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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for May 24, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson and Jeff Jones

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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Stage 16 wrap-up: A peachy shade of pink for Basso

CSC's superhero extends lead in style

Ivan Basso says, 'That's gold!'
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Another Giro mountaintop finish has resulted in more time gains for race leader Ivan Basso (CSC) after the Italian attacked with seven kilometres remaining and surged ahead to win the stage atop Monte Bondone. The win extends his lead in the general classification to 5'24 over second-placed José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak). Once again it was Basso's great display of rhythmic, powerful climbing that placed him well above anyone else and shores up his status as race winner, barring injury or any other misfortune.

Earlier in the day, Colombia's Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) decided he'd fly the coop after 37 kilometres of racing, staying out front until he was caught with some 21 kilometres to go. It was then time for CSC to kick into action, with the likes of Julich, Voigt and Sastre working some big turns to get Basso into position for a late-stage surge.

And Basso didn't disappoint, taking his GC rivals along for the ride up the slopes of Monte Bondone after catching Rubiano - Cunego, Di Luca, Savoldelli and Simoni were all there and doing their best to keep pace with CSC's superman - but in the end it was the 28-year-old Italian who showed that he's simply the best in 2006 with an attack that left Simoni et al in the dust to win the stage, all done with a poker face and scarce signs of any extra effort. Simoni rolled in for second, 1'27 in arrears with Saunier Duval stablemate Piepoli finishing the day in third, 1'38 behind Basso.

See also: Stage 16 full results, report & photos and Live report.

Scott Sunderland's Giro diary

Cut and dried

Ivan Basso glides through
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

It was a welcome day for the team yesterday that the three sprinters' teams were willing to do all the work in the stage. That allowed us to sit a little bit quiet in the bunch. It was still a long day yesterday, especially on the back of the couple of big mountain days. We did see that everyone had recuperated well though.

There's not a hell of a lot to say about today: it was pretty cut and dried. We were lucky with the weather. It stayed dry until just after the finish, then there was a lot of wind and rain, and it got really nasty.

It was calm at the beginning, and I think everyone was a bit daunted by the coming stages. I think it was 40 km before the first attack went, then the boys got on the front and started riding a nice little tempo. Sometimes a Saunier Duval rider was up there, and that is what we more or less expected. At the team meeting in the morning, Bjarne Riis said that Simoni would try to win this stage, as he's from the area and he needed to start his assault on a podium place.

As it turned out, that's more or less how it went. The boys did a fantastic job to the bottom of the climb, then kept the tempo up. Simoni and Piepoli were aggressive. They wanted to make the race hard, we knew it beforehand. Then when we saw Cunego and Savoldelli lose contact, for Simoni that was the signal to give full gas, which he did do. Ivan needed to wait a bit and see what was happening, then it was time to go. He went on, by himself, and was very strong at the finish. He was very calm and alert. And he went onto the victory. This is a definite confidence booster to himself and the team.

Click here for the full entry

Spanish federation denies involvement in Saiz arrest

The Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) has denied any involvement in the police investigations that led to the arrest yesterday of Liberty Seguros team director Manolo Saiz and team doctor Eufemiano Fuentes Rodríguez among others.

RFEC spokesman Luis Roman denied reports that the organisation had launched an investigation into Liberty Seguros or filed a complaint against Saiz or Fuentes, according to The RFEC said that it had learned about the arrests through mass media reports.

Water-carriers battle in the Giro

Cycling is traditionally divided into stars and water-carriers and while battle rages at the top of the Giro d'Italia rankings between stars such as Ivan Basso, José Gutierrez and Paolo Savoldelli, a literal contest among water-carriers has been going on further back.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport Quick-Step's José Antonio Garrido recently set a new record by carrying 16 water bottles simultaneously from the team car to his team-mates. With one bottle in his mouth, two in the cages on the bike, two in his pockets, six under the front of his jersey, and five under the back, Garrido lugged over five litres of water to his team-mates.

