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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for May 6, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Seraing TT not too technical

By Anthony Tan in Seraing

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/

When Cyclingnews visited the parcours of the opening stage of the 2006 Giro d'Italia today in Seraing, domestiques of a different kind were busily working away, putting the finishing touches on what should be an exciting opening stage.

Tomorrow's 6.2 kilometre TT is just long enough not to be called a prologue - even though that's what most people are calling it! It's reasonably non-technical with few hard corners, apart from one hairpin bend, so it should suit the big-gear crunchers who love to wind it up.

Starting at the Place Communale and following the Quai Sadoire on the banks of the River Meuse for the first 1.2 kilometres, heading south, riders then make a quick left, right, left before continuing along the Chaussée de la Troque (km 2.7) and Boulevard Pasteur (km 3.1).

After 600 metres of 'Pasteurising', it's time for a hairpin turn 100 metres before the 4 kilometre checkpoint, which takes the rider onto the Boulevard Galilée (km 4.2), through the Place de la Bergerie (km 4.8) and an easy left onto the Rue de Bas-Sarts (km 5.7), before a 500 metre finishing stretch on the Rue du Val St. Lambert.

As they say in Italy, 'Andiamo, vai, vai!'

Petacchi ready for Giro start

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

On Friday, one day prior to the start of the 89th Giro d'Italia, Alessandro Petacchi and his Milram team have taken to the roads of Southern Belgium for a four hour-training ride in bright sunshine. They covered 130 kilometres, took on two climbs as well as the last 35 kilometres of stage two on Sunday, May 7, and the finish of the following day in Namur on Monday. The Italian sprinter now knows his plan for the coming days.

"Tomorrow, I'll do the prologue flat out," Petacchi said after his massage. "I'll be satisfied if I finish 30 seconds behind the winner. Then, on Sunday, there will be the first possibility of a sprint in this Giro. The route is hilly in the first part like always, but I think a bunch finish is possible."

No doubt that the Milram train will get into bigger gear for Petacchi if he feels good. However, stage three on Monday will not be a target. "Stage three will be very hard. In my opinion, we will see the classification guys in front, as well as some outsiders like Bettini. We will have to accelerate again after every curve, and the pavé sections won't help. But my condition is very good and I intend to use in every opportunity that will come up in this first part of the Giro."

Liberty's Caruso up for his second Giro

Giampaolo Caruso (Liberty) leading a breakaway in the 2006 Tirreno-Adriatico
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Liberty Seguros-Würth, like other teams, has been reconnoitring the prologue course on the day prior to the Giro d'Italia's opening stage. Giampaolo Caruso will take the start of his second Giro full of ambition, having trained more than ever and visited all the mountain stages of the race. Caruso said that it will be the hardest Giro of recent years, even though he has only participated in the event once before.

"Yes, but I know the Giro well because in Italy this race is the most important and we all follow it very much," he said. "Watching it on TV, I have always tried to picture myself in the middle of the pack to know it best." For this year's quest of the maglia rosa however, the Italian also got acquainted with the parcours in reality. "I know all the important stages: Monte Catria, Mortirolo, Plan de Corones, San Pellegrino and Mount Bondone," Caruso continued. "I didn't need to see the second time trial, because is in Tuscany and I have trained enough in the area."

The Liberty Seguros rider has prepared for many kilometres of climbing. "Last year, there were about 22,000 meters if altitude difference to master during the race, but this year there are approximately 26,000 meters," Caruso added. "In the Mortirolo stage alone, there will be 5,000 meters, which is tremendous. Plan de Corones will be the Queen stage, but I believe that more differences will be made in the Mortirolo and the San Pellegrino. The whole world is afraid of the Plan de Corones, but I believe that there, using a gear like 34x29, it won't be possible to make many differences. It reminds me of the year with the Zoncolan, when they prepared a mountain bike for Cipollini to climb it. It may well be that a sprinter will end up doing the same thing this year." Therefore, Caruso said, the Giro was going to be a pure climbers' game.

"There are two time trials and Basso brings a great team for the team time trial, but a climber can change everything in the last week," he said. "Last year we already saw that if there had been one more day of mountains, the victory would have gone to Simoni instead of Savoldelli." Caruso sees Gilberto Simoni as being the climber best suited for the race. "Simoni is the one with most experience - he knows each kilometre of the race and is the bravest on the bike. I believe that the winner will be the one who can suffer most, and Simoni has already demonstrated that he may lose a little time but he never fails."

As for himself, Caruso will be at the service of team leader Michele Scarponi, but still aims at a good GC placing. "My objective is to improve my placing of last year (16th)," he added. "I will try to finish in Top 10 and if there is a possibility of wining a stage, I will of course go for it. But I know that talking is easy now; it won't be the same in a couple of weeks!"

Asked who he would like to resemble, Caruso replied," Pantani. If he was here still, they could give him the pink jersey already before the start and everything would be easier."

