First Edition Cycling News for May 4, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson
Can the Lampre juggernaut be broken?
By Jeff Jones
With defending champion Damiano Cunego and two-time Giro winner Gilberto Simoni still riding for the same team this year - Lampre-Caffita - it's going to take a very strong rider to topple them in the 88th Giro d'Italia. Both riders have had solid lead ups to the Giro, with Cunego winning a tough mountain stage and finishing second overall in the Tour de Romandie last week, and Simoni winning the Mont Faron stage in Paris-Nice as well as the Giro dell'Appennino. It remains to be seen which rider has the legs to make it to the top of the podium in Milano on May 29. And if they both have good legs, like last year, then it will take a firm hand by Lampre's team management to ensure that intra-team rivalry does not ruin the plan.
As always, there are other riders who are capable of winning the maglia rosa in Milan. CSC's talented Italian Ivan Basso is probably chief among the challengers, even though he has not yet shown all his cards so far this season. Basso didn't ride in Romandie, and his last race was in Liege-Bastogne-Liege on April 24, where he finished 18th. A fourth overall in the Criterium International is his other result of note so far this season, but don't be surprised to see him butting heads with Cunego and Simoni throughout the Giro.
Perennial challenger Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas-Bianchi) is coming into form at the right time, evidenced by his fifth place in the final time trial in the Tour de Romandie - just 3 seconds behind Cunego. On the previous day in the mountains, he was again just nipped by Cunego in the sprint for third place. The 2000 Giro winner looks to have everything in order for the start in Reggio Calabria, but he may need a little bit extra to succeed in the mountains. Garzelli will have last year's fourth place getter Dario David Cioni and ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca at his side, which should make for a very powerful Liquigas squad.
Cyclingnews will be providing live coverage of each stage of the 88th Giro d'Italia, starting from 14:30 CEST (Europe)/8:30 EDT (USA)/5:30 PDT (USA)/22:30 AEST (Australia) every day.
Liberty, Rabo & Lampre Giro teams
Three more teams have confirmed their line-ups for Saturday's start of the Giro d'Italia (May 7-29). Liberty Seguros's Giro team will begin to assemble in Reggio Calabria Wednesday morning, with six riders (Joseba Beloki, René Andrle, Koldo Gil, Jan Hruska, Javier Ramirez Abeja and Nuno Ribeiro) flying in to meet the team's two Italians Michele Scarponi and Giampaolo Caruso. Dariuz Baranowski will join the other eight on Wednesday evening.
The Liberty Seguros team for the Giro d'Italia is therefore Joseba Beloki, René Andrle, Koldo Gil, Jan Hruska, Javier Ramirez Abeja, Nuno Ribeiro, Michele Scarponi, Giampaolo Caruso and Dariuz Baranowski.
The Lampre-Caffita team of reigning Giro champion Damiano Cunego has also announced its official line-up for Saturday. Supporting Cunego's efforts at retaining the title will be Paolo Fornaciari, Evgeni Petrov, Marius Sabaliauskas, Gilberto Simoni, Gorazd Stangelj, Sylvester Szmyd, Andrea Tonti, and Patxi Vila, with Alessandro Spezialetti as reserve.
Finally, Rabobank will field Thomas Dekker, Theo Eltink, Steven de Jongh, Alexandr Kolobnev, Grischa Niermann, Michael Rasmussen, Roy Sentjens, Rory Sutherland, Thorwald Veneberg with reserves Bram de Groot and Jukka Vastaranta.
Eki definitely out of Tour
Citing Russian media sources, news agency Reuters is reporting that Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel team-mate Viatcheslav Ekimov is definitely out of this year's Tour de France after a crash in training last week.
Ekimov, 39, crashed after hitting a pothole, sustaining injuries that included a fractured vertebra. "Doctors told me that it will take two months to recover," said Ekimov. "In any case I will miss the Tour this year. It's a pity because I really wanted to ride with Armstrong in his last Tour.
"It also would have been my 15th Tour and I wanted to equal the record for most starts in that race but when you have a spinal injury it must be taken seriously." [Joop Zoetemelk rode and completed 16 Tours - ed.]
Ekimov's Tour absence is also a blow to late-thirty-something cyclists the world over, who were previously able to reassure ourselves that we couldn't be past it if there was a guy in the Tour older than us.
Sacchi's the daddy again
Fassa Bortolo rider Fabio Sacchi and wife Rita welcomed their second child Michelle into the world at 8:57 local time, Tuesday May 3.
Royal Commission into death of Australian cyclist
What's a cyclist's life worth? In South Australia, the answer is only AU$3100.
That's the fine handed down last month to Eugene McGee, driver of a 4WD (SUV) who struck and killed cyclist Ian Humphrey in a hit and run incident in November 2003. McGee, a lawyer and former police prosecutor, admitted he had been drinking before the crash and instead of stopping to render assistance, he drove to a colleague's home and waited four hours before reporting himself to police.
Despite police reports that McGee "smelled of alcohol" when he presented himself, he was not breath tested because regulations require a breath test to be taken within two hours of a crash. At the subsequent District Court trial, McGee was found guilty of driving without due care and failing to stop and render assistance. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
The case has led to a huge public outcry in South Australia and South Australian Premier Mike Rann has announced a Royal Commission to investigate the case. In Australia, a Royal Commission has sweeping powers and aims to uncover issues such as the miscarriage of justice or corruption at the highest level.
