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The credit crunch has bitten

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Michele Acquarone.

Michele Acquarone.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Enrico Battaglin and Ben Spies at the Yamaha Giro d'Italia launch.

Enrico Battaglin and Ben Spies at the Yamaha Giro d'Italia launch.
(Image credit: RCS Sport)
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Michele Scarponi at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation

Michele Scarponi at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andrea Guardini at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation

Andrea Guardini at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The view of the hall used during the Giro d'Italia presentation

The view of the hall used during the Giro d'Italia presentation
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

A few days ago, in an interview with a journalist from Bloomberg, I was asked if RCS Sport’s activities had felt the effects of the economic crisis which has struck Europe, and Italy in particular. There is no point in shying away from it: there is a crisis and it has made itself felt. With unemployment, fiscal pressures and falling consumption, it’s no joke. Our country is in difficulty and enormous sacrifices are required.

It’s against such a backdrop that RCS Sport carries out its activities, seeking the right balance between short-term objectives and long-term ones. Sacrifice and determination form the mantra that is keeping us afloat.

In mid February, in the period in which Italy withdrew Rome’s candidacy to host the 2020 Olympics, we were deciding whether or not to save the 2012 Strade Bianche, which had suddenly lost its title sponsor. In the end we saved it (through sacrifice and determination), by cutting away every cost that wasn’t indispensable, and Cancellara repaid us by leaving the tifosi with an unforgettable emotion.

Up to now, Italian cycling, by the strength of its own tradition, has managed to keep four WorldTour races on the calendar, but in the future, it will not be easy to maintain this leadership. The USA, Russia and China have enormous budgets as well as economic and political power that will be difficult to compete against.

For our part, beyond our tradition, in Italy we can count on a marvellous landscape, on a large catchment of passionate tifosi and on a good number of enlightened businessmen, managers and administrators, who believe in the communicative capacity of cycling and of the Giro d’Italia in particular, and who every year – even in periods of crisis – allow us to put on our show. A show which as far as I’m concerned continues to be the greatest show on earth.