Controversy for Italy's Po Valley Cycling Race


(Photo: Guissény/Wikipedia)

In Italy, a bicycle race has turned into a political confrontation. The race is called Giro di Padania, which could literally be translated to "Tour of the Po Valley."

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The reference is to the wide, fertile lands on either side of the Po river in northern Italy. Though there is controversial in the valley itself, Padania is not a universally accepted geographic term for it in Italy.

It is a word used by separatists who want the north of Italy to split from the rest of the country. And that is why protesters who favor Italian unity took to the streets to try and block the race.

However, things got ugly Wednesday when the protesters not only blocked the cyclists' path, but also shoved and slapped some of the athletes, forcing the police to get involved.

Anchor Marco Werman has more.