Ugh: Acquarone Out at RCS

Sirotti

Giro director reportedly fired, plans Thursday press conference

According to CyclingNews, who go it from LaPress.it, Michele Acquarone has been fired by RCS Sport as a result of an incident of misappropriated funds. Acquarone is not accused of embezzlement, just being the manager who was supposed to make sure stuff like that didn't happen. The matter is under police investigation, and while Acquarone was initially asked to take a leave of absence, he's now apparently out for good.

This is a sad day for cycling; Acquarone will be remembered as the guy who jazzed up the Giro d'Italia. Inheriting the race from Angelo Zomegnan, himself a long-time respected race director, Acquarone emphasized entertaining events, as well as a varying slate of challenges from too many climbs to way too many climbs. The Giro, on his watch, took risks, including some that didn't work out, like the trip through France or the Stelvio, both of which were snow-shortened this year. More often, however, they worked fine. And in between the race served up an endless array of stages with true meaning, from the courses honoring great Giro legends to the detour this year to the site of a tragic dam failure.

On Acquarone's watch, significant changes were made to RCS's other races: Milano-Sanremo, which has varied its finish to become less of a sprinters' affair; Tirreno-Adriatico, which has inserted some devilish climbing stages; and the Giro di Lombardia, which has changed its name, its place on the calendar, and its finishing spot. This year, they added the Roma Maxima race, created nearly out of whole cloth. And the Strade Bianche race went from a whimsical old-timey thing to one of the most anticipated spring races in the world.

Acquarone's race-organizing credentials seem solid, but I would caution against dismissing the nature of his sacking. Maybe he really sucks at running a team, to the point where someone can abscond with the cash. That's about the last thing the sport needs. His press conference is scheduled for noon in Milan on Thursday; feel free to use this as the presser thread when he gives us his side of the story.

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