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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 2, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Eastern European tradition continues

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)
Photo ©: Sirotti
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In today's U23 men's road race, Belarusian rider Kanstantsin Siutsou continued the Italian-trained eastern European gold run in the U23 category. After Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine) in 2001 and Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan) in 2003, Siutsou's win was another feather in the cap of the powerful Italian Palazzago-Vellutex squad.

Siutsou attacked the lead group together with Italian Domenico Pozzovivo with two and a half laps (38 km) to go of the 177 km race, dropping his companion on the last climb of the Torricelle to solo to victory by over a minute. Pozzovivo was caught by a strong Thomas Dekker (Netherlands) and Matti Breschel (Denmark) over the top of the climb and had to settle for a disappointing fourth place as Dekker took another silver medal and Christensen the bronze.

"When we went I didn't know it was the winning move, but when we were at the bottom of the climb with two laps to go, I knew we might stay away," said Siutsou. "But it was hard, very hard." Siutsou will turn pro with Fassa Bortolo next year, and looks to be a very useful addition to Ferretti's squad.

Vos extends Dutch gold run

The podium (L-R):
Photo ©: Sirotti
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The Dutch Junior Women seem to hold a mortgage on the World Championship road race. After Suzanne de Goede and Loes Markerink in 2002 and 2003, Marianne Vos won the rainbow jersey today in a well-placed solo attack on the last climb. The Dutch success was completed by a very fine third placing of Ellen van Dijk behind Marta Bastianelli (Italy).

Team coach Egon van Kessel had told his girls to save their power as long as possible. But 17 year-old Vos, who is only in her first Junior year, made the first attack of the race at km zero - although it wasn't planned. "I just wanted to keep out of the bustle, and suddenly there was a gap," said the new champion, who was also the last to breakaway in the race when she made the decisive move on the Torricelle. "I found it too dangerous to gamble on the sprint", she explained. "It hadn't been a very difficult course. And nobody knew anyone, everybody just looked at each other."

Furthermore, Ellen Van Dijk, the sprinter in the Dutch selection, wasn't feeling very fresh. "I thought it was best that Marianne tried on her own," said van Dijk, bronze medallist in the end.

World's day 4: U23 Men (Live report) and Junior Women (Live report)
Photo gallery
Main & preview
Race Schedule

Fassa back Cioni

In an official communiqué, Fassa Bortolo has announced its complete trust in Dario Cioni, who was declared "unfit to start" in Sunday's road race, after a medical checkup by the Italian cycling federation.

"The parameters encountered are absolutely physiological," a team press release stated. Furthermore, the rider is going to undertake further examinations at the University of Lausanne's Institute of Medicine next week, which is directly linked to the UCI. Fassa Bortolo has asked the Italian National Federation FCI and the UCI to carry out all examinations necessary to prove that Cioni's hematological values are physiological and natural.

Blood tests on 26 riders

The UCI carried out random blood tests on 26 riders this morning before the junior women's and U23 men's road races. Riders from Luxembourg, Slovenia, Ukraine, Denmark and Poland were tested, and all were declared fit to start.

Bologna court says Ferrari guilty

Italian doctor will appeal verdict

By Tim Maloney, European Editor In Verona

Dr. Ferrari
Photo ©: AFP
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Today, a Bologna court returned a guilty verdict for Dr. Michele Ferrari regarding charges of sporting fraud and of writing too many prescriptions. Ferrari was found not guilty of administering drugs in a manner harmful to health, because, according to presiding Judge Maurizio Passarini, "There were no facts to prove this accusation."

When the original case against Ferrari started in 2001, it was based on records obtained from a Bologna pharmacy, where others were implicated in the same omnibus legal action by Judge Passarini for allegedly writing too many prescriptions. Passarini had added defunct team Refin's doctor Daniele Tarsi, DS Orlando Maini and team president Luciano Rossignoli to the case, but in the end, all three were acquitted today.

After Prosecutor Gestri requested a 14 month sentence on September 21, Judge Passarini has asked that Dr. Ferrari should receive a sentence of one year of confinement (usually as house arrest) and a €900 fine. Ferrari could also be prohibited from practicing medicine for 11 months and 21 days if the proposed sentence goes through. However any final determination of the verdict is suspended pending a certain appeal.

Ferrari continues to maintain that he is not guilty of any of the charges. "I wasn't expecting this sentence," said Ferrari today outside the court in Bologna, "because I'm convinced I'm innocent in the entire affair."

Ferrari's attorney Avv. Bolognesi confirmed that an appeal will be filed, saying, "The most important accusation against Dr. Ferrari [of administering drugs in a manner harmful to health] was thrown out and the rest of the case rests on the interpretation of the declarations of Filippo Simeoni."

Armstrong separates from Ferrari

In response to the court's verdict today, Dr. Ferrari's best known client Lance Armstrong announced that he and his team would suspend his relationship with him pending the outcome of the full verdict. Dr. Ferrari has also served as a conditioning consultant to the U.S. Postal Service team since 1999 under the direction of team coach Chris Carmichael and team physician Dr. Pedro Celaya.

"I was disappointed to learn of the Italian court’s judgment against Dr. Michele Ferrari," said Armstrong. "Dr. Ferrari has been a longtime friend and trusted adviser to me and the USPS team, during which time he never suggested, prescribed or provided me with any performance-enhancing drugs. I was pleased to hear that Dr. Ferrari was acquitted of the charge of providing illegal drugs to athletes. I am not surprised by that verdict. However, I have always said that I have zero tolerance for anyone convicted of using or facilitating the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

"As a result of today’s developments, the USPS team and I have suspended our professional affiliation with Dr. Ferrari as we await the release of the full verdict, which will contain Judge Maurizio Passarini's reasoning. In the meantime, I personally wish the very best for Dr. Ferrari and his family during this difficult time."

Lampre-Saeco merger official

Both Lampre and Saeco have confirmed their merger for 2005 today. The two Italian Pro Cycling teams, represented by their respective presidents Emanuele Galbusera and Sergio Zappella, reached an agreement yesterday in Bologna. The new combined team will be managed by Giuseppe Saronni and Claudio Corti, and will include the best riders from both teams, including Damiano Cunego (2004 Giro d’Italia winner), Gilberto Simoni and Igor Astarloa. The new Pro Tour team has yet to be given a name, which will be announced in an official press conference, together with further rider details, managers and technical staff.

Pinotti to Saunier

Lampre's Marco Pinotti will ride for Saunier Duval next season. He has agreed to a one year contract with Saunier manager Gianetti in Verona today. According to Pinotti's website, his teammate Manuel Quinziato and Ivan Ravaioli (Team Barloworld) have also signed, while Francisco Vila and Juan Miguel Garate are not sure; they are evaluating the offer. Another rider probably joining Saunier will be the American Chris Horner from Webcor.

Coonamessett Eco Cross 2004

People Cycle has announced the return of the Coonamessett Eco Cross Sunday, November 7, 2004 at the Coonamessett Farm in East Falmouth, MA, USA. Working closely with the local community, the race aims to raise awareness of critical environmental issues. Building on the success of the previous year, the race will feature an expanded course as well as information on local environmental causes.

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