First Edition Cycling News for May 26, 2004
Edited by Anthony Tan
First serious reordering; Cunego vaults back into pink
Stage 16 from San Vendemiano to Falzes - the first of four consecutive mountain stages at the 2004 Giro d'Italia - has duly provided the first but no means final serious reordering of the general classification. A powerful attack on the second last climb of the day has given back the maglia rosa to Saeco's young gun Damiano Cunego. Cunego attacked on the steep Passo Furcia with 58 kilometres remaining, catching and passing all the riders in front of him by the final climb and soloing to victory by 1'16 over Rinaldo Nocentini (Acqua e Sapone) and Alexandre Moos (Phonak).
"I still can't believe what happened", marveled Cunego after his stage win. "It was the right day for me today. I'm really happy and have to thank my team, especially Tonti and Mazzoleni. Gibo [Simoni] was really great today; he's really strong and everyone was watching him today. Our team plan worked well for me, but there's still a long way to go before Milano with a lot of climbing."
Cunego benefited from some good team tactics by Saeco, who placed two men in the early break who were able to help Cunego in his run for the stage win. Overnight leader Yaroslav Popovych lost 3'50 to Cunego and with it his pink jersey, the young Ukrainian not able to hang onto Simoni's group on the last climb. The GC now sees Cunego in front of Serguei Gonchar by 1'14 with Popovych back in third at 2'22 and Simoni at 2'38.
Click here for the full results & report.
Bittersweet Simoni issues harsh words
"Simoni wants to attack Armstrong at the Tour"
As a bittersweet Gilberto Simoni passed the finish line today 2'39" behind his team-mate Cunego, he smiled when he knew Cunego had won, but then frowned as he realized he may have given the Giro d'Italia away to his young Saeco protégé: "I was too controlled today so I sent Cunego. But the real heros of the day were Mazzoleni and Tonti; we told them to go in the break and they did, we told them to wait for Cunego and they did.
"I knew that this might happen and I wanted something else to happen today, but Saeco still has the jersey. It was perfect ride by Damiano and the team was incredible. Now we're going to ride for Cunego," he said.
Simoni also had some harsh words for the team of former maglia rosa Popovych: "I'm kind of disappointed that [Colnago-Landbouwkrediet] didn't chase when the break went today; I think that the maglia rosa should defend his position". Saeco's DS Giuseppe Martinelli agreed: "I think maybe Popovych should have taken a few pulls on the front (of the chase group) if he wanted to keep the maglia rosa."
But despite his ambivalent feelings, Simoni now has the Tour de France in mind. "I'm happy about one thing because I want to have a team this strong at the Tour de France", said Simoni and according to noted cycling journalist Beppe Conti of Tuttosport, "Simoni wants to attack Lance Armstrong in the mountains at the Tour de France."
Cioni aiming for top 10
Fassa Bortolo's best-placed rider Dario Cioni was satisfied with his ride, finishing today's stage in nineteenth place at 3'22 and holds on to his ninth place overall, 4'31 behind maglia rosa Damiano Cunego. "I felt good, but when there were violent changes in rhythm on the last climb [Terento], unfortunately I suffered," said Cioni. "As far as victory is concerned, that is a conversation between Simoni and Cunego. I will try my hardest to maintain a place in the first 10; I know that ninth, tenth or eleventh place matters little - it is more a case of personal satisfaction."
Late change to Track World's program
The teams assembled in Melbourne for the 2004 World Track Cycling Championships were told by the UCI on Tuesday afternoon that riders entered in the men's 40km points race would need to ride qualifying heats due to too many riders being entered for the event.
The hastily arranged sessions are to be held at 11am today May 26, but will not be open to the public due to the late notice. The first scheduled session for the World's was to be at 7pm this evening, but with less than 24 hours' notice, the event organisers could not provide the necessary support staff to make it a public session.
There will now be two heats for the men's points race - one heat of 13 riders and one of 14 riders - with the top 10 riders from each heat advancing to the final that is scheduled to be held on the same day.
The endurance riders are annoyed with the late change to the program, as all had previously assumed they would only need to ride the final in the evening session. However, it was discovered that some 27 riders had qualified for the event, which is three too many for a final. As there is only one rider allowed per country, the UCI's only option was to run the qualifying heats as all riders entered had achieved the necessary results to qualify for the event.
Riders will now race in 20km (80 laps) heats, with sprints every 10 laps, before they advance to the final in the evening.
Click here for Cyclingnews' coverage of the 2004 World Track Cycling Championships.
Van Moorsel in Melbourne to 'qualify'
By Gerard Knapp
"I think it's a nicer feeling to be Olympic champion, than world champion," said Holland's Leontien Zijlaard - Van Moorsel on Monday as she warmed down after another training session on the track at Vodafone Arena in Melbourne, Australia, in preparation for the 2004 UCI Track Cycling World Championships that begin today.
The reigning world and Olympic champion in the women's 3km individual pursuit, Zijlaard - Van Moorsel is playing down her chances to take out a sixth world title in her favoured track event. Her principal aim in Melbourne is to qualify in the top 10 and earn a place in Holland's Olympic squad to achieve back-to-back gold medals in the endurance event.
"For this moment I don't feel any pressure" she said, despite the arrival in Melbourne of a quality field that includes riders from his past battles over the years, such as France's Marion Clignet, through to New Zealand's Sara Ulmer and the Australian duo of Katie Mactier and Katherine Bates.
