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Photo ©: Schaaf

News for May 26, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Anthony Tan

Giro news: Stage 13 wrap up

Julio Perez Cuapio
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

The 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia saw a morale boosting win from Mexican climber Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Panaria). Not just for his embattled team, which was reduced to four riders very early in the race, but also for the Giro itself which has suffered a number of doping scandals in its first 10 days.

Perez Cuapio attacked with Australian Cadel Evans (Mapei) on the steepest section of the final climb to San Giacomo, and the pair opened up a 10 second lead over the chasing group led by Francesco Casagrande, who tried in vain to control the situation. Perez accelerated away from Evans with 1.5 km to go to take the win, with Evans second ahead of a flying Dario Frigo.

Stage 13 full results & report
Live report

Post stage comments

Julio Perez Cuapio (Panaria), 1st stage

"I had a very bad start to the Giro, where I was not in condition and I did not have the mental strength.

"The business which affected the team (concerning Varriale) depressed me. I spoke with Reverberi (Panaria directéur-sportif) and I told him that I thought of returning home, but he said to me that I would be fired if I did. So I stayed.

"This victory now gives me courage to finish the Giro.

"Since my victory in Pordoi (in last year's Giro), certain things have changed in my life. I continue to live on the edges of Lake Garda, but not any more with Varriale and the others. I had problems with them and I preferred to move. Even more so now, as I am about to be married to Mara, my Milanese girlfriend.

"In this Giro, I cannot have any hopes for the general classification, but I hope to win another stage that has a mountain-top finish.

"The future? I do not know yet - I was recently contacted by a foreign team, but my preference is to remain in Italy."

Tchmil finishes his career with a win

Andrei Tchmil (Lotto-Adecco) has finished his 14 year career with a win in the third stage of the Tour of Belgium, beating Alexandre Vinokourov in a two man sprint after the pair attacked in the closing kilometres. Tchmil announced his decision to retire shortly after the race, giving a press conference to explain the circumstances.

"I want to make an important announcement," said the emotional Tchmil, accompanied by his wife and son. "I am ending my career. I don't want to enter into any politics. I've made my decision and that's it. I don't bear any grudges against anyone."

After missing the early season classics due to a crash in the Driedaagse Van De Panne, Tchmil planned to race until the World Championships at the end of the season. He started racing again earlier this month in the Four Days of Dunkirk, but still had to negotiate a contract with Lotto team manager Christophe Sercu. Tchmil asked for 40% of a full season's salary (125,000 euros), and although the Belgian National Lottery agreed in principal, the team's other two co-sponsors (Adecco and ABX) did not.

While recovering from his crash, Tchmil had said that "I don't want to end my career in a hospital bed". That proved to be correct, and it was at least a satisfactory way to finish with a win in a stage of the Tour of Belgium, which he raced in 1990 when it was last held.

Andrei's biggest victories have included Paris-Roubaix (1994), Milan-San Remo (1999), Ronde Van Vlaanderen (2000) and Paris Tours (1997), as well as the overall World Cup in 1999. He has won nearly every major race in his adopted home of Belgium, and is considered a 'Flandrian' in the old style, even though his preferred language is French.

Rider Bio: Andrei Tchmil

Date of Birth: January 22, 1963
Place of Birth: Khabarovsk (Moldavia)
Nationality: Belgian
Pro Since: 1989
Teams: Alfa Lum (1989-1990), SEFB (1991), GB-MG (1992-1993), Lotto (1994-2002)

Major wins


G.P. Pino Cerami
Russian Road Championship
G.P. Conegliano (Trittico Premondiale)


G.P. Wingene


G.P. E3 Harelbeke
1 stage Driedaagse van De Panne
Criterium Camors
Stage Vuelta a Burgos
Stage Tour of Britain
G.P. Ouest France


Stage Dauphine Libere
Stage Vuelta a Burgos
Tour du Limousin + stage
G.P. Geraardsbergen


Stage Paris-Nice
Stage Driedaagse van De Panne
Stage Tour de Luxembourg
2 stages Volta a la Communidad Galega


Dwars door Belgie
G.P. Rik Van Steenbergen


Trofeo Luis Puig
2 stages Paris-Nice
Criterium des Mauges
stage Vuelta a Burgos


Stage Paris-Nice
Milano-San Remo
Stage Tour des Regions Wallonnes


Ronde van Vlaanderen
Stage Vuelta a Burgos
Coppa Sabatini


G.P. E3 Harelbeke


Stage Tour of Belgium

Positive counter-evaluation for Zakirov and Sgambelluri

The counter-evaluation for both Russian Faat Zakirov (Panaria) and Italian Roberto Sgambelluri (Mercatone Uno) was confirmed positive for Nesp (Aranesp) yesterday in San Giacomo.

Zakirov and Sgambelluri are the first cyclists that have tested positive to Nesp, a stronger and longer lasting form of EPO. However Nesp is not produced naturally by the body, and is therefore easy to detect by the French urine test as it stays in the body for a long time.

