Angelo Zomegnan has been replaced as director of the Giro d’Italia by organisers RCS after seven years in the role, and is set to move to a new position in the organisation of the 2013 world championships in Florence.
Rather than appoint a direct replacement, it appears that RCS will divide Zomegnan’s former duties largely between Michele Acquarone and Mauro Vegni.
A statement from the company said that Acquarone, director general of RCS Sport since 2008, now moves to take “direct responsibility for cycling organisational structure.” Giro technical director Vegni will be in charge of the sport and race management, and he is to be assisted by former professionals Stefano Allocchio and Alessandro Giannelli. Marketing will be handled by Marco Gobbi Pansana.
Rumours of Zomegnan’s departure first surfaced towards the end of this year’s Giro d’Italia. While the 56-year-old was widely praised for his sensitive handling of the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt, he engaged in a heated dispute with teams and managers over the safety and support measures put in place for the descent of the Crostis.
The Crostis was removed from the Giro route the night before the stage, while the route of the final time trial in Milan also had to be altered at short notice due to local elections in the city.
As well as working on the Florence 2013 organising committee, Zomegnan will remain an RCS consultant “on specific development projects” and will maintain an editorial collaboration with Gazzetta dello Sport, where he was a journalist for 25 years.
“I have brought to an end the route that I began on 1 September, 2004, and I think that I have contributed something to re-launch this race at international level and to restore its international image and a solid economic structure,” Zomegnan told Gazzetta on Tuesday.
Looking back at his tenure in charge of the corsa rosa, Zomegnan listed the famous strade bianche stage to Montalcino in 2010, the Giro finishes at Rome’s Colosseum and Verona’s Arena and the discovery of the Plan de Corones climb among his proudest innovations.
The incoming Michele Acquarone paid tribute to Zomegnan’s contribution. “Angelo made the Giro something different and innovative and his gamble paid off,” Acquarone said. “A man of the highest quality is leaving, but the team he had with him is still there, and it can still win.”
39-year-old Acquarone first joined RCS in 1999 as head of marketing for Gazzetta dello Sport. He became director general of RCS Sport at the end of 2008.
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Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.