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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, May 6, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Barloworld's Corti aims for well-managed Giro team

By Gregor Brown

Italy's Enrico Gasparotto will have many stages to try for a win
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Barloworld Team Manager Claudio Corti will bring his team to the Giro d'Italia with the goal of meeting both the ambitions of individual riders as well as the squad as a whole. The Italian will seek stage wins while at the same time keeping the maglia rosa in sight of riders like Enrico Gasparotto and Colombian Mauricio Soler.

Barloworld's best hope for the maglia rosa in the first week comes with Gasparotto, who wore the jersey after last year's team time trial when he rode with Liquigas. In order to repeat that feat, the team has put in specific training for Saturday's team time trial in Palermo.

"We were in Brescia, Friday and Saturday, we were training in particular for the team time trial," Corti told Cyclingnews. However, he doesn't expect the pink jersey to come on the first stage, but perhaps later in the week. "We will aim for [Enrico] Gasparotto on the stages that are adapted to his characteristics. The maglia rosa has to come on its own, we will not race for it. We will try to have the best team time trial and then defend what advantages we have."

Corti's focus in the first week will be "to organise the team well, manage the race well," and his organisational skills will be central to the team's success not just in the early part of the race, but also in the demanding and mountainous third week.

Colombia's Mauricio Soler will lead Barloworld in the third week of the Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

"The first week is demanding and Gasparotto does well in these stages with variations – he can go for a result. If the maglia rosa arrives – via time bonuses, etcetera – that is good, but it is not an objective that we are starting with. If we don't take the maglia rosa in the first week it is not a disaster."

After the first and second week, Corti will look to Soler, winner of the 2007 Tour de France's mountains competition, to fulfill the squad's ambitions.

"We have to manage the central stages well and then we hope for the best with Soler in the last week, in the mountains. The maglia rosa for Soler? It is a matter of managing the team well and after, if the mountains go well, we can have a good result in the overall classification."

Two English riders, Geraint Thomas and Steve Cummings, will help form the team's nine-man Giro roster and provide strong engines for the team time trial. "They are two important riders for the first week and, above all, for the team time trial in Palermo. I expect a lot of them," Corti commented. "They are participating because they are great riders and it also fits well into their preparations for the Olympics. [The Giro] serves as a great base for the Olympics, while, at the same time, they are working for the team. Thomas, for example, won't do the Tour as he has to focus specifically for the Olympics."

The nine men – Mauricio Soler, Enrico Gasparotto, Francesco Bellotti , Felix Cárdenas, Christian Pfannberger, Patrick Calcagni, Steve Cummings, Carlo Scognamiglio and Geraint Thomas – board a plane this afternoon in Bergamo that will take them to Italy's south for the start of the race.

CPA's Vasseur polling riders

By Gregor Brown

CPA president Cedric Vasseur meets Quick Step rider Carlos Barredo
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

All professional cyclists are currently being polled by the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA), headed by its President, Frenchman Cédric Vasseur. The CPA wants to get riders' feedback on the use of race radios and it needs to have the names of riders representing each ProTour and Professional Continental team.

Vasseur, on his way to the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, informed Cyclingnews of the CPA's progress on selecting team representatives. "In the next day, the teams will receive a questionnaire to determine who will represent them," Vasseur stated, regarding the placement of one rider to represent a team, an idea that was put in place at the CPA's meeting in Liège on April 25.

"A lot of teams already have a representative, in Liquigas it is Manuel Quinziato, in Cofidis it's Stéphane Augé and in François des Jeux it's Philippe Gilbert. When we have answers from all of the ProTour [and Professional Continental] teams we will make the names available. We expect this by the end of May or the end of June."

The association, with representatives from each team, will have the ability to request a vote any time there is a key issue.

"This will allow us to have specific riders when we organise meetings," added Vasseur. "We can have a meeting with all the representatives from the teams that will race the Tour de France for example."

As it was in the April meeting, the use of race radios is a key topic. For this issue the CPA is polling every rider in the ProTour and Professional Continental ranks.

