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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for September 9, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vuelta España: Stage 2 wrap up

Danilo Di Luca won the first proper road stage of the Vuelta in impressive style, holding off the only surviving sprinter Erik Zabel in the uphill dash to the line in Alcoi. Di Luca is coming off great form in the recent Italian races, and today's finish suited him perfectly.

The break of the day came after 10km, when Mederic Clain (Cofidis) attacked with German Nieto (Relax-Fuenlabrada) going with him. The pair gained a maximum of 11 minutes lead before they were caught on the final climb with 18 km to go. After that, several riders including Oscar Sevilla tried to get away before the finish, but everything came to naught on the final rush to the line.

Full results and report
Live report
Danilo Di Luca's diary

Post stage quotes

Di Luca the sprinter
Photo: © Yuzuru Sunada
Click for larger image

Danilo Di Luca (Saeco-Longoni Sport, 1st stage)

"I've always gone well in Spain, it must be my lucky country. I'd hoped for a stage win but things have immediately gone my way. The team worked perfectly and so I had a chance of going for the win. I decided to go for it and it worked."

"Having seen the finish when the peloton went through Alcoi the first time, I thought I might have a chance because it was uphill for the last 400 metres. However, there were a lot of attacks in the final 15 kilometres and when Acqua & Sapone started working so hard for Mario Cipollini, and succeeded in bringing back Sevilla's move, things didn't look so good. But then when Cipollini cracked I decided to go all out for the finale."

"This win doesn't change our plans. Simoni is our team leader for the overall classification and we'll all be working for him in the decisive moments of the race. We know what we can do. The result of the prologue hasn't affected us. We know we were unlucky because of the crash taking out Spezialetti and we knew we'd have to try and lose as little as possible. The team is in good shape and everybody has seen that very clearly today."

On the rest of the season, Di Luca added: "We've gone through some difficult moments but, we've been very unlucky and we were unjustly excluded from the Tour de France. We didn't give up but changed out programmes and kept working. Hard work always pays off in the end."

Oscar Sevilla (Kelme)

Oscar Sevilla made a daredevil attack on the descent of the Alto El Revolcat with 15 km to go, taking three others with him in pursuit of the two leaders, Benjamin Noval and David Etxebarria. Sevilla was certainly a danger for the general classification, but luckily ONCE had Jose Azevedo up there, who became the virtual leader for a while. After the six riders came together, they self destructed on the run into the finish, eventually being caught with less than 1 km to go.

"It wasn't really an attempt to gain time on general classification," said Sevilla. "What I really wanted to do was to win the stage for Kelme-Costa Blanca, because the sponsors are from this region."

Winner's profile: Danilo Di Luca

26 year old Danilo Di Luca has been a professional for four years. Until 2002, he rode for Cantina Tollo, but is now in the red colours of Saeco-Longoni Sport. His results are steadily improving, and he is one of the best performed Italians this season, ranked 11th on the UCI scale. Last year he won the last World Cup classic of the season, the Giro di Lombardia. This year, he already has seven wins to his credit including the Giro Veneto.


2002 results

1st Stage 2 Vuelta España
1st Trofeo Laigueglia
1st Stage 4 Vuelta Comunidad Valenciana
1st Stage 3 Tirreno-Adriatico
1st Stage 5 Tirreno-Adriatico
1st Trofeo Fred Mengoni
1st Giro Veneto
2nd Tirreno-Adriatico
2nd Tre Valle Varesini
3rd Subida Urkiola


1st Giro di Lombardia
1st Stage and GC Giro d'Abruzzo
1st Stage Setmana Catalana
1st Stage Giro d'Italia
1st Trofeo dello Scalatore #2


Trofeo Pantalica
GP Larciano
1st Stage 5 Giro d'Italia
1st 2 Stages Giro d'Abruzzo
1st Stage Vuelta a Pais Vasco


1st Stage Giro d'Abruzzo

Ratti "abnormal but normal"

Mapei-Quick Step's Eddy Ratti didn't even make it to the starting line of the Vuelta España, being withdrawn by his team from the race for health reasons. Mapei issused a press release stating " After having assessed the medical reports relative to Suivi Medical, along with the agreement of the team management, the team's medical staff believe it opportune not to let Eddy Ratti start the Vuelta a España, enabling them to look more deeply into the situation from the point of guarding the athlete's health."

Mapei's director Jesús Suárez Cueva told sports newspaper AS that the parameters detected in the rider's blood were "abnormal but normal": "The UCI regulations do not force us to withdraw our rider, but we have preferred to protect his health".

25 year old Ratti has been a professional since 2000 and this was to be his second Vuelta. This season, he won a stage of the Regio Tour and the Tre Valle Varsine.