Issues raised by cyclists' rights groups in the vanguard of the outcry include: Why was McGee's alcohol level not tested; why were two independent witness who say they saw McGee driving his 4WD at very high speed - estimated in excess of 160kph - at the time, not called at the trial; and why was McGee merely fined and disqualified from driving for 12 months, when the maximum sentence for failing to stop and render assistance is twelve months in jail?
Announcing the enquiry, Premier Rann said, "I have made my views known about the lack of humanity shown by Eugene McGee, the driver who killed (cyclist) Ian Humphrey and left him for dead on the side of the road." Premier Rann was referring to a previous statement in which he had said McGee showed, "the worst form of cowardice" in not stopping to help Ian Humphrey.
Seemingly lenient treatment by the courts of drivers who kill cyclists is a long-standing concern of Australian cyclists' rights groups, and the McGee case has mobilized protests this Saturday, May 7 in South Australian capital Adelaide and also in Melbourne and Sydney. The protest rides start at 9.30 at Victoria Square, Adelaide; Federation Square, Melbourne and Hyde Park Fountain, Sydney.
For more information see bicyclejustice.blogspot.com
Top Brits at Lincoln International GP
Britain's top riders will line up on May 8 for the 50th Lincoln International GP, and will have to fend off strong overseas competition to take out the second of Britain's three UCI-ranked one-day races this year.
UK riders on the start list include Olympic and world championships medalists such as Rob Hayles, Paul Manning and Chris Newton (Lincoln winner in 2000) while an obvious favourite is John Tanner, who took out April's Archer Grand Prix and won in Lincoln in 1997 and 2001. He will be looking for a third win backed up by team mates Mark Lovatt, winner in 2003 and 1996 winner Kevin Dawson.
The evergreen Malcolm Elliott, winner way back in 1983, will also race this year, alongside Julian Winn, the Downing brothers, Robin Sharman (2nd last year), Matthew Stephens and around 100 others.
From mainland Europe, the Marco Polo Racing Team and the BRC Kennemerland have been part of the Lincoln GP since 1999 and are expected to bring strong riders to the race. A new team this year is from Belgium, the Diametal Colnago squad which includes Tjarco Cuppens who competed alone last year to finish in 14th place. Irish Team Cycleways are another new team of good riders including Eugene Moriarty who has been going well in early season races.
Canada's Jet Fuel Team return after racing in Lincoln two years ago. This year's race will be their first in Europe this year before going off to Spain and Ireland for further international racing. There is also a sprinkling of riders from Latvia, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Commonwealth Games hopefuls from Wales, Scotland, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey, all hoping for good performances.
Navigators backs Westwood Classic
Organisers of the June 19 Westside Cycling Classic in Vancouver, BC, Canada have announced that Navigators Insurance will be the lead sponsor of the event which is part of the SISU BC Cup Race Series.
"Navigators Insurance has been very supportive of our fundraising efforts for the BC Cancer Foundation which fits well into the company profile and [this sponsorship] will also give Vancouver resident and Navigators Pro Cycling Team member Kirk O'Bee the extra incentive to win!" said Jonathan Wornell, event director for the race.
The Westside Classic has also picked up a $500 cash sponsorship from local beauty salon Black 2 Blond for its Cat 4 women's race, which Wornell hopes will encourage new racers to have a go.
Organizers are expecting more than 5000 spectators to line this new course which will take in Point Grey Village, The University of British Colombia and the beaches of Spanish Banks on a circuit that is designed to enable several viewing opportunities on each lap.
For more information and registration see www.teamwedgewood.com.
Second Annual Ride for Wishes
The second annual Ride for Wishes will be held on Sunday, July 17 to benefit the Make-AWish Foundation of Illinois. The event is a non-competitive trail ride on the Rock Island Trail and features a choice for trail riders and distance riders. Participants may choose to ride a distance of 10, 20, or 40 miles.
The first 150 paid registrants will receive a free t-shirt, as well as free bottled water along the trail. Wellness scans, onsite bicycle safety clinics, chair massages, and free child safety identification kits will also be available. One hundred percent of all entry fees received are used towards the fund raising goal of $5,000 for the foundation.
For more information see: www.rideforwishes.org
North Shore MTB festival and conference
From May 21 to June 5 North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will host the North Shore Credit Union World Mountain Bike Festival & Conference, a combination of racing and recreational mountain bike festival with a conference on sustainable trails, risk management, tourism and economic development in mountain biking.
The area is known as the home of the 'freeride' style of highly technical downhill mountain biking, but activities over the fortnight also include a mountain bike marathon, an enduro and corporate challenge, a gear swap and an off-road duathlon.
For more details see: www.shorebikefest.com
Sunrise Sports Cycling Team
The Sunrise Sports Cycling Team has announced its roster for 2005. Based out of Ann Arbor and Southeastern, Michigan, USA, the team will be racing throughout Michigan and the Midwest. The team is composed of USCF Category 1&2, Category 3, and Junior 16-18 Men and is associated with the Ann Arbor Velo Club, one of the largest USCF racing clubs in Michigan.
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