By Gregor Brown in Milano, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney, European Editor
The 2008 Giro d'Italia will be noted for its number of time trials – four – as it ends and begins with timed tests. Today at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi – on the first evening of December – RCS Sport unveiled next year's Italian Grand Tour, which starts in Palermo on May 10 and ends in Milano on June 1, and totals 3,423.8 kilometres.
Race directeur Angelo Zomegnan spoke highly of his race, and its commitment to providing excitement while keeping the action clean. "The situation of the Giro is good. Thanks to you [the audience gathered at Arcimboldi - ed.], the spectators watching on television and the spectators that line the road," said the Italian from Erba.
Tour de France and Vuelta a España representatives were on hand to support his Italian counterpart when he spoke clarity in the sport that has been often betrayed poorly in the general press. "We want the teams and riders to consider transparency important, for cycling and the Giro d'Italia. ... I would like that the 2008 Giro d'Italia be one of creditably, quality, and one that shines on the international stage."
Alessandra Di Stefano of RAI television asked Tour De France boss Patrice Clerc about the absence of International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid, who was also not at the French presentation. He explained, "I am happy to be here in Milano today with the other Grand Tour organizers. Don't confuse the fact that the UCI is just the international federation for cycling, and we can still work with the national federations.
"The UCI has tried to put in place a system [the ProTour - ed.]. We are now working directly with national federations; we see that there is still so much enthusiasm that exists in Italy and other countries like France, Spain and Belgium. We have 15 million people at the Tour de France, seven million people at the Giro d'Italia and so we are just continuing to work with our friends in Italy and Spain to organize great races."
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