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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for May 5, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

Liquigas-Bianchi with Garzelli, Di Luca and Cioni

Although Mario Cipollini won't be pulling on the green colours of Liquigas-Bianchi in Reggio Calabria on Saturday, the team expects its riders to be among the main protagonists of the race.

"We will start in the Giro with a strong team, especially for the hardest stages," said team manager, Roberto Amadio. "Riders like Garzelli, Cioni, Noé, Wegelius, and Miholjevic will play an important role on the big climbs. The Tour of Romandie gave us important signs, also for the time trials. We can also count on Di Luca, the ProTour leader: several finishes will be suitable to him in the first ten stages."

Amadio named Cunego, Simoni, Basso and Garzelli as the main players in the Giro, but cautioned, "To underrate riders like Savoldelli, Scarponi, and Gonchar would be an error."

Team roster: Stefano Garzelli, Danilo Di Luca, Dario Cioni, Andrea Noé, Dario Andriotto, Patrick Calcagni, Vladimir Miholjevic, Marco Milesi, and Charly Wegelius. Stefano Zanatta and Mario Scirea will act as sports directors.

Liberty Seguros in Reggio Calabria

Eight of the nine riders on Liberty Seguros-Würth's Giro team did their first training ride on Italian soil on Wednesday. Michele Scarponi, Joseba Beloki, Koldo Gil, Giampaolo Caruso, Javier Ramirez Abeja, René Andrle, Jan Hruska and Nuno Ribeiro took advantage of the sun in the south of Italy to roll along the coast roads for three hours. The ninth member of the team, Dariusz Baranowski, arrived at 6:00pm this evening after travelling from Warsaw.

Tomorrow will be slightly more intense for the boys in blue, since besides training, the riders will have undergo the mandatory medical controls, and at 9:00pm will go to the Arena dello Stretto in Reggio Calabria to take part in the team presentation.

Italian team leader Michele Scarponi has dedicated the first part of the season to be ready for the Giro, and has not raced since Tirreno-Adriatico. "I have the desire to start already," he said after coming to the team hotel with new look short hair.

"There is no-one who knows you, you are going to make Manolo happy," his teammates joked in reference to the team manager, who always has preferred that his riders look like 'classic' cyclists.

Joseba Beloki was also satisfied to have finally arrived at the first important appointment of the year, though his expectations are different. "My aim here is to work for Michele and to be accumulating competition days for the Tour of France. I am well, but still lacking a lot to be really competitive," said Beloki.

Giro d'Italia coverage

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Riders protest against decreased prize money

The decision of RCS Sport to reduce the prize money in this year's Giro d'Italia has angered the riders, who found out on Tuesday that this would happen. In a communique signed by president Francesco Moser, the Professional Riders Association (CPA) said that it was "unacceptable" to reduce the prizes, especially after the discussions between the CPA, AIOCC (Organisers) and the UCI's CCP (Professional Cycling Council) in Liege a few weeks ago.

"The CPA, along with the ACCPI (Italian Professional Cyclists Association) will act with great resolution to safeguard the rights of the riders, who are the main protagonists of international cycling as a whole. It seems quite paradoxical that the organisation of the Giro d'Italia tries to reduce the sum intended for the riders, while the principal Italian race has recovered an international field.

First win of the year for Thor Hushovd

By Jean-François Quénet

Thor Hushovd
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

What a comeback! After a three week break in Norway, Thor Hushovd has won his first race of the year at the Four Days of Dunkirk. He outsprinted Jimmy Casper in a tight finish. "He told me afterwards that he saw me blocked near the barriers," Hushovd explained of his rival. "When he finally opened the door, I had to go around another rider. I thought I had won but the judges needed the photo finish to confirm that I was 5 centimetres ahead."

The Norwegian champion had a delayed start after a sinus operation and different goals set for the 2005 season. "Last night I was saying to myself that I raced pretty good this year but no win yet wasn't normal," he said. "I had decided to take it easy in smaller races and give 100 percent in the big ones. Finishing third in Milan-San Remo, fifth in Ghent-Wevelgem and ninth in Paris-Roubaix makes quite a good classics campaign, I believe. I'm particularly happy with the way I went in Roubaix because I got the feeling that I'll win this race one day."

