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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for February 6, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Reactions from Pantani film

Actor Rolando Ravello during filming
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Last night, all of Italy was treated to special gift, the TV debut of new film Il Pirata-Marco Pantani. Italian broadcaster Rai Uno aired the film by Producer Bibi Ballandi and Director Claudio Bonivento, which was greeted with praise by those who knew Pantani best.

Giuseppe Martinelli, Director Sportif of Pantani for 11 years, watched the film with his Lampre-Fondital team at its training camp. "I saw the film with [Damiano] Cunego and the other boys on my team, and the atmosphere was surreal," he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The interpretation was very realistic and done exactly. But I would have liked to have more scenes when he was a baby boy with dark curly hair." The film opened with images of Pantani when he received his first bike from his Grandpa, and started to appreciate the joys of two wheels.

"On the other hand this was a sad story that left me a bitter taste in my mouth. I hope that those who loved Pantani also liked the film."

Discovering Pantani in those days when he was riding around on his newly gifted bike was Giuseppe Roncucci. The Romagnolo started working with Marco at 11 years-old, convincing him to join his racing club.

"It was short. [The film] starts and ends. For us it was a lifetime, that seems like it has not yet ended," remarked 71 year-old Pino, who was portrayed by Italian Omero Antonutti in the film. "Antonutti is a great actor. We had talked a long time. He asked me for advice and I said 'I don't know, you are the artist.'"

The parents of Pantani, Tonina and Paolo, had already seen the film during its initial screening but last night was a time for them to reflect on their son’s life. "The other day when we watched the film for the first time, together with the director Claudio Bonivento and actor Rolando Ravello, we were very emotional; we were hit and overwhelmed; it was hard," said Pantani's mom.

"There were a lot of similarities," said Paolo, who did object to some scenes. "Marco as a baby, Marco in the gruppo and no one could drop him, Marco who raced and at every chance attacked. He had a special relationship with his grandpa Sotero. He searched for my partnership because he feared his mom would be upset with him. I was his dad, but also his friend."

Tonina and Paolo keep Marco's memory alive with a special school, Pantani Corse. It is a team based in Forlì that consists of 40 children. "Marco had entered into a tunnel but out of that are [these] 40 children of Pantani Corse. ... Tonina and I, every Saturday and Sunday, go to see them race."

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the film was watched by 5,571,000 spectators, or approximately 20.97% audience shares.

Arvesen breaks thumb but avoids getting run over

By Susan Westemeyer

Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC)
Photo ©: Ulrik Møberg
(Click for larger image)

Most people in California were watching the Super Bowl football game Sunday, but not the Team CSC riders who are already in the Golden State preparing for the Tour of California. But at least one rider might have preferred to spend the afternoon in front of the television, instead of being out on the road, all too literally. Kurt-Asle Arvesen had a very narrow escape, and considers himself lucky to have come away with only a broken thumb.

"After a long descent we made a turn into a fairly busy road and I hadn't noticed the fact that there was quite a lot of gravel at the side. I was next to [Carlos] Sastre and didn't have time to manoeuvre when the warning came from up ahead. I lost control of my bike and rolled around a couple of times," he said on the team's website, "When I got back on my feet the first thing I saw was the hood of a car and I heard the sound of screeching breaks right in front of me. You could say I had a pretty lucky escape really."

The cast on his arm is keeping the Norwegian rider from training with the team, but he is still doing his best to keep in shape. "I'm going to do some time on my turbo-trainer indoors today and then we'll have to see how long till I can join the others again. The cast is all the way up to my elbow, but hopefully I should still be able to keep training – indoors to start off with. I'm definitely not going to sit still that's for sure!"

Petacchi satisfied with Qatar

By Susan Westemeyer

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

Alessandro Petacchi is satisfied with his first race of the season, the Tour of Qatar. "I felt good during the whole race and got my self-confidence back. That is the most important thing."

On the team's website,, he said that "it was a good feeling" to be able to finish the Tour. Making it through all the stages "after all the bad luck of last season it gives me the feeling that I am finally back."

He didn't win any stages in the race, but couldn't complain about the support he got from his teammates. "I never doubted my team's support. They are all very strong. They prepared my sprints well so that I came in second in three stages. So I think they did their job well."

The Italian sprinter particularly praised newcomer Marcel Sieberg. "Marcel is still young but he has already shown that he has lots of possibilities."

