First Edition Cycling News for May 16, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones
Cunego takes over
Saeco's new star Damiano Cunego capped a day of perfect team riding by the Italian squad, taking his second stage victory in this year's Giro and grabbing the maglia rosa from team leader Gilberto Simoni in the process. Simoni put the pressure on his rivals, notably Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) with several accelerations on the finishing climb to Montevergine di Mercogliano, while Cunego initially rode in a defensive role, marking attacks by riders such as Giuliano Figueras.
When the time came, however, Cunego was more than ready to sprint to victory and grab the precious 20 bonus seconds ahead of prologue winner Brad McGee (FDJeux.com) and Franco Pellizotti (Alessio-Bianchi). Cunego now leads the Giro by ten seconds ahead of team leader and defending Giro champion Simoni, who even helped lead out his young charge in the fast finish.
"Cunego was very strong and I'm happy for him," Simoni said after giving up his jersey. "I've gotten rid of the pressure of wearing the maglia rosa and now I can quietly get ready for the terrible final week of the Giro."
Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia coverage
44 riders tested
Saturday morning before the start of Stage 7, 44 riders from Saunier Duval, Vini Caldirola, FDJeux.com, Saeco and the Domina Vacanze teams were blood tested by the UCI. All of the riders were declared fit to start.
Sydney World Cup news
Points for Pearce
Colby Pearce found his legs on Saturday night at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney with a comprehensive victory in the men's 30km points race, taking the USA's first gold medal in the Sydney round of the UCI Track World Cup.
The American rider came to Australia after riding in the Tour de Georgia in the USA last month and although he didn't finish the road race, it seems the road miles certainly didn't hinder his endurance on the track as he secured his convincing victory by lapping the field twice.
"In the first three sprints (of the race) I still didn't feel that great, but then as the race went on I started to feel better," Pearce explained.
"I would have been happy to be top four or just pick up some points, so I'm really happy with this win," he added.
Ulmer on time
New Zealand's Sarah Ulmer came within three tenths of a second of the world record held by four time pursuit World Champion Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel to claim gold in the women's 3km individual pursuit in a time of 3.31.157. Her time was ridden on the same track where Zijlaard-Van Moorsel set the mark of 3.30.816 during the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
"I'm as surprised as you with the time," Ulmer said of the ride, her new personal best. "I haven't peaked yet, as I will for the World Championships and Olympics, but I don't think about medals. I just go as fast as I can."
Ulmer's victory gave her the overall pursuit World Cup crown for 2004 and selection to the Olympic Games. "It will be wicked going to Athens and it's a weight off my shoulders to have earned a place," she said. "I'm where I want to be at the moment."
Eadie makes Shadow Team, avoids pink shoes
By Karen Forman
Funny how those gifts you give in jest tend to come back at you.
If Sean Eadie had won the men's sprint at the UCI Track World Cup in Sydney this weekend, he would have found himself standing on the podium wearing a pair of pretty pink size 42 Converse All Stars boots - and probably a pink face to match.
The boots in question were a "gift" from the Adelaide bike rider to his coach not so long ago. It seems Eadie had decided he didn't like Martin Barras's shoes, so with coaching director Ron Bonham had decided to buy him a replacement pair: Pink ones.
Cycling's long standing first aider turns barista
By Karen Forman
Something was brewing centre-track at Sydney's Dunc Gray velodrome today - and it wasn't necessarily a secret race-winning plan.
Rather, it was a plunger of aromatic black imported coffee specially brewed by an unlikely barista for the foreign team managers and coaches who had been complaining about the instant variety being offered up.
First aid volunteer Anne Marie Trudgett, 29, probably one of the longest-standing cycling first aiders in the country (she started when she was seven) took pity on the caffeine starved folk and turned up with her coffee plunger from home and a container of decent coffee, added hot water - and found herself one of the most popular people in the middle of the track.
Click here for the full Day 2 summary.
