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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

News for June 2, 2002

Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones

Giro d'Italia news

Stage 19 wrap up - Il Falco flies

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Paolo Savoldelli
Photo: © Sirotti

Today's 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia was the decider, raced over 44.3 kilometres between Cambiago (starting outside Ernesto Colnago's factory) and finishing in Monticello Brianza. It was gradually uphill and not particularly technical.

By the finish, Paolo Savoldelli had all but claimed the overall victory in this year's Giro, placing third behind Spaniard Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme) and Serguei Gontchar (Fassa Bortolo). In doing so, he put time into his two closest rivals, Tyler Hamilton and Pietro Caucchioli, although Hamilton did move up to second overall after a solid ride.

The Giro will finish tomorrow with a short stage from Cantu to Milano, traditionally the "processional stage" in the three week long grand tour.

Stage 19 full results & report
Live report

Post stage comments

Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Kelme-Costa Blanca, 1st stage, 6th GC)

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Aitor Gonzalez
Photo: © Sirotti

"It was a perfect course for me. I started quickly, but I found a good rhythm immediately.

"However I would readily exchange my stage victories for a place on the final podium. It was my objective when I decided to participate in this Giro. I missed out only because of my failure in the last mountain stage on Thursday.

"The good news is I have the feeling that I can be successful in a major three week race. Next year, I will return to win the Giro.

"My contact with Acqua E Sapone? We are in discussion - let's just say that I am interested."

Paolo Savoldelli (Index Alexia, 3rd stage, 1st GC)
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Got it
Photo: © Sirotti

On his performance today:

"When I saw the course the morning, I said to myself that it should be appropriate for me. I prepared myself well with a 60km warm up in the morning; I then knew my legs were feeling good.

"I rode the first 10 kilometres flat out as if it was a short prologue. Psychology is very important in time trials, and I knew I had to show Hamilton that I wasn't going to lose any time. When I heard I was actually beating him, my morale was very high.

"At the Intergiro I still had 1'38" (on Hamilton) and I thought: 'It will be tough for him, I just need to hold this rhythm.'

"This pink jersey repays me for all the sacrifices I've made. When you're a boy in Italy, everybody dreams about winning the Giro but I never thought I'd do it.

Last Sunday, the day of the first time trial, I was far from thinking of the maglia rosa - I thought more of a place within the general classification, maybe sixth or a seventh place.

"I recovered well during the day of rest, and was not dropped on the Marmolada. I then realized that I had of good legs. In the following stage on Thursday, I saw Hamilton in difficulty, and I could smell the maglia rosa.

"I am not a rider like Indurain or Armstrong, who I know well. He (Armstrong) is somebody who has exceptional capability and is convinced by it. I am a good rider, but it is necessary that everything must be perfect to do well."

"I've had lots of problems with my back in the last two years and couldn't push hard on the pedals. Now I feel back to my best and I've shown it."

On the doping scandals that appear to be a perennial occurrence at the Giro:

"I'm sorry about what has happened in the last three weeks but I'm enjoying the Giro. "Unfortunately there are problems in every sport and in every aspect of life - companies have tax problems and even butchers have to deal with health inspectors.

"But I want to enjoy winning the Giro and I'm going to celebrate tomorrow in Milan. I want to live to 85 and have good health."

Tyler Hamilton (CSC-Tiscali, 4th stage, 2nd GC)

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Tyler Hamilton
Photo: © Sirotti

Not surprisingly, the gracious Hamilton has conceded the highest spot on the podium to Savoldelli. Immediately after the stage, he said "All I can do is ride my hardest. It looks like Savoldelli is the strongest."

"I gave it my best - that's all I can ask. It wasn't as good as last week. Today was disappointing but I finished second overall which is not too bad."

Do you think you can win next year? "It's possible. It's hard to say if I didn't have my accidents, who knows what would have happened? I never felt myself after the stage 5 crash. I had a good first time trial but it's a lot shorter than some of those mountain stages. I never felt 100% in the mountains, but I minimized my losses."

Saeco suspends Simoni, waits for Tour decision on Monday

After testing non-negative to cocaine metabolites for the second time in the space of a month, Italian cyclist Gilberto Simoni has been officially suspended by his team, Saeco-Longoni Sport.

Simoni attempted to explain his actions after his first non-negative urine test that was conducted at a doping control after the Giro del Trentino on April 24, where he cited carbocaine that his dentist had administered as the only possible reason.

However a second separate sample that was taken on May 21 following the ninth stage of the Giro from Tivoli to Caserta, also tested positive for cocaine, which was announced by his team on Friday.

