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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for June 3, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Savoldelli salvages his Giro

By Jean-François Quénet in Verona

Paolo Savoldelli (Astana)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Before stage 20 of this year's Giro, Paolo Savoldelli had never won a long time trial. "Only under 10 kilometres," he remembered. "But I've come second to Gonchar a few times…" Had the Ukrainian not been prevented from starting Giro by his team because of abnormal blood values in an internal test conducted before the race, "the falcon" might have been second once more, but Savoldelli rescued his Giro with a win in the 43 kilometre long test.

Savoldelli, a two-time winner of the Tour of Italy, wound up acting as domestique to his Astana team-mate, Eddy Mazzoleni, after being involved in a crash in the sprint of Pinerolo on stage 11, and subsequently suffering on the Alpine stage to Briançon the following day, losing 5'49 to Danilo Di Luca.

"Danilo Di Luca has demonstrated to be the strongest anyway," Savoldelli analysed. "Had I been at my best, I would have lost time on him on the Zoncolan, but I would have invented a different tactic ahead of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. In fact Mazzoleni and I would have reversed our roles. I could have fought for the podium, but for winning another time, I would have needed a more balanced course. This one was really too mountainous for me. Remember that I have won the Giro twice thanks to the downhills and intelligent racing."

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Savoldelli recalled the day he blew up. "My directeur sportif Giovanni Fidanza understood that my Giro was over, because I couldn't even hold the handlebar. When Piepoli attacked, he asked me what to do and we told Mazzoleni to do his own race without waiting for me. Hadn't Fidanza stayed with his car behind me, I probably wouldn't have finished in Briançon. I did it with a lot of suffering.

"I've kept going also because there was a stage finishing in Bergamo, my town. I could have gone home to prepare for the Tour, but in July, my work will be different than at the Giro. I'll do it as a domestique. With Vinokourov and Klöden, we have two of the strongest riders. I'm a professional, I'll work for them. Maybe I'll try and win a stage like two years ago. In life, you never know what can happen."

Mazzoleni steps up

By Jean-François Quénet in Verona

Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Danilo Di Luca expressed his desire to share the final podium in Milan with Gilberto Simoni along with Andy Schleck earlier this week, but instead, he will stand above another of his former team-mates at Saeco - Eddy Mazzoleni. Mazzoleni unseated Simoni in the stage 20 time trial, putting 2'08 into the Saunier Duval rider to step up to third place behind Schleck.

Sharing the podium with a third year pro and a domestique might seem less prestigious, but it makes sense in a Giro where the over-30 helpers have become the stars: Marco Pinotti and Andrea Noè wore the pink jersey, and Marzio Bruseghin was the winner of the time trial in Oropa and 8th in the overall classification.

Recently, Mazzoleni was more known for being engaged to Elisa Basso, Ivan's sister, who was present today on piazza Bra nearby the arenas of Verona. During the Giro, Mazzoleni's name has been mentioned a few times because of his implication in two drugs inquiries. One dates back to a 2004 wiretapping alleged to contain a conversation between Mazzoleni and Dr. Carlo Santuccione regarding the use of EPO. The case was revived this week when Ettore Torri, the magistrate of the CONI, received the file on the so-called 'Oil for Drugs' affair, but for now, he's not officially under avviso di garanzia, so the code of conduct of the ProTour teams who must sideline from any competition their members under investigation doesn't apply to him.

Unless anything new comes out, Mazzoleni will likely be able to ride the Tour de France, where he will go back to his domestique role. "I think I deserve to finish 3rd of the Giro,"" he said. For many years I have demonstrated to be a good rider, and this time I was maybe even a bit stronger. I thank Paolo Savoldelli for having given me the go. I've been able to profit from the occasion that was given to me to play my own cards. Today in the time trial I could feel I was going strongly. I don't know if I could have passed Andy Schleck on GC as well, but I didn't want to risk too much."

