By Jean-François Quénet in Lienz
Stefano Garzelli claimed arguably the most impressive victory of his cycling career on Stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia but the Italian was quick to point out that his Acqua e Sapone team were nearly not in the race at all. The Giro organisers took the hard decision to include Acqua e Sapone rather than the Selle Italia-Diquigiovanni team which has a strong record at the Giro over the past 20 years.
"There should be less ProTour teams and more invited teams," said Garzelli after his second win of the race in the Austrian city of Lienz. "Some teams don't look to be happy here."
While the ProTour system has internationalised an event like the Giro, some foreign teams still send their lower level riders which doesn't always serve to animate the racing but, according to Française des Jeux directeur sportif Martial Gayant, has resulted in less collaboration between Italian teams.
"In the past there were some alliances between Italian teams who only allowed riders from the small Italian teams to go for breakaways," said Gayant. "For the past three years we haven't seen this kind of negative attitude."