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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for June 1, 2002

Edited by Karen Forman & John Stevenson

Fifth Giro stage for Cipo

Click for larger image
Another day on the podium
Photo: © Sirotti

Mario Cipollini survived hills and a fierce three-way sprint to collect his fifth stage win in the 18th stage of the 2002 Giro d'Italia in Brescia, on Friday.

The tougher than expected victory was the Aqua & Sapone team leader's 39th Giro stage win. Raced over 143km with three six-kilometre finishing laps containing a twisting, cobbled climb, the stage, at least on paper, should not have been Cipo's ideal. Until now, he has only won flat stages.

His winning ride - made more difficult by the Fassa Bortolo team which was trying to derail Cipo's zebra train - therefore came as a bit of a surprise to commentators.

Fassa Bortolo sprinter Alessandro Petacchi managed to get himself behind Cipo's leadout man Giovanni Lombardi in the final kilometre. Lombardi jumped with 500m to go and Petacchi quickly hit top speed after Lombardi pulled off. Still, Cipo managed to get around him.

Cipo said later he had expected to be next to Lombardi but instead, found himself fighting it out with Petacchi.

"They got onto my wheel, then we had a sprint and I struck it," he said. Still, he was very happy with his efforts. "It was a beautiful sprint ".

With four stage wins before the Giro reached the mountains, many commentators had not believed Cipo could break Alfredo Binda's 1940 seven stage-win record, due to his penchant for winning on the flats.

However, with number five under his belt and possibly a sixth before the final run to Milan on Sunday, he is going close.

(Interestingly, Binda - an all-round rider who had twice the winning average of Cipo - was paid not to take part that year after having won four and placing second in five consecutive tours. He went on to win another tour in 1933.)

Cipollini said he was prepared to be patient when it came to breaking Binda's record.

"I will not catch up the record of Binda for this year, I will try to make it next year," he said.

"I have 35 years in the head, but I have the enthusiasm of a 21 year old. My motor works very well. Even if I won to Milan I would lack still one (stage win) but I will try to win. Therefore I would have to conquer it next year.

Cipo said he had spoken to team director Salutini and had both agreed the stage was not suited to him. "Salutini did not convince me to sprint 4 km from the finish but then I have seen many people on the pave and the hills in the classics in Belgium, and they are heroes to me. "

He was full of compliments for the Fassa Bortolo rider. "From one who has nine years less than me (26 against 35), his future, it is a beautiful one I compliment," he said. "Incredibly they (the team) are satisfied because I have demonstrated of being still in great condition: I have gained the first and nineteenth stage of the Giro, a Giro that for me is the most beautiful."

A defeated Petacchi said he had done his best. "I have made the maximum, more I could not make," he said. "I was not much good between the other (two). I tried to take the wheel of Lombardi but Cipollini beat me to it."

Wearer of the pink jersey, Paolo Savoldelli finished not far behind Cipollini in 15th position. He said he was putting the stage behind him and looking forward to the next.

"I am calm," he said. "We hope all goes well. "

Simoni 'non-negative' at Giro

Gilberto Simoni has once again been found 'non-negative' in a doping control, this time during the Giro d'Italia. The control, conducted on May 21 after stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia, again found traces of cocaine in Simoni's urine. He went on to win stage 11, the day after he had been revealed to be 'non-negative' at a control conducted at the Giro Trentino on April 24. Under pressure from riders and the organisers Saeco withdrew Simoni from the Giro two days later.

Simoni has attempted to explain the positive test at Trentino as the result of an injection during dental work, a claim supported by his dentist who has said he administered carbocaine to Simoni. However, medical experts have pointed out that cocaine and carbocaine produce different metabolites in urine, and it's unlikely carbocaine could produce the same test result as cocaine.

Simoni's Saeco team will announce its official position towards the rider today, Saturday June 1.

The last rider to test positive for cocaine was another Italian, Daniel Pontoni on January 11 1998. Pontoni was reigning world cyclo-cross champion at the time and was eventually suspended for six months, but not until he'd had a chance to defend his title. Pontoni claimed that it was an alcohol-based leg rub containing cocaine that caused the positive.

Editorial note: 'Non-negative' is the term used by the UCI when a banned substance has been detected in the first sample from a rider, but not confirmed by analysis of the B sample. In Simoni's case he is now 'non-negative' from two tests, as the results of tests on his B sample from Trentino have not yet been revealed. Yes, we know it's inelegant.

Ruttiman positive again

Swiss rider Stefan Ruttiman (Tacconi) has returned a positive doping control from the Tour de Romandie, according to the Swiss Olympic Committee.

Ruttiman, who served a six month suspension last year after returning a positive test on May 1, 2001 (also at the Tour de Romandie) was found to be positive for testosterone at the doping control on May 5, 2002.

Ruttiman is not contesting the finding and has given up the right to have a B sample counter-evaluated.

Montreal World Cup: Climber's showdown

Today's round of the Women's World Cup, in Montreal Canada, looks likely to be a showdown among the climbing specialists. The course's main challenge is the climb of the city's almost-eponymous hill, Mont Royal, which the riders will tackle 12 times.

German rider Petra Rossner (Saturn) will be trying to hang on to the overall World Cup lead she acquired at Valladolid in April. But she faces stiff competition from local heroes Lyne Bessette (Quebec regional team) and Genevieve 'the Destroyer' Jeanson (RONA) who will have the home-town advantage.

