First Edition Cycling News for October 17, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner
World Cup finishes with Giro di Lombardia
Today's 98th Giro di Lombardia provided a fitting end to what should be the last ever World Cup, with a thrilling race between Mendrisio and Como ending in a five man sprint won by Saeco's young talent Damiano Cunego. The Giro d'Italia winner demonstrated his completeness as a rider by bridging up to a three man break (Basso, Boogerd and Evans) over the top of the final climb with 4 km to go. The group was joined by Daniele Nardello with 2.5 km to go, but even with two men in front, T-Mobile couldn't do anything against Cunego's fearsome sprint and the 23 year old Veronese took his first ever classic win ahead of Michael Boogerd and Ivan Basso.
"It's one of the best days today of my great season," said Cunego. "I'd put it up there with my Giro stage win in Pontremoli...today I won a big classic, a World Cup race. I didn't expect this at all.
"On the final climb, Basso was very strong. It hurt a lot, but I was able to make it back to the front. In the sprint, I was a little scared when Nardello came back."
Third placed Ivan Basso was the strongest climber today, but despite repeated efforts, couldn't get clear of the group. "I wanted to win," said Ivan Basso, a little disappointed. "It didn't work out. My problem is that I lack final speed in the sprint. This cost me several victories already. But although I'm disappointed today, it was a great season for me. The third placing at the Tour was of course outstanding. But winning the Giro dell'Emilia was nice too. And I was favourite and playing a key role at the Giro di Lombardia."
Giro di Lombardia coverage
Bettini wins World Cup
Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) achieved a first in cycling by becoming the only rider to win three World Cups, in succession as well. And as the World Cup is due to be superceded by the Pro Tour next year, Bettini should be the only rider to ever hold this record. Bettini only finished 29th in the Giro di Lombardia, but his relentless shadowing of main rival Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) prevented Rebellin from scoring the necessary points to overtake Bettini. In fact, they crossed the line in Como together, with Rebellin in 28th.
"I knew that the key moment today was on the Ghisallo," said Bettini, who trailed Rebellin by 15 seconds at the top of the climb. "If I wasn't dropped for good, I could make it. That's the way it went."
Rebellin commented that he had some breathing problems, "But the strongest rider won today. Congratulations to Paolo."
Gerolsteiner's directeur sportif Christian Henn was a little disappointed, saying, "Well, it just didn't work out. We controlled the race for 200 km. The team worked very well. But Davide just wasn't strong enough today to drop Bettini decisively."
After a few moments of sadness, Henn remembered this season's achievements and pride took over. "We really have no reason at all to be downcast," he concluded.
Final World Cup standings
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 340 pts 2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 327 3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 252
Sun Tour lead changes
By John Trevorrow
Dave McKenzie has been in the heart of the action in all four Herald Sun Tour stages so far. In today's 117km, 10-lap circumnavigation of Portarlington, Macca was in the break as usual and the ten men worked well to try and hold off the charging bunch.
Only Robert McLachlan managed to succeed while McKenzie suffered one of the most infuriating situations in cycling when he was caught in the final metres. This cost him the leader's Yellow Jersey, which is now being worn by Dean Downing (Bendigo).
"There is only one thing worse than getting nutted on the line for second place and that's when it's for first," McKenzie said. "The worst part is missing out on about 15 seconds in time bonuses because at the end of the week every second could prove very valuable."
McKenzie spent a fair bit of energy in the breakaway today, but he didn't believe that this would affect his recovery. "At the end of the day it's not so bad," he said. "We spent a large part of the race out in front riding hard but steady, while the peloton had to really dig in on the last two laps. We had nearly 50 seconds with only seven kilometres to go and I really thought that we had enough gap to hold them. They must have really put in back there.
"With only five man teams it makes it very hard to control the race. We have been lucky so far. We have used the right tactics that have meant that our team has not had to be on the front chasing guys down. In fact it has been the other teams that have had to chase us.
"I reckon there are still 15 guys who can win. Monday and Tuesday will be decisive days and I can see it coming down to one rider having about a minute gap at Baw Baw and trying to hang on. The one thing about the Herald Sun Tour is it can all change in one stage as we have seen many times."
Italian two-man time trial on Sunday
The Trofeo Androni Giocattoli, a two-man time trial will take place in the Italian town of Borgomanero, southwest of Milan, tomorrow. The chrono men will race a total of 47.6 km in two laps, taking them from Borgomanero to Baraggia di Suno, Cavaglio D'Agona, Fontaneto, Cureggio and back. Time trial specialists like Fabian Cancellara and Filippo Pozzato, Dario Frigo and Marco Velo will compete against Sergei Gonchar and Yaroslav Popovych, Gilberto Simoni and Davide Rebellin, Paolo Bettini and Davide Bramati, and Daniele Nardello and Ivan Basso, as there are also mixed teams allowed.
The two-man teams starting at the time trial are as follows:
Charles Wegelius and Michele Gobbi (both De Nardi), Eddy Serri and Francesco Bellotti (both Team Barloworld), Fabian Cancellara and Filippo Pozzato (both Fassa Bortolo), Damiano Cunego and Luca Mazzoleni (both Saeco), Paolo Longo Borghini and Dario Andriotto (both Vini Caldirola), Ivan Ravaioli and Andrea Moletta (both Team Barloworld), Andrea Noè and Christian Moreni (both Alessio Bianchi), Fabio Sacchi and Massimo Codol (both Fassa Bortolo), Sergei Gonchar (De Nardi) and Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet Colnago), Cristiano Frattini (Tenax) and Davide Frattini (Team Monex), Gianluca Bortolami and Alessandro Ballan (both Lampre), Dario Frigo and Marco Velo (both Fassa Bortolo), Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Mirko Celestino and Giosuè Bonomi (both Saeco), Alessandro Spezialetti (Saeco) and Gianni Faresin (Gerolsteiner), Paolo Bettini and Davide Bramati (both Quick.Step), Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) and Ivan Basso (CSC).
Jelly Belly adds PoolGel
The US division III squad Jelly Belly presented by Aramark has announced a new sponsor for the 2005 season: PoolGel(TM). A sponsor of the US Olympic Team Selection Race and US Elite Nationals in Redlands, California, PoolGel is continuing its involvement in professional cycling, and the team will now be known as Jelly Belly-PoolGel Pro Cycling team.
In a a statement, team director Danny Van Haute commented, "The addition of PoolGel fits well with the team's lineup of top-level partners and hopefully the combined support of all our partners will propel the team to the top of the US National Racing Calendar rankings."
2004 Cycling Australia Media Awards
Cycling Australia invites Australian media to nominate for the 2004 Cycling Australia Media Awards to be presented at the 2004 Australian Cyclists of the Year Awards in Sydney on Friday, November 26. Nominations close November 3, 2004. The information will be available on the Cycling Australia website from Monday, October 18 via the 'News and Media' link on www.cycling.org.au.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)