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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 21, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Garate disappointed

Garate with the leaders
Photo ©: Olympia

Lampre's Juan Manuel Garate expressed his disappointment after stage 11 and the impressive solo victory by young Italian Emanuele Sella. For Garate and teammate Francisco Vila, the stage could have been the one that got away, as the two Spaniards showed good form in the finale as they tried to spur the small chase group in pursuit of Sella. Garate had already made the stage an objective based on the challenging profile of the second half of the race.

"It was a good day for an escape, so my team was in all of the moves," Garate said, quoted in Todociclismo. "Today was an objective for me and perhaps it's a partial triumph because the stage went well for me. We just made a mistake because we waited too long to chase the break.

"I think with a little good luck in the Spanish camp, even though there aren't many of us, we'll come out of this Giro well," Garate added. "We've been lacking something in the race but we've been very active. Astarloa's form is getting better everyday, just like me and Vila."

Cioni encouraged

Dario David Cioni, Fassa Bortolo's best placed man in the general classification of the Giro d'Italia, remains encouraged by his results thus far. Cioni finished stage 11 in the company of the main Giro favourites, including maglia rosa Damiano Cunego and his Saeco leader Gilberto Simoni, just 49" behind stage winner Emanuele Sella (Ceramiche Panaria). Fassa Bortolo has already claimed five stage victories on the sprinting prowess of Alessandro Petacchi, but Cioni isn't without objectives of his own.

"It was a hard stage because of the distance and the heat," Cioni commented after Thursday's race. "I've been consistent so far in the race and I have to say I've felt good. Now I'm waiting for [Saturday's] time trial to see just what I can do in this Giro, without forgetting that we're here to also help Petacchi."

Iannetti out

Although he managed to complete Thursday's stage 11, Massimo Iannetti (Domina Vacanze) has been forced to abandon the Giro d'Italia due to a fractured clavicle. Iannetti crashed when he overshot a turn on one of the many fast, technical descents in the finale of stage 11. The turn proved troublesome for a number of riders, as first lone escapee Emanuele Sella crashed, then Francisco Vila careened off the road (but remained upright), and finally Iannetti went down hardest, almost taking his companion in chase Graziano Gasparre with him.

After finishing the stage in great pain, clutching his shoulder and paying a visit to the race doctor on the road, Iannetti was taken to the hospital in Cesena where x-rays confirmed the fracture.

Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia coverage

Stage 11 Full results & report
Stage 11 Live report
Trent Wilson's Giro diary
Route preview
Stage by stage
Stage profiles
Final Start List

Gamito forced to retire

Portuguese professional Victor Gamito (Milaneza-Maia) has been forced to call an end to his career after being declared unfit for competition by the UCI. Gamito, 34, was deemed to have heart problems which could jeopardize his health in competition. Gamito turned professional in 1992, won the Tour of Portugal in 2000, and has been national time trial champion.

"This is a big shock," Gamito commented. "I was training as usual when I found out by mail that my license had been revoked. I just wish they could have taken my license at the end of the month, which would have let me retire with some dignity."

Sastre improving

Although he has had a quiet spring thus far, Team CSC's Carlos Sastre has continued to train and will test himself in view of the Tour de France at the upcoming Tour of Luxembourg and Dauphiné Libéré stage races in May and June. Sastre was the winner of a mountain stage to the Plateau de Bonascre in the 2003 Tour and hopes to repeat the feat this year.

"I will have a good measure of my form at the Dauphiné," Sastre commented on the team's website ( "I've been training very hard, but you never truly know your form until you're in a race."

The Spanish climber has been preparing at his home in the Sierra de Gredos mountains near Avila, Spain. The death of his brother-in-law José Maria Jimenez in December of 2003 sparked a difficult early season for Sastre. "I think of him every day," he said. "He's in my heart every time I ride my bicycle. He was someone very special to me. My thoughts are always with him."

Vasseur and Gaumont hold firm

Former and current Cofidis riders Philippe Gaumont and Cédric Vasseur came face to face in the court room of judge Richard Pallain in Nanterre, France this week as both were called for additional testimony in the ongoing drug investigation surrounding the Cofidis team. Gaumont has been the principal source of revelations and accusations concerning the team since his own implication and subsequent admission of drug use throughout his career.

Along with several public accusations of doping within the Cofidis team, Gaumont explicitly implicated Vasseur in the process, though Vasseur continues to maintain that he has not used banned substances. Pallain met with Vasseur on the Tuesday afternoon, while Gaumont and Vasseur were heard in the same room for three hours that evening.

"It was more a confrontation between two states of mind rather than two different stories," Gaumont's lawyer Frédéric Champagne commented afterwards, quoted in l'Equipe. "Philippe Gaumont has his career behind him, has nothing more to lose, and thus has no interest in lying.

Vasseur's lawyer, Bertrand Wambeke, affirmed that his client has been cleared of suspicion of cocaine use, but the question of when Vasseur might be removed from Pallain's investigation remained open. Vasseur remains suspended from competition by Cofidis so long as he is under formal investigation by Pallain.

