MILAN: The last major race of the cycling season could start with a protest, with riders contemplating a 10-minute delay at Saturday’s Giro di Lombardia after Italy’s anti-doping prosecutor suggested all cyclists use drugs.
Defending champion Philippe Gilbert told the Gazzetta dello Sport that fellow cyclist Roman Kreuziger recently phoned him to discuss a possible protest.
Gilbert said a protest would be "a way to show that cycling is not synonymous with doping, rather that it’s actually cleaner than a lot of other (sports), and definitely the sport that has fought against doping the most."
Race organizer RCS Sport has also organized a symposium on "the ethics of cycling," in conjunction with the single-day classic.
In his first interview in two years, prosecutor Ettore Torri told The Associated Press last week that legalizing doping would be a possible solution if that didn’t harm the health of cyclists. He said anti-doping authorities prosecute only a small percentage of offenders.
Torri’s comments came following four years of doping cases against prominent cyclists like Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca, Alessandro Petacchi and Riccardo Ricco — and a week after Tour de France winner Alberto Contador was reported to have tested positive.
Gilbert won Thursday’s warmup race, the Gran Piemonte, and is favored for another win in the Lombardia. His top challengers are 2009 world champion Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck and recent Spanish Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali.
The hilly race begins in Milan and follows a 260-km route to the finish in Como.