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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for May 24, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

Giro stage 15 wrap-up

Petacchi gets another on damp day in Lissone

Alessandro Petacchi
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

After most of the sprinters exited the Giro during the weekend's mountain festivities, Fassa Bortolo's Alessandro Petacchi had a rails run to the finish in Lissone to win his third stage. After a sodden day that was shortened to 154 km because the weather, a couple of breakaway attempts by Roy Sentjens (Rabobank) and Rafaele Illiano (Colombia-Selle Italia) were reeled in by Fassa Bortolo before Petacchi's silver train regrouped at the front with 6 km to go to lead out Ale-Jet to the finish. Petacchi hit from 250 metres to go to easily win the stage from Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) and Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step).

The maglia rosa stayed firmly on Paolo Savoldelli's shoulders going into tomorrow's rest day, with Danilo Di Luca impressive at 25 seconds and Gilberto Simoni still dangerous at 1'48. Five stages to go, and anything could still happen.

Also see:

Stage 15 Full results & report
Live report
Start list
Stages & results
Stage by Stage
Past winners

Post-stage comments

By John Trevorrow in Lissone

Mark Renshaw (Francaise des Jeux, 13th): "Yeah, I had a go. A couple of guys were all mixed up in the finish. I ended up coming nowhere. It was pretty dangerous, a lot of guys taking risks. That's how it goes."

Brad Wiggins (Credit Agricole, 24th): "I was pretty wasted last night, but I didn't feel too bad today. I tried to have a go about 1.5 km out, but I was just a bit too tired to get up there by myself. It's pretty hard when they're doing 60 km/h - you've gotta be doing 65."

But you could do that for about 4km on your own? "Yeah, but not in the middle of the Giro!"

"I'm just glad to get through the weekend. It's a pretty tough time trial, that's another thing, just see how the legs are on the day. It's got a bit of a lump in it so we'll see."

Neil Stephens (Liberty Seguros PR): How are things? "Stressful. It was a bad day yesterday for Scarponi. He lost 25 minutes and he was out of the top 10. But young Giampaolo Caruso, we're very excited about his ride. He's one of the up and comers. He's moved up to about 15th place. That's great, maybe not for this year's Giro, but it looks good for future races.

What did you think of Ivan Parra, who rode for ONCE? "Yes he rode with us for a couple of seasons. He never quite performed with us. He was strong, but didn't show that talent. It's good to see it at the end of his career that he's getting it together. He must have gone back to Colombia, got his act together, and it's good to see."

"It was also good to see Matt Wilson have a bit of a crack at the end there too."

Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto, 7th) After Vogels crossed the line in seventh, he was chatting to Matt Wilson, who executed a late attack before a puncture ended it.

Henk Vogels: "Good ride Matty."

Matt Wilson: "Yeah I punctured with four kilometres to go."

Henk Vogels: "Awesome ride mate. You looked so strong out there. Without the puncture they wouldn't have caught you. I ran fifth I think. Bettini gave me a left hand hook underneath the bridge, where if you hit that bridge, you're dead. He gave me a little bit of a kwak under the bridge. I had to put the brakes on and that cost me some placings.

Allan Peiper (Lotto DS): You came fifth? Nah, Seventh.

Henk Vogels: "What? Bulls***."

Allan Peiper: "Seventh, Henk...[to Cyclingnews] Henk was good today. Great to see him up there. I talked to him this morning. It's a pity he didn't win that stage last week, it would have been great for Henk.

"He just suffered so much in the last two or three days that it was great to see him up there today. He had to stop three times on the Stelvio. Can you imagine the that? To come back from that and be in the mix is something special. For him to win, he needed to get away, and to get away you have to be pretty super with the way that Fassa train is going.

Matt White (Cofidis, 131st at 0'31): "It was great that they got rid of that first 50km. It would have been horrendous in those conditions.

"There's only one stage I could maybe do something, and that's the day after the rest day. I'll have a crack at that, and see if I can get up the road."

Trent Wilson (Selle Italia, 157th at 2'55): "I didn't have a good day. My legs really struggled. The legs have just got nothing."

Basso battles on

CSC's Ivan Basso was expected to challenge for the win in this year's Giro, but a stomach problem has curtailed his chances. Nevertheless, he finished stage 15, and was grateful for the shorter distance.

"I made it all the way to the finish and I felt much better than yesterday," Basso said on the team's website, "However, I'm still not at 100 percent, so it was good for me, the course was changed. Tomorrow's rest day is highly appreciated, and I hope to recover before we hit the mountains. I still believe I'm capable of making a big result, so that's why I continue."

