Michele Acquarone worked hard to put a positive spin on this year’s Giro d'Italia, preferring to talk about how the race and riders have overcome the adversities of the weather and testing race route, rather than talk about the impact of Danilo di Luca's positive anti-doping test for EPO.
Speaking to the media in Brescia alongside race director Mauro Vegni and other management from the Italian race organising company, Acquarone hinted that RCS Sport would not take legal action against Di Luca and argued that even making an easier race route is not the way to fight doping.
"We started two weeks ago in the sun and we finished here in the sun in Brescia. In between almost everything has happened: we've had sun, fog, we've cancelled a stage, we've had big-name and minor name retirements but the most important thing is that we've made it Brescia, entertaining millions of people at home and around the world via TV and media," Acquarone said.
"Regarding the Di Luca case, this is the last time I want to talk about him. The idea that someone can think about cheating is crazy. The Giro has been wonderful and it has been a success. There's been two retirements for cheating (Sylvain Georges of Ag2r-La Mondiale and Di Luca). We're not interested in them from now on. They're not a problem anymore. When an idiot does something stupid. If we keep talking about it, it becomes irrelevant. If we keep talking we're giving them attention they don’t deserve.
"I'm more sorry that Wiggins, Hesjedal and Gesink had to retire. They started the Giro thinking they could win but faced a very tough race."
Acquarone repeated what he said on Friday, insisting that race organisers can do little to stop riders from doping.
"It's not our job to do it. We pay a lot of money to fund the anti-doping system. If I've got to criticise anyone, it's whoever manages the system. We're not stakeholders in the anti-doping process and so we know so little about what happens. That's got to be improved.
"There's doping in 100 metres sprint in athletics, in 50 metre swimming events. Doping is there if you look for it. We're fighting as hard as we can. But if someone wants to cheat, they'll do it even playing Razzle."
Vegni backed up Acquarone, suggesting that he had seen a change of heart and mind amongst riders in the Giro d'Italia peloton.
"The day we cancelled the stage was a particular day. Not only for what happened but also because we saw the strength of the peloton to want to change. I saw it the minds and eyes of the riders. We heard them talk and but I saw their reaction at Tre Cime di Lavaredo. They fought back against who wanted to hurt cycling. They showed they're real champions. It was a very different reaction to other bad moment for cycling."
Legendary climbs to return in the 2014 Giro d'Italia
Vegni hinted that he has already designed the 2014 Giro d'Italia but refused to reveal any details. The snow and poor weather forced RCS Sport to cut approximately 8000 metres of climbing from this year's race but he insisted the Giro will return to climb over 2000 metres in 2014, despite the ever-present risk of snow.
"The Giro will return to the historic climbs. The weather is part of the race and it won’t be a snow storm or a bad spring that will change the history of the Giro," he said.
"We've got climbs bellow 2000m in Italy but I think the legendary climbs always give something extra to the race. We won't design next year's race based on what happened this year. We were unlucky with the weather. Some people joked that I'd love to do the Giro in July but that's not possible. That date is already taken."
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