Giro d'Italia director Angelo Zomegnan was all smiles after the spectacular end to this year's race in the Roman arena in Verona.
It is widely accepted that this year's race was one of the most spectacular in recent history, with some thrilling racing, on beautiful roads and a battle for overall success that was unsure and exciting almost to the very end.
"I think the finish in Verona was a spectacular ending to a spectacular Giro d'Italia. I think it perfectly sums up the race because day after day the race was exciting and dramatic," Zomegnan told Cyclingnews, refuting claims that he has made too many changes, perhaps some times to the detriment of the riders because of long transfers and difficult racing conditions.
"The Giro has its roots in the history of the Giro, in it’s traditions, in the pain and suffering of the riders. I think the Giro is changing for the better. It's far less 'artificial', with riders who suffer and who have good and bad days. I think it's all more natural."
"Some people think we're pushing things too far, making too many changes, making the racing too hard. But I don’t think change is a problem. I think it's a good thing. Perhaps, we're changing things a little too fast but better too much than too little."
Zomegnan enjoyed showing Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme the spectacular finish in Verona on Sunday He accepts the Tour de France will always be the biggest race in cycling but enjoys being more innovative and creative than the French organisers will ever dare.
"The Tour de France is the Tour de France. It's the biggest race in the world. And it's stupid for anyone to think they can lower the level of the Tour to help other races, perhaps races without any history and tradition can grow. I think people understand who I'm talking about," Zomegnan said, clearly taking a sideswipe at the UCI.
I've got a lot to learn from the Tour de France but I think the Tour de France can learn from the Giro.
I showed Christian Prudhomme and some of his staff the finish in the Verona arena. They left realizing just how the Giro has grown this
year. But they understand that if the Giro grows, it's good for the Tour de France too."
"I think it's fair to say that 'il Tour e' piu grande, ma che il Giro e' piu bello." That the Tour is bigger but that now the Giro d'Italia
is more beautiful. I like that comparison."
Zomegnan had to rewrite the results of the 2009 Giro d'Italia after Danilo di Luca tested positive for CERA during last year's race. He is
more hopeful this year after Basso's victory and liked that Australian riders won the other jersey competitions.
"I think Ivan Basso's victory represents a resurrection, and an important comeback. I think his success is good for Italian cycling and for the Giro d'Italia," Zomegnan said.
However I also think it's a good thing that riders from other nations, especially English-speaking nations did well. We want to make the Giro more global because cycling is much international than people realise. We've got the tradition of the past but we're open to new worlds and new markets. That's especially true in the English-speaking world."
Turin start in 2011, Washington DC in 2012?
This year the Giro clashed with the Tour of California but Zomegnan brushed off any idea of rivalry between the two races with a hint of superiority. He is working on bringing the Giro d'Italia to the USA and the capital Washington DC in 2012, after celebrating the unification of Italy in 2011.
"I didn't have time to follow the Tour of California, I was busy," he said.
"I heard it was a success. I'm pleased because we can all grow together. I know they had a little problem producing the television images of the second stage but as long the Tour of California has the same dimension (and does no become a ProTour race), I don't think there's a problem."
The 2011 Giro is likely to start in Turin, where the first ever Italian parliament was created, and finish in Rome, the first capital of Italy as a united country. Alberto Contador is rumoured to have agreed to ride the 2011 Giro.
"They're three possibilities but unfortunately perhaps one of them doesn’t seem possible," Zomegnan said cryptically.
"But what ever happens, where ever the Giro starts and ends and with what ever riders on the start line, the Giro is special every year. I'm sure the 2011 will be special and I'm sure the 2012 Giro will be extra special."
"We've only just started on a long road of change and innovation that will be good for cycling and especially good for the Giro."
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