In yesterday's stage, Fabio Sacchi (Milram) beat Garrido's record by carrying 18 water bottles simultaneously, but Garrido thinks he can beat the Italian. "I've already done a test, and think I can manage 20 bottles," he said.

There's more than just bragging rights at stake too. At the end of the Giro on Sunday, Italian cycling legend Francesco Moser will present a prize to the man who manages to carry the most bottles: a bottle of wine for each of the bottles carried. "It will be a kind of miracle: water will be turned into wine!" said Moser.

Courtesy Michele Lostia

Baby Giro returns

The route of the 35th edition of the under-26 Giro d'Italia was presented yesterday, heralding the return of one of the calendar's most important races for younger riders after its absence last year.

The 'baby Giro' The Giro will start June 9 from Caserta, and finish on June 18 in Bolzano. Riders will cover 1,251.5 kilometres in tend days of racing along the Italian peninsula on what organisers describe as "a very exacting and technical route, that will give prominence to the most promising riders of the world."

The race will begin with an 8.5 kilometre individual time trial that will be almost completely uphill, rising 189 metres in the first 3.7km. Over the course of the race riders will face 11,700 metres of climbing, 2,900m of them in the second-last stage, 121 kilometres from Marostica to Alpe di Pampeago including the climb of the Passo Manghen. This is expected to be the decisive stage.

Twenty-two Italian teams will take part, plus national teams from Great Britain, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany, and major non-Italian teams such as Lapomme and RC Pesant from Belgium.

Organiser Carmine Castellano said, "The Giro Under is considered a launching pad for riders who appear for the first time among cycling's greats. We believe that also this year expectations will not be betrayed."


Stage 1 - June 9: Caserta - Caserta ITT, 8.5 km
Stage 2 - June 10: Maddaloni - San Bartolomeo In Galdo, 134 km
Stage 3 - June 11: Sant'Elena Sannita - Castelpetroso (Santuario Mad. Addolorata), 119 km
Stage 4 - June 12: Isernia - Celano, 165 km
Stage 5 - June 13: Ovindoli - Ortezzano, 186 km
Stage 6 - June 14: Morrovalle - Potenza Picena, 126 km
Stage 7 - June 15: Montegrotto Terme - Vittorio Veneto, 114 km
Stage 8 - June 16: Vittorio Veneto - Marostica, 151 km
Stage 9 - June 17: Marostica - Alpe Di Pampeago, 121 km
Stage 10 - June 18: Bolzano - Bolzano, 127 km

Escobar in doubt for Euskal after crash

Top Spanish track rider Sergi Escobar is in doubt for the Euskal Bizikleta, May 31-June 4, after being hit by a motorbike while training on Monday. Escobar was not seriously injured, but was sufficiently banged around by the impact that he may not be able to lead his Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia team in the Basque race.

"I was doing a series of intervals, so at times I was riding at 50km/h, when a motorcyclist pulled pulled out without seeing me," said Escobar. "It was impossible to avoid it, and the impact was brutal."

Escobar was targeting the Spanish time trial championship at the end of June, but, he said "this accident upsets everything. Nevertheless, if I do not make the Euskal Bizikleta, I will have two other options, the G.P. Correios, in Portugal, and the Asturian Tour."

Cheula won with self-confidence

Giampaolo Cheula of Barloworld won the Peace Race last weekend, only his fourth pro win and his first since 2002. "I am very happy," he said. "That is the best result of my career. I came here to win. And as everything went so well in the middle of the race, I noted that I could do it, because I was very self-confident and had a super team behind me." Was the sorry to have ridden the Peace Race instead of the Giro d'Italia? "No, because I wouldn't have had any chance at the Giro. I wouldn't even win a stage there. I'm too small, my body wouldn't help me there. But it looks better in the Tour de France. I could win a stage there. It is my dream to ride there."

