First Edition Cycling News for May 15, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Petacchi's train on time
If a powerful, well organised leadout train seemed to be missing from the sprinters' teams early in this year's Giro, Fassa Bortolo found the solution in the finale of stage 6 with a perfectly executed delivery capped off once more by a stage win by Alessandro Petacchi. In wet and dangerous conditions, Petacchi followed his teammates in the final 20 kilometres as they kept late-race attacks under control and stormed into the finishing straight with their sprinter in prime position.
"It was particularly important to win today because I was still disappointed about losing yesterday," Petacchi said after the stage, referring to Robbie McEwen's victory the day before when he was hopelessly boxed in during the final sprint. "Plus, there's a Fassa Bortolo plant in Artena, just a few kilometres from Valmontone."
Petacchi's team leadout fell apart in stage 5, but the Giro's top sprinter was more than happy to see the train come back together Friday.
"My team did an impressive job and this is the best way to repay them," he said. "They took me to 220 metres to go with an attitude that impressed me. Now we have three stage wins. Even though I'll try to win as many as possible, the Giro has already been a success because I've confirmed the results I had last year."
Aside from Petacchi's victory, Fassa Bortolo had another reason to celebrate: Matteo Tosatto's 30th.
Aug, not again!
It's been a rough Giro d'Italia for Domina Vacanze's Andrus Aug. Working as part of Mario Cipollini's leadout train for the bunch finishes, Aug unwittingly took out his leader in the stage 4 finish when he drifted from his line with 250 metres to go, knocking Cipollini's front wheel and sending the Lion King to the ground. Following the embarrassment and damage done by Wednesday's crash, Aug ended up on the ground once again in stage 6.
This time, however, things were more serious. Aug crashed heavily after he touched the rear wheel of another teammate, Latvian champion Andris Nauduzs in a wet, dangerous bunch finish Friday. The pair had already crossed the line in 5th and 7th place, respectively, before Aug found himself thrown from his bike.
Aug was taken away in an ambulance and was later diagnosed with broken bones in his left elbow, left finger and a bone in his spinal column, in addition to heavy bruising and abrasions on his back. He will need to stay for several days in Colleferro hospital before he can be moved.
Team leader Mario Cipollini avoided trouble today, but finished well behind the leaders after a day of struggling at the back of the field.
Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia coverage
News from the Sydney World Cup
By Karen Forman in Sydney
Concussed Ford is determined to sprint
Barbados rider Barry Ford has only one chance to gain qualification for the world track championships in Melbourne in a fortnight - Saturday morning's sprint at the UCI World Track Cup in Sydney. And, he will need a top 10 finish to get there. Trouble is, Ford's team doctor has advised him against riding, following his spectacular and painful crash after the finish of the keirin on Friday morning.
The crash, which occurred after the finish when he ran into two crashed riders, snapped his fork and saw him land on his head. The impact left him with concussion, a sore shoulder, a sort wrist, stitches in his chin, a loose tooth and facial grazing. He spent five hours in hospital but returned to the track for the evening session and resolved to start the sprint on Saturday morning.
"It wasn't a good day for me," he said. "I almost crashed before the finish when a Spanish rider lost a spoke - I think my shoe went into the front wheel, and he crashed and I almost crashed as well. I stayed on but finished last. Then after the finish two guys crashed and I did too."
He said he was feeling "a little banged up" afterwards and "am not supposed to ride anymore", but was determined to. "This is my first time in Australia and I want to go to the world's in two weeks. I need a top 10 in the sprint tomorrow."
Ford, who rides professionally, came straight to Australia from the keirin series in Japan.
Click here for more news from Day 1 of the Track World Cup, including Danes honor royal wedding with a midnight holiday; Women carry the hopes of Italy; Sidelined Brown concentrates on healing; and Aussie results a credit to Walsh's base. Also see Day 1 round-up and Session 2 full results, reports & pics: Men scratch, Women points, Men IP, Women sprint, Men kilo & Men's keirin
Boonen's Tour ambitions
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon) offered with great confidence his ambitions for his first Tour de France participation this summer. The young Belgian, who this year has already claimed victories in prestigious races such as Gent-Wevelgem and the Scheldeprijs, adding the opening stage of the Tour de Picardie to his list Friday, makes no secret of his goal to win at least one stage at the Tour.
"I want to win two or three stages [at the Tour], or if that doesn't work, try for the green jersey in Paris," Boonen said, quoted in an AFP report.
"I didn't really come here to win," Boonen said of his Tour de Picardie performance. "Really I was thinking about preparation for the Tour. But, at this point, I'm thinking seriously about the final victory. I think I'm in good enough form to do it."
Boonen, who this year has come into his own as a sprinter, noted that the presence of Alessandro Petacchi "shouldn't pose any problems".
Peron back from injury
Andrea Peron (Team CSC) returned to competition Friday after more than two months of recovery from a broken hip. Peron was hit by a motorcyclist while training in March, but was back in the peloton Friday at the opening stage of the Tour de Picardie in France. Peron capped off a training schedule of three to six hours each day in Varese, Italy.
"I think I've recovered really well and I've been training very hard, even though it was also important not to push for an early comeback," Peron commented on the team's website (tema-csc.com). "I feel very good, but only time will tell how good my form is.
"My main objective is still the Tour de France, but I hope to be back at 100% already in Dauphiné Libéré," he added. "I assume the Tour line-up will be known one to two weeks before the Tour starts, and I'm sure I'll be a good help for the team if I'm selected."
Winn on British long team
British cyclist Julian Winn, national road champion in 2002, has been named to the Olympic long team by the British Olympic Association following a successful appeal against a doping ban. Winn tested positive for ephedrine at the Bynea Road Race and the Tour de Gaudeloupe in 2003 and was handed a suspended ban of three months. The British Olympic Association mandates that any rider who tests positive for banned substances receive a lifetime ban from Olympic competition.
Along with Winn, coach John Evans also won an appeal for a drug suspension of six months in 1992 after a positive test pseudoephedrine at the 1992 Abergavveny Road Race. Evans is hoping for selection for the British coaching staff for the Athens Olympics.
British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg commented that "The British Olympic Association continues to believe that its lifetime ban for anyone found guilty of a doping offence sends the strongest possible message to everyone in sport that we will not tolerate the use of performance-enhancing drugs."
Nonetheless, the appeals cleared the way for Winn to pursue a place in the road cycling events, while Evans may seek nomination as a cycling team official.
US Juniors for Pan Am track
USA Cycling will enter a team of six athletes in the 2004 Junior Track Pan American Championships, scheduled for May 31-June 6 in Cuenca, Ecuador. The sprinters were selected based on results from the 2003 Junior National Track Championships, while endurance athletes were selected by Junior Endurance Coach Danny van Haute. The team will be led by USA Cycling Development Director Des Dickie.
Michael Blatchford (sprint, keirin, team sprint)
Tela Crane (sprint, keirin, 500m)
Elliott named manager for Quark Cycling Team
The Quark Cycling Team has named Megan Elliott as team manager for the remainder of the 2004 season. Elliott served as the temporary team manager for Quark during this year's spring races. Elliott will collaborate with the newly appointed team director, Giana Roberge, in the running of the Quark team. With the help of Roberge, Elliott will work in two roles, serving as both the manager and a racer on the team.
"This is a really great team with a lot of potential, both on the sponsorship side as well as the racing side," Elliott said. "I am excited to be a part of making this new program a success and building off what we have already accomplished."
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