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Photo ©: Swift

News for June 6, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Mario Cipollini aiming for the World's

Mario Cipollini
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

After winning six stages in the Giro d'Italia, Mario Cipollini has his sights firmly set on the World Championships in Zolder, Belgium. The 35 year old Tuscan sprinter is having his best season to date, winning 11 races including the Milan-San Remo World Cup, and accumulating 1,134 UCI points - more than any other rider this season. If it was up to him, he would take his entire Acqua e Sapone train with him to Zolder to lead him out for the sprint.

With riders like Mario Scirea, Guido Trenti, Cristian Gasperoni and Gabriele Colombo to keep the pace high in the final kilometres, and the best leadout man in the business, Giovanni Lombardi, Cipollini has a strong case to take to Italian selector Franco Ballerini. Who knows, with a champion team instead of the reverse, the Italians might win the gold medal that they have desired for so many years.

"Franco Ballerini, the national selector, knows that I am capable of winning this one in October," he said in an interview with La Derniere Heure. "It's up to him to judge if I am worth building the team around. If it was up to me, I would take them all to Zolder. You know, it's not every year that the World Championships have a nice parcours, much suited for a sprinter like myself."

Before this year, Cipollini had never won Milan-San Remo or the World Championships. The former has now happened and he has his best chance ever for the latter. We should also not forget his win in the Gent-Wevelgem semi-classic, after he bridged up to a strong breakaway group into a block headwind and demolished them in the sprint. He certainly didn't need the 'zebra train' for that.

After a successful spring campaign that also included 9th in the Tour of Flanders, Cipollini prepared for the Giro d'Italia. Before the start he already had an impressive total of 34 stage wins. By the end this had risen to 40, one short of the legendary Alfredo Binda's record. But Cipollini doesn't compare himself with Binda, who was a far superior rider on the climbs and won five Giri d'Italia.

"You know, the comparison with Binda is only relevant as to the number of stage wins. Binda will always remain a legend of Italian cycling. Personally, I hope that people remember a few of my successes when I put the bike away, that's all," he said prior to the start of the Giro.

Cipollini is also a modern 'patron' of the peloton, commanding a good deal of respect from his fellow racers. He often acted as a spokesman for the peloton during the Giro when things got chaotic at times. He was convinced that if any rider spoiled the image of the race, they should have the intelligence to quit.

"I cannot accept that, because of a handful of riders, everyone is put in the same basket," he said in a recent interview with La Derniere Heure. "Cycling is part of Italian culture. Because of that, it should not be undermined."

So Garzelli, Simoni, Sgambelluri, Zakirov, Romano, Chesini and Perfetto were persuaded to respect the code of ethics (some taking longer than others). Mario Cipollini also stood up to make sure that Francesco Casagrande was excluded from the race after causing the Colombian Freddy Garcia to crash.

Cipollini has now returned to his home in Lucca to spend some time with his wife and two children. Then he will start his preparation for the next big goal: the World's in Zolder in October.

Peace Race winner Piotr Przydzial non-negative for EPO

Piotr Przydzial
Photo: © Carlo Rosenkranz
Click for larger image

The winner of this year's Peace Race, Piotr Przydzial (CCC-Polsat) has tested "non-negative" for EPO, after a control taken following the fourth stage that finished in Chemnitz on May 13. Przydzial won that stage in front of teammate Ondrej Sosenka, after the two had attacked with 114 km to go in the 232 km epic, catching and dropping the early breakaways and ending up with a 2'51 advantage on third place. That turned out to be more than enough for Przydzial to win the Peace Race, with he and Sosenka also finished 1-2 in the final time trial in Warszaw.

If Przydzial's B sample is also positive, then he will be stripped of the win and the UCI points, and Sosenka will be awarded the overall victory. Both the A and B samples will be analysed in the UCI's anti-doping laboratory in Lausanne.

Prior to the start of last year's Peace Race, Przydzial and Sosenka failed a hematocrit test (above 50%) and were not allowed to start. Przydzial was also impressive in this year's Rund um den Henninger Turm on May 1, where he was in every breakaway that mattered, only being caught by the Telekom train with 6 km to go.

CCC-Polsat management have issued a statement outlining their position: "Team CCC-Polsat has regrettably found out that their rider Piotr Przydzial has tested positive for banned substances. Team management in agreement with its sponsors has decided to suspend Przydzial as a team member. If rider refuses to have his B sample tested, or this examination also gives a positive result, Przydzial - apart from punishment he'll receive from Polish federation - will also be excluded from the team."

Translation courtesy of Daniel Marszalek

Michele Bartoli back at the end of June

Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) will be out of action for at least another two weeks, as a result of injuries sustained in the first stage of the Giro d'Italia. The conclusion was reached by Dr Castellacci of Lucca hospital after Bartoli's latest radiography tests.

According to Dr Castellacci, the calcification of the right iliac is healing well, but he has to avoid returning to the bike too soon. Bartoli will keep having magneto-therapy and electro-stimulation. In two weeks he will undergo a CAT scan.

UCI Women's Rankings

Following the Montreal World Cup, the UCI has updated its women's rankings. Still holding a commanding 90 point lead is Dutchwoman Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites Hartol) who is also the World Cup leader. Melchers' nearest rivals are Germans Judith Arndt and Petra Rossner (Saturn), with Swiss Nicole Brändli (Acca Due O) and Fabiana Luperini (Edilsavino, up from 8th spot) in the top 5. After finishing second in the recent Tour de L'Aude, Ina Teutenberg (Saturn) jumped up the rankings from 90th to 24th.

