By Gregor Brown in Narbonne
Damiano Cunego (Lampre) remained optimistic about the future of cycling, despite the news of fellow Italian Riccardo Riccò's failed drugs test. "Even if this moment seems very difficult there is the hope the future can be better - Riccò has been rightfully stopped," said Cunego at the start of stage 12, moments after Riccò had been taken away by French police.
Before his removal, Riccò was leading the young rider competition, the same one that Cunego won in his first Tour de France in 2006. The two riders often lock horns in races, such as the Giro di Lombardia last fall when Cunego got the better of Riccò.
This time, Riccò was not the only one who suffered a loss, but Cunego and the whole of cycling. While Riccò spent his day in the custody of French police, the cycling world was left to deal with the mess he left behind.
"All of this does nothing for our movement," added Cunego. "What can I think? It is like we are always at the same point. It seems like cycling is taking the right road. Evidently, it will not be like this. Every once in a while, this happens and our progress is halted. Today, I will continue to race and manage this day by day."