During the second rest day of the Giro d'Italia, in the Dolomite town of Agordo, maglia rosa Danilo Di Luca revealed an unusual fact that he never uses a radio while racing, and never has done. Cyclingnews' Jean-François Quénet spoke with the Italian about this peculiar trait, the rising stars of Italian cycling and why the Tour de France just doesn't appeal to him.
"It's not that I refuse it," said Di Luca, referring to his lack of an ear piece which many riders in the modern peloton cannot function without. "But after a little while it gives me troubles in my head. In fact, I've had to use my mind instead of just listening to the instructions given by the director. I'm convinced it has helped me improve to the level where I am now. I know what I have to do."
Two-time Giro champion Gilberto Simoni admitted Di Luca's tactical astuteness was a major factor in his success this year. "I wouldn't say that Di Luca is the revelation of this Giro," Simoni commented during the rest day. "But he's up there every day, that's the difference. I can see that his way of racing isn't the same. He thinks more."
In the crucial mountain stages, the 'killer' has controlled the race with a rare tactical intelligence. That might add to the ongoing debate in cycling regarding the use of ear pieces which many observers claim have ruined the excitement of races. The UCI has long been considering the possibility of banning radios among riders, a decision which may re-ignite interest in races where cycling doesn't enjoy such a passionate following as the Giro d'Italia.
"When I came to Giro, the newspapers weren't talking about cycling at all", remembered Di Luca, hinting at the ongoing doping sagas reported in the cycling press. "I was hoping that it would change and it has changed. Now the media focus on the race."
To read the full interview with Danilo Di Luca, click here.