In the interests of maintaining open communications, the Saeco team issued a press release today explaining their decision:

"This substantially modifies the situation created after the first case an out of competition test taken before the Giro del Trentino. The team after deciding to spontaneously retire the rider from the 85th Giro d'Italia for obvious reasons, was waiting for the subsequent second analysis or any other kind of explanation eventually supplied by the rider which would allow them to make a complete evaluation of the case before taking any kind of decision."

"Obviously the communication received yesterday from the UCI - which the team decided to give to the press to show their full and clear honesty, substantially changes the state of things."

"A case of non-negativity - verified this time during the Giro d'Italia, in one of the normal tests taken at the end of each stage, places every objective explanation regarding the Giro del Trentino case in doubt, especially considering that the substance which the rider has apparently used is the same."

The team desires to "clear up the strange events which have absolutely have no links to the team's management of the rider, it is obvious that in consequence of the latest events the desire to continue a relationship with the rider have been affected, especially considering the serious moral and material damages the whole case is creating for the team and its sponsors."

"As a result the Saeco-Longoni Sport team makes note of having acted to suspend rider Gilberto Simoni and freeze his salary until a clear and substantial explanation of the case."

Team manager Claudio Corti added that "I saw Simoni last night in Rovereto. He gave us his version of events and we've taken out decision. I don't want to enter into details but it's not our intention to defend him. He's got to explain things, say what has happened and accept his responsibility."

For his part, Simoni admitted that he had been "thoughtless, ingesting some imported products" but did not lay the blame on his team. "They had nothing to do with it, and do not have any responsibility."

His lawyer, Stefano Trinco said "Gilberto has nothing to do with the world of drugs. The cause of Simoni's double positive in the two anti-doping controls we will argue is related to natural food products imported from South America. An incredible story, but one that we will do everything in our power to prove to the relevant legal and sporting bodies."

While this happens, there is the non-trivial matter of their Tour de France selection. Jean-Marie Leblanc has indicated that without Simoni, he may refuse their selection, as this was one of the strongest arguments to give them a wild card. While their other main rider, Danilo Di Luca, is capable of winning a stage, he is not a rider for the general classification.

The Societe du Tour de France and Jean-Marie Leblanc will make their decision on Monday, June 3.

Tchmil gets a free ride

"I'm just going to say hello to my former team," joked Andre Tchmil while heading for the Lotto-Adecco team car in yesterday's stage from Rovereto to Brescia. The Belgian, currently residing in Puegnago del Garda, took the opportunity of the presence of the Giro caravan to follow the race. He spent most of the stage next to team director Claude Criquielion in the car, but spent the finale on the motorbike, commentating for Italian television

First Union Cycling Series news

The First Union Invitational, which kicks off the First Union Cycling Series on June 4 in Lancaster, Philadelphia, will be run in collaboration with the charity event "Dream Ride 2002". 18 local charities in Lancaster have "adopted" one of the twenty teams and will display "support and enthusiasm" throughout the race for their selected team. First Union is donating $1,000.00 on behalf of the race winner and his team to the 'adopting' charity.

In addition, "The Manayunk Wall", one of the most feared climbs in the PCT series, has now been immortalized bearing a plaque that recognises the climb as the most difficult stretch of the First Union USPRO Cycling Championship race course.

After 17 years, the climb has attained something of a romantic, larger-than-life aura, along the lines of the Boston Marathon's "Heartbreak Hill".

Riders will have to tackle the 17% climb ten times in 156 mile event. Fans line up twenty deep on both sides of the road, and virtually every house on "The Wall" hosts race parties throughout the six-hour event.

According to George Hincapie of the USPS Team, who has raced the event seven times with a victory in 1998, "the cheering is so loud up the Manayunk Wall. It keeps up going and helps make the race as exciting as any in the world."

Amateur rides can test their legs two days before the pro race in the Manayunk Amateur Hill Climb, held on Friday, June 7 at 4.30pm.

For more information on the First Union series visit

Lefevre's shortlist for the Tour

Patrick Lefevre (Domo-Farm Frites) already has fourteen names to chose from for the upcoming Tour de France. From this list he'll pick 9 riders. Alphabetically those names are: Bruylandts, Cassani, Cretskens, De Wolf, Knaven, Koerts, Konecny, Merckx, Rodriguez, Vainsteins, Van Bon, Van Heeswijk, Virenque and Wedecki.

Luxembourg: Belgian champ out, brownie points for courage

Belgian National Champion Ludovic Capelle, was a non-starter in the second stage of the Tour of Luxembourg. He has been in pain with tendinitis in the knee and has been ordered to rest. Stijn Devolder on the other hand, was given the go-ahead by the jury - they closed their eyes to the fact that Devolder failed to make the time-cut the previous day. According to the jury, it was a deed of courage to keep riding so far behind the peloton.