Zakirov withdrew from the Giro after the 5th stage, and Sgambelluri was withdrawn by his team on Friday morning before the 12th stage.

Sgambelluri, 28 years old, first tested positive during a control in a race before Giro (the Giro del Trentino) and was in his first season with Mercatone Uno. He is a previous stage winner of the Tour of Italy in 1997.

Zakirov, also 28 years old, and also in his first year with Panaria, was first declared positive before the prologue in Groningen, where all participants in the Giro were tested.

Gilberto Simoni questioned in Trento

A day after withdrawing from the Giro d'Italia due to the 'non-negative' doping test, Gilberto Simoni has been questioned by a prosecutor in his home town of Trento.

Italian Gilberto Simoni (Saeco), who provided a urine sample to drug testers on April 24 which revealed traces of cocaine (but the 'non negaative' result was announced last Wednesday), was withdrawn from the Giro by his team on Friday after winning the stage to Campitello Matèse.

A police officer in Trento said Simoni was questioned as a "person informed about the facts." That is an Italian judicial phrase meaning the person was not questioned as a "suspect".

The 30 year-old leader of the Saeco team left the Giro on Friday, bowing to pressures of race organizers and his team management after it was organisers announced he had tested 'non-negative' for cocaine metabolites at a random test on the eve of the Giro del Trentino last April.

Simoni, winner of last year's Giro and defending champion, claimed that an anesthetic injection, given during a dental treatment the day he was tested was most likely responsible for the positive result.

Simoni's dentist, Dr Bruno Grosselli, confirmed the remarks of his patient, where Simoni must await the counter-evaluation.

The withdrawal of Simoni, hours before the start of Friday's stage, and the suspension of Stefano Garzelli, after testing positive for a banned diuretic is still creating shockwaves in the Giro.

Possible replacement for Team Saeco in Tour de France

A decision concerning the possible replacement of the Italian team Saeco in the upcoming Tour of France will be made no later than June 16.

According to Daniel Baal, director of cycling at the ASO (Amaury Sport Organization):

"The decision may be made as early as next week if we have all the necessary information available. However, June 16 will be the latest date to make a decision, at the end of Dauphiné."

The invitation granted to the Saeco team, which withdrew front-runner Gilberto Simoni from the Giro d'Italia on Friday after testing non-negative to cocaine, is the reason behind the decision from the ASO.

"It seems less and less probable to us that Simoni has been deceived. In this case, the withdrawal of the invitation is very possible," said Daniel Baal, adding that it was not "not question of acting prematurely".

"It is clear that we will remain with 21 teams", specified Baal, in agreement with the director of the Tour, Jean-Marie Leblanc.

When questioned on the name of the team which would be selected to possibly replace Saeco, Daniel Baal recalled that the decision would be made by taking account the circumstances of the last few weeks.

German squad Team Coast and Italian team Acqua e Sapone were in fierce competition for the last place that was finally granted to French team AG2R. But Acqua e Sapone's star rider Mario Cipollini has reportedly said that even if the team was selected, he would refuse to ride.

Daniel Baal added that other teams that "could be in the running" were French teams Jean Delatour or BigMat, and Swiss team Phonak.

What is certain is that there will be no "mixed team" that has previously been discussed.

Armstrong takes control in Midi-Libre

Despite the numerical superiority of the ONCE team on general classification before today's fourth stage, Lance Armstrong (USPS) showed himself to be the strongest rider in the Midi Libre, finishing third in the stage and taking over the leader's jersey from Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour) won the stage from Andrei Kivilev (Cofidis), with Armstrong another 5 seconds behind. However Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano finished 9th and lost 16 seconds to Armstrong, as well as another 4 bonus seconds to put him in second overall at 13 seconds.

Click here for the full report and results.

Dutch cyclist hospitalised in Tour of Belgium

Dutch cyclist Remco Van der Ven (Bankgiroloterij) was the victim of crash in the finale of yesterday's stage of the Tour of Belgium from Mechelen to Bilzen, won by local Andrei Tchmil.

According to his directéur-sportif Johan Capiot, Van de Ven was admitted to the emergency ward of the hospital in Tongren in north-eastern Belgium, suffering a strong concussion.

It appears Van der Ven, 27 years old, came down after a touch of wheels betweeen his team-mate Gerben Lowik and Belgian Fabien De Waele (Mapei) in the high speed run-in into Bilzen . Van der Ven started to have convulsions and lost a lot of blood from his face.

"I expected the worst - when I saw Remco lying on the ground, I knew it was not good - it was a dreadful image" said Bankgiroloterij manager Capiot. "My rider is in hospital at Tongeren where his condition is being followed minute by minute," added Capiot.

Van der Ven remained unconscious for twenty minutes on the side of the road before being evacuated to the hospital in Tongeren, where the doctors diagnosed a serious concussion.

Remco Van der Ven's team-mate Gerben Lowik got off much lighter, and only has some minor scratches and a contusion to his thigh.