Radio show for Di Luca

Liquigas' Danilo Di Luca will be the 'special correspondent' of Play Radio throughout the Giro d'Italia. The radio station, official partner of the Giro, will broadcast two daily updates of Di Luca each day - one before the start and one after the finish of the stage. "This opportunity is very appealing to me and I’m curious about it," Di Luca said. "I know that there will be days during this Giro when I will have to focus entirely on the race. In those moments, the daily updates will demanding. However, thanks to Play Radio, I will get deeply in touch with my public. My friends know how important it is for me to be in contact with the public."

Geslin breaks collarbone

World Championships bronze medallist Anthony Geslin went down in a crash in Thursday's stage of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque in France, breaking his left collarbone. The crash occurred on the pavé sector of Haveluy, 2400 metres long.

"They were pushing and shoving on the pavé, and Anthony went down badly," Bouygues Telecom team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau explained. Geslin was taken to a hospital in Denain on Thursday and flown back to Nantes on the following day to receive surgery. "He's calm - he still has the Tour in his head," added Bernaudeau, who thinks that the healing process will take between three weeks and one month and a half but pointed out that his rider will be able to do train on the rollers.

In the same crash, Luca Ascani and Rino Zampilli (both Naturino-Sapore di Mare) also went down. Ascani also suffered a fractured humerus (shoulder), while his teammate has wrist and knee traumas.

Hoste recons World's TT course

A small Belgian delegation including Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel), Nick Nuyens (Quick Step), U23 riders Dominique Cornu and Greg Van Avermaet, as well as Sharon Van Dromme, Ann Van Rie and national coach Carlo Bomans went to Salzburg to see the parcours of this year's World Championships. Hoste, who took the national time trial title in 2001, wants to concentrate solely on the race against the clock.

"I won't ride any Grand Tours like the Tour or Vuelta this year anymore," Hoste said. "I'll use the Tour de Suisse and the Deutschland Tour to prepare a 100 percent for the World's time trial." But the Belgian finally found a tough course to take on in September. "I'm of the same opinion as our coach: Salzburg will be the hardest World's time trial in history," he continued. "It's constantly up and down, and then there will be the wind. There are no possibilities to recuperate. But the parcours should suit me, because I prefer short climbs to long flats."

Whether Hoste will also participate in the road race remains to be seen. "We shall see if they need me and if I fit into the concept around Tom Boonen," he added. Meanwhile, Nick Nuyens is already on the list to line up in the road event in Salzburg. "There has been a lot of speculation about the World's course lately," he said. "Now, I could see for myself. The course remains hard to categorize, because it's still far from the last climb to the finish. However, it should be a good parcours for my teammate Tom Boonen, even if the loop also seems made for outsiders - there could also be a surprise winner."

World Deaf Cycling Champs include Points race

The 2006 World Deaf Cycling Championships have announced a supporting 40 km points race held on June 22. Presented by Sterling Sports Group for Categories 1/2/3, the prize will be $1,000 cash, possibly more. "Thanks to generous sponsorships and partnerships, we are able to involve the Northern California 's best track racers," said Robin Horwitz. "This is a director's dream. Because this event may not happen again in USA for 20, maybe 30 years, I want as many fans to have a chance to see the Northern California's best track racers."

"This is truly a fantastic opportunity for the local riders to start riding on Thursday Evening Points Race and get themselves into shape for what is turning out to be one of the biggest events of 2006," remarked Larry Nolan, promoter for the Thursday Evening Points Race at Hellyer Park Velodrome.

There will be 10km (30 laps) heats before the 40km (120 laps) main race allowing the racers to move up to the main event. Up to 72 spots will be available for 20 dollars entry fee each spot.

This race will be a supporting race to the World Deaf Cycling Championships 40 km race with participants from countries such as Russia, Australia, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, France, Italy, Slovakia, New Zealand, and Canada. More information can be found on www.usdeafsports.org/2006cycling.

Fantasy Giro Grand Prize announced!

Maxxis Courchevels
Photo ©: Maxxis
(Click for larger image)
HED Stinger wheels
Photo ©: HED
(Click for larger image)

The Grand Prize in the 2006 Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game will be a brand-new Bianchi bicycle from the legendary Italian firm of Treviglio. The bike is fitted with a Campagnolo Mirage groupset and painted in the same colours as Liquigas, the ProTour team of Danilo Di Luca. A complete description and specifications on the Bianchi will be announced soon.

It's not too late to join in the fun at this year's Fantasy Giro game at Cyclingnews. You can join until stage 6 begins and there is no disadvantage in joining after the Tour has begun. You have until May 12th to fine tune your teams for the Giro. We have loads of prizes on offer this year. Here a sample of some of the most recent additions:

- Hed is offering a pair of Stinger wheels! The Stinger 50 is pure breed all carbon road racing wheelset that retails for USD $1090 and weighs in at 1400 grams.

- Maxxis is providing 10 sets of its Courchevel Tyres for this year's Giro.

In addition Speedplay, Fizik and Giro are offering the same as they did in the Spring Classics games.

Play for FREE in the Giro 2006 game

Remember you can play for free for the first 5 stages! Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Giro start list. Then each day pick 9 riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters and general classification riders. For more details go to rules section of the site for more info. It's a great way to follow the Giro 2006.

To register your teams for the game go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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