Petacchi also paid tribute to rival Tom Boonen, saying that right now he is "more explosive than I am. I haven't ridden any real sprints in nearly nine months. I have to get used to it again." He added, "I have to get back the self-confidence that makes it possible for me to start the sprint at the right moment, and I have to be have the power that makes that possible. I think that the more races I ride, the more of those qualities I will have."

Milram for Trofeo Mallorca

Italian-German team Milram will send 10 riders to the five-day Trofeo Mallorca. The race is unique in that teams can switch out its riders from day to day. The format provides ample opportunity for teams to test their different men after a long winter of training.

Milram for Mallorca: Erik Zabel (Ger - 07/07/1970), Enrico Poitschke (Ger - 25/08/1969), Matej Jurco (Svk - 08/08/1984), Niki Terpstra (Ned - 18/05/1984), Björn Schröder (Ger - 27/10/1980), Marcel Sieberg (Ger - 30/04/1982), Sebastian Siedler (Ger - 18/01/1978), Sebastian Schwager (Ger - 04/01/1984), Martin Müller (Swi - 05/05/1984) and Dennis Haueisen (Ger - 13/09/1978)

Aussie Track: Bayley in sprint and Meares keeps record intact

Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion, Ryan Bayley, 24, picked up his second ever senior national crown tonight when he won the sprint at the Australian Track Cycling Championships at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome. In a repeat of the 2003 final, Bayley lined up against Victorian Mark French, 22, who despite posting the fastest 200m qualifying time was no match for the experience of the West Australian champion who claimed the gold in two straight in the best of three heats.

"I think I've raced more races than him," said Bayley who admits his qualifying time of 10.400 seconds, more than a tenth of a second slower than French gave the Victorian the edge on paper. "Speed wise I don't have much speed at the moment but I have a lot of horsepower and determination ..."

Bayley led out from the bell in the first heat and opened up a big gap on his rival. "I've noticed with a lot of sprinters that if you beat them once you've beaten them, but with me if you beat me once you're in a lot of trouble," explained Bayley.

French agreed that lining up against Bayley can be intimidating. "He took me for a ride and I can't explain how frustrating it is," said French. "It's a bit of a confidence thing you have to get over when you're racing Ryan and I think he's already one up when you go to the line.

"Hard to get the right tactics against him and definitely after the first one the thought of having to race him three times - it doesn't appeal too much," said French. "I was trying to get to the front but there was no door to open and it's one of the frustrating things with racing him and in that last one he took me for a ride."

Anna Meares one step closer

Queensland star Anna Meares, who last night won the sprint title, moved another event closer to her goal of a gold medal clean sweep in the women's sprint events when she paired with sister Kerrie to win the women's teams sprint. The Meares pair posted a new Australian best time of 34.553 seconds to win gold.

The duo continued Queensland's unbeaten run of victory in the event which was introduced in 2002 and in which a Meares sister has figured every year, both for four of the six wins.

"It's really special for the Queensland girls the way ... [we] have been able to dominate that event since it's beginning at nationals and I hope we can keep it in our state," said Anna.

"We're really impressed - both jaws have dropped [when we heard the time] we were staring at each other going 'holy crap,'" laughed Anna Meares. "I said to her I reckon that was your lap cause I didn't feel so good and she said I reckon it was your lap cause I didn't feel so good - so we'll both take it."

Wissahickon cyclo-cross steps up to C1 status

Promoters of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Cyclo-cross Series (MAC), got together for their annual business meeting this past weekend, and learned from promoter Kelly Cline that his Wissahickon Cyclo-cross race in Pennsylvania was stepping up to UCI C1 status.

The announcement means that the opening weekend of the 2007 MAC series on October 21-22 will be a "must race" weekend for any elite racer hoping for better starting positions at the National Championships or a place on their national team for the World Championships. It also means that fully one-third of the all-UCI 2007 MAC series will be ranked C1. By maintaining its traditional calendar pairing with the legendary "Cyclo-cross at Granouge", Wissahickon's elevated status now means that there will be a lot of UCI points on offer in the MAC double-header.

Long a UCI C2 rated race, the Wissahickon Cyclo-cross has a storied history. Sponsored by Philadelphia bike shop Wissahickon Cyclery, the race was the occasion for Ryan Trebon's breakout first UCI victory as well as one of the sites of last year's historic weekend of women's racing; the first-ever meeting of Katie Compton, Lyne Bessette and Georgia Gould. After bouncing around for several years, the race has found a permanent home at the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and County Fair Grounds.

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