The start of Saturday's Giro di Lombardia is due to be 10 minutes late, as riders have reportedly organized a protest on the start line against the Italian Olympic Committee anti-doping prosecutor's recent comments.
Last week Ettore Torri, CONI's anti-doping head, said to the Associated Press, "I'm not the only one saying it. Lately, all of the cyclists I've interrogated have said that everyone dopes... The longer I’m involved in this the more I marvel at how widespread doping is," adding that only a small fraction of cheaters have actually been caught.
Many in the sport objected to the comments, including the UCI's president Pat McQuaid, Eddy Merckx, Aldo Sassi, coach to Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans, as well as many professional riders speaking out via Twitter and Facebook.
Giro del Piemonte winner and defending champion in Lombardy, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), confirmed the protest following his win on Thursday, saying that he was approached with the idea by Liquigas-Doimo rider Roman Kreuziger, and agreed. "We must show the world that the statements of Torri are unfounded," Gilbert said.