At the Sydney round of the UCI Track World Cup earlier this month, New Zealand's Ulmer posted a sizzling time in the 3km IP only three-tenths of a second off Van Moorsel's world record that she set at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
"I think she can do it," the Dutch rider said of Ulmer's ability to break her world record. "They can break it here," she said of her record, "and then I break it again in Athens." Perhaps only a rider with her palmares could make such a statement and not appear overly confident. "I'm not in top form right now, but that's not necessary; I just want to qualify (for Athens)."
Keep an eye out for the full interview to be published later today.
Quick.Step-Davitamon for Tour de Luxembourg
Quick.Step-Davitamon will field the following riders for the upcoming Tour de Luxembourg (May 27-30):
Rabobank for upcoming races
Rabobank's Division I team will field the following outfits for the Tour de Luxembourg (May 27-30), Deutschland Tour (May 31-June 6), Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (June 6-13), NK Tijdrijden Bergeijk (June 9), Tour de Suisse (June 12-20), Ster Elektrotoer (June 16-20), Noord-Nederland Tour (June 23) and the Dutch National Road Championship (June 27).
Tour de Luxembourg
Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
NK Tijdrijden Bergeijk
Tour de Suisse
Dutch National Road Championship
Quick.Step-Davitamon rider Servais Knaven has reached an agreement with his team to ride for another season with an option to extend until 2006. "I am very satisfied", said the 33 year-old Dutchman, "to be able to continue in a such strong team. In this team I feel good and I hope to be able to give other great satisfactions to the team in the near future."
MTB Marathon World's course rainbow-worthy
The new route of the MTB Marathon World Championships, scheduled for July 9-11 in Bad Goisern, Upper Austria, was recently tested by local Marathon experts who have judged the course to be worthy for a world championship event. Consisting of 59 percent gravel roads, 13.1 percent forest, meadow and hiking trails and 8.5 percent singletrack, the 2004 route has an exact distance of 105.69 kilometres and a total elevation gain of 3,693 vertical metres.
Said Alexander Forstmayr, race director at the Austrian Cycling Federation, "The route offers everything that a world champion should be able to cope with. Steep climbs, gruelling ascents - I mean passages that are not too steep but that will, provided that you ride them fast which will be the case during the World's, get to you and can eventually kill you - as well as heavy downhills which could scare the life out of some roadies and hill climb specialists who might get to know their limitations during this race."
The tourism office in Inneres Salzkammergut will ship a printed course map on demand starting mid-June. The map can be ordered by e-mail under email@example.com. The GPS data of the route as well as a detailed road book are will be offered for a minimal fee under www.bike-gps.com after May 28.
Track World's on SBS TV
Australian TV broadcaster SBS Television will be bringing live coverage of the 2004 World Track Championships commencing tonight through to Saturday from 7pm and from 12pm on Sunday May 30. The show will be hosted by Les Murray with commentary provided by Kerrie Meares, Gary Sutton, Gary Neiwand and David Basheer, as well as updates from Mike Tomalaris.
One long party for Bianchi
The final stage of this year's Giro d'Italia will be significant for a number of reasons, most importantly to officially recognise the ultimate winner of the 87th edition of the race and commence what be a lengthy series of celebrations. Lengthy celebrations will also begin for bicycle manufacturer Bianchi - 2004 marking their 120th anniversary in the sport - with the celebrations set to continue until the inauguration of the Bianchi Museum... one year later in 2005!
As the peloton make their way from Clusone to their final destination in Milano on May 30, riders will pass by Bianchi's manufacturing facility in Treviglio. To celebrate the company's 120 year milestone (and capitalise on a perfect marketing opportunity), Bianchi will open its doors to the public with a specially organised factory tour from 9.00am to 12.30pm, where fans and interested parties can view the inner workings of their production facility.
Bianchi will also have a selection of bicycles available for a quick spin around the block, and when the pletone sails by the factory at approximately 2.30pm, the company will have a platform set up to ensure a good view of the riders - with the biggest cheers no doubt reserved for the riders of Alessio-Bianchi.
Tatt's too much
FdJeux.com member Matt Wilson is of the belief that there's a few of us out there who need to "woo-up on the tatt's a bit". While the current Australian road champion sports a tattoo himself on his right shoulder in an almost identical place to team-mate Baden Cooke's, in his latest Giro d'Italia diary published on his website, Wilson writes, "I do really like tattoos, but I've seen some dudes around who have definitely gone a bit too far and I know it doesn't look real great.
"It all starts off with maybe a little butterfly here or a squiggly pattern discreetly on the lower back, but before you know it, you've got a bloody great big skull with a dagger through the middle and snakes coming out of the eyes right in the middle of your chest."
Despite Wilson's reservations, however, he's still thinking about a tattoo of an enormous dragon on his back. But as his mother (very wisely) keeps telling him, "You can't just rub it off."
Tickets still available for Founders' Ride & Legends Lunch
Tickets are still available for the Founders' Ride & Legends Lunch on Saturday, June 5 to celebrate two decades of pro cycling in Pennsylvania and raise money for the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund. Forming part of the Wachovia USPRO Cycling Championship, the Founders' Ride will feature America's past and current champions, Olympians and former top finishers of the Wachovia USPRO Championship and women's Wachovia Liberty Classic; immediately following the ride is the Legends Luncheon, where a panel discussion by a dozen "legends" of the sport will share their experiences and recollections of pro cycling's growth over the last two decades.
Registration for the ride and/or luncheon can be found at www.nicolesbench.com. The deadline to sign up is June 2. Event tickets are a $100 to $250 donation to the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)