Crazy Z gone? Say it ain’t so in Italian.
The Tuttosport newspaper is working a rumor that Giro impresario Angelo Zomegnan is about to be sacked. Apparently some people with Italian television were unhappy with the Giro saying it was too hard. Well, it was but so what?
While Zomegnan did a masterful job handing the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt, other critics were displeased with Zomegnan’s heavy handed comments over the issue of rider safety, specifically the Crostis climb on stage 14.
Well in Italy, opinions are like pasta, everybody’s got some but we’re throwing our support firmly behind crazy Z because professional cycling needs him.
Zomegnan is a larger than life personality who always claims to put a little “art” in each stage of the Giro. Let’s not forget how he’s made the Giro arguably more exciting than recent editions of the Tour de France.
As a former journalist, this is a man who understands the role and importance of spectacle in bike racing. He brought in harder mountains, introduced the strade bianchi white roads and always thought bigger than big — even the madcap idea of a Washington D.C. start.
Zomegnan insisted that his latin podium girls were twice as smoking hot as anything France could throw in a tight dress and heels. His colors were brighter, his presentations more dramatic, his wine more expensive, his pronouncements more grandiose.
Who can forget his comedic outage when Lance Armstrong said he thought a stage wasn’t safe and organized a rider strike? Crazy Z said the Texan had reached the age when the legs grow short and the tongue grows long! When Zomegnan has a broadside, he doesn’t hold back.
When Jonathan Vaughters formulated his plans for a breakaway league to escape the staggering incompetence of UCI president McQuaid, he went straight to Z’s house to float the idea over a few glasses of outstanding Barolo.
And who doesn’t respect a man who when he heard some nutball in Amsterdam suggest the Giro should use podium guys instead of girls for the Netherlands stages, immediately and personally shut down that crazy talk.
It seems that small minds and politics are at work in Italy and the first obvious sign is the rumored replacement: there is no replacement. The job will now be handled by a committee! That right there spells the end of innovation and bold thinking to say nothing of drama.
Few things disappoint Twisted SPoke more than hearing the the midgets at RCS Sport are considering a drop-kick of Angelo Zomegnan. We’re in his corner but we’d rather be down in his wine cellar.