Mazzoleni will now take it easy a bit. "I have one month to recover from these efforts, then I'll go to the Tour de France to help Vinokourov and Klöden. I hope we'll come back with the win. I've always worked for the others apart from this Giro, and I will carry on with my job as a gregario."

Ullrich may lose Olympic medals

Ullrich in 2005
Photo ©: John Pierce
Click for larger image

International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge said Saturday that Jan Ullrich could be stripped of his Olympic gold and silver medals from the Games in 2000 because of the admitted doping within the Telekom team. The IOC announced earlier this week that it was forming a disciplinary committee to investigate possible anti-doping violations in the Olympic games. "The IOC will investigate the revelations that have been made by the riders from Telekom, because several of them took part in the Olympic Games," Rogge said, according to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Ullrich took gold in the men's Olympic road race in Sydney and stood on a podium that contained two of his then Telekom team-mates, Andreas Klöden and Alexander Vinokourov, who took the silver and bronze medals. The team's doctors, Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid, admitted that they provided banned substances including EPO to the team in the 1990's.

In addition, another doctor from the same University of Freiburg clinic in Germany in which Heinrich and Schmid worked, admitted supplying drugs to amateur cyclists. Dr. Georg Huber, who also worked with the German Olympic team, acknowledged he gave cyclists testosterone between 1980 and 1990 according to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. Huber has been suspended by German cycling authorities and the University of Freiburg.

While there is no admission or evidence that these doctors gave banned substances to the Germans for the Sydney Olympics, it is something the IOC is investigating, Rogge said. "We will look into the admissions of the doctors from the University of Freiburg. Our aim is to find out the periods in which doping was going on."

The investigation also throws under suspicion the medals of Klöden and Vinokourov, both of whom are currently racing for the Astana team. Rogge was asked if these medals could also be taken away, to which he replied, "Of course, it remains a possibility."

Losada and Rasmussen lament stage 19 loss

Caisse d'Epargne's Alberto Losada looked to be in a good position to give his team their only win of the 90th Giro d'Italia on stage 19 when he made the winning break and rode off the front of the move with the eventual winner Iban Mayo, but the 25 year-old was left behind with 20 kilometres to go and finished more than four minutes behind the leaders in 54th place.

"It was our last chance to win a stage", explained Alberto Losada after the finish in Terme DI Comano. "We had to try something. In fact, everything happened on the first climb, the Pian delle Fugazze. After several attempts, I found myself in the lead of race together with six other riders. On the descent, I took a little advantage without really wanting it and I continued alone. Then, Iban Mayo joined me and the collaboration between us was perfect. We started the last climb together, but at about three kilometres from the top, he attacked and I had no more energy to follow his rhythm.''

"The Giro has been a very positive experience very positive, where I learned a lot of things. I had some good days, but also some very bad ones, because I suffer from allergies. The weather we had today, cold and rainy, was perfect for me, and I had to try to do something," the Catalan rider concluded.

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Fourth place finisher Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) expressed his frustrations about the stage on his website "It was a horrible day. I rode fast enough, but there was simply no unity within the group in order to catch the two guys in front (Iban Mayo and Alberto Losada). It was annoying. We had Marzano sitting on wheel with the excuse that Petrov was in the classification.

"Unfortunately, there was a headwind on the last climb, which actually I know rather well. That meant that I couldn't attack before, since it would be too hard sitting alone with four riders behind, when the climb isn't steeper. I tried to wait and then close the gap close to the top, but all of a sudden they actually could ride all of them. It was rather frustrating, because I feel that if the sun had shined my chances of a win would have been quite good," Rasmussen said. "Marzano insisted on sitting at the back of the group, so I just stopped pedalling, and then they got away (Evgeni Petrov og Giovanni Visconti). Then he started making a scene, but at that time I really didn't care."

