Latest Cycling News for May 13, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Cipollini carries on
Mario Cipollini took the start in the fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia, the morning after a violent crash in the closing metres of a wet, dangerous stage 4. Cipollini crashed heavily in the final sprint, taken out by his leadout man Andrus Aug who drifted off course while looking around in the bunch finish. The Lion King required 14 stitches to attend to deep cuts in his shin and elbow, but slept in the team hotel after being examined at the hospital in San Donato di Arezzo. X-rays ruled pit any fractures for Cipollini.
"Last night wasn't easy," Cipollini said before today's stage start. "What worries me the most is my ankle, but I have to try [to start] for the tifosi... it's my duty. I'll try to pedal and I hope to finish the stage. To finish would already be a success."
"For my first day in pink I expected a calm stage," Saeco's Gilberto Simoni said after Wednesday's stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia. Simoni held onto his race lead, but the day was anything but simple as bad weather and a number of crashes kept the field on edge.
"I stayed focused and kept a good position to avoid the splits," Simoni explained. "As for the crash in the sprint, I don't think it was caused by the rain. I knew that something happened. You can lose the Giro like that..."
Simoni also praised his team for keeping him well protected and working together, adding an interesting note on his up and coming teammate Damiano Cunego, winner of stage 2 ahead of Brad McGee. "If Cunego has the power to drop me, he'll have the right to do it," Simoni said.
Head injury for Contador
Spaniard Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros) suffered a head injury in a crash in the opening stage of the Vuelta a Asturias. The stage, won by teammate Luis León Sanchez, saw Contador fall heavily on his jaw at the 43 kilometre mark Wednesday. He was treated for a respiratory obstruction and fractured jaw. Doctors at the Hospital General de Asturias also expressed concern about a blood clot in Contador's head, keeping him for further observation.
Cofidis wins one on appeal
The Cofidis team has been granted access to files from the ongoing investigation into doping within the team by French judge Richard Pallain. Thus far, despite numerous allegations and even information from the investigation being leaked to the French press, Cofidis itself has been denied the ability to learn first-hand what exactly has been transpiring in Pallain's inquiry, which still places Cédric Vasseur under investigation and thus keeps him suspended from competition (per Cofidis rules).
A court of appeals in Versailles ruled that the Cofidis business is in a sense a victim, as the investigation focuses on the acts of individuals rather than the company or team as a whole.
Vasseur, who voiced considerable disappointment at being deprived a start in the recent Four Days of Dunkirk, is expected to meet with Cofidis president François Migraine, and will also come face to face with his principal accuser, ex-Cofidis pro Philippe Gaumont, in Pallain's courtroom on the 18th.
58th Tour de Picardie
The 58th edition of the Tour de Picardie in France begins Friday with an opening road stage from Hirson to Doullens. The three-day, four-stage race will include two road stages on the final day rather than a road stage and individual time trial as last year. David Millar (Cofidis) claimed overall victory thanks to the short time trial last year, but this year's race will be one for the rouleurs, capable of attacking and making the difference on the lumpy roads of the Picardie region north of Paris. Millar will not be present to defend his title.
A sprinter's duel can be expected between the likes of Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com), Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r-Prévoyance), Jimmy Casper (Cofidis), and Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon), while riders like Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Sylvain Chavanel (La Boulangère), and Leon Van Bon could search for success in breakaways.
Stage 1 - May 14: Hirson - Doullens, 189.5 km
Quick.Step for Picardie
Tom Boonen will lead the Quick.Step-Davitamon charge at the Tour de Picardie, alongside Frederic Amorison, Davide Bramati, Servais Knaven, Nick Nuyens, José Antonio Pecharroman, Bram Tankink, and Stefano Zanini.
Criterium for Bettini
Italian champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) won't join his team for the Tour de Picardie, but he will be in France to head the list of stars lining up Thursday night at the Critérium de Calais. Other stars in attendance include Leif Hoste (Lotto-Domo), French champion Didier Rous and Brioches La Boulangère teammates Jérôme Pineau, Walter Beneteau and Laurent Lefèvre, as well as US Postal's Max Van Heeswijk and Stijn Devolder and Team CSC's Franck Schleck. The criterium begins at 19:00.
Löwik training again
Gerben Löwik (Chocolade Jacques) is back in training after breaking his elbow in Paris-Roubaix last month. He is back on the road, training in the company of T-Mobile riders Alexandre Vinokourov and Matthias Kessler in Tenerife. If all goes well, Löwik could make the team roster for the Tour of Belgium later this month (May 19-23).
Chocolade Jacques has seven members designated for Belgium already: Raivis Belohvosciks, Bert Hiemstra, Jans Koerts, Zbigniew Piatek, Rik Reinerink, Christophe Stevens, and Bart Voskamp.
Chris Peers, suffering from an injury of the Achilles tendon, will be forced to sit out the Tour of Belgium.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)