Team RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel clarified news reports yesterday regarding the alleged snub by Giro d’Italia organizers, and said that although his team will indeed not be racing in the Giro this year, this was actually part of their overall plan, and not because of a snub by the organizers.
Bruyneel explained in his blog that Team RadioShack had already informed the Giro d’Italia organizers about their plans to race in the Tour of California instead of joining the Giro. He said that they had already contacted the RCS (the organizers of the Giro) to inform them that racing in the Giro “did not fit within RadioShack’s objectives and plans.” Bruyneel added that although he “liked the Giro” and thought it was a great race, still the team’s focus was to specifically race in the Amgen Tour of California instead.
This was partly due to the fact that the California stage race is more significant for the team’s sponsors, Bruyneel wrote. He also mentioned that since Team RadioShack had 3-time Amgen Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer in its roster, they would be looking for “the best possible position” to defend the title.
As it turned out, however, the Giro organizers were not pleased with this bit of information, and in a move that reeked of retaliation, decided not to extend an invitation to Team RadioShack for racing in Tirreno-Adriatico. In reference to this, Bruyneel wrote that he hoped the team will not be further ‘punished’ in future RCS events, since the team enjoys participating in the races that the organizers put on.
However, this ‘enjoyment’ obviously did not apply to Lance Armstrong, since he played an active role in protesting the course conditions at Stage 9 of the 2009 Giro d’Italia, along with several other riders. Armstrong was singled out as the ringleader of the protesting group, which further soured his relationship with the Italian press as well as the organizers of the race.