Vengi’s Giro pipe dream


Vengi dreams big

We’re beginning to think the term Silly Season, used to describe the crazy period of rider transfers, should be expanded to cover all manner of off-season silliness in pro cycling. Or perhaps you could call it the Loose Talk Time.

The latest silliness comes from Mauro Vegni, the head of the Giro d’Italia. His pipe dream is that he can somehow convince Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali and Tom Dumoulin to all ride the 2018 Giro.

Vengi is guardedly optimistic in that very Italian “ignore-the-facts” kinda way. They didn’t definitively no so in his mind that’s almost a yes. Vengi is a wine glass half full guy.

“At this moment I don’t have a final ‘no’ or a final ‘yes’. But from my perspective this is positive. In the past some riders have immediately said no,” said Vengi, full of misplaced hope. “This means that they’re still thinking about the idea of riding the Giro next year.”

You can count Chris Froome out — probability of riding Giro at zero percent. Same goes for Nairo Quintana, who has learned form his Giro-Tour foolishness and is focused solely on Le Grand Shindig. He’ll probably have Valverde for back-up and perhaps even Landa if the Spaniard is in a good mood after his Giro performance.

Given a new Tour route with lots of cobblestones and even gravel roads, Nibali has got to be excited. His 2014 Tour de France victory was built on his impressive showing on the cobbles. It’s a course layout that favors all-rounders, versatile riders and excellent bike handlers — pretty much a perfect description of the Shark of Messina. He’s all-in for France, don’t even bother making a phone call and begging.

That leaves Dumoulin, who is really the only loose variable in this scenario. He’s waiting to see how many time trial kilometers that Vengi will throw in the Giro to entice him to return and defend his pink jersey. It’s even money whether Dumoulin goes to France or Italy and the smarter money has him waiting another year for Froome to start winding down.

All of which does explain the comical lengths that Vengi is prepared to go as he looks for any scheme or circumstance that might entice Froome and company. He says he’s even willing to cut a week out of his grand Tour — which, given three stages in Israel, would leave, what, maybe only 10 or 11 stages in Italy? That’s just silly.

“It’s an option but it needs to be analysed and based on numbers. We have to evaluate the reasons for and against this idea. I’m neither in favour nor against it, but I want to see some facts first. What’s clear is that any change should apply for all three Grand Tours,” said Vengi. “I’m open to discuss but of course shrinking to two weeks means that we’d lose one week of great racing, which is broadcast on television.”

So he’s willing to cut his race by a third and oh, by the way, the other two grand tours would need to do the same. We’re sure A.S.O. will think that’s a fantastic idea.

Still, you have to appreciate the man for creative thinking. He’s got Landa and maybe Dumoulin but everything else is a hard sell. Froome, Quintana and Nibali aren’t coming, Mauro. To think otherwise is just silly.

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