Last year's polka dot jersey winner in the Tour de France was, however, pleased with his form on the day, and will look forward to the remaining stages as further confirmation that he has finally recovered from the broken leg he suffered late last year. "I can't make much use of the result. But, what is quite positive is the fact that I manage to pass the first climb with the best... At this time it is definitely a good sign under conditions that are not optimal for me (bad weather)," Rasmussen said, adding that the stage 20 time trial will be another test.

"It is always nice to ride well known terrain and tomorrow I am definitely going to take the time trial fairly serious. It will be the only long time trial that I will ride before the Tour. I owe that to myself, also because things are going pretty good."

Predictor-Lotto pre-selects Tour team

The Belgian Predictor-Lotto team has announced their long list of riders for the Tour of France, which starts July 7th in London. Team director Marc Sergeant will count on Australians Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans as the team's top riders for the 94th running of the Tour. Last year's green jersey winner McEwen will look to add to his ten career Tour stage wins, while Evans will be the team's hope for the overall classification.

The rest of the squad will be chosen from Mario Aerts, Leif Hoste, Bjorn Leukemans, Dario David Cioni, Bert Roesems, Wim Vansevenant, Roy Sentjens, Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez and Josep Jufré.

CSC angry in Bayern

Team CSC Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen was not happy with the course for the finale in Friday's third stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt, threatening not to return to the race in the future. A crash just a few hundred meters before the finish line took down CSC sprinter Stuart O'Grady, among others.

"That finish was completely irresponsible and I've gotta say, that if something like that ever happens again we won't be participating. It was bordering on the insane," Andersen said on the team's website, "There was a dangerous descent and at the bottom there was a cobble stoned bit just before the finish line. I dare not think what would've happened if it'd been raining out there today,"

"Stuart was fourth or fifth ahead of the cobble stones so it was starting to look good for us before the crash. Luckily he didn't hurt himself badly though," said Andersen.

Valverde speaks

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, who is training for the Dauphiné Libèré with the rest of his team-mates in the Pyrenees, denied any involvement in the Operación Puerto affair, and said that he fully expected to race in the Tour de France.

The 27 year-old Spaniard, who is considered one of the main favorites for the Tour, has been linked to Operación Puerto by some media after revelations that one of the blood bags confiscated by the Spanish Civil Guard from the clinic of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in Madrid in 2006 supposedly had the name of 'Valv.-Piti'. Piti, according to some reports, is the name of Valverde's dog, although this has not been proven. Cyclingnews visited Valverde's house this week and did not find any dog named 'Piti'.

"I do not know who is behind of all of that. It is clear that they are trying to disturb me, but they are not going to get it", the Spanish Caisse d'Epargne leader commented on the subject. He added that, "I am in calm, and these disagreeable things are not being discussed among us; we are concentrated on our training here."

The Tour de France organisers asked teams earlier this year to remove any rider implicated in the scandal from the rosters of the Spring Classics, leading to speculation that these riders would be excluded from the Tour as well. Valverde was not among those left off the rosters, and indeed he placed second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Valverde said that, "I think that the Tour is scared of a new scandal, but they can be in calm, because if someone like me admitted that he knew Eufemiano Fuentes during the time he was riding for the defunct Kelme team three years ago, this demonstrates that he does not have anything to hide."

Euskaltel – Euskadi for GP Llodio

By Monika Prell

The 58th Gran Premio de Llodio will be held on Sunday in the Basque province of Araba, and Euskaltel - Euskadi will be one of two Pro Tour teams to participate along with Saunier Duval. The Basque team will compete in the 175.5 kilometre race with 2004 winner Unai Etxebarria at the helm, and he will be supported by Beñat Albizuri, Lander Aperribay, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Aitor Galdos, Ibán Iriondo, Ibán Mayoz, Amets Txurruka, and Haimar Zubeldia.

Even if the last kilometres are quite flat, the course will favour a climber, as the riders will have to make it over no fewer several sizeable climbs: the Alto de Altube (2nd category) along with two trips up the Alto de Garate (3rd category) and the Alto de Malkuartu (3rd category).

