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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 17, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson

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).

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Big result for Pellizotti

Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) has won the 10th stage of the Giro d'Italia, the final one before the second rest day. On another uphill finish, Pellizotti timed his sprint to perfection to beat his 18 breakaway companions, with Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne) taking second ahead of Liberty's Sergey Yakovlev. Belgian Axel Merckx (Phonak) tried to replicate the feat of his countryman Rik Verbrugghe a few days ago, by attacking with 15 km to go, but was caught with just 150m left. In the overall classification, Pellizotti moved himself up from 23rd to 4th, thanks to a 3'23 gap over the main peloton at the finish.

The breakaway was established after 52km, with 16 riders going clear, being joined by five others, including Pellizotti, later: Franco Pellizotti and Charles Wegelius (Liquigas), Benoît Joachim (Discovery), Sylvain Calzati and Hubert Dupont (AG2R Prevoyance), Jose Luis Carrasco Gamiz, Vladimir Efimkin, Francisco Perez, and Joan Horrach Rippoll (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), Sergiy Matveyev (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Benoît Poilvet (Credit Agricole), Serguei Yakovlev (Liberty Seguros-Würth), Axel Merckx (Phonak Hearing Systems), Theo Eltink and Alexandr Kolobnev (Rabobank), Marco Pinotti, Angel Gomez Gomez (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Jose Serpa (Selle Italia), Giovanni Lombardi (CSC) and Alessandro Vanotti (Team Milram), and Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner).

The group gained three minutes plus on the peloton, where Lampre took control to protect the interests of Cunego. The chasers were unable to close the gap. With around 30 km to go, the break reduced in size to 19 riders, from which Merckx attacked on the descent with 15 km to go. He gained not much more than 10 seconds, which wasn't quite enough to see him reach the finish in front. Instead, it was Pellizotti with a powerful sprint to win the stage in Peschici.

See also: Stage 10 full results, report & photos and Live report.

Post-stage comments

Stage 10 of the Giro was a great day for Franco Pellizotti, as the Liquigas all-rounder said himself after the finish. His victory moves Pellizotti up for fourth on general classification, but while he's a useful climber, he is unlikely to be an overall contender once the race enters its super-steep second phase and the true steep-slope specialists take over.

After the stage, Pellizotti hinted that he will ride the second half in support of designated team leader Danilo Di Luca. "Di Luca is the leader of our team at the Giro but when's there's two of you it's always an advantage because you can come up with a better race strategy," said Pellizotti. "Now we're well placed for the second half of the Giro."

Pellizotti credited his British team-mate Charly Wegelius with helping him cross to the break, the move that set up Pellizotti's eventual victory. "I have to share victory with my team mate Charly Wegelius," said Pellizotti. "We didn't have any riders in the early breakaway and so we attacked together to catch them. There were a lot of attacks in the final part of the stage but Charly sacrificed his chances to help me. He was exceptional."

Phonak's Axel Merckx was perhaps the day's unluckiest rider. Merckx attacked with 15km to go and held the break at 10 seconds into Peschici. But the final ascent to the finish was his undoing and the Belgian was caught with 150m to go. "I tried everything to win because I knew didn't have a chance in a sprint," said Merckx. "I attacked with 15 kilometres to go, got a gap and gave it my all. It's a pity to lose like that but the strongest rider won."

Despite having four riders in the break, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears couldn't quite get their man Vladimir Efimkin across the line first. Piped to the post by Pellizotti, Efimkin was philosophical about not getting the win. "The job the team did during the whole stage was really great," he said. "It is a pity to lose the stage when we had four riders ahead but on the other hand it gives us confidence for the rest of the Giro and I am convinced we will win one because we really want and deserve it!"

With three riders in the top ten Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears won both the day's team competitions. "With a victory it would have been a perfect day!" said the team's spokesperson Pascale Schyns.

