Filippo Simeoni, who seems to believe that winning the Italian road title last June was the equivalent of a golden ticket, today stomped into the Federalciclismo offices and symbolically turned in his tricolore jersey in response to his team's exclusion from the Giro d'Italia. He ranted that the national federation should "explain to the fans because the national values are not respected, because the selection criteria are unclear and favor the commercial aspect rather than sports." And of course, he blamed the entire affair on Lance Armstrong, not his team's complete inability to win races and his own failure to show the jersey anywhere near the front of an interesting race. Does God love me enough to stop Lance from responding? Probably not.
Meanwhile, RCS chief Angelo Zomegnan offered that maybe Simeoni shouldn't have taken Tirreno-Adriatico so lightly (he DNF'd after falling way behind), or maybe he could have worked out his differences with Armstrong during the seven-hour parade from Milano to Sanremo. Of course, Zomegnan has now played straight into Simeoni's paranoia by even mentioning that latter point, and calling Simeoni "uncivilized" probably won't shut him down. No, only the intervention of Pat McQuaid can stop this from spiraling out of control now...
It's not hard to see how Simeoni's demons could be getting the better of him these days. Take a look at the Gazetta dell Sport Giro page -- it's practically an homage to Lance, seeking his picks to win, updating fans on his progress at the Gila, posting training videos from Livestrong, etc. Poor GdS readers are so overwhelmed with Lance-Mania that in the faves poll (so far) they are rating his chances of overall victory four times higher than those of Levi Leipheimer, despite the breathless coverage of the Gila stages where Leipheimer dominated while Lance just played along.
Finally... video coverage... ugh. Cycling.TV has nothing on its site about the upcoming Centenary Giro, save for oblique references about how you can "watch the grand tours" if you subscribe. This is a pretty clear sign that by "grand tours" they mean "tour" singular, or more specifically "Vuelta a Espana". Recall, before MSR Cycling.TV struck a last-minute deal to bring fans that coverage, which was preferable to their going dark for La Primavera. However, in doing so they pared off that race from the Giro rights, which RCS has apparently been selling as a package. Vesus has already exited the scene, as far as we know.
So... don't expect to hear Anthony and Brian at the World's grandest grand tour this year, and don't expect Vesus to cover anything either until the hotly-anticipated Dauphine Libere kicks off in June. I know, this isn't news, but chances of a last-minute deal are down to pretty much nil. I suspect we will get RAI video streams -- I am an eternal optimist. But as fine an option as that is, I do still like A&B's thoughts, and the occasional weekend highlight package on TV.
Girbecco says: "No English-language Giro video? Well played, RCS!"