The young Amets Txurruka will also be an option for the win, while Jorge Azanza will ride his first race after having an operation to repair a collarbone he broke in the last stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco. Mikel Astarloza and Haimar Zubeldia use the race as a tune-up for the Tour de France.

Dominguez out of Triple Crown

The top three from today's stage
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team sprinter Ivan Dominguez will miss Saturday's CSC Invitational and the entire Commerce Bank "Triple Crown of Cycling" series due to injuries sustained in a crash in the Tri-Peaks Challenge in May. Dominguez severely bruised his back and ribs when he flipped over the handlebars 200 meters after crossing the finish line in stage one of the Tri-Peaks Challenge in Arkansas in May. The eighth-year pro said he doesn't remember making contact with anyone and nothing was found to be wrong with his bicycle.

"It has really bothered me the way I crashed," Dominguez said. "If I crashed going into the last turn or going for it in the sprint, I'd expect something like that. But this was while I was rolling in at the back of the group after the finish. I'm still trying to figure out what happened." Dominguez said he expects to resume training next week but might not be able to start racing again for some time.

Dominguez has been Toyota-United's most successful racer this season, winning eight races – including stage seven of the Amgen Tour of California. The Cuban is a past winner of the CSC Invitational, finished second in Philadelphia last year and was third in Lancaster in 2005.

"It's a tremendous loss for us," said Toyota-United Team Director Harm Jansen. "He was coming into such great form."

Jansen said with Dominguez out, Toyota-United will look to Ivan Stevic and Henk Vogels to be the designated team leaders for the four races over the next nine days. The rest of Toyota-United's roster for the series will be Jose Manuel Garcia, Caleb Manion, Sean Sullivan and 2005 USPRO Road Champion Chris Wherry.

Motorsport and cycling stars to raise money for cancer trust

By Shane Stokes

Some of the star drivers in motor sports will team up with top cycling racers for the inaugural Goodwood Organic Milk Race, to be held as part of the Festival of Speed from June 22-24.

F1 drivers Jenson Button, Anthony Davidson, and Mark Webber, former World Rally Champion Colin McRae, Le Mans winner Allan McNish and motorcycle master Troy Bayliss have all signed up for the charity event. They will join Saunier Duval pro David Millar, Olympic gold medal-winning cyclists Jason Queally and Chris Hoy, Commonwealth gold and Olympic silver medallist Rob Hayles and current triple World Champion Victoria Pendleton for the two-up time trial, which will be held at Goodwood house.

Many top motor sport drivers have used cycling as part of their fitness regime, with several past champions having well-known links to the sport. The new Festival of Speed event will see each motorsport star being paired up with a top cyclist and compete a short but challenging time trial from Goodwood House to the top of the hill and back. The time for each team will be taken on the second rider, and spectators will be able to wager on the results via SMS in order to win a top-of-the-range carbon road racing bike. All funds will be donated to the Richard Burns Foundation, which is supporting this year's chosen Festival charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The Goodwood Organic Milk Race is taking place exactly two weeks before the start of the Tour de France in London and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The competition has been developed by London based cycling agency Face Partnership It coincides with the introduction of Goodwood's own organic milk, which is sold in corn starch-based bottles that are fully compostable in 10 weeks. This is produced at Goodwood Estate's Home Farm, which is the largest self-sustainable organic farm in Europe.

Festival visitors can bet on which duo will come out best, while at the same time helping to raise money for the charity.

To enter, they can send a text message to 80806, stating RBF and the letter of the chosen team (e.g. A, B, C, etc.), plus the time in seconds that they think it will take them to complete the testing 2.32 mile Goodwood course. All messages will be charged at standard rate, plus £1.50. The Richard Burns Foundation will receive each donation net of charges applied by mobile network operators. Alternatively, they can enter by completing a competition form at one of the three competition pods located at the Festival.

Further information is available at

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