Jeanson plans to repeat last year's exploit where she escaped early and won by over 7 minutes. However, the Destroyer won't have it all her own way this year. "She will be watched this time and and I am 90 percent sure that she won't be able to do it again," said Bessette at a press conference on Thursday.

Other contenders include 2000 winner Pia Sundsted and Flche Wallonne winner Fabiana Luperini.

Moles help Italian investigators

The Italian prosecutor's office investigating doping in sport has two 'moles' in the world of professional cycling, according to a story in Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello sport. The paper claims these two riders, whose identities are closely guarded, have been helping the investigarors from the magistrate's office ion Padua for over a tyear.

Information from these super-moles led to the arrest of former police officer Armando Marzano, who is accused of being involved in the large-scale supply of doping products to cyclists.

La Gazetta reports that investigators are trying to uncover the supply routes by which doping products reach cyclists. Their attention is focused on the coastal town of Napoli in the south of Italy, where a large black market in doping products alledgedly flourishes.

State prosecutors are looking for more 'principal witnesses' to help with the investigation in treturn for reduced punishments and are even monitoring the city's hospitals to see if any medicines have been stolen in the last month

Police in Florence believe 80,000 ampuls of performance enhancer Eprex (EPO) were stolen two years ago on a Mediterranean island and reached Italy via an organised gang trafficking in controlled substances.

The Italian cycling federation (FCI) has pledged its cooperation with the investigators. "Our position is clear. We want to promote full transparency and we guarantee the authorities our full support," said FCI president Gianni Petrucci in a press release.

Mapei for Tour of Germany

Mapei-Quick Step team manager Alvaro Crespi has revealed the team's line-up for the Tour of Germany, June 3-9. Aboard the bikes will be Laszlo Bodrogi,Fabien De Waele,Luca Paolini, Eddy Ratti,Tom Steels, Andrea Tafi and Gerhard Trampusch, while Serge Parsani, Eric Vanderaerden and will ride in the directeur sportif's car.

German leader for Saeco in Tour of Germany

Saeco-Longoni Sport is getting into the spirit of the Tour of Germany, which starts on Monday by appointing a German team leader - Christian Wegmann. And, just in case his "local" knowledge doesn't do it, there will be two other German riders to back him up.

Wegmann has won 10 races so far in his career and last week won a stage in the Bayern Rundfahrt race.

He will be joined by the strong Joerg Ludewig and sprinter Torsten Nitsche. Others include Nicola Gavazzi, Leonardo Bertagnolii, Andrea Tonti, Austrian Gerrit Glomser and Salvatore Commesso, who is still looking for his first win of the year.

Meanwhile, in other Saeco news, Igor Astarloa will head to the United States at the completion of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday to contest the US Pro championships.

He and Igor Astarloa and Oscar Mason will head straight to the US after the Giro to ride the traditional Philiadelphia week races.

Directeur sportif Bruno Vicino may not have the two riders in the team for the opening race next Tuesday , the First Union Invitational, due to jet lag but will be able to use the rest of the team: Justin Spinelli, Brad Davidson, Christian Pepoli and Juan Fuentes.

The team will be at full strength for the First Union Classic on Thursday and then the First Union USPRO Championships. which closes the week.

Dunboyne Three Day preview

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Twelve months ago, Robert Moore of the Stamullan Road Club but now with an additional sponsor M. Donnelly scored a notable success when he won the Dunboyne Three Day.

This weekend he's back to defend his crown and currently he is eager to repeat his success. Naturally he is buoyed up thanks to the additional sponsorship, they want to re-affirm their commitment to M. Donnelly who came on board recently.

The lad trains in and around Co. Meath, which is noted for its cyclists and has the strength and fitness to match the best.

Fortunately he has solid team support, which should give Philip the platform to repeat his success of 12 months ago, albeit he triumphed on the last day of the three-day event.

The event has now grown in popularity thanks to the trojan work taken on by the organising committee headed by Alice Sherratt over the years and as a result there is always a well-represented field.

The organisation allows entry on the line, which is a bonus. Anyhow with computer technology today there is very little form filling.

According to race organiser, Alice Sherratt who incidentally had a rendition of a song written in her honour last year aired again to a pack audience in Ballycotton, Co. Cork during the FBD Milk Ras, 'I'm expecting quite a number from all over the country because of the new category three licence and of course the event would not be the same without Munster participation.

Racing begins on tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30 where the riders will tackle a 68 mile course which has a little of everything thrown in (climbs, drags, but good road surfaces mainly. On Sunday, its that test against the clock that very few relish, especially first thing in the morning. In the afternoon it's a circuit around Moynalvey at 2.30. Finally on Bank Holiday Monday at one o'clock it's the Delvin/Dunsany leg over 74 miles.

The good points about the race are that it is entirely in the Dunboyne area with starts and finishes.

Accommodation is available in the area and at reasonable rates, thanks to the efforts of the organisers.

Hopefully for the race organisation they will be rewarded with good weather and a sporting competition.

Unfortunately the race listed for Dundalk has been cancelled. This is the third race listed by Cuculainn CC that has bit the dust. I know for a fact the organiser Cyril Rooney is having great difficulty rounding up the usual suspects who for the years have been marshals and everything else that goes with putting on top class promotions as did Cyril for many a long year. If its any consolation to Cyril the demise of the volunteers is beginning to gain pace because free time is a diminishing factor in this day and age as everybody strives to get a life.

This is why it is so important to recognise the commitment that the Sheratts of this world along with her army of volunteers do to promote the sport, which is showing growth for the first time in many years.