggressive and uncompromising assault against the cheats in cycling, but even before the battle has been fully won, some want us to blame and crucify him.
The sustained attacks against Pat McQuaid and the unsubstantiated attempts to blame him for the dirty deeds of coaches, doctors and team officials driven by greed, is a dishonest attempt to taint a champion of anti-doping in cycling. Were it not for the leadership of Pat McQuaid, the scandalous behavior of many participants in the sport would not have been uncovered. Cycling has led the way under the leadership of Pat McQuaid and other sporting disciplines must now follow and clean up, like cycling is doing. Those of us who genuinely appreciate the work that has been done and recognize that strong and determined leadership is required to complete the job, understand that the certainty and continuity of Pat McQuaid must be secured. However, those who would rather that the clean-up and globalization of cycling be interrupted, are trying desperately to taint Pat McQuaid. They are deliberately distorting the facts and dishonestly ascribing blame by association to Pat McQuaid. So never mind that Pat McQuaid is Cycling's undisputed champion of the anti-doping cause; for his opponents, since he is the President under whose tenure the cheats were caught, then he must be considered an accomplice.
But Pat McQuaid is the one who led the fight, so how can we now sacrifice him for a candidate whose main backers are the commercial interests whose demands may well have caused the cheating in the first place? To condemn Pat McQuaid for the unscrupulous acts which we know his policies helped uncover, is as ridiculous as calling for the head of Steve Johnson of USA Cycling for the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, knowing full well that Johnson was in the forefront to bring Armstrong to justice. So we cannot accept this fatally flawed and fallacious argument from the Cookson camp. Neither must we accept their blatant and flagrant attempts to suppress the democracy of the UCI and use subversive legal tactics and intimidation to prevent the nomination of Pat McQuaid for the Presidency. And having succeeded in getting two countries to rescind their nominations of Pat McQuaid, the Cookson camp now wants to challenge the authority of the UCI Congress to amend the constitution to prevent a hostile takeover of the UCI. When will they stop and why are they so afraid of the democracy of the UCI?
Why is the Cookson camp so bent on eliminating a Pat McQuaid candidacy? They know, as do the majority of UCI members, that Pat McQuaid is not the problem but the solution. They also know that Pat McQuaid has worked and won the respect and admiration of the majority of UCI members by promoting the development of cycling across the globe and by dealing decisively with the doping issue. Pat McQuaid has an indisputable record of achievement which can only be sullied by dishonest accusations and propaganda. It is time for the Cookson Camp to come clean and abandon its devious and dishonest campaign to unseat Pat McQuaid by subversive and undemocratic tactics.
If Brian Cookson is truly interested in "cleaning up" the UCI's image, then a dishonest campaign cannot be the platform upon which this goal is built. A free, fair and open election is the only option for Cycling now, and the UCI Congress must restore the democracy which Brian Cookson and his legal and financial backers have tried to take away from us. The UCI must therefore do what is right; not what is convenient. The Cookson camp seems to have managed to get a majority of European Federations to oppose the proposed amendment of Article51.1 which is being abused by them to subvert the democracy of the UCI. Cookson is using the argument that we must follow rules, and we agree. In fact, those same rules give us the right to change them and Cookson and his camp cannot deny us this right, especially when it is clear that there is a loophole being blatantly abused by their own selfish and capitalist interests. This is tantamount to a prostitution of the UCI’s values and the introduction of intimidation and gangster politics in the UCI’s electoral process. South Africa had rules in the Apartheid era which were discriminatory and perpetrated atrocities on the majority of population for decades, until the world said enough is enough. The Cookson campaign is reminiscent of this scourge of history as they try to bully the majority into accepting their way. In 2013, this must not be allowed to succeed and the UCI Congress as Cycling’s highest decision making body must assert its right to change a rule which has clearly been abused, to try to subvert rather than enhance democracy in the electoral process. This is a struggle to secure the soul of Cycling and it is bigger than Pat McQuaid or Brian Cookson.
