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Latest News for March 12, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Paris-Nice stage 3 neutralised after Kivilev's death

Andrei Kivilev's death following the second stage of Paris-Nice has cast a pall over the race this morning, with the riders and organisers deciding to neutralise the stage in memory of their fallen companion. Kivilev's teammate Nico Mattan announced the riders' intentions to the organisation.

The peloton observed a minute's silence before setting out from Le Puy-en-Velay, and will ride the 192 km to Pont du Gard at around 33-35km/h, according to race organiser Jean-Marie Leblanc, who thanked the riders for continuing in the race. Initially it was planned to drive to the feed zone and ride from there, but the riders opted to go the full distance.

Thus there will be no live coverage of today's stage on Cyclingnews.

Vinokourov shocked at friend's death

Alexandre Vinokourov, defending Paris-Nice champion and second overall after yesterday's stage, is in shock following the death of his close friend, Andrei Kivilev. "I can't believe it. I spoke to him yesterday morning and now he's dead," said the Kazakh, who has known and raced with Kivilev for years.

The Cofidis team was also understandably very upset, with directeur sportif Francis van Londersele quoted on l'Equipe TV as saying, "He had shown through his results that he was a talented rider. We're extremely upset. The sadness within the Cofidis team... it's an enormous catastrophe."

Kivilev one of 20

Crashes during bicycle races are common, but deaths as a result of crashes are not. Andrei Kivilev became one of approximately 20 professional riders who have died during a race. According to reports from other riders near him, there was a brief stop in the peloton in the town of Saint-Chamond, possibly due to one of the riders having a mechanical problem. Kivilev went straight over the handlebars and hit the ground face first. He was not wearing a helmet. He immediately lapsed into a coma and was flown to Saint-Etienne hospital, where he died some 16 hours later as a result of head injuries.

Other professional cyclists who have died during races include Armando Cepeda, who fell down a ravine near Bourg-d'Oisans in the 1935 Tour de France; Serse Coppi, who crashed in the final kilometre of the Giro del Piemonte in 1951, and died the next night; World Road Champion Stan Ockers, who crashed during a track race in Antwerp in 1956; Tom Simpson, who died of a heart attack on Mont Ventoux during the Tour in 1967; Joaquim Agostinho, who crashed when he hit a dog during the 1984 Volta ao Algarve; Fabio Casartelli, who died when he fell in on a descent during the 15th stage of the 1995 Tour de France; Manuel Sanroma, who crashed in the second stage of the Volta a Catalunya in 1999; Saul Morales, who was killed by a truck during the 2000 Tour of Argentina; and Nicole Reinhart, who crashed and hit a tree during the Arlington circuit race in the USA in 2000.

P-N riders sick/injured

In addition to the tragic death of Andrei Kivilev, several more riders are suffering from sickness or injuries during Paris-Nice. Telekom has been hard hit with the abandonment of Daniele Nardello yesterday due to an injury, and the bad performance of Mario Aerts, who was sick and finished 20 minutes down yesterday.

Lotto-Domo's Glenn d'Hollander is another rider suffering from illness (bronchitis), and he also failed to finish the second stage.

More Polemics on Italian TV coverage of cycling

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

The ACCPI (Associazione dei Corridori Professionisti Italiani), otherwise known as the Italian Professional Racers Association, is still seeking answers from RAI TG2 News over the "extremely serious charges that were recently aired (Sat 8 March) on the 'TG2 Dossier' show, "Morte di un corridore" about Denis Zanette.

"ACCPI had already decided, after the first TG2 news items, to request that criminal charges be filed against TG2 direttore Mauro Mazza and segment producer Fabio Venditti as well as the anonymous rider interviewed in Venditti's segment."

Besides the charges requested, ACCPI will file a complaint with the Italian Journalist's Guild.

Amedeo Colombo, the newly elected president of ACCPI, had hard words for TG2 as well, stating that "this show ('Morte di un corridore') was a shameful re-working of the death of Denis Zanette. In reality, his autopsy attributed his death to natural causes. (TG2) is portraying all racers as a bunch of drug addicts...that is unacceptable."

Zanette toxicology report delayed

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Professor Santo Davide Ferrara, head of the medical team that is working on the toxicological analysis from the samples drawn from Denis Zanette during his autopsy, has asked the state prosecutor Antonella Dragotto for an extension on the due date of the toxicology report. Prosecutor Dragotto had fixed a date of March 14 for the report to be finished, however it's not ready yet. She is evaluating the request, but will probably grant it.

"We've already gotten some definitive results, but it's quite a complex analysis and we have to make some additional checks before we can give a definitive answer on anything," said Professor Ferrara.

Denis Zanette died of a heart attack on January 10 while visiting the dentist.

Santoni critical of RAI

Domina Vacanze director Vincenzo Santoni, along with all the other Italian directors, are still upset that unlike other years, Tirreno-Adriatico won't be broadcast on the afternoon RAI TRE sports show. "I don't think that [RAI] has much respect for RCS, which is organising Tirreno-Adriatco," said Santoni to La Gazzetta. "I might not have had Cipollini or the team racing if I'd known it wasn't going to be broadcast on terrestrial TV."

Bettini back in action

Cyclingnews diarist Paolo Bettini, who was knocked about after a recent attack of the 'flu, is now back on his bike and will start Tirreno-Adriatico. "I was in bed for four days and I was really sick the first two days," said Bettini. "I had a really bad sore throat and started taking antibiotics. I started riding again on Sunday but I don't think that four days off the bike will slow me down too much, because I've been in really good condition already this season. Before I got sick I was even thinking to ride for the win in Tirreno-Adriatico, but now I think I'll go day by day."

Bettini sees his top favourites as Danilo Di Luca or Giuliano Figueras, who are both in great condition.

New features on Cyclingnews

Fans of track racing should be more than satisfied with the latest batch of new features on Cyclingnews. Reporting from the Bendigo Madison last weekend, Karen Forman interviewed German track star Erik Weispfennig on his plans to move to Australia, as well as a story on the future of track cycling in Australia. Jeff Jones interviewed multiple world champion Marion Clignet about her comeback to cycling, while Lucy Power touched on the subject of track racing in her interview with David Millar.

For fitness aficionados, the subjects in the Fitness Q&A this week are training for a 40km time trial and testing your own haematocrit. Finally, you can catch up with Aussie Flanders-iteamNova pro Trent Wilson in his latest diary entry.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)