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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for May 28, 2006

Edited by 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).

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

Stage 20 wrap-up: Basso shows who's boss

Ivan Basso holds aloft
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Ivan Basso (CSC) has given the rest of the riders in the Giro d'Italia another schooling with a powerful exhibition of climbing to win the 20th and final hard stage in Aprica. Attacking with Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval) on the Mortirolo, Basso rode clear of everyone close to him on GC, then upped the tempo with 3 km to go on the final climb to finish alone ahead of a disappointed Gibo. In third place, already 2'51 behind, was Damiano Cunego, who crossed together with José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak). Savoldelli and Piepoli were fifth and sixth at 6'03, meaning Savoldelli lost fourth on GC to Cunego.

In the overall classification, there were some changes to the top 10, but not to the podium. Simoni needed another climb and better to jump past Gutierrez for second, while Basso extended his advantage over Gutierrez to an impressive 9'18.

The 20th stage was unusual in that it didn't see a big breakaway get clear. Instead, CSC and Saunier Duval kept a tight control over the race and prevented anyone from getting more than a minute. Juan Manuel Garate was first to the top of the 'Cima Coppi', the Passo di Gavia, followed by Serpa (Selle Italia), Lopez (Euskaltel) and Vila (Lampre), but all were caught on the descent and it was a small peloton that reached the foot of the Mortirolo with 45 km to go. Volodomir Gustov set a hard tempo to blow the group apart, until only Basso and Simoni were left. The two had over a minute on Cunego and Gutierrez at the summit, and although they pegged it back to 45 seconds on the descent, the final 15 km up to Aprica saw the gaps increase. Any chance of a gift stage win from Basso to Simoni disappeared when Basso showed his strength in the final kilometres.

See also: Stage 20 full results, report & photos and Live report.

Cunego's post-Giro program

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) secured his fourth place in the general classification today after finishing third in the final mountain stage today, 2'51 behind impressive winner Ivan Basso. Cunego, like Simoni, has progressed steadily in the final week of the Giro, but fell short of the podium.

Next week, Cunego will be in action in the post-Giro criteriums in Italy. On Monday, May 29, he will race in Carate Brianza, then do the criterium in Broni on May 30, Arona on June 1, and the Mottarone uphill time trial on June 2, followed by the "tipo pista" in Turin that same evening.

Fuentes released on bail

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was released from prison in Madrid at approximately 20:30 on Saturday evening, after paying bail of €120,000 imposed on him by a Madrid judge. Fuentes is a key figure in a doping investigation "Operacion Puerto" that exploded last Tuesday with the arrests of five people. All five have now been released, pending court appearances: Fuentes, Jose Luis Merino (in charge of a laboratory in Madrid), Alberto Leon (former pro mountain biker), Jose Ignacio Labarta (Comunidad Valenciana assistant director), and Manolo Saiz (manager of the team formerly known as Liberty Seguros).

Fuentes' lawyer, Julian Perez, explained that the family and friends of his client, who is accused of a crime against public health, moved from the Canary Islands to contribute money for his bail sum.

Belda calm

The directeur sportif of Comunidad Valenciana, Vicente Belda, held a press conference in Valencia to discuss the implications of "Operacion Puerto", which has implicated a member of his staff, Ignacio Labarta.

"We respect the law, but we also respect Labarta, and for that reason, we sent a message of support to him." At the same time, Belda admitted that "we have relieved him of his duties until the he explains to the judge what happened."

Belda put Comunidad Valenciana at the disposition of the Spanish Civil Guard, the UCI and the State Sports Council, "so that one thing is verified that we know very clearly: that none of those bags of blood are ours. We are clean of any wrongdoing and that is the reason that I telling all the members of the community and the team that we are very calm and I want to send this message: we are at the disposition of the authorities and have nothing to hide."

