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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for October 1, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

No start for Rebellin

After all the polemics surrounding Davide Rebellin's "defection" to Argentina to try to get a start in the World's, it appears to have been a complete waste of time. Rebellin does not yet possess an official Argentinean passport, and the UCI will not recognise his temporary one. Thus, the World Cup leader and winner of three classics this spring will not be allowed to start on Sunday.

Cioni "unfit to start"

Italian Dario David Cioni has been declared unfit to start in Sunday's road race, following a medical checkup by the Italian cycling federation. "Dario David Cioni will not figure as part of the official Italian squad, being declared inapt as a result of a health control carried out by the FCI for health protection purposes," the FCI said in a statement. "The medical commission of the GCI will collaborate with the Italian athlete and his medical staff to carry out clinical tests to explain the origin of the problem."

Cioni will be replaced by Franco Pellizotti in the 12 man lineup.

Cunego ready for Verona

1999 Junior World Champion Damiano Cunego will be one of Italy's top medal prospects in Sunday's Elite Men's Road Race in Verona. When Cunego won the World's in 1999, it was on a very similar course to this one, and the young Italian is looking forward to representing Italy on home roads. "It's a special emotion even if I rode in 1999," said Cunego. "However, I know what my job will be and the responsibilities it carries. What I can say is that I will do whatever I can to honour my Italian jersey and entertain the crowds that will pack the Verona course."

Cunego is one of the few favourites who actually finished the Vuelta last Sunday, as most chose to pull out with a week to go. "My form is great at the moment and finishing the Vuelta was the best possible way to train without any pressure," he said. "I would have liked to get some results in Spain but after hurting my leg in the first few days I preferred to reduce the risk as much as possible. I'm sure the Spanish riders will be the riders to watch out for on Sunday. They impressed me at the Vuelta and even though it's true they were racing in Spain, they were very, very strong. On Sunday there will be practically all the strongest riders in the world, the race will be long and hard and I think people will attack throughout the race. Both me and Paolo Bettini will be closely marked and everybody will be waiting for us to do something."

Cunego knows the Verona course very well: "It's basically the same as in 1999 when I won the junior title, the difficulty will be the number of laps we race. he rhythm of the race will also be decisive as will be the tactics of the other teams. I don't want to seem too prudent but I won't ride on the front or hide in the bunch. I know the course really well because I've ridden in many times and so I know where the race can be decided. Italian national coach Franco Ballerini will decide how we'll race and then we've got to hope the weather's good. It's a nice course but if it rains, some sections such as the descent and other points could be very dangerous."

Although the Italian plan will probably favour Bettini, Cunego is definitely not one to be counted out. "It's everybody dream to win the professional road race and pull on the rainbow jersey, and to win on home roads would be incredible," he said. "My objective for the world championships is to do as well as I can both for me and for Italy. If I feel good and can try and win with the best in the world, I'll give it everything."

Australian bikes stolen

The Australian team suffered a setback on Thursday night after thieves broke into their hotel and stole €35,000 worth of bikes. Australian U23 Coach Brian Stephens told Cyclingnews that eight bikes were stolen from a utility room, including those belonging to Cadel Evans, Matthew Hayman, Matt White and Mick Rogers. In addition, Peter Dawson was forced to line up for the U23 road race on a spare bike while three of the junior men, Patrick Shaw, Andrew Wade and Simon Clarke, will race tomorrow on bikes borrowed from their U23 team mates.

Italian police are investigating and insurance options are being pursued but the loss will be most keenly felt by the juniors who do not all have professional teams or major sponsors who can replace their machines.

Valkenburg a candidate for 2008 World's

The Dutch town of Valkenburg is a candidate to host the Road World's in 2008, according to ANP. Valkenburg last hosted the World's in 1998, and is located in one of the most popular regions for cycling in the Netherlands. In the next three years, the World's will be held in Madrid, Salzburg and Stuttgart.

Bettini summonsed

The Italian captain for Sunday's road race, Paolo Bettini, was visited by the carabinieri at the team's hotel in Pescantina on Wednesday evening, who gave him a summons for him to testify over the incident that happened between Filippo Simeoni and Lance Armstrong during the Tour de France. Although the roots of the Simeoni/Armstrong case are entwined with the Dr. Michele Ferrari trial, the dispute during the Tour is being treated separately at the moment.

During stage 18 of the Tour, Armstrong took the surprising step of chasing after Simeoni when the latter was bridging up to a breakaway. The pair made contact with the break, but the presence of Armstrong doomed Simeoni's (and possibly everyone else's) chances of a stage win, so Simeoni reluctantly agreed to return to the peloton with Armstrong. Also, during the final stage into Paris, Simeoni repeatedly attacked in the early phases, only to be chased down by Armstrong's team.

When Simeoni went back to the peloton in stage 18, he was roundly criticised by many of his colleagues. Bettini was one of the few to offer his support, hence he has been called to testify in front of the judge in Lucca. In addition to Bettini, some of the riders in the breakaway group: Dimitry Fofonov, Juan Antonio Flecha and Marc Lotz, have all been asked to testify.

Simeoni and Armstrong are at odds because Simeoni testified against Dr. Ferrari in 2002, saying that he prescribed him with banned drugs. Armstrong, who is also advised by Dr. Ferrari, took offence to this and called Simeoni a liar. Prior to the Tour, Simeoni said that he was suing Armstrong for defamation of character.

Pauwels had heart problems

The autopsy carried out on the body of deceased Belgian cyclo-crosser Tim Pauwels revealed that he probably had heart irregularities. Pauwels died during a race in Erpe-Mere last Sunday, and it's believed that he suffered a heart attack just before his death. The case is being examined by the court in Oudenaarde, which will try to determine whether the organisation or the first aid services could be held to blame.

Pauwels' funeral will be at 10:00am on Saturday in Kalmthout, Belgium. His Fidea team will race with black armbands on Tuesday.

Meirhaeghe back racing

Belgian mountain biker Filip Meirhaeghe is down as a starter for this Sunday's Mountainbike Classic in Oostende, despite having announced his retirement a couple of months ago after he tested positive for EPO. Although he did not dispute the test and even admitted to using the banned drug, Meirhaeghe hasn't been suspended by the Belgian cycling federation, which means that he is still allowed to race.

Gavazzi sentenced

A court in Brescia, Italy has sentenced former Italian champion Pierino Gavazzi, Paolo Dotti and Giorgio Addis to between two and nine months jail for doping related offences in cycling. Gavazzi received a six month sentence for unlawful practice of medicine and pharmacy and for the dangerous administration of medicines. He was cleared of the charge of trafficking. Paolo Dotti was given a two month sentence while Addis received nine months. The Brescian pharmacists Mauro Stornati, Fabio Bordonali and Luciana Ranieri were all acquitted, although all have been suspended.

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