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Giro d'Italia

Compromised Giro moves toward finish

The Giro is continuing as scheduled today, although the atmosphere is almost surreal. At the start, it was if nothing had happened, yet everything had. There were crowds there as usual, the sign-in happened as usual, and riders hung out in the tent city next to the sign-in booth... all just as usual. What was different was the subject of every conversation going on, whether it was among the riders in the start village or among people in the cafés. Nobody was talking about whether Simoni would win the Giro or who would win this stage. Everyone was talking about the drug scandal. Even

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By Lennard Zinn

The Giro is continuing as scheduled today, although the atmosphere is almost surreal. At the start, it was if nothing had happened, yet everything had.

There were crowds there as usual, the sign-in happened as usual, and riders hung out in the tent city next to the sign-in booth… all just as usual.

What was different was the subject of every conversation going on, whether it was among the riders in the start village or among people in the cafés.

Nobody was talking about whether Simoni would win the Giro or who would win this stage. Everyone was talking about the drug scandal. Even passing through the toll booth on the autostrada, as soon as the attendant saw the Giro stickers on our car, he started talking about what a “casino” (a mess) the Giro had turned into.

Along the roads, there seemed to be fewer signs for specific riders and more signs saying things like “Enough with the Drugs”.

Tempers among the police and course marshals also seemed shorter. Having press stickers on our car, we have been used to being waved through intersections by police. Today, however, we ended up behind another journalist’s car who got dragged out and yelled at by the police for trying to pass the publicity caravan, something that is normally tolerated.

This stage finish in Busto Arsizio seems to be particularly disorganized in terms of parking, and the disorganization combined with people not being in the normally buoyant mood when the Giro comes to town has led to lots of honking, yelling and breaking down barriers by drivers who think they ought to be able to get through.

Not at all like the Giro we have come to know and love. Yes, the racers are on the road, even much faster than usual, and Mario Cipollini says, “The fans are still on our side,” but the spirit has been severely wounded.