Ivan Basso Slapped at Race in Italy

Protests Disrupt Giro di Padania


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Protesters slapped and insulted Giro d’Italia-winning cyclist Ivan Basso and stole road signs during the first stage of the controversial Giro di Padania in Paesana, Italy on Tuesday. The race has drawn controversy because of its association with the right-wing Lega Nord party, which supports the creation of an independent state in northern Italy. Tuesday’s first stage got off to a rocky start as organizers changed the route to avoid a demonstration by anti-separatist protesters. The event’s name, “Padania,” has drawn attention because it uses Lega Nord’s term for the region, which is better known as the Po Valley. Members of the Italian General Confederation of Labor and the Rifondazione Comunista party sat in the road in an attempt to block the peloton’s passage. “We’re cyclists and we’ve come here to this race to ride and we ask the public to allow us to do so,” Basso and fellow cyclist Sacha Modolo said in a statement. “We find this behavior unacceptable.” Italian cyclist Elia Viviani won the race’s second stage on Wednesday.