Rasmussen out

Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen dropped out of the Giro d'Italia yesterday, deciding not to start stage 15 because of inflamed Achilles tendon in his left leg that has started to cause him problems in the last few days.

"I'm a bit annoyed not to be able to complete Giro d'Italia as I had planned. I have an infection in my heel that has spread to the Achilles tendon," said Rasmussen on his website,

"Now I will have to take it easy for a couple of days, and then I will take it from there. Hopefully it will not be necessary to take antibiotics. I prefer to avoid that if possible. Antibiotics might be good for the injury, but it is bad for a lot of other things. So, I'd prefer it to heal by itself without being taking any medicine," he said.

Rasmussen feels he could have finished the Giro, but that might have jeopardized the rest of his season. "It is Tour de France that matters," he said, "and there is no reason to compromise on that. Now, it might get rid of the injury in a few days. If I had gone all the way to Milan, I might have been forced to rest for a week."

Liberty Seguros looks for stages

With its designated GC rider Michele Scarponi out of contention in 28th place and over 28 minutes down, the Liberty Seguros-Würth team is now hoping for one more stage win to add to Koldo Gil's victory in stage 7.

Team manager Manolo Saiz described Monday's stage 15 as "boring" and is now waiting for the last two mountain stages. "We have lost the option of Scarponi," said Saiz in a team statement, "and what we still have is to fight for a victory in both mountain stages. We will look for a breakaway, but we know that it is very difficult, because as the Giro continues, riders that are in good form are the ones who have more chances of victory."

One rider who Saiz thinks is improving as the Giro progresses is 24-year-old Giampaolo Caruso. "On Saturday he could not stay in the breakaway, but on Sunday, nevertheless, on the second consecutive mountain stage, I saw him ride very well, fighting to be with Simoni and Di Luca."

Saiz reflected that perhaps the team had overburdened Scarponi. "We cannot forget that he is only 25 years old and maybe we have been hasty in putting so many expectations on him, because this was the first time that he came to a big tour with this responsibility."

T-Mobile targets Bavaria

Alexandre Vinokourov and Steffen Wesemann will lead the T-Mobile team for the Bayern-Rundfahrt (Tour of Bavaria) which runs Wednesday May 25 to Sunday May 29. According to the team, Vinokourov is using the five-day race as the first serious competitive test in his preparation for this year's Tour de France.

After winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege Classic, Vinokourov returned to his native Kazakhstan, to relax and then start his build-up for the Tour. He has spent the past week at a training camp on Tenerife and is ready to test himself in competition. "I am feeling good right now. Let's see if the training at an altitude of 2000m pays off."

For Wesemann, it's the start of the second phase of his season, a series of shorter stage racers. Vinokourov and Wesemann will be joined by Andreas Klöden, making his return to racing after a four-week break. But Klöden is not planning to try and match or improve on his 2004 second place in Bavaria, behind CSC's Jens Voigt.

"I am not gunning for a high GC finish," said Klöden. "I want to get race miles into my legs. But having said that, if I feel that I have the right sensations in my legs on any given day, then I will go for it."

Vinokourov, Wesemann and Klöden will be supported by Italian climber Giuseppe Guerini and Andreas Klier. The squad is rounded out by rookie pros Bas Giling and Berhard Kohl.

"We will be riding on the offensive from the get-go in the Bayern-Rundfahrt," said T-Mobile Team sporting manager Frans van Looy, who is confident that his charges are in good shape for the challenge ahead. "They have all been training well, are in good health and are highly motivated," he said.

Farrar not signing with Cofidis

The Health Net team has denied recent French reports that Tyler Farrar has signed for the Cofidis team for 2006. "I have not signed with Cofidis," Said Farrar in a team statement.

Farrar, the current U.S. U23 national time trial and criterium champion, recently finished the Ronde de l'Isard d'Ariege in France, where he won the fourth stage while riding for the U.S. U23 national team. He will rejoin his Health Net team-mates this week for the CSC invitational and the Wachovia Week races.

El Puente wants riders

El Puente, a US team that assembles composite teams for races in Central and South America, is looking for riders for several upcoming races. El Puente recently organized the nine-rider Ideal Tile Brielle Cyclery Team for the Vuelta a El Salvador and provided three riders for the local El Salvador team Bicicletas Corasario.

Now, El Puente has secured invites to four other events this summer: Clasico Cayey, August 13 to 17, Puerto Rico; Vuelta Hispaniola, Late July, 2005, Dominican Republic; Univest Gran Prix, September 13 and 14, Souderton, Pennsylvania USA; Vuelta Nicaragua, September, 2005.

Riders interested in taking part these events should see for details.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)