Pieri first off the bike

Italian rider Dario Pieri (Alessio) was the first retirement of the Vuelta, abandoning after 70 kilometres of today's stage. Pieri was lying in second last position on GC, after being dropped in the team time trial yesterday. Many observers noted that he did not look in tip top condition.

The 27 year old won the GP E3 Harelbeke earlier this season.

Savoldelli suffers

Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli (Index-Alexia) was one of the first riders off the back when they hit the big climb halfway through the second stage. Paolo ended up in the company of his team's sprinter Ivan Quaranta, as well as Domo's Jeroen Blijlevens, Lampre's Zbigniew Spruch, Team Coast's Fabrizio Guidi, US Postal's Tony Cruz and BigMat's Jeremy Hunt. All in all, 30 riders finished in the Savoldelli group, 16'27 behind the winner.

No-one doing all three Grand Tours this year

Riding all three Grand Tours in one season is becoming a thing of the past it seems. This year, no-one will achieve that feat, taking into account the 206 riders at the start of the Vuelta. Last year, Spanish rider Jon Odriozola ( was the only person to complete all three races. He finished 83rd in last year's edition of the Vuelta.

Women's World Cup to come down to the wire

Today's eighth round of the women's World Cup in Embrach, Switzerland, produced an expected result with the stronger climbers able to ride away from the peloton on the last lap to contest the win. With the points competition between Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites-Hartol) and Petra Rossner (Saturn) so tight, all eyes were on these two riders and their finishing positions.

The end result was that Melchers finished 4th and Rossner 10th, meaning that Melchers carries a 13 point lead over Rossner coming into the final round next Sunday (Rotterdam Tour). That's a race more suited to Rossner's sprinting talents, taking place on a flat parcours in Rotterdam. There are a number of possibilities, but if Rossner wins then she will also take the World Cup. However, Melchers is on home ground and very motivated to win this year.

Full results, report and World Cup standings

Corey Sweet to Credit Agricole

Australian rider Corey Sweet will ride for Credit Agricole next season. Sweet currently rides for Dutch team BankGiroLoterij.

Ceramiche Panaria 2003

Bruno and Roberto Reverberi have confirmed 11 riders who will make up part of the Ceramiche Panaria team for 2003. Led by Giuliano Figueras, the team features brilliant Mexican climber Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, Australian sprinter Graeme Brown and time trialist Nathan O'Neill. Also returning are Sergey Matveyev and Stefano Guerrini.

New riders in the team are Argentinean Guillermo Bongiorno (neo pro), Australians Scott Davis (neo pro) and Brett Lancaster (, Claudio Bartoli (neo pro, Michele's cousin) and Fabio Giglioli (neo pro).

The team will ride Battaglin bikes with Shimano equipment.

San Francisco selection

Speaking of Mexican climbers, Perez Cuapio will be back in action in next Sunday's San Francisco Grand Prix on September 15. He broke his collarbone in the Trofeo Matteotti, and San Fran will be his first race back. Nothing like easing yourself into it...

The full Panaria team is as follows: Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, Volodymyr Duma, Yaugeny Senyushkine, Stefano Guerrini, Nathan O'Neill, Matteo Cappe (Stagiaire), Claudio Bartoli (Stagiaire), D.S. Roberto Reverberi

O'Loughlin back in action

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

David O'Loughlin from Cong in Co. Mayo missed out last month going to the Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia because of a broken collarbone. He sustained the injury in the Tour de Toona in Pennsylvania in the USA. He was well up in the event and got the injury on the fourth stage.

"Yes, I was looking forward to Malaysia but the injury sidelined me. Originally I was scheduled to be out for six weeks, but my GP suggested after two weeks that I should get back on the bike. I was dubious in the first place, but his advice has worked. I won a race a fortnight ago and this has made the healing progress gather momentum.

"Now I'm off to the Tour of Hokkaido in Japan. The team looks very balanced and we should do well. We will be defending the race won last year by David McCann," said David.

O'Loughlin also confirmed that racing in America is fairly tough. They may not have the Union Cycliste Internationale points, but the events are hard. Also there is great support from the bike industry in the States, which has seen a growth in professional teams.

As to the future for the 23-year-old from Cong, "I'm signed up for next year with Ofoto Lombardi Sports and also I'm going to the University of Limerick to do sports medicine. Let's say, I'm a mature student now," said David as he made the final preparations for his flight to the Orient.

The odds are very much in favour of an Irish performance in Japan. The majority of the Asian teams that competed in Malaysia will be at the Asian Games, which should help their cause.

David got the best possible send off to reaffirm his fitness when he won the Beechmount Cup in Kilmessan, Co. Meath on Saturday evening before jetting out to Japan.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)