Italian public prosecutor Benedetto Roberti traveled to Interpol headquarters in Lyon this week to exchange information regarding the international traffic of banned substances. He indicated that the US federal officers that were present are focused on seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team. That being said, I was more interested in his comments about what had to be done regarding the difficulty of the races.
He revealed that numerous professional cyclists he has questioned claimed that athletes who don’t dope have an output of 40 per cent below those who do.
"That’s what they say. Unfortunately that’s the system," Roberti said. "The sport relies on sponsors and sponsors don’t pay the teams unless they win and to win they need to use banned substances."
"The races are too tough. They need to reduce the kilometers. It’s impossible to think that they can complete these races as they are without using banned substances. If they reduce the lengths I know people will say they’ll still dope, but at least they would have less reason to."
Well said, in my opinion. Nevertheless, the 2011 Giro d'Italia promises to be one of the most grueling in its history with 7 summit finishes (including Zoncolan), 1 gravel road stage, the Colle de Finistre with 8 km of dirt roads, an uphill time trial,etc. A summary:
From the 7th to the 29th of May 2011,
23 total days, 21 race days,
1 rest day + transfer 1 rest day,
Start from Torino-Reggia di Venaria , Reale,
Finish in Milano-Piazza Duomo,
1 Team Time Trial Stage (1ª stage Reggia di Venaria Reale-Torino) / 21,5 km,
1 uphill time trial (16ª Belluno-Nevegal) / 12,7 km,
1 individual time trial (21ª Milano-Milano) / 32,8 km,
7 stages for sprinters,
1 white (gravel) road stage in Siena in the province of Siena and the finish in Orvieto
4 medium mountain stages (1 summit finish)
6 mountain stages (6 summit finish),
Summit finishes: Montevergine di Mercogliano (7ª stage), Etna (9ª stage), Grossglockner (13ª stage), Zoncolan (14ª stage), Gardeccia (15ª stage), Macugnaga (19ª stage), Sestriere (20ª stage),
Other climbs: Crostis (new), Croce Carnico, Mauria, Fedaia-Marmolada, Tonale, Aprica, Mottarone, Colle delle Finestre (dirt stretch),
Cima Coppi: Passo Giau,
Total: 3496 km
Riders' reactions to the 2011 percorso after the presentation are here.
Will grand tour organizers respond to the calls being made for reducing the difficulty of the races?
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