It has been a day full of doping again. It's sad. And it's sad that the other three dopers from the Olympic Games have not yet been mentioned. Or yes, they have been mentioned but not confirmed. It is said that it is Greece's 2004 Athens Games 20 km walk champion Athanasia Tsoumeleka and Croatian 800 metres runner Vanja Perisic, but also another person has tested positive but I don't know who it is.
Anyway, the Giro d'Italia starts in a couple of days and director Angelo Zomegnan promises there will be no room for cheats. This is of course easy to say, but it's difficult to catch the dopers. I think they will work as hard as possible to find all cheaters though. "During the Giro, the UCI [International Cycling Union] and CONI [Italian Olympic Committee] will make use of the newest methods. If you want to come to the Giro to cheat, you are forewarned," Zomegnan told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We have been working for months with the experts from CONI, FCI [Italian cycling federation], UCI and WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] to make the Giro and Italian cycling a secure product." He also spoke about Davide Rebellin, who won stage seven in Monte Sirino and spent six days in the race leader's maglia rosa, twelve years ago.
"He is still presumed innocent, but in the past there were certain tapes that involved him [apparently Rebellin and his wife were filmed at the offices of Dr. Lazzaro in May 2001.] and that was never completely cleared. I am sorry to hear of his positive because Rebellin really seems like a good guy." But I wish them all the best and hopefully they will catch the cheaters.
Alessandro Ballan wants to return to racing in the end of May and so do I, I miss him. He was taken out from racing because of a cytomegalovirus - a herpes-type virus that is accompanied by tiredness and fever - in March and it feels like forever since I last saw him. He dropped out of Tirreno-Adriatico after stage four on March 14 and since then he has not been racing, but has been there for his team mates, he has supported them and helped them. He seems very friendly. "I have started to ride again, but will go easy for a week. I am thinking of re-entering in the Tour of Belgium or the Bayern-Rundfahrt," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. It was first believed that he would only be resting for 15-20 days, but it has taken a lot of time since then. But I will be happy when he comes back to racing.
Stage 1 of Tour de Romandie yesterday was won by Spaniard Richardo Serrano (Fuji-Servetto). He finished ahead of Lars Ytting Bak (Saxo Bank) and Gregory Rast (Astana) at a stage that had to be shortened because of snow in the mountains. It's always fun to see riders that you have not seen many times when they win stages. Richardo Serrano had a good day and it was his first victory in a ProTour race. "This is the reward for my combative attitude as I've never been a rider to sit in and do nothing. Winning in a ProTour race gives me confidence, because it means I'm back at the top." He said. He was a bit surprised over his victory though, but surprises are good. Plus it may raise his confidience in himself and making him a more successful rider.
"I'm truly delighted. If anyone had told me in the morning that I'd end up winning, I wouldn't have believed it," Serrano said.
"I have lost so many victories by rushing into the finish too early, so I tried to stay confident, even after my radio broke, and I was not able to hear my team manager Stefano Zanini's orders. I didn't know it, but I was following all the instructions he was telling me."
Gregory Rast finished third and also became the new leader in the race, which means Czech rider Frantisek Rabon could not keep it. The three-time Swiss road champion Gregory Rast said he would attempt to defend his lead.
"It will be difficult to keep it, but you never know. Two years ago I won the Tour of Luxembourg, which is a hard race as well. However, the mountains here are much harder plus there is the team time trial and the differences in the top of the GC are small." It is one of his home races, and if he won the race it would surely be a significant victory for him, that he can remember for long time after having retired too.