Armstrong and Radio Shack undecided on Giro or Tour of California but not really.

Did I say Giro? Not really.

Did I say Giro? Not really.

Lance Armstrong will NOT be riding the 2010 Giro no matter what he says.

“There is a dilemma between the Giro and the Tour of California, which both run in May,” said Armstrong in an interview with French cycling magazine Velo. “Radio Shack is an American sponsor, but the Giro is good preparation for the Tour.”

The Giro ain’t gonna happen because Armstrong has a long memory and doesn’t forgive many enemies. And Giro director Angelo Zomegnan is way up on Lance’s poop list. That list is meticulously updated and alphabetized and Z’s name has red marks all over it. Here’s a quick pedal down memory lane:

In stage 9 of this year’s Giro, Armstrong, along with Danilo di Luca, organized a go-slow protest over the dangerous course conditions in rainy Milan. Zomegnan went ballistic, dumping all over the Texan with an Italian aria of insults including this gem: “there’s a certain age at which your legs start to get shorter and your tongue longer.”

Crazy Z took things personal and continued lashing Armstrong, saying “I never name people who have disappointed me, just like I don’t name girlfriends that have snubbed me.” Which was a bizarre statement considering Zomegnan is over 60 and Lance is not a female. Nor, to the best of Lance’s recollection, had they ever dated.

Then the outraged Italian media launched a few missiles. Il Giornale described it as “a slap in the face for Milan”. The riders–read Armstrong– were responsible for a “villainous ambush” and “should go into hiding after the obscenity”.

Crazy Z, Lance hater.

Crazy Z, Lance hater.

The comedy of insults reached fever pitch as the editorial described Armstrong as “an old-age pensioner” and “Texan slipper-seller.” Try figuring out what that means — pedaling Nikes? Italian insults are often creative and difficult to translate. Slipper seller could in fact mean butt-head.

Now contrast that with the media adulation Armstrong will receive at the Tour of California. Then consider the fact that Armstrong is 38, has four kids and doesn’t travel to Europe more than necessary. And just as a little reminder: Armstrong hates bozos and people who stab him in the back.

In sum, hello Tour of California. Armstrong may well be jerking the Giro and ex-buddy Zomegnan around, teasing them with the hope he’ll bring his Radio Shack team to race. Not going to happen. Armstrong’s tongue may have grown longer as Zomegnan claims. But Lance has an even longer memory.

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  • That, sir, goes right to the top of the list as your best.

    You made me laugh out loud

    James Raia
    National Cycling Examiner
    http://www.examiner.com/x-1155-Cycling-Examiner

  • Ed Rubinstein

    Yet another great column and further reason why you are bookmarked on my laptop. Here are 2 paragraphs on the same subject from an article I published in my OutSPOKEn column in the current edition of Southern California Bicyclist magazine:

    Finally there is an interesting take away from this year’s Tour that has a local impact. The Giro de Italia is held in May and ends five weeks before the start of the Tour. Next year’s Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) because of past weather issues is going to be moved from the February slot which it has occupied for its first four years to May, because of weather issues. So next year ATOC will compete for riders with the much more established and prestigious Giro. This year was the Giro’s 100th anniversary and riders who would normally avoid doing both the Giro and the Tour rode the Giro. Some commentators thought that the Giro would provide good training for the later Tour. Others, followed recent conventional wisdom, and skipped the Giro to focus on the Tour.

    Ultimately of the Tour contenders only Lance seemed to be benefitted by riding both Tours, but then he needed the added race time coming back from a broken collar bone earlier in the season. The Giro winner Dennis Menchow did relatively poorly in this year’s Tour. American Christian Vande Velde who was injured in a crash at the Giro certainly was not benefited. Nor was Carlos Sastre who won the 2008 Tour did the Giro and as the defending champion was never in contention at this year’s Tour. On the other hand Alberto Contador (Astana) and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) skipped the Giro and finished first and second respectively. I believe because of these results, next year’s ATOC will be the May race of choice for most of the Tour contenders. This will enhance the prestige of our California race, and making going to see it in person a “must see” event.

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