First Edition Cycling News for May 1, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
Cunego confirms Giro form in Romandie
Contador continues excellent season
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita) has put doubts to rest that he would not be at his best in the Giro d'Italia by taking third in stage 4 and the overall leader's jersey in the Tour de Romandie. In today's uphill finish to Les Paccots, Cunego couldn't quite follow up on his impressive stage 3 win, being unable to counter moves by Leonardo Piepoli and stage winner Alberto Contador in the final 1.5 km. But he won the sprint for third against Stefano Garzelli, who had recovered from his bad day yesterday, and with the bonus seconds, took over the yellow jersey from Santiago Botero (6th).
Botero is still the favourite to take out the Tour de Romandie, which finishes with a tough 20 km time trial in Lausanne tomorrow. Cunego admitted after stage 3 that his time trialling skills weren't up to the Colombian's, and expects to lose the jersey. On the other hand, Alberto Contador is just 19 seconds off the lead and 16 behind Botero, and he is a man who can certainly ride against the clock.
After his fourth victory of the season today in Les Paccots, the 176cm/61 kg rider from Madrid said he will ride for the overall win tomorrow. "It will be necessary to see what sort of a day I have," he said. "There is a possibility to win, but it is very difficult because Menchov and Botero are very good in the time trial, and Cunego has the leader's jersey."
Contador's team manager Manolo Saiz took note of the fact that he won after taking a week of absolute rest after his third place in the GC of the Tour of the Basque Country. Contador only resumed training last week, and did not have Romandie as one of his objectives." The most important thing for me is that Contador continues learning and every day improving a bit more," said Manolo Saiz.
Ekimov's Tour in doubt after crash
Viatcheslav Ekimov has had a nasty fall while training with Discovery Channel teammate Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas, which has put his chances of riding the Tour de France in doubt. The pair were riding together on Thursday at midday when Ekimov hit a pothole and crashed. Ekimov was taken to hospital in Austin where he was diagnosed with a broken sternum and a broken vertebra. Armstrong was not injured.
His close friend Dirk Baert told Het Nieuwsblad, "I had him on the line on Thursday night and Friday. He could barely talk because of the pain. Slava hopes to transfer to St. Petersburg as quickly as possible. He must wear a corset for six weeks. By that time, we'll already be halfway through June. The chance that he will ride with Armstrong in the Tour is very small."
Slyusareva out for three weeks
Top Russian rider Olga Slyusareva (Nobili Rubinetterie-Menikini-Cogeas) will not be able to race for the next three weeks, her team reported. Team doctor Claudio Pecci ordered her off the bike as a result of injuries sustained in a crash on the roads of northern Europe.
Euskaltel-Euskadi for the Giro
Euskaltel-Euskadi will travel to Reggio Calabria on May 4 for the Giro d'Italia, which begins there on May 7. It will be the first time that the Basque team has contested the Giro, and team director Gorka Gerrikagoitia has selected Haimar Zubeldia, Aitor Gonzalez, Samuel Sánchez, Joseba Zubeldia, Alberto López de Munain, Unai Etxebarria, Roberto Laiseka, David López and Gorka Verdugo, with Aketza Peña as the reserve rider.
"We have a solid block, riders who are experienced in three week races such as Roberto Laiseka, Alberto López de Munain and Unai Etxebarria," said Gerrikagoitia. "We approaching the race with hope. Haimar Zubeldia is our leader in a Giro with a parcours that has all the elements of a grand tour. We need to recover the Haimar of 2003."
Gerrikagoitia specified that the team "has been formed after analysing the profiles of the stages. There are five high mountain and three medium mountain stages. There we will play our cards. David López, for example, is having a good season. We expect that he will show that in the Giro. Samuel Sánchez, despite the problems that he has had with injuries, is another rider that will be fighting for the stages; he should take advantage of his turn of speed. Aitor [Gonzalez] is the only rider of our team that has won a grand tour; he has enormous class. He is a great time trialist who should not lose sight of the general classification."
An interview with Trixi Worrack
The trick's taking it one step at a time
An all-rounder for one day events or stage races, German cyclist Trixi Worrack is one of the pillars of Equipe Nürnberger. The 24 year-old showed her great class for the first time when she won the World Time Trial Championships in 1998 as a Junior rider. Since then, the ambitious multiple German champion has continued to build up a successful career, winning the overall classification of the Tour de l'Aude last season and most recently taking victory at Primavera Rosa - by accident, so to speak, as she was actually planning to lead out the sprint for her teammates. Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner talked to Germany's next big female cycling star on the eve of the Flèche Wallonne 2005 World Cup race.
Cyclingnews: Congratulations on your victory at the Primavera Rosa. How did you see the finale on the Via Roma?
Trixi Worrack: Thanks. We were four in the front group that numbered about thirty riders, so we had several options open for the final. And when it came to the sprint, I was leading out for Oenone Wood and Regina Schleicher, but somehow I opened a gap to this group, so I just continued.
CN: How did your teammates react?
TW: Well, Oenone finally got third, and Regina fourth. We were all very happy! In the end, what counts is that our team wins the race. It's not about which individual rider does it.
CN: What happened at the next World Cup race, Tour of Flanders?
TW: Two riders were leading, and we were in the main bunch of about 20, chasing behind them. Then, one kilometre before the finish, we were directed the wrong way, so we didn't make it to the finish line [Worrack as well as the other riders were 'DNF' - ed.]. We'd been racing for third place, but in the end the group behind us got that. The World Cup points were awarded, and although we did protest against that decision, we couldn't change it. It was a real shame. At the time, Oenone was leading the World Cup, and I was second. We lost so many points because of that, and it wasn't even our fault. What a useless experience.
Click here for the full interview
Bobby J and Tour De Nez raise over $5000 for Project GO
American cyclist Bobby Julich (CSC), in conjunction with the 13th Annual Tour de Nez, has raised over $5,000 for Project GO, a non-profit aimed at providing rafting and ropes course adventures for disadvantaged youth, during showing of PRO, a cycling documentary, in Reno, Nevada, USA on April 28.
Julich, a Reno resident, donated numerous photos and memorabilia toward a fund-raising silent auction and raffle held during the showing of the documentary. He also signed autographs for eager fans and spoke to the crowd about his recent victories before the screening. "Engaging with physical activity and experiencing the outdoors can change lives," said Julich. "I enthusiastically support the efforts of Project GO. I love Reno and I'm glad to be part of this community."
More than 400 enthusiasts turned out for the event, kicking off the Tour de Nez’s promised "celebration of cycling." The race will be held between June 16-18.
More information: www.tourdenez.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)