Active Bay continues the team

Active Bay, the management company of Manolo Saiz' team, issued a statement today clarifying the team's future. "Liberty Seguros and Active Bay, the managing company of the cycling team of the same name, have reached an agreement today on the terms of the resolution of the sponsorship contract maintained up until now. The agreement includes Liberty Seguros's commitment to assume, when necessary, the financial obligations derived from the contracts with riders."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Sastre extends with CSC

Spanish rider Carlos Sastre has extended his contract with Team CSC for another two years until the end of 2008. Sastre joined the team in 2002, and wants to stay. "There's no doubt in my mind where I belong and I'm very happy that Bjarne and I have come to an agreement about extending my contract," Sastre said on team-csc.com. "It's not really about the money for me, but about feeling totally comfortable with my teammates and all the staff behind the team. This is where I can fulfil my ambitions and at the same time lend a hand, when one of my teammates has the opportunity to win. For me it comes naturally to assist Ivan or one of the others, and then get the chance myself at some other point and receive all the support I need. I couldn't see myself on another team so the extension is definitely the right thing for me and my future."

Sastre is a top quality rider, winning a stage in the Tour de France and finishing second in last year's Vuelta a España. This year, he won the Klasika Primavera in Spring.

"Carlos is a world class rider in all respects. He has the potential to win one of the great stage races himself, and at the same time he's willing to sacrifice his own ambitions like he's done for Ivan this year in the Giro," said Bjarne Riis. "In my opinion there is no other rider with his class, when it comes to that. Carlos is vital to the team in the races as well as socially and it pleases me, that we've got him for another two years."

Mount-Mégantic returns for Tour de Beauce

The organisers of the Tour de Beauce in Canada from June 13-18 have announced the details of the 21st edition of the race. Although several stages will be similar to last year, there have also been a few modifications made, including the return of the tough Mount Mégantic stage.

The opening stage on Tuesday, June 13, will be 155 km starting and finishing in Lake Etchemin, travelling around the north of the Bellechasse area. On Wednesday June 14, the Saint-Joseph/Saint-Joseph stage will return for the third year in a row. This stage is considered very difficult one over 180 kilometres, through the many hills in municipalities such as Beauceville, Saint-Severin, Scott, Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Odilon.

On the following day, the riders will have to tackle the formidable climb of Mount Mégantic at the end of the 153 km stage that starts in Saint-George. The finishing climb will take the riders to the top of the highest paved road in Quebec.

Friday, June 16 will be very important for the riders, with two stages on the menu. In the morning, there will be a 15 km individual time trial in Saint-Jean-de-la-Lande. In the evening, the whole population is invited to the criterium which will be held in the downtown area of Saint-George. The riders will do 40 laps of 1.5 kilometres, starting at 6:00pm.

The weekend's stages will be essentially the same as last year, with the Ville de Quebec hosting stage 5 on Saturday, June 17, close to the Parc de la Francophonie, on Grande-Allée. A somewhat modified urban circuit of 12.5 kilometres will lead the cyclists to down the Côte de l'Église and skirt the river on the Champlain boulevard, before attacking the côte Gilmore 10 times.

The last stage on Sunday will be the now traditional urban circuit of 12 laps of 11 km in the middle of Saint-George.

21 teams, comprising nearly 150 riders, are expected to take part in the 21st Tour de Beauce. There will be several teams from Canada, including Symmetrics, with Svein Tuft (2nd last year) and Brandon Crichton, best young rider in 2005; Italpasta-Ontario; Volkswagen-Trek, Team Québec, and the Canadian National team with Dominique Rollin, winner of stage two last year. Team Garneau-Optik, with rising star David Veilleux, and Montreal based Calyon-Litespeed will take the start for the first time in Beauce.

The United States are sending five teams this year: Continental pro team Navigators Insurance, TIAA-CREF with Canadian road champion François Parisien, Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity, team Priority Health and team Fiordifruitta.

Amongst the foreign teams Australia will be well represented with two teams: SouthAustralia.com and FRF Couriers/Caravello. British team DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed will be the only returning international team from 2005 edition. Mexican team Tecos-Trek will be back after a two year absence. Team Sparkasse from Germany, Murphy & Gunn/Newlyn Group from Ireland and national teams from New Zealand and the Netherlands will complete the peloton.

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