Zomegnan out as Giro d’Italia director

GAP, France (VN) - Angelo Zomegnan is out as director of the Giro d'Italia.

GAP, France (VN) – Angelo Zomegnan is out as director of the Giro d’Italia.

Race officials confirmed to VeloNews on Tuesday that the popular yet outspoken Zomegnan will be removed as the director of the Italian grand tour.

The official said back-room wrangling led to the departure of Zomegnan, who is largely credited with reviving the Italian tour’s fortunes since he took over in 2004.

Rumors of Zomegnan’s possible exit first appeared in May near the end of the 2011 Giro. The Italian website, tuttobiciweb, reported late last month that Zomegnan met with directors of the Giro’s parent company, RCS, to discuss his future.

The official said it was more boardroom drama than Zomegnan’s decisions as race director that led to his exit. An announcement could be coming shortly, but the official said that Zomegnan will not direct the 2012 edition of the corsa rosa.

A replacement has not been named.

Zomegnan is expected to organize the 2013 world championships in Florence.

Zomegnan, a former journalist at La Gazzetta dello Sport, introduced innovations such as Europe’s steepest summit finish at Monte Zoncolan, the climbing time trial up dirt roads at the Plan de Corones and the white gravel roads at Tuscany.

Zomegnan’s innovations reached their zenith in the 2010 edition, in what many called the best Giro in decades.

Racers, however, have long carped that the demands of the Giro are over the top, especially with what they call dangerous stage routes as well as unreasonably long transfers between stage finishes and starts.

Looking to top himself, Zomegnan perhaps went too far in designing the 2011 route that paid homage to Italy’s 150 years of unification by trying to take the race to every corner of the nation.

Tensions reached the breaking point over the controversial climb and descent of Monte Crostis, a narrow strip of asphalt high in the Italian Dolomiti that was supposed to be the signature moment of the 2011 Giro.

Those dreams unraveled, and despite the efforts of volunteers to add padding and barriers to the harrowing descent, the UCI eliminated the climb and forced the rerouting of the stage just hours before the start.