The organisers of the Giro d?Italia made it clear that professional peloton has to clean up its act and make major changes in 2008 to put an end to the doping scandals that have rocked the sport in recent years.
Speaking during the official presentation of the 2008 race route in Milan on Saturday, race director Angelo Zomegnan said all teams that start the Giro in May 10 in Palermo will have to have a biological passport and made it clear he wanted a clean race. However Zomegnan admitted to cyclingweekly.co.uk that 2007 Giro winner Danilo Di Luca will be welcome in next year?s race because he will have served his three month ban for links to a banned doctor.
?I hope the 2008 Giro d?Italia will be a symbol of credibility, cleanliness and internationalism. Cycling is going through a difficult moment and needs to make epical changes,? Zomegnan said.
?We need to look the riders and team managers in the eyes and make the necessary changes. We?ve asked the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that the riders selected for 2008 Giro will have the new biological passport.?
Like the Tour de France, Vuelta Espana, the Giro d?Italia is no longer part of cycling?s ProTour and so will personally choose the 20 teams that will take part in the Giro d?Italia.
?Next week we?ll start to meet the 40 teams that have asked to be considered for a place and we?ll select them based on their honesty and cleanliness,? Zomegnan said.
?We want riders who are honest and who will to avoid any short cuts.?
Zomegnan made a point of talking to Slipstream team manager Jonathan Vaughters who had flown in for the Giro presentation and was pleased to hear that the American team is keen to target the opening team time trial in Palermo.
Favourites for the pink jersey include former winners Danilo Di Luca, Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni and Paolo Savoldelli, with young upstart Riccardo Ricco also expected to challenge as new team leader at Saunier Duval.
The 2008 Giro d?Italia starts in Palermo on Saturday May 10 and ends in Milan on Sunday June 1.
The three weeks of racing begins with a 28.5km team time trial in Palermo before heading north via Rome, Tuscany and Verona.
The final week is packed with tough mountain stages, with an individual time trial to the summit of the Plan de Corones ski station and the steep Mortirolo climb on the last day in the mountains. The Giro ends with a 23.5km individual time trial to Milan.
Italy?s Danilo Di Luca won the 2007 Giro d?Italia and is a favourite for 2008 along with fellow Italians Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni and Riccardo Ricco.