We recognize Europe as a major player in cycling, but how can Europe alone have 14 delegates which is one third of the total UCI votes? Why is Article 47 so heavily biased in favour of Europe? Out of 10 elected members why must 7 be from Europe? Is this the UCI or the European Cycling Union? The National Federations from the other continents must wake up to this undemocratic and discriminatory provision which will be very difficult to change unless there is full support from the other continents to get two thirds, or unless European countries willing agree to give up their power in favour of the full globalization of cycling. But that is hardly likely to happen and so we have to fight for the liberation of Cycling like the majority had to do in South Africa to dismantle apartheid. Russian Cycling Federation President Igor Makarov who is also a member of the UCI Management Committee and a major sponsor of European Cycling; has gone on a frolic of his own in his deceptive campaign against President Pat McQuaid. Now tell me, what gives Mr. Makarov the right to independently hire private investigators and unilaterally decide that the UCI Ethics Commission is not independent? Who gave Mr. Makarov the authority to completely ignore the disciplinary mechanisms of the UCI and decide that USADA is the appropriate authority to deal with his corruption allegations? So are we supposed to believe that Mr. Makarov is independent and that he alone can decide who is independent? If there is genuine doubt why can’t Mr. Makarov and company take their complaint to the highest authority which is the UCI congress? Is it that Mr. Makarov doesn’t trust the National Federations also? It is that type of arrogance which perpetrated the dreadful apartheid system on the majority of South Africans by a selfish oligarchy.
Why must we accept Mr. Makarov’s view that the USADA would be independent in the matter? Isn’t it the same USADA which had challenges from current UCI President Pat McQuaid, who has stood up to defend our sport against those who want to police the sport, yet do not want to spend enough on detection, as they failed miserably in detecting Lance Armstrong through testing? Mr. Makarov’s unwillingness to go through the Ethics Committee of the UCI has done more damage to the UCI. Since it was his investigation and he hired the investigators, how can he now disassociate himself from the leaks? Mr. Makarov’s actions suggest that he is Judge, Jury and Executioner, and that he and his candidate will throw enough mud at Pat McQuaid in the hope that some of it sticks. And how can Brian Cookson distance himself from the dossier, when the same dossier is presented to some American continental delegates at the same time he is making his campaign for the Presidency of the UCI? Attempting to deny the UCI Congress a choice of candidates for the UCI Presidency, is tantamount to a hostile takeover and a blow to real democracy. St. Lucia has confidence in the American delegates elected to represent our continent and will not succumb to any pressures from selfish interests with their narrow agenda, who want to question the elected leaders entrusted to make decisions on our behalf. Steve Johnson of USA Cycling has decided that his preference is for Brian Cookson, contrary to the majority view in the continental federation and so be it. Although St. Lucia does not agree, we will not enlist lawyers or succumb to powerful interests to question where he is going to vote.
We may not agree, but we are confident that the other delegates will do the right thing in line with the thinking of the majority of the Federations of the American continent, and not that of the most financially powerful. We look forward to a free, fair, open and democratic election and hope that whoever is victorious will work in the interest of all UCI members. St. Lucia is very concerned that when we were contacted by someone supporting Cookson, the person indicated “I would like you to be on the right side after the election, so you are on the priority list of the Federations which would be helped.” We sincerely hope that this would not be the way Mr. Cookson would operate should he win the Presidency of the UCI. It is our hope that the wisdom of the UCI Congress will restore the democracy of the organization and permit an election between Pat McQuaid and Brian Cookson. We see no reason why the Cookson’s camp should object to an open election, which it is the prerogative of the UCI Congress to decide. So let the Congress decide and stop trying to constrain it with selfish legal hurdles.
St. Lucia Cycling Association
- Article published:
- September 26, 2013, 15:28
- Cycling News
Dockx, Kaisen, Van der Sande and Van Genechten longer with Belgian team
Lotto Belisol has extended the contracts of four more riders. Gert Dockx will stay with the team for another two years, while Olivier Kaisen, Tosh Van der Sande and Jonas Van Genechten have each signed one-year deals.
