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Is Giro d’Italia Angelo Zomegnan director about to be sacked?

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
June 25, 2011, 19:15 BST,
Updated:
June 25, 2011, 20:18 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 26, 2011
Race:
Giro d'Italia
Race director Angelo Zomegnan

Race director Angelo Zomegnan

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RCS Sport considering plans to change race organisation

Giro d’Italia director Angelo Zomegnan is being blamed for the problems and disappointments of this year’s race and looks set to be replaced after a series of high level meeting at event organisers RCS Sport.

Everyone within the Milan-based organisation is staying tight-lipped, but according to the Tuttosport newspaper, Zomegnan’s time in charge of the Giro d’Italia, and other races such as Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Lombardy, seems over. Cyclingnews has heard similar comments from well informed sources both within and close to the RCS Media Group.

Zomegnan is currently on holiday and did not reply when called by Cyclingnews.

Rumours of Zomegnan’s demise first circulated during the Giro d’Italia dominated by Alberto Contador. Italian television was not happy with this year’s race and pointed the finger at Zomegnan, suggesting the extremely tough race route had reduced the appeal of the Giro. Zomegnan was praised for how he dealt with the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt but came under fire for the way he handled the bitter dispute with the riders and teams about the safety and race support measures put in place for the Crostis climb on stage 14.

Since taking the position of race director, Zomegnan has helped raise the international profile of the Giro d’Italia, despite competition from the Amgen Tour of California. The introduction of dirt road sections and testing climbs produced some spectacular racing, especially in 2010. Zomegnan had also been working on a plan to start the Giro in Washington, DC.

However, RCS Sport now runs its events far more carefully and is not satisfied with them just serving to boost sales of the group's daily sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. Zomegnan worked for Gazzetta dello Sport for 25 years, including a long spell as the head of cycling at the famous pink newspaper. But it seems unlikely he will return to the newspaper.

Zomegnan’s fate was apparently decided in a series of recent high level meeting attended by RCS Media Group director Antonello Perricone and RCS Sport director Michele Acquarone. They have little knowledge or experience of organising major bike races but seem intent on a change of direction.

It is widely expected that a final agreement and possible severance package with Zomegnan will be agreed when he returns from his holiday. Zomegnan is rumoured to be in line to play a key role in the organising of the 2013 world road race championships in Florence.

Zomegnan’s all-encompassing role as Giro d’Italia director is expected to be filled by a pool or committee of specialists. These are rumoured to include current technical director Mauro Vegni, former Olympic gold medallist and current television commentator Silvio Martinello. The name of Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Pier Bergonzi is also mentioned by Tuttosport but he told Cyclingnews that he has not been approached by RCS Sport management to make the jump from journalism to event management.

More details of the change of management are expected to emerge in the coming weeks.

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