Still, he was missing the feeling of winning. For the second part of the season, he has chosen to focus on a different kind of exercise than what the classics require: sprinting. "During my stay in Norway, I've done a lot of specific training for that," he underlined. "Sprint effort series were on my program. That's why I could win today, I had the speed. Coming back to races, I'd like to win one stage in every stage race that I take part in before the Tour de France. After Dunkirk, I'll do Volta Catalunya and the Dauphiné, plus the team time trial in Holland prior to the national championships."

Hushovd's trademark is now the famous green-and-white with blue cross jersey of Norwegian champion. "I'll try to keep it because everyone in Norway tells me it's so easy to recognise me now." He has paid a visit to Larvik to see the course of this year's national's. "It's quite hard," Thor said. "The uphill finish is 7 or 800 metres long with a gradient of approximately 8 percent, in the middle of the circuit there is another climb of 1.5km but less steep. It's good for me. I'm looking forward to a duel with Kurt-Asle Arvesen, and I'll have Mads Kaggestad on my side."

Another three months for Planckaert

Belgian ex-pro Jo Planckaert has received another three months ban on top of his two years suspension from the Flemish Government in Belgium. The 34 year-old had participated as co-driver in a sanctioned car rally. But as Planckaert joked to Het Nieuwsblad, "My comeback has to wait until January 14, 2007. I'm not appealing against it. On Wednesday, Chris Peers is organising a mini-football match. So I'm only allowed to watch, and not to play?"

Hoste to replace Eki?

According to Belgian Teletekst, Leif Hoste could be the rider replacing injured Viatcheslav Ekimov in the upcoming Tour de France. The Belgian is included in the pre-selection of 11 possible Tour-riders for Discovery Channel. The time trial specialist could therefore be included in the final roster. The other pre-selected riders are: Benjamin Noval, José Azevedo, Chechu Rubiera, Triki Beltran, Paolo Savoldelli, Yaroslav Popovych, George Hincapie, Pavel Padrnos, and Benoît Joachim. It is assumed that Lance Armstrong will be part of the line up.

Scharping fights for Peace race

The new president of the German Cycling Federation, former minister of Defence Rudolph Scharping has decided to take up the battle to save the Peace race, which was announced to be cancelled a few days ago. "The Peace race made millions of people come to the streets to watch - we will do anything we possibly can to maintain it," Scharping told German sports news agency sid. A mini version of the stage race is planned for as soon as autumn 2005, and the whole event is to be revived for next year in its usual form.

Scharping met with the former Peace race marketing director Jörg Strenger last Sunday at the Henninger Turn race in Frankfurt. "As soon as the Peace race 2006 has a real perspective of happening in May 2006, we'll organise a substitute for it this year in order not to interrupt the series," Strenger added. The traditional race, whose marketing rights are owned by the Czech cycling federation, has run continuously since 1948. However, Strenger had been fired from the organisation after an argument over precisely these marketing rights with race director Pavel Dolezel. Now, the former member of German parliament Scharping is to mediate between the two parties.

MTB champ Peat arrested

British rider Steve Peat, who won the first MTB Downhill World Cup round in Vigo, Spain, last Sunday, was arrested in that same city on the very same evening for vandalism on public property. Also arrested was Lee Bertrand, also a British MTB rider, as well as an unnamed 38 year-old woman of the same nationality and an unnamed 22 year-old Spaniard.

Local police intervened as the four reportedly caused damage to municipal property such as flowerbed supports in a drunken state, also smashing glass windows of a parking lot before climbing on top of parked cars, also causing damage. A witness has already allegedly recognized Steve Peat as one of the vandals, which are currently still under arrest. An expedited trial is expected soon.

Iron Hill Twilight Criterium in June

On Saturday, June 11, 2005, the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium will make its grand debut in West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA. With its narrow streets and historical architecture reminiscent of Europe, downtown West Chester will be the perfect place to host the race. The Iron Hill Twilight Criterium will consist of 50 laps of a short (0.9 mile) course through city streets for a total 45 miles. All races will start and finish in front of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, at the intersection of High and Gay Streets.

More than 125 pro men's riders are expected to take part, including members of Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel team. Over 75 Elite Women Riders will also race the challenging course.

Other Saturday races include kids races for children between 3 and 14, amateur races, a Health & Fitness Expo, along with family-oriented, Community Bike Rides on Sunday at Hoopes Park, hosted by the West Chester Cycling Club.

For more information:

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