First Edition News for June 5, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson & Jeff Jones
Pantani & Vini Caldirola: "Anything can happen"
The Vini Caldirola-Sidermec team is not ruling out adding Marco Pantani to its roster for the Tour de France. "It may be tricky having two leaders in the team, but we're ruling nothing out," Andrea Agostini, a spokesman for Vini Caldirola-Sidermec told Darren Tullet of Bloomberg News. "Anything can happen."
Romani Cenni, president of Pantani's Mercatone Uno team, said yesterday that he would do "everything in my power" to get Pantani a ride in the centenary Tour de France, and the move is legal under UCI rules as long as terms are agreed by both teams.
Pantani sees a move to the team, led by Giro runner-up Stefano Garzelli, a team-mate of Pantani on Mercatone Uno from 1998 to 2000, as a chance to topple Lance Armstrong from his dominant position in the Tour. "I want to see if Armstrong is really that much better than me, as people say," Pantani said. "I'm convinced that if several of us worked together, we could get him panicking."
The Tour de France organisation also has no problem with Pantani getting about the centenary Grand Boucle train by switching teams, a move that would bring the possible number of previous Grand Tour winners in this year's Tour to nine (Lance Armstrong, Marco Pantani, Stefano Garzelli, Jan Ullrich, Paolo Savoldelli, Gilberto Simoni, Roberto Heras, Aitor Gonzalez, Angel Casero), up from five last year (Armstrong, Heras, Ivan Gotti, Laurent Jalabert and Abraham Olano).
"We select the teams, and the teams select the riders," said Jean-Michel Monin, a 1996 Olympic gold medal winner who works for the Tour de France. "If the UCI says all is in order, that's fine by us."
Pantani, who was close to quitting cycling last year, said he worked and trained hard last winter in a final bid to get back to the top. "I'm ready to reap the fruits of my labor, which is why I want to race at the Tour de France," he said. "I won't be there just to make up the numbers."
Salanson's death "doping free"
The sudden death of French rider Fabrice Salanson (Brioches la Boulangere) on Tuesday morning in Germany has been declared "doping free" by laboratory experts. The Reuters news agency reports that Dresden state prosecutors have announced that the autopsy performed on Tuesday "showed no trace of injuries or blows and no stimulant was found in the body."
Spokesman Andreas Ferron said that further tests would be carried out by the IOC-accredited laboratory in Kreischa, Germany, but the results would not be known until Friday, European time. "Those tests are aimed at establishing whether EPO could be connected to the death," Ferron said.
Salanson's hotel room was also searched, and a bag of medical products and ampoules were found. However none of these products was on the doping list.
At this time, the cause of Salanson's death remains a mystery. The Brioches La Boulangere rider was found dead in his hotel room early Tuesday morning, the first day of the Tour of Germany. His team subsequently withdrew from the tour.
Pinotti breaks pelvis
Italian rider Marco Pinotti (Lampre) broke his pelvis in a crash in yesterday's first stage of the Euskal Bizikleta. According to Sergio Pinotti, Marco Pinotti was in a breakaway that included former team-mate Robert Hunter (Rabobank). After winning a mountain sprint, Pinotti fell on the descent in slippery conditions caused by rain. He tried to restart but had to stop after a few kilometres because of the pain. A subsequent x-ray revealed a broken pelvis, which will initially see him immobilized for a week.
Sergio told Cyclingnews that Marco Pinotti would probably be hospitalized in Bergamo today, when he is due to fly back to Italy.
Nicole Cooke update
Latest reports from Nicole Cooke's Ausra Gruodis - Safi team indicate that the British champion does not have a broken collar bone after all. Early reports yesterday were that after a disastrous crash in stage 2 of the Tour du Grand Montreal Cooke had been examined in hospital and found to have broken a collar bone. However Cyclingnews understands that after many hours in hospital on Wednesday night, Cooke was found not to have broken any bones after all.
Cooke eventually emerged from hospital with seven stitches in her arm, but aside from that and a fair amount of bruising and missing skin she was not seriously hurt.
Tour wins top Spanish award
Spain's top sporting honour, the Principe de Asturias award, has this year gone to the Tour de France. Announcing the award in Oviedo on Wednesday, the prize foundation issued a statement saying, "From its very inception, the Tour de France ... has symbolised sport's most vaunted values: individual endeavour, team work and the will to excel."
France's embassy in Spain issued a statement congratulating the Tour on the award and saying, "This Prize constitutes a tribute to all the riders who, from 1903, have demonstrated so much talent and have shared with us so many moments of grace and magic."
The embassy's statement recognized the contribution Spanish cyclists had made to the Tour, adding that Spanish riders had "written some of the most beautiful pages of the Tour's history: Bahamontes (the Eagle of Toledo), Ocaña, Delgado, Induráin and many others."
The chairman of the award jury was one of those Spanish greats, Miguel 'Big Mig' Indurain, who knows a bit about the Tour de France having won it five years in succession from 1991 to 1995. One previous recipient of the Principe de Asturias, Lance Armstrong, is of course aiming to match Indurain's achievement this year and other previous winners include Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Carl Lewis and Sebastian Coe.
Vandenbroucke skips Dauphiné
Quick-Step's Franck Vandenbroucke will not be on the start line when this year's Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré gets under way on Sunday June 8. He has still not recovered from a bronchial infection that forced him to pull out of the Tour of Luxembourg late last week. It's the same infection that hampered Johan Museeuw in the early part of the season.Vandenbroucke will return to racing at the Tour of Switzerland, June 16 to 25.
Simoni stars in GP SBS hill-climb
Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) will be the star attraction at Sunday's GP SBS in Italy. Simoni will be the last starter in the 14.5km mountain time trial which ascends 910m for an average gradient of six percent to the summit of the Mottarone. A highlights program from the race will be screened on RAISPORT on Thursday June 12.
Lehigh Velodrome's first Hall Of Fame inductees
The Lehigh Valley Velodrome opened its international race season On Friday May 30 by honoring twelve individuals who have contributed to furthering the sport of cycling, including the founder of the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, Bob Rodale. The inaugural class into the New Velodrome Hall of Fame included: Ardath Rodale, Bob Rodale, Jerry Ash, Leigh Barczewski, Danny Clark, Jane Eickhoff, Artie Greenberg, Gilbert Hatton, Jack Simes III, Karen Bliss, Lucy Tyler, and Shaun Wallace. The inaugural Hall of Fame is located virtually at www.lvvelo.org.
US Postal adds Bissell Homecare to sponsor roster
The US Postal team, which earlier this year picked up flooring maker Berry Floor as presenting sponsor has added another home-orientated supporter in the form of Bissell Homecare Inc, a maker of carpet deep cleaning machines. Bissell Homecare has signed as a sponsor through to the end of 2004.
Bissell Homecare CEO Mark Bissell, who is himself a keen cyclist and racer, said, "We are excited about this venture with the greatest team in cycling. We see this sponsorship to fit naturally with our brand - one that is innovative, aggressive and on the rise - in North America and around the world."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)