"Yesterday morning, all the riders received a questionnaire to determine if they are for against race radios. We sent this to all the riders, not just the representatives," Vasseur stated. "We believe that for the radio this is the better option. On a team we can have 10 for the radio, 15 against and maybe five who don't care. Again, this is all the riders in the ProTour and Professional Continental teams.

"I want to hear their answers and then, by the end of May, we can organise something for the Tour de France. The Tour is trying to organise stages without radios and, with the riders' responses, we can say which stages we would like to have the radios or not have the radios."

For more information read CPA's Vasseur heads democracy among riders.

Petacchi loses wins

Alessandro Petacchi, here in the Tour of Turkey, likey to lose key wins
Photo ©: Tour of Turkey
(Click for larger image)

Team Milram's star sprinter Alessandro Petacchi will have 13 victories erased from his record after the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) decision to suspend him for one year on doping charges. The Team Milram sprinter tested positive for Salbutamol, an asthma medication, during the 2007 Giro d'Italia, and while he was given credit on his suspension for a two-month period in which he did not compete, he will lose credit for victories during the 2007 Giro and all 2008 results.

The CAS ruled that the Italian would have to forfeit all "competitive results" from the Giro d'Italia, as well as "any medals, points and prizes." That would include the five stage wins, which presumably would be awarded to the runner-up, as well as the the maglia ciclamino for best rider in the points competition, for which Giro winner Danilo Di Luca finished second.

Under the ruling, Petacchi may retain "all other competitive results between 23 May 2007, and 31 October, 2007," but is disqualified for any results since 31 October 2007. Therefore, he could keep his victories in Paris-Tours, October 14, as well as his win in the first stage of the Rothaus Regio Tour in August and his two stage wins in the Vuelta a España.

He will, however, lose all of his results from 2008 which include eight victories: The GP Costa degli Etruschi, three stage wins in the Ruta del Sol, one stage win each in the Volta a Valenciana and Tirreno-Adriatico, and two stages in the Tour of Turkey.

Petacchi is considering appealing the suspension, one of his attorneys told the German press agency dpa. "That is such a ridiculous ruling that we are considering whether we should appeal to the Swiss court or the Court of Human rights in Strassbourg," attorney Maira Laufa Guardamagna said. (SW)

Cooke and Caccia return to racing

Diego Caccia (Barloworld) is ready for his return
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

While part of Team Barloworld is racing in the Giro d'Italia, another arm will be leading the charge in Spain, for the Clásica a Alcobendas, May 10 to 11. Australia's Baden Cooke and Italy's Diego Caccia are making their race returns after forced stops during their Classics campaigns.

The three-stage Spanish race comprises 320.90 kilometres in two days.

Cooke will be rebuilding his racing strength follow his crash in the Paris-Roubaix, where he went on to finish 31st. Caccia, who was taken out of action with a crash in the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, confirmed to Cyclingnews his desire to return to racing. The 26 year-old from Bergamo fractured a rib on his left side just over one month ago, but was in good spirits when contacted at home last night.

In addition to Cooke and Caccia, the team will field Robert Hunter, Giampaolo Cheula, Marco Corti, Chris Froome, Daryl Impey and Moisés Dueñas. (GB)

Rojas for the Tour?

By Antonio J. Salmerón

22 year-old Spaniard José Joaquin Rojas, might become part of the Caisse d'Epargne team for the Tour de France, July 5 to 27. His performances, not to mention his place in the ProTour's top-ten, gives General Manager Eusebio Unzúe confidence that the young and promising sprinter will earn a spot on the squad alongside team-leader Alejandro Valverde in the Tour de France or Vuelta a España.

"We can say that Rojas is among the thirteen selected," Unzúe assured Cyclingnews. "And once he has returned from his participation in the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, we will decide what to do. Then he will take a brief rest before starting to prepare for his participation in Tour."

Unzúe admitted, in football terms, "Rojas was sitting on the bench and he is training." If his debut in the Tour de France is delayed Unzúe has another option. "If he should fail to be in the Tour ... there is also the almost certainly the option to be in the Vuelta a España."

For more read Joaquín Rojas fights tooth and nail in Dunkerque.

(Additional research and assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer).

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