Rebellin questionable

It was one of those 'good news, bad news' days for Team Gerolsteiner Tuesday at the Giro. The good news was that Sven Krauss was rewarded for his breakaway effort with an eighth place finish. "Of course it was great to be represented in the leading group. Sven paid attention and rode a strong race," said directeur sportif Christian Henn. Unfortunately, that wasn't all the news out of the bubbling-water camp. Davide Rebellin crashed on a descent near the end of the stage. "His knee is really open. Davide must have injured himself on the guardrail," according to Henn. "We'll have to see whether he can keep on riding." Meanwhile the Italian can take advantage of the rest day to recover.

Courtesy Susan Westemeyer

Baranowski & McGee out

After a promising start to the Giro with a second place in the opening time trial, and the hope that the back problems that have plagued him recently were finally solved, Bradley McGee's troubles returned over the last few days and he dropped out of the Giro during yesterday's tenth stage.

McGee's departure was not entirely unexpected. On Monday his team manager Martial Gayant told Reuters that McGee was having difficulties and worrying about regaining fitness for the Tour de France.

"After his fall in the Criterium International (March) the pain he had in his lower back has now become a sciatic nerve injury," said Gayant. "He's not pedalling as he would normally be."

Also on the sick list is Dariusz Baranowski of Liberty Seguros-Würth. Baranowski had been suffering with gastroenteritis for the last three days and pulled out of stage 10.

Saunier Duval looks forward

Despite containing one of the race's favourites, Gilberto Simoni, the Saunier Duval team has not lit up the Giro so far. The yellow-clad Spanish squad has rarely been out of the action, but its best finish has been Leonardo Piepoli's sixth place in stage eight. The team's strategy has appeared to be to limit its losses in the first phase of the race, and keep Simoni positioned to attack in the second.

After stage 10, Simoni is in eighth overall, and three minutes and twenty seconds down on race leader Ivan Basso (CSC). Simoni's directeur sportif Pietro Algeri said in a team newsletter Tuesday that as far as he in concerned the real race starts after today's rest day.

"I believe we can do better in the second part of the Giro," said Algeri. "Saunier Duval-Prodir is a team with many young riders, so most of them don't have much experience in the grand tours. They may be tired, but we have our team in full, without having sustained injuries or suffered falls, and our motivation is up here. The second half is all for Gibo! Now that the real Giro begins, we have two clear goals in mind: grabbing a stage victory and clinching a podium spot."

CSC surprises itself in Catalunya

Fabian Cancellara (CSC)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The CSC team was somewhat surprised to find Fabian Cancellara still in the lead after the 147-kilometer second stage of the Volta a Catalunya, won by Luis Pérez (Andalucía-Paul Versan).

Finishing in 47th place with the main peloton, just 12 seconds behind Perez, was enough for Cancellara to maintain a three second lead over Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne) even though that hadn't been the team's plan.

"We didn't actually think we'd keep the lead, because there were so many steep climbs in today's stage, so we'd agreed on the fact that we weren't out to defend the jersey," said CSC directeur sportif Kim Andersen. "At one point [the break containing Perez] had 11 minutes on the rest of the peloton and everyone was just sitting there waiting for us to reel them in, but we weren't prepared to use up all our energy to do that. Then Caisse d'Epargne went after them and managed to reduce the lead to about five minutes, but they couldn't keep it up, so the gap increased again until Lampre took charge, and in the end Perez was only a few meters ahead."

Andersen thinks the team may keep the lead in Catalunya a little longer. "Wednesday's stage isn't actually that hilly, so it's not entirely impossible that Fabian is able to hang on to the jersey for one more day, he said, "but it's not something we're prepared to bust our guts for."

Liquigas for Skoda Tour

The Liquigas team has announced its line-up for the Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg, May 31 - June 4. The team will field Michael Albasini, Magnus Backstedt, Eros Capecchi, Kjella Carlstrom, Alberto Curtolo, Stefano Garzelli, Roman Kreuziger, and Luca Paolini. Current reserves are Dario Andriotto, Daniele Colli, Nicola Loda, and Marco Righetto.

