One year ago, the promoters of the Giro d'Italia suggested in Palermo that their race was better than the Tour de France as they lined up the winners of the three Grand Tours of the previous season: Alberto Contador (Tour de France), Danilo Di Luca (Giro) and Denis Menchov (Vuelta), while the Tour de France didn't even accept the participation of its defending champion due to his belonging to the undesirable Astana team.
The feeling is even greater this year in Italy with the eight Grand Tour winners on the start line. All combined, they have won eight Tours de France (seven by Lance Armstrong, one by Carlos Sastre), six Giri (two by Gilberto Simoni, one by Stefano Garzelli, Damiano Cunego, Ivan Basso and Di Luca) and two Vueltas (by Menchov). Not so many top achievers will line up on Port Hercules in Monaco on July 4th.
Sarcastically, Giro boss Angelo Zomegnan said in Venice, "In the French mentality, the fear of the superiority of the foreigners doesn't exist. My perception is that they look at what we're doing with interest." Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme gave a friendly phone call to Zomegnan on Friday morning to wish him "a safe trip."
Zomegnan also noticed the stages of the Tour de France are much more attractive and more similar to the ones of the Giro d'Italia since Prudhomme took over from Leblanc at the end of 2006. Zomegnan suggested that criticisms and aggressive headlines about the Tour routes in La Gazzetta dello Sport in the past have been constructive for the Tour de France to improve.