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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for April 28, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

Steels satisfied

Belgian champion Tom Steels (Davitamon-Lotto) was relatively satisfied with his second place in the first stage of the Tour de Romandie, which was won by Alessandro Petacchi in his typical commanding style. Steels was the only rider who came close to holding Petacchi's wheel at the finish, as third placed Andre Korff was several bike lengths back from the winner.

"It was a finish that went relatively hard uphill, so I'm very satisfied with the second place," Steels told Sporza after the finish. "A flat sprint is another story. I think that I am ready for the Giro."

Vicioso and Baldato crash

At the end of the first stage of the Tour de Romandie, Liberty Seguros' Angel Vicioso crashed into Fassa Bortolo's Fabio Baldato, who was leading out the sprint for Alessandro Petacchi. Vicioso could not avoid the Italian, who swerved to the left after giving Petacchi his final lift to stage victory. The Spanish rider was also sprinting hard behind Petacchi and limited to the side by the Belgian Tom Steels, who later got second.

Vicioso managed not to crash, but his wheels were damaged and he finished in 20th position. Tomorrow's stage of the Tour de Romandie will be less prone to a bunch finish, as the peloton will have to tackle three climbs on the course from Fleurier to Fleurier, totaling 171,9 km. "The race will be difficult to control on this parcours," Liberty Seguros' directeur sportif Manolo Saiz said.

Also see:

Stage 1 report
Start list
Past winners

Fanini: "Cipo has a contract with me"

The patron of the Amore e Vita team, Ivano Fanini, has reacted with disappointment to Mario Cipollini's decision to suddenly retire. Fanini was quoted by tuttobiciweb as saying that Cipollini was still bound to him and his team by a contract: Cipollini started his career with Amore e Vita in 1985 and had pledged to finish it with them. "If Mario wants to stop racing, I respect his decision," said Fanini. "But he knows that he has to meet us. Our agreement states that in case he defaults on his contract, he will owe us €600,000. And I don't intend to renounce this."

"If Mario wants to come back and finish his career with us next year, I will be happy to open the doors of the team for him and do everything to prepare a high level squad, built around him. On the other hand, I don't intend to renounce that money: a figure that Cipollini can surely pay."

If Fanini does manage to get his €600,000, he said that he will "invest it in recruiting talented riders from poor countries where cycling is still in a developmental phase, and therefore give them a chance to enter into professional cycling."

Luis León Sanchez returns

Liberty Seguros' young talent Luis León Sanchez, who suffered a fractured right wrist in Gent-Wevelgem on April 6, has fully recovered and is back in training. He intends to return to competition in the Clasico Alcobendas (Madrid), on May 7-8. Sanchez was able to train just five days after the crash, and removed his plaster on April 16.

"For two weeks already, I've been training normally," said Sanchez. "I don't have any problems with my hand and I only have a thick bandage on it. I believe that this rest has been good, because I didn't touch the bike for a few days, and it refreshed me physically and mentally. I was going non-stop from the Tour Down Under."

Besides Alcobendas, Sanchez will also ride the Volta a Catalunya, Euskal Bizikleta and the teams time trial in Eindhoven. The most important thing is that he is included among the 13 men fighting for a place in Liberty's Tour de France team. "For anyone it's a dream to do a grand tour and, if it is the Tour, even better," he said. "Manolo Sáiz has already said to me at the beginning of season that I could go to the Tour, but now everything depends on how I go in these next races."

Vandenbroucke to start in Picardie?

Frank Vandenbroucke may do his first race of the season with at the Tour de Picardie, between May 13-15. VDB hasn't raced yet, due to various injuries and illnesses. However, his team is getting impatient and has demanded that he race or look for a new employer.

Wheel swaps, car ballet & power naps

Riding with Mavic neutral support's yellow brigade

The bright yellow of Mavic neutral support motos and cars is a familiar sight at races the world over and Georgia was no exception. Eddie Monnier hopped aboard Mavic car #2 to witness the world's fastest wheel-changers and power-nappers in action.

