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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 18, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Petacchi blames himself

Fred Rodriguez (Acqua e Sapone)
Photo ©: Olympia

After American sprinter Fred Rodriguez (Acqua e Sapone) caused one of the biggest upsets of the Giro by beating Alessandro Petacchi in a head-to-head sprint in Stage 9, the Italian was forced to make excuses. "This is my fault. I went too late, I was afraid of the headwind. I came back well but I needed a few more metres. When Velo led out, it was in the middle of the road and he was slowed by the wind. It would have been preferable to be on the side of the road. That would have prevented me from being overtaken on both sides."

Rodriguez was naturally delighted with his sprint, as he had anticipated Petacchi and took the risk of going early into a headwind on an uphill. "In the previous stages, I wasn't able to do the sprints as I wanted to. I was there, but I was always hindered in the finale. I absolutely wanted to beat Petacchi, history will show that I'm worthy of it. I did a beautiful sprint against Cipollini in Sanremo [who beat him in 2002] but that wasn't worth a victory. As a sprinter, I don't resemble Petacchi, who is capable of long sprints. I'm more of a McEwen type."

Cunego takes it easy

The wearer of the Maglia Rosa after Stage 9, Damiano Cunego (Saeco), said that he would take it easy during tomorrow's rest day in Porto Sant'Elpidio. "I will try to recover during the rest day," he said. "I'll do one and a half to two hours on the bike, eat a little and rest. I'm thinking about the next few stages, for example the one in Cesena (Stage 11) which could be more difficult than it looks."

Unless a breakaway is allowed to stay clear in one of the upcoming stages, Cunego should wear the pink jersey at least until Saturday's 52 km time trial between Trieste and Altopiano Carsico, the only full time trial stage in this year's Giro. The race leadership could quite possibly fall out of Saeco's hands on that day, as the top 10 riders are all within a minute and a half of each other. And don't discount prologue winner Bradley McGee, who sits in 13th place at 1'49 and could certainly wipe out that deficit in 52 km.

Fredy Gonzalez out

Colombia-Selle Italia climber Fredy Gonzalez was forced to abandon the Giro during stage 9. A massive pileup with 25 km to go saw Fredy crash into the bushes on the side of the road and end up with a heavy cut to his cheek. He was taken away in an ambulance and will not have a chance to defend his Maglia Verde of best climber that he won last year.

Some 50 riders were involved in the crash, including current Maglia Verde wearer (but not leader) Fabian Wegmann, who was brought back to the peloton by his Gerolsteiner teammates. Olaf Pollack and Mario Scirea also went down, as did Intergiro blue jersey wearer Massimo Strazzer (Saunier Duval), who limped home in 157th place, nine and a half minutes down on the winner. Although there is a rest day tomorrow, it's doubtful whether he will start on Wednesday due to an injured shoulder.

Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia coverage

Stage 9 Full results & report
Stage 9 Live report
Trent Wilson's Giro diary
Photos
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Quick.Step-Davitamon ready for Tour of Belgium

Although Michael Rogers won't be back to defend his title in the Tour of Belgium, Quick.Step-Davitamon will still be a force to be reckoned with, with Tour de Picardie winner Tom Boonen leading the charge. After a month's break, Boonen won two stages and the overall of the French race and is looking forward to racing on home turf again.

The other riders in the Quick.Step train will be Wilfried Cretskens, Pedro Horrillo, Kevin Hulsmans, Servais Knaven, Nick Nuyens, Jurgen Van Goolen and Stefano Zanini.

At the same time, the team will compete in the Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon with a small team of Laszlo Bodrogi, Frederic Amorison, Davide Bramati, Jose Antonio Pecharroman and Sven Vanthourenhout.

Steels with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago in Tour of Belgium

The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago squad will contest the Tour of Belgium (May 19-23) with Tom Steels in his second race after his return to competition at the Tour de Picardie. Steels won a stage in his national tour last year and will hope for more success, although he'll have to contend with an in-form Tom Boonen. The rest of the team consists of Ludo Dierckxsens, Ludovic Capelle, Geert Van Bondt, Marc Streel, Maxime Monfort, Lorenzo Bernucci and Mikhael Timochine.

RAGT rides Roussillon

The RAGT Semences team, still looking for its first win of the season, will ride the Tour du Languedoc Roussillon which kicks off this Wednesday. Team manager Jean-Luc Jonrond said that "We'd really like to do well as the race is run in our main sponsor's home region, RAGT Semences being based in Rodez. It's not an easy race as it's a very hilly region. I've got the stage in Mende in mind. The last leg with the climb up the Mont Saint-Claire will also be very tough. Our riders have been briefed - now it's all up to them to do the job.

The team will be as follows: Jerome Bernard, Christophe Laurent, Ludovic Martin, Eddy Seigneur, Nicolas Reynaud, Sylvain Calzati, Frederic Finot and Christophe Rinero.

Painful operation for Van de Wouwer

Kurt Van de Wouwer (Palmans-MrBookmaker.com) has had to undergo an operation to remove a saddle sore. The Belgian had to abandon the Peace Race on Saturday due to the pain, and had the operation that evening. He could be out of competition for as much as a month.

Source: VRT Teletekst

De Goede breaks nose

Dutch rider Suzanne de Goede (Team Ton van Bemmelen) has had a bad crash in the third stage of the Tour de l'Aude in France, breaking her nose and suffering facial wounds. De Goede crashed after approximately 10 km of the 109 km stage around Rieux Minervois and ended up in one metre deep gravel by the roadside. She was taken to hospital in Carcassonne where she was treated by a plastic surgeon for her injuries, which also included a deep cut in her chin. She will travel back to the Netherlands with her parents on Tuesday morning. The 20 year old former junior World Time Trial Champion will be out of action for at least a few weeks.

US Collegiate Road Nationals this weekend

The 2004 Trek Bikes US Collegiate Road National Championships kick off with three days of racing this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. The best collegiate cyclists in the USA will be fighting for national titles in the Criterium, Road Race, Team Time Trial, as well as Individual and Team Omnium.

The annual Collegiate Performance Awards will be handed out to winning teams by the USA Cycling Development Foundation. $4,000 is up for grabs with $2,000 for each Division; $1,000, $600, and $400 respectively for teams placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the overall team omnium.

In addition to monetary prizes, the USAC Development Foundation will award 10-12 talented women with invitations to the USA Cycling Women's Collegiate and Talent Identification Camp to take place this July at the Olympic Training Center (www.usacycling.org/ncca2).

Defending Division I champions UC-Berkeley will battle it out with Fort Lewis College and the talented host team - the Wisconsin Badgers. Defending Division II champions Dartmouth College will meet tough competition with riders from Colorado College and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Racing begins at 1pm on Friday, May 21 with the TIAA-Cref Downtown Criterium. The start/finish line is situated on State Street, and the mostly flat circuit winds through downtown and between the university campus. New for 2004, an open criterium has been added that will be an opportunity for all licensed male collegiate cyclists to come to Madison and race whether they are qualified competitors or not.

The road race will take place on Saturday, starting and finishing in the town of Black Earth. The 15 mile loop winds through the hilly Wisconsin country roads just 20 minutes west of Madison. Several championship races have been hosted on these roads, including the 1976 Olympic Trials. The race will pass through the start/finish approximately every 45 minutes.

Racing will draw to a close with Sunday's team time trial, a fast, flat 32km out-and-back course. Beginning and ending at the Trek Bikes factory in Waterloo, WI. The weekend will close with a post time trial party. Qdoba Mexican Grill will provide food and drink at the end of the time trial course, as Trek Bikes opens its factory for tours.

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