Cheula, who turns 27 today, said that he was positively impressed by the Peace Race, which he rode for the first time, and by the fans. "Germany has the best fans that there are. They respect the riders. Unfortunately the weather was bad the whole time. Almost always rain, a strong wind, I don't like that at all. At my home in Italy it was 30 degrees!"

Courtesy Susan Westemeyer

Barloworld for Volta ao Alentejo

After the team's success with Giampaolo Cheula in last week's Peace race, the Barloworld team will start Portugal's Volta ao Alentejo (May 24-28) with what the team describes as a very competitive squad. Under directeur sportif Alberto Volpi, the team will field Alexander Efimkin, Hugo Sabido, Mauro Facci, Diego Caccia, Tom Southam, James Perry, Giosuè Bonomi and Enrico Degano.

"All our riders are really motivated," said Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti. "We wish to collect other good results in order to confirm our increase in success."

After the Volta ao Alentejo, Barloworld will race the G.P. Llodio, May 28 and Euskal Bizikleta, May 31-June 4.

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago for Tour of Belgium

The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team has announced its line-up for the Tour of Belgium, May 24-28. Under the direction of Claude Criquielion, the team will field Jean-Paul Simon, Steven Kleynen, Fréderic Amorison, Kevin Neirynck, Johan Verstrepen, Sven Renders, Jurgen Van Loocke, and Nico Sijmens.

AG2R Prévoyance for Tour de Vendée

Simon Gerrans will step into the cleats of Philip Deignan for the Tour de Vendée, France, May 25. Deignan has not fully recovered from an illness contracted at the beginning of the month.

Gerrans will be accompanied by Julien Loubet, Lloyd Mondory, David Navas, Erki Putsep, Christophe Riblon, Stéphane Goubert, and Ludovic Turpin.

Australian team for junior road world's

Cycling Australia has announced the team of young riders that will travel to Belgium for the Junior Road Cycling World Championships, August 10-13. The nine-rider roster comprises:

Tiffany Cromwell (Upper Sturt, SA - 06.07.88)
William Ford (Ararat, VIC - 26.03.88)
Matt King (Winnellie, NT - 17.08.88)
Cameron Meyer (Helena Valley, WA - 11.01.88)
Angus Morton (Wauchope, NSW - 11.07.88)
Peta Mullens (Traralgon, VIC - 08.03.88)
Grace Sulzberger (Flowery Gully, TAS - 18.12.88)
Josephine Tomic (Perth, WA - 09.06.89)
Nicholas Walker (Ivanhoe, VIC - 13.09.88)

Nicole Freedman retires

Nicole Freedman, 2000 Olympian and twice US national champion, has announced her retirement from racing. Freedman turned pro in 1994, and over her 12-year career won more than 40 US NRC races, and was a member of the first all-women team to take part in the Race Across America.

Known for her sharp, self-deprecating wit - which she brought to her occasional diary on Cyclingnews - Freedman was also active behind the scenes in running teams such as Odwalla, Treo, Schwab and most recently Ford-Basis. Her decision to retire came about because, she said, she was offered her dream job.

"I was working part-time for the City of Boston to look at plans to bring a citywide cycling festival," said Freedman. "My boss asked me if I would go full time. I said 'no.' He asked a month later and it occurred to me, 'what am I waiting for? This is exactly what I want to do going forward, I better jump on this opportunity while I have it!'"

Changes to UK Premier Calendar

British Cycling has announced changes to the UK Premier Calendar, the country's elite road racing series. Two events, the Five Valleys Road Race and the Havant Grand Prix, have been cancelled because of organisational difficulties.

The Havant Grand Prix will be replaced by the previously postponed Tour of Pendle on August 13. The Tour of Pendle will be the seventh counting event in the Premier Calendar series and will be followed one week later by the final series event, the Tour of the Peak.

British Cycling's competition and events manager, Jonny Clay, said, "Although the loss of these events is disappointing for all concerned, it is in the nature of promoting at this level that problems are encountered from time to time. We are very pleased that the earlier postponed Tour of Pendle will fill one of the newly vacated dates."

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