Wambeke added that both Gaumont and Vasseur maintained their respective positions concerning the accusations of doping, and no real progress was made in the case at Tuesday's meeting.

Tour of Japan

By Miwako Sasaki, Cycle Sports Japan

The 8th Tour of Japan will be held from Sunday, May 23 through until Sunday, May 30. The race was cancelled last year due to SARS, and although there are always rumours that it will disappear due to financial problems, it will be held the same as two years ago as a UCI 2.5 stage race. There are six stages in eight days, including three flat stages for the sprinters and three hilly stages for the climbers. The total distance is 815.16km.

The Polish Mroz team have been participants in the race since the second ToJ in 1997, and won the race in 1999 (Andrzej Sypytkowski), 2001 (Pawel Niedzwiecki) and 2002 (Olexandr Klymenko). But the strong Polish team doesn't exist this year and different (for the Japanese) international teams will compete in the tour together with the Japanese Teams.

A total of 16 teams will start Sunday, including eight TT3 teams and three national teams. 2002 Canadian National Road Champion Andrew Randell (Jet Fuel Coffee) will try to get a stage win and good general classification with his teammates Matthew Hansen, Ryan Roth, Thorben Wieditz and Kevin Miller, although Paul Kotyk won't be able to come due to an injury.

Swiss Team Macandina-KEWA Rad-VC Gippingen will be led by ex-rider Roland Müller as a director, and will be present with Swiss cyclo-cross champion Christian Heule, Roman Gugger, Bruno Butiger, Marcel Klaus, Michael Muller and Jan Ramsauer.

The German VC Frankfurt Radteam-Brugelmann will be present with Karsten Volkmann, Andre Schulze, Patrick Koeler, Henning Jaecks, Marc Hohmann and Mario Schmidt.

Dutch Team Fuji Bikes will be led by Marco Engels, who has past experience in the Tour of Japan as he rode it in 2002. He will be joined by Maarten De Jonge, Maikel Paas, Danny Sijen, Vladislavs Lukasenko and Bas Robroek.

The Australian National Team has had many excellent moments in the ToJ, and its new young riders will try to do the same: Aaron Kemps, Nicholas Sanderson, David Betts, Ashley Humbert, Bernard Sulzberger and Richard Moffatt. Glen Chadwick, Edmunds Hollands and Allan Iacuone will also take a spot with Giant Asia Racing Team.

The stages

Stage 1 - May 23: Shinnittetsu Ironworks Circuit, Sakai City (Osaka), 96.8km
Stage 2 - May 24: Todaiji Temple - Nunome Dam Circuit, Nara, 146.2km
Rest day - May 25: Transfer to Shuzenji
Stage 3 - May 26: Special Circuit in Japan Cycle Sports Center, Shuzenji, 120km
Rest day - May 27: Transfer to Motegi
Stage 4 - May 28: Circuit in Twin Ring Motegi, Motegi, 148.56km
Stage 5 - May 29: Utsunomiya Forest Park Circuit, Utsunomiya, 154.5km
Stage 6 - May 30: Hibiya city - Ooi Wharf Circuit, Tokyo, 149.1km


Team Fuji Bikes (Ned)
Giant Asia Racing Team (Tpe)
Jet Fuel Coffee (Can)
VC Frankfurt-Radteam-Bruegelman (Ger)
Team Macandina (Sui)
Shimano Racing (Jpn)
Team Nippon Hodo (Jpn)
Team Bridgestone Anchor (Jpn)
Australia National Team
Hong Kong National Team
China National Team (Jpn)
Asian Ind. Racing Team (Jpn)
Miyata-Subaru Racing Team (Jpn)
Sumita-Ravanello-Pearlizumi (Jpn)
CCD Kinan (Jpn)
Team Orbea Etxeondo (Jpn)

Tour of California endorsed by state

The State of California has officially endorsed development of a week long Tour of California, which could take shape as early as next year. Former Los Angeles mayor and State Education Secretary, Richard Riordan, has been appointed to oversee the project for the state and serve on the event's advisory board. Riordan is a known cycling enthusiast.

According to Riordan, the event could provide a stimulus to California's economy and increase visibility for tourism in the state. A company called California Pro Cycling has been created to organise the event, partnered with Philadelphia-based Threshold Sports LLC. The event would become a key component of the Pro Cycling Tour, a series of top national road races that includes the Wachovia Cycling Series in Philadelphia, the BMC Software New York City Championship and the T-Mobile International in San Francisco. 

State endorsement and seed financing from California Pro Cycling will help launch the effort to secure corporate sponsorship and media partners. An estimated $5 million is required to stage the event.

"The interest level from sponsors is quite high", said Ken Bishop, president of California Pro Cycling. "We are optimistic about securing funding to launch the event in 2005 or, at the latest, Spring 2006."

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)