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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for May 26, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Nas raid Giro again, but come up empty handed

Once again, the carabinieri of the Nas [Italian special police] in Florence have carried out searches on team hotels at the Giro d'Italia. Although not on as grand a scale as the raid in San Remo 2001, members of the Nas searched the rooms of eight riders from six different teams on Tuesday night in Brunico: Alessio Galletti and Mario Scirea (Domina Vacanze), Fabio Sacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Eddy Mazzoleni and Alessandro Spezialetti (Saeco), Ruggero Marzoli (Acqua e Sapone), Giuseppe Muraglia (Formaggi Pinzolo), and Simone Masciarelli (Vini Caldirola).

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the police didn't find anything this time. The common link between the riders was that they have all been clients of Dr. Santuccione, who is under investigation as part of a large scale probe into trafficking and administration of doping substances to athletes.

"Justice should run its course, but cycling does not deserve this," commented Saeco's team manager Claudio Corti, whose team was searched between 4:30 and 7:30am on Wednesday morning. "The inquiries have to happen, but there are other times to do them, I don't believe it's necessary to do them during the Giro d'Italia. We respect the work of everyone, but all of this is to the detriment of the sport and all the teams involved. It's directly harmful for the sponsor. We don't have to worry, we signed a declaration where it was written that they did not find anything. I would prefer to talk about the Giro d'Italia."

The Nas raid on the Giro was part of a much larger raid carried out in 28 Italian cities involving 138 professional and amateur athletes, doctors and others under suspicion of dealing in and using doping substances in a variety of sports. The Italian Cycling Federation's offices in Rome were also searched. So far, two arrests have been made in Tuscany, including a pharmacist.

The investigation, coordinated by the state prosecutor in Rome, was started eight months ago on the basis of the suspicious death of an amateur cyclist. Over 700 members of the Nas and Italian fiscal police have been involved in the searches.

McGee's rosy Giro

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

After another great day in the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday, Brad McGee is still sitting in the top 10 of the Italian Grand Tour. As Tuesday's Stage 16 was about to commence, Cyclingnews spoke to Brad for a few moments:

Cyclingnews: With the World Track Championships starting in Australia and as a former World Pursuit champ, are you thinking of home at all?

Bradley McGee: No, I haven't even thought about it...I picked up on Cyclingnews this morning about the Aussie team, but it's not on my mind.

CN: So what is on your mind?

BM: All these &*@!ing hills we're about to go over!

CN: How are you feeling?

BM: I feel pretty's the third week of a Grand Tour, so I can't expect to be jumping out of my skin, but all things considered, I feel good.

CN: What's your objective?

BM: Ah, look, I've done a lot at this Giro already...I've come in to look for form, but I've been on major form.

At that point, the gun went off and Brad had to go as Stage 16 had started, but with a stage win and Maglia Rosa as well as two second places and some enterprising attacks, if McGee can stay healthy and not have a bad day, he looks like he can have a excellent Top 10 finish.

Brandt spurred on

Belgian rider Christophe Brandt (Lotto-Domo) jumped from 19th to 14th on the general classification in the Giro yesterday, courtesy of his 7th place in Stage 16. Brandt was one of several survivors of the early break that actually made it to the finish in front of the maglia rosa, and for much of the day was the virtual leader of the Giro, as he had started only 6'14 down. But the general classification wasn't the real motivation for Brandt's move.

"Fourteenth in the classification is nice, but actually I'm going for a stage win," Brandt told Het Nieuwsblad. "I immediately understood that we wouldn't make it to Falzes. We were riding well on the climbs, but between the cols there was too little cooperation because of the Phonaks. If we had another minute and a half lead at Terento, then we could have done something."

Brandt does not rule out another attempt at getting away. "If I feel good on Thursday, then I'll try again. The finish climb should suit me. I didn't know how I would feel today. On the one hand I rode 200 kilometres in front and climbed five places in the standings. I'm quietly aiming for the top 10, but to do that I have to have super legs for the next three days and a few guys have to fall through the ice."

Wegmann closer to green

Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann is getting closer to finishing in Milan with the green mountains jersey on his shoulders. The 23 year old picked up more valuable climber's points in yesterday's 16th stage, and now leads Damiano Cunego by 45 points to 38. Cunego probably has a different jersey in mind in Milan, and Wegmann did his green jersey chances no harm by helping Saeco's Eddy Mazzoleni and Andrea Tonti pull Cunego up to the front of the race in the finale yesterday. He may find that favour returned in the coming days. "Fabian is my friend. I will help him keep the jersey until Milan," race leader Cunego was quoted by DPA as saying.

Wegmann is quite well aware that he isn't the best climber in the race, but with riders like Cunego, Simoni and Popovych all going for the big prize, he has a fighting chance. "If they had set their sights on green, I wouldn't be in possession of this jersey," Wegmann told DPA. "Now everything is possible," although he warned that "16 percent climbs aren't really my thing."

Garate still wants a stage

Spanish climber Juan Manuel Garate (Lampre) has three stages left in order to achieve his dream of a stage win in the Giro. Currently lying in 13th on GC, Garate has found himself close to the front without actually being able to take home a stage.

"I don't feel bad, but nor do I feel to be in my best condition," he told Todociclismo. I'm having problems holding the rhythm in the final parts of the stages and because of that I've lost out in the general classification.

"We are in the final week, the toughest on paper, and my objective is to try to fight for that victory that has denied me so far. This is a very controlled race, since there are two very strong teams, Saeco of Simoni and Cunego, and Fassa Bortolo of Petacchi for the bunch sprints."

Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia coverage

Stage 16 Full results & report
Stage 16 Live report
Trent Wilson's Giro diary
Dr Ferrari's view
Route preview
Stage by stage
Stage profiles
Final Start List
The contenders

Teams for CSC Invitational

The major North American pro teams will participate in this Sunday's CSC Invitational (Clarendon Cup) in Arlington, VA. The field includes six former podium finishers of the event as well as many current and past USPRO champions and overseas national champions. With main drawcards Team CSC and US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor, this year's race is expected to be highly competitive.

Racing begins at 8am on Sunday, May 30 with a series of amateur races, followed by the Women's race shortly after 10am. The CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Kids' race (free to all children 10 and under) begins at 11:35am. At noon, the CSC Invitational Men's Pro race will get under way for 100 kilometres of racing on the 1 km/5 turn circuit.

The CSC Invitational is part of USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar (NRC) and the 2nd event on the American Criterium Championship Series (ACCS).

Team CSC
Jelly Belly Presented by Aramark
Navigators Insurance
Health Net Presented by Maxxis
Jittery Joes Coffee
Team Seasilver
Sharper Image/Mathes
Team Snow Valley (A)
US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor
Colavita Olive Oil
McQuire Pro Cycling

More information:

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