Acquarone praises Phinney for stance against doping

Michele Acquarone.

Michele Acquarone. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Michele Acquarone, the director of the Giro d'Italia, has praised the Taylor Phinney and other young riders for their stance against doping in the aftermath of the revelation about the Lance Armstrong generation of riders discovered by the USADA investigation.

Phinney and fellow American Pete Stetina revealed that they refuse to use caffeine and pain killers while racing, and were publicly supported on Twitter by several riders, including Marco Pinotti, Greg Henderson, David Miller, Marianne Vos and Marcel Kittel. Acquarone also praised Phinney via tweeted.

"I was hugely impressed by the position that Taylor Phinney and some other young riders have taken against doping," Acquarone explained to Cyclingnews.

"He said he was happy to finish fourth in the Olympics, knowing that he competed clean. That's a great thing to say and perfectly represents the true spirit of sport."

Acquarone and his race organising team at RCS Sport pushed hard to ensure Phinney rode this year's Giro d'Italia. The young American confirmed his talent by winning the opening time trial stage in Denmark and wearing the pink jersey for three days. Phinney finished the Giro in 155th place, more than five hours behind winner Ryder Hesjedal.

Acquarone called on new riders in cycling to look at themselves in the mirror and do the right thing, saying he will always support them.

"What's happened in the last few weeks has made me think about when I ran the New York marathon," he said.

"I could have got in a taxi to miss out a long section of the race and then jump out just before the finish to win. I'd become known as the fattest ever winner but I wouldn't be able to look at myself in the mirror. I hope the new generation of riders are able to look at themselves in the mirror and be happy with what they achieve in life, rather than trying to more money and see their names in the media."

"I think they've learnt a hard lesson this time with what has emerged about the past. It's a difficult moment for cycling. But as long as there is just one rider with the right mentality and they really believe it, I'll support them and organise the Giro d'Italia for them."

A 'rider friendly' Giro d'Italia

Acquarone and his team have designed a tough route for the 2013 Giro d'Italia but have worked to reduce transfers and cut stage distances.

"We've tried to design what I call a 'rider friendly' Giro d'Italia," Acquarone said.

"We want the riders to show their talent in the best possible way. That's why we've included so many different kinds of stages. The route is hard – it's a grand tour, but we've done everything we can reduce transfers and cut stage distances, to help riders recover more. The idea is that it's a spectacular Giro, that still follows the traditions of the race but at the same time it also protects the riders." 

The 2013 Giro d'Italia will begin in Naples on May 4 and end in Brescia on May 26.

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.