Michele Acquarone, speaking publicly in Milano yesterday about being fired from RCS, read the following statement:
"I have already dedicated 14 years of my life to the RCS Group, the last five of which I spent working tirelessly on strengthening and growing RCS Sport. As director of Giro d'Italia I sought to develop the prestige of this event as part of Italy's heritage and for cycling fans all over the world. Looking at the results, I would say that I have succeeded.
"It was much to my frustration however that I could not participate in the presentation of that which I consider one of my most accomplished creations, the 2014 Giro d'Italia, and I apologize to all the friends I could not meet with," it continued.
"Those who know me are well aware that my professional style is based on three key concepts: fairness, respect and dialogue. Those who know me also know that I hold the trust of fans and of people involved in the industry, at the center of my heart, and if today I can benefit from such trust it is because I have always worked with greatest transparency and honesty, as well as with total dedication and loyalty to the RCS Group.
"For the ties linking me to Giro fans and to the people involved in the industry, I want to strongly reassure everyone of my non-involvement in the matters that have been reported in the mass media over the last few days. Today the life of a company is permanently marked in time and I am certain that all the facts will soon be completely clarified.
"I only dream about the day I can return to my team, and get back to working towards the 2014 Giro d'Italia, with even greater enthusiasm than that which has driven me over these years."
www.cyclingnews.com reported the following quotes (also including statements after the official statement):
"I'm here because I need to get rid of the mud that has been thrown at me. I've not been able to speak because I was an employee of RCS. Today I need to say what I feel, to shout that I'm totally extraneous to what has happened. "I'm not under investigation but I can't see a single reason why I should be. I've never taken one Euro more than my salary. That'll be the most difficult thing to convince people. I was in the headlines, on the BBC and in the Washington Post. I hope I'll have the same headlines when I'm cleared. I want to prove my dignity to be 100% restored."
"I was suspended and to be honest initially I wasn't worried. Everything seemed perfect when I came back from my holidays in September and we were ready to start working on the new season of events. After I was suspended, as the days passed I was hoping that things would be clarified. That didn’t happen until I was accused and then fired, with RCS saying "that I could have and should have stopped certain irregularities happening. I asked RCS to explain how I should and could have done that and asked for the reasons for me being fired. They replied that my request was an excuse and shouldn't have been made."
"People think I've fooled myself about being cleared but I'd hoped to go back to work right to the end. To find myself out of RCS Sport is devastating and feel I've been stabbed in the back three times."
"I've spent a long time thinking about my tomorrow. I'm 42. I've run a marathon in the past and now I've got to run another and start from scratch."
You can see an interview with Acquarone, in Italian, here from yesterday (after 15 second ad).
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