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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest News for May 12, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Tim Maloney

86th Giro d'Italia news

Only one arm for Baldato

Fabio Baldato
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Stage 2 winner Fabio Baldato described himself as satisfied with the result yesterday, after being awarded the stage following Robbie McEwen's relegation. "If I could have ridden over the line with my hands in the air it would have been an even nicer win. When McEwen put me against the barriers, I was afraid that I'd be playing in different places," said Baldato.

Baldato added that this was a good consolation for not winning one of the World Cups. "In the early season I was aiming at a World Cup race, but this is also nice," he said. "The maglia rosa is possible, but that will be hard."

Petacchi happy with Baldato's win

Maglia Rosa Alessandro Petacchi had a good ride to finish fourth in yesterday's stage, after a tough chase following the climb of Monte Scaglioso. "In the final kilometres my team worked hard, but I had to go deep and had no reserves for the sprint," he said. "The heat was suffocating and I had difficulty breathing."

Petacchi also had praise for the stage winner Baldato. "Baldato is a good friend. We're former teammates."

McEwen doth protest

After crossing the line in first position yesterday in Matera, Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) was not at all happy about being disqualified for putting Fabio Baldato into the barriers. In the Belgian VUM newspapers today, McEwen explained his point of view.

"What, disqualified?," he exclaimed. "And why then? Indeed, I started in the middle of the road and went to the right, but nobody was beside me."

McEwen indicated that eventually he did know that Baldato was there. "Anyway, I left enough room between myself and the barriers for him to pass, over 80 cm or so. I didn't hinder him. They can't take the win away from me for that can they? Cipollini did something similar on Saturday and the jury kept quiet. Or am I just being punished to put an Italian on the podium?"

UCI commissaire firm

The well known Dutch UCI commissaire Martin Bruin didn't appreciate McEwen's allegations that he was disqualified to give the win to an Italian. "McEwen started sprinting in the middle of the road and ended up just next to the barriers," he was quoted in the VUM papers. "By doing that, he didn't give Baldato, who was on his wheel, enough room to pass. There's only one logical sanction: disqualification. And take it from me, Baldato's nationality has got nothing to do with that!"

More comments about McEwen

Lampre director Giuseppe Saronni was in agreement with the jury's decision, stating that, "McEwen moved from his line and that's the rule that he violated. But they also should have applied it at Lecce [Cipollini]."

Old sprinter Dino Zandegu was reminiscent. "Back in the day, that sprint would have been allowed," he said. "We used to get away with anything. Now the tune is changed."

Cipollini threatened with DQ

UCI commissaire Martin Bruin also stated that Mario Cipollini could be disqualified and sent home if he does not wear the proper jersey. Before the race started, Cipollini said that he would only trade his World Champion's rainbow stripes for the Maglia Rosa, and wouldn't wear the points or the Intergiro jerseys if he won them. On Sunday, Cipollini was supposed to wear the ciclamino points jersey after placing second in Saturday's opening stage, as points leader Alessandro Petacchi also wore the Maglia Rosa.

"The ciclamino jersey is for the best sprinter, and I lost on Saturday," protested Cipollini, who wore the rainbow stripes again on Sunday.

Martin Bruin allowed this, saying that it was only "because the word 'must' was missing in the Giro regulations, we let him go to the start. But on Sunday he won an intermediate sprint and therefore is the leader of the Intergiro classification. The leader of that has to wear the blue jersey. If Mario doesn't have that on Monday, we'll send him back to the hotel."

Given the immense popularity of Cipollini, who has been partly responsible for the immense crowds in the Giro so far, it would take a very brave organiser to send him home.

Cipollini didn't have it

After being dropped at the bottom of the Monte Scaglioso climb with 25 km to go, Mario Cipollini was forced to concede over 6 minutes by the end of the stage. "I'm sorry because my legs felt good but I got dropped on that climb and I could not come back," he told La Gazzetta.

In a joking manner, Cipo shot his water bottle at the camera as he was losing time. That got team manager Vincenzo Santoni a bit upset, especially after an Italian TV commentator said (again jokingly) that he hoped Cipollini hadn't damaged the camera. "If we've done any damage, we'll pay for it," said a perturbed Santoni.

Pantani happy with performance

Marco Pantani is one rider who likes the hot weather, and during stage 2 he was prominent at the front in the finals stages of the race, along with his Mercatone Uno team. "I'm feeling better," he said in La Gazzetta today. "In the climb I was up at the front, and I think that's where I belong."

Pantani remembered the finish in Matera, where he placed fourth a similar stage in 2000. "When we got a gap there were a lot of different people up front so I put my team on the front to ride hard tempo, just because I wanted to keep things at a high pace so there wouldn't be crashes and other problems," he said.

Garzelli has a go

Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola-SoDi) was seventh in stage 2, mixing it up with the fast men in the sprint. "I was going to try and do the sprint but with two kilometres to go I saw that Baldato, McEwen and Petacchi were there and it wasn't a good sprint for me..."

Simoni wants to test legs

Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) thought about going for the GPM [mountain sprint] yesterday, but Fredy Gonzalez was too quick for him. "Nonetheless I felt good when I went hard," said the Saeco man, who will be one of the favourites in stage 3.

Frigo and Gonzalez easing into it

Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) isn't on top of things in the Giro yet. "I'm not really that sharp now," he said. "I still need a few more days to get my form back to 100 percent. Those sentiments were echoed by his teammate Aitor Gonzalez, who said "Slowly I'm getting into the race."

Piccoli breaks ribs

Mariano Piccoli is the first casualty of this year's Giro, after breaking several ribs in a crash during stage 2. As the peloton was gathering speed in preparation for the day's climb, Piccoli went off the side of the road and into the grass. He got up and painfully got back on his bike, but lost 24 minutes at the end of the day.

After the finish he went to hospital complaining of chest pains. Doctors found that he had broken a few ribs and his lung was bleeding. He will thus not start in stage 3.

Stage 3: Policorno-Terme Luigiane 145km

Stage 3 is the first day at the Giro for attacking riders with a hilly final 55km across the instep of the Italian boot in Calabria. After the stage's only GPM at Fagnano Castello, there are three more climbs in the next 15km before a 9km descent into Terme Luigiane and an uphill final along Viale delle Terme.

With another hot, hard day and fast attacking riders who can climb well on the move, Alessandro Petacchi will likely end his reign as Maglia Rosa in favour of a rider like Lele Colombo, 19" behind Petacchi in 2nd on GC, or Giuliano Figueras, 3rd at 23".

Join us for our live coverage of the second stage, starting at 14:30 CEST.

Dr Michele Ferrari interview

Dr Ferrari (right) & a client
Photo: © Tim Maloney/CN
Click for larger image

Cyclingnews' European editor Tim Maloney spoke with controversial Italian sports doctor Dr Michele Ferrari recently for a rare interview, which will be published in two parts on Cyclingnews. In part one Dr Ferrari talks about the changes he's seen in pro cycling over the past 20 years, plus his unique method of measuring a rider's fitness. In part two the doctor talks about his relationship with Lance Armstrong and the ongoing court case in Italy.

Click here to read part one.

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