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago for Circuit de Lorraine

The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team has announced its line-up for the Circuit de Lorraine, France, May 18-21. The team will field Nico Sijmens, Steven Kleynen, Jean Claude Lebeau, Sven Renders, Jean Paul Simon, and Steve Cummings.

7-Eleven reunites for Parkinson's

Riders from the 7-Eleven team that was the first American squad to make a mark on European cycling are getting together on June 16 for a charity fund-raising dinner to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the team's first Tour de France stage victory.

That victory went to sprinter Davis Phinney, who now suffers from Parkinson's disease, and so the dinner at the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club in Menlo Park CA will raise funds for the Davis Phinney Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's.

Announcer Phil "the voice of cycling" Liggett will be master of ceremonies and lead the live auction after dinner. Auction items may include an exclusive ride with biking legends, a European trip to watch the Tour de France, Giro, or Vuelta, and a custom bike built and presented by Eddy Merckx.

Members from the 7-Eleven team who plan to attend the event include Steve Bauer, Chris Carmichael, Eric Heiden, Ron Keifel, Tom Schuler, Jeff Pierce, Jim Ochowicz (team director), and of course Davis Phinney. The Davis Phinney Foundation will also begin its annual bike raffle at the event, with a road bike donated by Ben Serotta.

The dinner costs $250 per ticket, and more details are at

Amateur event adds to Philly Triple Crown

The Commerce Bank Triple Crown pro races in Pennsylvania on June 4, June 8 and June 11 will have company in the form of an amateur event on June 10, the Wissahickon Circuit Race in Philadelphia, PA.

The race is the brainchild of Robert Goldman, a senior at Chestnut Hill Academy and a rider with Club Wissahickon, who has decided in effect to revive The Liberty Open. Goldman is organizing the event as his senior year project at Chestnut Hill Academy, and as part of internship with Club Wissahickon. He hopes to make the race an annual event after.

For more information and registration see

Bracken sets new record for Ras starts

By Tommy Campbell

Will there be candles, cake and music for Colm Bracken when he lines up on Sunday May 21 for the FBD Insurance Ras? It will be Bracken's 21st appearance in the race, a new record in the 53-year-old event.

Bracken got into the sport by chance. His sporting life started in football, but the manager of his team packed it in and the team went into decline. Bracken's brother, Sean, had taken up cycling and he would watch him race in the Phoenix Park.

"I just got the bug for cycling and joined the Les Jeunes cycling club as an under-16, said Colm Bracken. "From then it was a roller coaster as far as I was concerned, particularly with the Les Jeunes boys. Noel Scanlon and Peter Purfield more or less took care of us.

"A couple of years later I rode my first Ras. In those days it was sponsored by the National Dairy Council and FBD Insurance.

"I remember it so well. Everybody thought that I would not make it back to Dublin. They were all proved wrong! It was the year of the Russian domination with Nicola Kosiakov the winner and I was part of the much trimmed down bunch that played out the final stage in O'Connell Street. Ah! Those were the days when summer was summer and the chart toppers were Duran Duran.

"Fast forward to 1992 and the Italian connection! That was some race. Wearing the Green Jersey that year for the Galway team on stage 3 from Moycullen to Ennistymon. Taking the maillot jaune the next day on stage 4. Led from the front that day only to crash 200mts from the finishing line when forks broke off new bike and finished 10th but took yellow!

"Without name dropping, who did I relieve from the weight of the jersey? No less than Giuseppe Guerini. That was some memory!"

Not many cyclists have broken through the ton barrier, but Bracken has over 100 wins and he aims to keep on cycling. In this edition of the Ras he hopes to land a stage win for his Murphy Surveyors/Woodlands Kitchens team.

As for next year? "Well I'll be a veteran, so beware my friends I am on the way!" said Bracken as he put the finishing touches to the well mowed lawn in his Dublin suburban home.

"I'll continue to cycle as It keeps me fit and healthy and I think I would get old very quick if I stopped it!" he added.

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