The number one team is still Saturn, 318 points ahead of Acca Due O in second place, and 735 points in front of Team Farm Frites Hartol. With four riders in the top 20, Germany is the number one nation ahead of the Netherlands and Lithuania.

Rankings as of June 2, 2002

Individuals

1 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Team Farm Frites-Hartol                    786.00 pts
2 Judith Arndt (Ger) Saturn Cycling Team                           696.00
3 Petra Rossner (Ger) Saturn Cycling Team                          605.00
4 Nicole Brändli (Swi) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie        567.00
5 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Edilsavino                                466.00
6 Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie    452.00
7 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) Figurella Dream Team                     449.00
8 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team         397.00
9 Anna Millward (Aus) Saturn Cycling Team                          368.00
10 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra)                                    362.00
11 Priska Doppmann (Swi)                                           351.00
12 Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie        326.00
13 Lyne Bessette (Can)                                             305.00
14 Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr) Usci Chirio                           289.00
15 Debby Mansveld (Ned) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team           254.00
16 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung          251.00
17 Regina Schleicher (Ger) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox          242.00
18 Olga Slioussareva (Rus) Itera Team                              225.00
19 Monica Valen (Nor) Team Sponsor Service                         221.00
20 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa) Deia-Pragma-Colnago                208.00

Teams

1 Saturn Cycling Team                          1,803.00 pts
2 Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie         1,485.00
3 Team Farm Frites-Hartol                      1,068.00
4 Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team               784.00
5 Edilsavino                                     689.00
6 Figurella Dream Team                           585.00
7 Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung                 511.00
8 Deia-Pragma-Colnago                            484.00
9 Itera Team                                     450.00
10 Team Sponsor Service                          400.00

Nations

1 Germany                                      1,928.00 pts
2 Netherlands                                  1,398.00
3 Lithuania                                    1,337.00
4 Switzerland                                  1,008.00
5 Italy                                          962.00
6 Australia                                      764.00
7 France                                         582.00
8 Russia                                         552.00
8 Sweden                                         552.00
10 Canada                                        489.00

Full rankings

Miguel Indurain voted "Español Universal"

Five time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain has been named the 2002 "Español Universal". The award was presented by the Fundación Independiente in recognition of Indurain's sporting efforts, which also included two wins in the Giro d'Italia, a World and Olympic Time Trial Championship during his 13 year career.

Indurain met the following criteria for the award: solid democratic conviction, defence of the civil society, and a significant global presence. He joins Camilo José Cela, Plácido Domingo, Vicente Ferrer, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Margarita Salas and Julio Iglesias as recipients of the award since 1996.

Rittsel to ride for Sweden in Post Girot Tour

The Swedish National Team for the Tour of Sweden, June 12-16, has been selected. The most surprising selection is that of Martin Rittsel, CSC-Tiscali, despite the fact that CSC is riding the race with a team as well. The Danes want to use the race as their Tour build up, and since Martin won't ride the Tour he was free to ride for the national squad.

Team captain will be Henrik Sparr (CK Ceres) Swedish Champion 1999 (with Rittsel grabbing the silver). Sparr became a pro with four other Swedes in Italian/Slovakian de Nardi in 2000, but since the team found it hard to get invitations he turned to MTB instead. This year he has made a serious attempt to improve his road career with several fine results in the national races, and last week he won two stages in the Cykeltouren.

The other riders are John Nilsson (Cyclecomponents.com) who races successfully in France with AVC Aix, John's Cyclecomponents team mate Anders Juhlin (another victim of the de Nardi adventure), Mattias Carlsson (Degerberga CK) pro in the Danish third division Odder-Helsingborg, and finally Jan Mattsson (Upspala CK).

The stages

  • Stage 1a - June 12: Uppsala, 12 km ITT
  • Stage 1b - June 12: Uppsala-Eskilstuna, 138 km
  • Stage 2 - June 13: Eskilstuna-Motala, 175 km
  • Stage 3 - June 14: Motala-Skövde, 180 km
  • Stage 4 - June 15: Skövde-Huskvarna, 190 km
  • Stage 5 - June 16: Jönköping-Göteborg, 186 km

Axa sacks Cornelissen over doping affair

26 year old Dutch cyclist Björn Cornelissen has been fired by his AXA-VVZ team after he tested positive for Nandrolone on March 9, just before the Guldensporentweedaagse. Cornelissen had recorded a hematocrit level above 50% on the same day and was prevented from racing for two weeks. A urine test carried out later that day did not show any signs of EPO, but did reveal traces of Nandrolone, a banned steroid.

Cornelissen claims that he ingested contaminated food supplements which caused him to test positive for nandrolone, and his high hematocrit was due to a course of antibiotics.

"According to our regulations we must fire Björn," said team manager Ton Welling to ANP. "It is bad for him, but I I can do nothing if the sponsor says that the contract is finished."

The Dutch wielerbond has also suspended him for six months. Cornelissen and Welling will show them a list of products that Cornelissen allegedly used, with the hope that they can warn other riders of their use.

"It was very difficult," said Cornelissen. "I did not ask for a counter analysis. I could not afford it."

Cornelissen believes that either two creatine supplements or a German food supplement were the cause of the high nandrolone level. "I don't have the creatine any more, but I have given the German food supplement to the Belgian professor Delbeke for examination. I can do nothing for myself, but maybe I can help my colleagues."

After serving his suspension, he hopes to find a team for next year. "This is no way to retire from cycling," he finished.