Armstrong on the Alpe
Five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is back in Europe and already down to serious business in preparation for his bid for a sixth Tour win in July. Armstrong returned Monday from an extended stay in the United States, highlighted by an overall victory at the Tour de Georgia. Not one to waste time, the American traveled to France Wednesday for an extended reconnaissance of the famed Alpe d'Huez. The fabled climb will be the scene of a dramatic uphill time trial in this year's Tour, a stage Armstrong expects to be of utmost importance.
"The Alpe d'Huez occupies a lot of my thoughts," Armstrong told l'Equipe earlier this spring. "It's a physical, technical, and tactical challenge, and I don't want to neglect anything. I'm going when the weather is good since it's a mountain that I know well, but not perfectly."
Armstrong tackled the climb several times Wednesday and Thursday and was joined by several US Postal Service teammates for the weekend, including José Azevedo, Manuel Beltran, and José Luis Rubiera. Armstrong and US Postal will line up at the Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon next week to begin the final phase of preparation for the Tour, which will also include the Dauphiné Libéré in June.
Contador suffered aneurysm
Reports in the Spanish press have identified a cerebral aneurysm as the possible cause of Alberto Contador's crash in the opening stage of the Vuelta a Asturias. Contador fell heavily after 43km of racing, landing on his head and suffering a fractured jaw, head trauma, and other injuries. Contador's condition was complicated by a blood clot in his head which has kept him in guarded but stable condition in the hospital.
According to El Pais, Contador began convulsing while riding, which in turned caused his crash. A history of similar problems exists in Contador's family, but an arterial bypass could, if successful, allow the talented young Liberty Seguros rider to continue racing.
Van der Kooij racing again
Dutch rider Vincent van der Kooij (BankGiroLoterij) will make his second big comeback to professional racing this coming Monday in a kermis in Puivelde, Belgium. Almost exactly a year ago in May 2003, Van der Kooij had a serious accident, breaking his elbow and suffering a deep wound to his left upper arm, including severing a nerve. He made a full recovery and was able to race again until October, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease (lymphatic cancer) - the same disease that afflicted current Australian champion Matt Wilson in the past. But the 24 year old fought back, and is now determined to make a career as a professional cyclist again.
Roy leaves RONA
Québec cyclist Émilie Roy has left the Canadian Team RONA for unspecified reasons. Roy reached an agreement with directeur sportif André Aubut to end her contract with the team.
"I learned a lot from my experience with the team," Roy said in a statement issued by the team this week, "but for the moment I prefer to pursue my career elsewhere."
Aubut wished Roy success in the next step in her career. "She is a talented young cyclist, and I'm sure the world will be hearing more from her in the years to come," he said.
UCI Doping news
The UCI has announced the following sanctions for doping offenses:
Leonel Jimenez: Sanctioned by the Federacion Costarricense de Ciclismo, disqualified from the Vuelta a Costa Rica, suspended three months (February 20-May 20, 2004) and fined 666 Swiss francs.
José Miguel Arce: Sanctioned by the Federacion Costarricense de Ciclismo, disqualified from the Vuelta a Costa Rica, suspended one year (February 20, 2004-February 20, 2005) and fined 500 Swiss francs.
Alberto Milani: Sanctioned by the Federazione Ciclistica Italiana, issued a warning and an addition 1% of his time on stage 3 of the Giro delle Valle d'Aosta.
Marlanna Lorenzoni: Sanctioned by the Real Federacion Española de Ciclismo and fined 50 Swiss francs.
MTB Test at Athens
This weekend the UCI is conducting test races on the mountain bike course for the Athens Olympics. A series of races will be run with the goal of evaluating safety and security along the parcours in advance of the Olympic Games in August. Similar tests will also be conducted on the road race course in early June.
Several of France's top mountain bikers, including reigning Olympic champion Miguel Martinez, were also in Athens this weekend to test themselves on the course. "Results aren't important," said national selector Yvon Vauchez. "We're here to try the course and test ourselves."
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