Dockx, 25, has been with the team since 2011. He took his first pro victories this year, wining two stages at the Tour of Gabon. He fractured his elbow and collarbone in a crash at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad but quickly returned and was in fact able to ride the Giro d'Italia.
Kaisen, 30, joined the team in 2006. Van der Sande, 22, turned pro with the team in 2012, and rode the Vuelta a Espana as his first grand tour. He is actually a Classics specialist who won the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2011. The 27-year-old Van Genechten also joined the team in 2012, and this year won the Grand Prix Pino Cerami.
That gives the team 25 riders for the coming season. Eight riders have left the team and nine new riders have joined for 2014.
Newcomers to the team will be Sander Armee, Kris Boeckmans, Vegerd Breen, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, and Boris Vallee. Leaving are Dirk Bellemakers, Gaeten Bille, Brian Bulgac, Sander Cordeel, Francis De Greef, Vincente Reynes, Frederique Robert and Jurgen Van de Walle.
- Article published:
- September 26, 2013, 16:34
- Cycling News
Acquarone says added rest day opens door for Grand Tour travels
Michele Acquarone and his organisation RCS Sport announced the route of 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico in Montecatini Terme on Thursday, but he is already looking many years down the road to a time when his race will not conflict with Paris-Nice.
Pointing down the list of names on the 2013 edition's general classification, Acquarone noted that Vincenzo Nibali - Giro d'Italia champion - Tour de France winner Chris Froome, and Vuelta a España victor Chris Horner were all in the race this year, and the sport needs big stars in the races in order for them to grow, to attract more fans and more sponsorship. But this can only happen if races do not conflict.
"I hope [they will be separated]," Acquarone told Cyclingnews. "It's about the stars, you have some in Tirreno, you have some in Paris-Nice, it's not logical. I want France to enjoy their race with the best riders in Paris-Nice, and then at Tirreno. I think it's logical."
He indicated that the UCI has long-term plans to correct the calendar so that the WorldTour races will no longer overlap, but that the changes will take place over the next six years.
"They are working on 2020 now, starting to change in 2015 what is easy to change, and [continue] until 2020 with new rules," Acquarone said.
"I feel we are going the right direction. [The race organisers] are all together and we share the same strategy. No fighting - that's the way to work. We have the same interests. It's better for teams, riders, organisers, sponsors, broadcasters and press.
Another positive change for Acquarone was the "unexpected" decision by the Professional Cycling Council to add a rest day to the 2014 Giro d'Italia to buffer the riders from the first three stages in Ireland and the long transfer to Italy.
"It was unexpected, really unexpected. They understood what the teams were asking for. We were ready with our program - three days in Ireland, three hours back to Italy, 11:30pm everybody goes to sleep, and the next day they start again in Italy. We checked with the doctors and they said it was no problem for the riders, physically, but the teams said they prefer to do it in a different way. The UCI and PCC said yes.
"[The UCI] created a precedent, and I think it's good because they listened. I don't think it should be an exception, it can become a rule.
"If the Grand Tours want to start from somewhere else, we have a chance to do it.
"You can bring cycling to where the people ask for cycling. We didn't go to Ireland because we decided we want to go to Ireland, we went there because the Irish said we want to have a Grand Tour in Ireland - we have a lot of fans and young riders, we want to create it. Why not, it's a great opportunity for everyone. The NBA is coming to Europe for a game, a regular season game. It's very important for them, it's not just a show. I want to do the same for cycling, it's quite easy.
"My feeling is little by little, everyone is getting on the same road. Even ASO, and other race organisers. We are very close, we share our strategy. It's a good moment for cycling."
Acquarone declined to weigh in on the UCI presidential election, saying only "I spoke with both of them. They know what cycling needs. If we talk about Pat McQuaid, he knows the mistakes he made and what he can do better for cycling. If we talk about Brian Cookson, he knows what he has to change. For sure both of them have to change. It's just political. I want to work with them to create a real, global, clean cycling."