By Andrew Hood
Giro d’Italia organizers are still holding firm to their bid to conclude the 2006 edition with a split-stage.
Days after the 2006 route was announced earlier this month, the UCI shot down organizers’ plans to hold a morning time trial and an afternoon road stage on the Giro’s final day, citing rules that ProTour events can’t have split stages.
Organizers, however, insist their plan still has merit because the Giro isn’t likely to be part of the ProTour in 2006.
“The rules only apply to the ProTour,” Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan told Tutto Bici. “The ProTour rules don’t allow semi-stages, but (we) don’t have a ProTour license.”
The Giro wants to conclude its mountainous 2006 edition with a unique one-two punch: an 11km climbing time trial to Ghisallo, north of Milan, in the morning, then a 116km road stage from Lecco to Milan in the afternoon.
The Italian professional riders’ association has protested the idea, calling it unfair to have such a demanding stage and transfer at the end of a hard three weeks of racing.
Ullrich to South Africa
Days after hinting he might start the Giro d’Italia in May, Jan Ullrich is heading south to get a head start on his 2006 season.
Ullrich and six teammates are scheduled to fly to South Africa this week for a three-week training camp, the team reported. The team’s official training camp will be held on the Spanish island of Mallorca in January while Ullrich reported that he will start racing in March.
Raffaele Illiano, winner of the InterGiro jersey in the 2004 Giro d’Italia, has signed a contract extension to stay with Colombia-Selle Italia for the 2006 season.
The team now has 17 riders going into the coming season, but will lose the services of José Rujano following the conclusion of the Giro. Rujano, third overall in 2005, will join Quick Step-Innergetic for the second half of the 2006 season.