Jennifer Holland and Mike Berlinger
Photo ©: Eddie Monnier
Click for larger image

Almost every professional road racer has at some time had cause to be grateful for the skills of the mechanics and drivers that staff Mavic's worldwide neutral tech support service. At Georgia, the Mavic team numbered 16, staffing three cars and two motorcycles plus the ancillary services required to support America's premier stage race.

Aboard Mavic 2 on the final stage of the Dodge Tour de Georgia were driver Jennifer Holland and Mike Berlinger, a Mavic USA marketing man turned weekend neutral support mechanic, plus your humble scribe.

Thanks in part to the generally excellent roads, well-executed road clean up by race operations and relative lack of crashes, the Mavic team had enjoyed a relatively quite week. In fact, in the prior five stages there had only been about 15 wheel changes total, including those administered by team cars. Whether calm or chaotic, any one wheel change can make or break a rider's race. On this final stage, only eight seconds separated first and third place on GC. If either of them needed help, that's a lot of responsibility for the Mavic team to shoulder.

Click here for the full feature.

Cunego to be a dad

Giro d'Italia champion Damiano Cunego has announced on his website that he will become a father for the first time. "Damiano and Margherita are pleased to announce to all the fans that in a few months times, they will be a papa and a mamma," read the short statement.

Vuelta a Madrid cancelled

The 20th edition of the Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid will not take place this year. The race, which is rated as a 2.2 stage race on the European Tour, was due to take place between May 12-15, but a dispute between the Spanish National Association of Directors and Amateur Cyclists (ANDYCA) and the Madrid-based Enypesa team has resulted in it being called off. The dispute dealt with the participation of the Spanish teams in the race.

Saturn Rochester Twilight Criterium

The Saturn Rochester Twilight Criterium is back for June 25, 2005 for its second edition in New York State, US. In the inaugural year, this event drew 6000 spectators and a loaded Pro-Am field of talent such as, Marty Nothstein, Hayden Godfrey (NZ), Chuck Coyle, Craig McCartney (Aus), Tim Lefebvre and Gregorio Bare (Arg). This year the prize list is $10,000 for the men's Pro-Am and $2000 for the women's.

For 2005, the event will also serve as the NYS Criterium Championships and there will be separate races for each category as well as two masters events. A good women's field this year is highly desired to build the event and bill the women's race with comparable prize lists in the future.

For further information, go to

Tour de Tableland

The Cairns Cycling Club has announced the 9th annual Cairns Bicycle Works Tour de Tableland, supported by Eacham Shire Council, to be held from April 30-May 2, 2005, in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. The stages are as follows:

Stage 1 - Saturday, April 30
56 km approx. Start 12.30pm, Lake Eacham Hotel.
Race begins outside the hotel and heads towards Kiari, turning left to Tolga, turn around in Tolga and return to Kiari, left to Tinaroo and back to Kiari and return finishing at Yungaburra

Stage 2 - Saturday, April 30
4 km approx. Starts 4.00pm, Bean Tree Road, Tolga.
Individual Time Trial along Bean Tree Road.

Stage 3 - Sunday, May 1
44 km approx. Start 8.30am Lake Eacham Hotel.
Two lap road race around the Curtain Fig Tree Circuit starting in Yungaburra to Marks Lane, Atherton/ Malanda Road then into Curtain Fig Tree Road on 2nd lap return and finish in Yungaburra.

Stage 4 - Sunday, May 1
Starts 2.00pm. Criterium.
A closed circuit in Yungaburra
A Grade 45 mins + 3 laps
B Grade 45 mins + 3 laps
C & D Grade 30 mins + 3 laps

Stage 5 - Monday, May 2
Start 7.30am Lake Eacham Hotel.
Road race from Yungaburra towards Lake Eacham, Malanda, onto Malanda/Atherton Road, left onto Kennedy Highway to a roundabout point and return.
C & D Grades turn at the intersection with the Kennedy Highway.
A & B Grade approx. 91km
C & D Grade approx. 60km

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