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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for May 17, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Petacchi on top of his game

Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)
Photo ©: Sirotti

After winning four of the five bunch sprints so far in this Giro, Alessandro Petacchi believes that he is in even better form than he was last year, when he won six stages. With a Fassa Bortolo team that is built almost entirely around him, Petacchi now hopes to equal the post-war Giro stage win records of Beppe Saronni, Freddy Maertens and Roger De Vlaeminck, who all won seven stages in a single edition.

"I've already said it, but I feel better than last year. Now I don't rule out anything, I am in extraordinary form which allows me to be in front on the climbs. With this condition I can win any sprint. To win seven would surpass my personal record and equal the greats, but first it's necessary to win the fifth one before looking beyond that. What matters is to continue and really my objective is to finish in Milan, after I didn't make it last year as a result of the crash in Bolzano."

Petacchi described his win in Stage 8 as one of his smarter victories. "I won today's stage with the head more than the legs. Velo led me out at 250 metres to go, but perhaps a little less than usual. He had given a lot beforehand [in the break]. When Pollack made his effort, that's when I jumped."

Ale-Jet has another chance to win in today's short, flat ninth stage between Policoro and Carovigno, with another four sprinters' stages to come in the next week.

Pink dreams for Cunego

Damiano Cunego (Saeco)
Photo ©: Sirotti

After taking the Maglia Rosa at the end of Stage 7, Saeco's young star Damiano Cunego hopes to keep it for another week. "I slept with the Maglia Rosa next to my bed," he said after Stage 8. "I hope to continue my dream in pink until the time trial. Someone told me that Gilberto Simoni was nervous this morning. But I don't think he was upset with me. The last week is for him."

Durand gets himself into the break

Somewhat surprisingly, it took eight stages for Jacky Durand (Colnago-Landbouwkrediet) to get himself into an early breakaway in the Giro d'Italia. The Frenchman was one of six riders to escape in Stage 8, but although the break gained 7 minutes over the peloton, it was brought back with 20 km to go.

"In our team we thought a sprint wasn't inevitable, and that a break could succeed," Durand was quoted in L'Equipe. "I had carte blanche get into the breaks. In this Giro, there aren't many opportunities and I was itching to go. For the past two days I have been feeling really good, it's a race that I like. There was a Fassa Bortolo rider with us in the break, and I thought that it could last until the end. But we were caught with 20 kilometres left."

Cipollini unhappy

Mario Cipollini's exit from the Giro d'Italia before the start of Stage 7 following his crash in Stage 4 did not put him in good spirits at all. Disappointed that he wasn't able to better his 42 stage win record, Cipollini commented, "Maybe I won't race again." Scheduled to ride the Tour de France this year, Cipollini said that he would need time to sort himself out. "I can't think of the Tour yet. Give me a week's grace."

Cipollini was also unhappy with his team for the Giro, and criticised the Domina Vacanze team management. "They selected the wrong teammates, I wanted to come here with other riders," he said.

Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia coverage

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Cofidis racing in Belgium and France

This week will see the Cofidis team racing on two fronts in Belgium and France. With the Tour of Belgium and the Tour du Languedoc-Rousillon running concurrently between May 19-23, the team will split its riders as follows:

Tour of Belgium: Jimmy Engoulvent, Peter Farazijn, Bingen Fernandez, Dmitriy Fofonov, Stuart O'Grady, Staf Scheirlinckx, Janek Tombak, Matthew White.

Tour du Languedoc Roussillon: Daniel Atienza, Frédéric Bessy, Iñigo Cuesta, Christophe Edaleine, David Millar, David Moncoutié, Luis Perez, Guido Trentin.

USA on track for World's

U.S. riders claimed four medals in the fourth and final round of the 2004 UCI Track World Cup Classics series held at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome last weekend. The American squad is thus looking forward to the upcoming UCI World Track Championships May 26-30 in Melbourne.

Colby Pearce led the way with a gold medal performance in the men's points race, while Tanya Lindenmuth and Jennie Reed each claimed a silver medal in the women's sprint and keirin respectively. Becky Quinn rode to a bronze medal in the women's scratch race. Andy Lakatosh placed fourth in the men's keirin and Lindenmuth followed up her silver medal ride in the sprint with a fifth place finish in the 500m time trial.

Reed's consistent performance and her silver medal in Sydney solidified her overall World Cup title, which was based on results from the four 2004 World Cups and the 2003 World Championships. Colby Pearce earned second place in the overall World Cup series in the men's scratch race and third overall in the points race while Lindenmuth, thanks to two silver medals over the course of the world cup series, placed fourth overall in the women's sprint.

Next up for the U.S. team is the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne. The World Championships hold significant importance as a nation's Olympic start positions are qualified primarily through performance at the World's.

New host towns for International Cycling Classic

The schedule for the 17 day International Cycling Classic (Superweek) in Milwaukee, USA, will include races in two new locations. The Village of Shorewood, a lakeside suburb of Milwaukee, will host the Shorewood Criterium on Thursday, July 15. On Wednesday, July 21, the City of De Pere will host a full day of racing at the inaugural De Pere Cycling Classic in Northern Wisconsin.

The race in Shorewood will be a criterium running through the Oakland Avenue business district. The village will be hosting both the men's and women's Pro/Am races starting at 4:00 p.m. The De Pere Cycling Classic will replace the races that had been held in nearby Green Bay in previous years. A criterium course has been selected in a scenic neighbourhood near the Fox River and the campus of St. Norbert College. Rebecca Cleveland, co-owner of local bicycle shop The Bike Hub, spearheaded the effort bring the race to De Pere and commented that local organizers are trying to create a "festive, family-oriented atmosphere" for the event.

The 2004 International Cycling Classic is in its 35th year, with races throughout Eastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois from July 9-25.

Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Series #3

Round 3 of the 2004 Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike series (SXC) takes place on Sunday, May 23 at the course in Pitmeddan Forest near Auchtermuchty in Fife. Already after two rounds, the men's Elite category looks like it will be hotly contested with several strong contenders challenging. James Ochterlony of Angus Bike Chain leads the way with a first and a second place from SXC1 and SXC2, closely followed by James Fraser-Moodie, Pedal Power R.T. (6th and 1st) and Paul Newnham, Halfords Bikehut (2nd and 3rd). Behind them are reigning Scottish Cross Country Champion, Bruce McCleary, last year's SXC series winner, Ian Nimmo and SCU development riders, Gareth Montgomerie and Robert Wardell.

In the women's Elite Class Ruth McGavigan, Eastern Region Velo/ Bianchi UK leads the way after finishing second in both early races. Winners of the first two races were Hazel Wakefield, Eastern Region Velo/ Bianchi UK and Jenny McCauley, Team Velo Ecosse. They will all be pressed by fast improving SCU development rider, 17 year old Catherine Niblock of Bike Shed.

Other riders to look out for include leading Junior, Alistair Millar, Bike Shed and Ross and Hamish Crebar, Sandy Wallace Cycles who are prominent in the Youth categories.

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