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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition News for May 17, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Giro stage 6 wrap up: Petacchi's dream

Winning again
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) continued his dream, winning his second stage in a row (following Thursday's rest day) and third overall in the Giro d'Italia. Petacchi, who has worn the maglia rosa of race leader since his stage 1 victory, beat Spain's Isaac Galvez (Kelme) to the line in a sprint which saw Mario Cipollini sit up, powerless against the speed of Galvez and Petacchi, after a perfect leadout from his Domina Vacanze team.

The day was marked by a long escape from Magnus Bäckstedt (Team fakta), Cristian Moreni (Alessio), and Constantino Zaballa, who escaped after 49km and held off the bunch until just inside 10km to go. With a flat 38km finishing loop, however, there was little chance of an escape foiling the efforts of the sprinters' teams, particularly Fassa Bortolo which has supported Petacchi brilliantly throughout the first week.

"With a downhill sprint like that, if Cipo made his move, we wouldn't have been able to come around him and jumping first worked today," Petacchi explained after his win. "This is still like a dream for me to win again with the maglia rosa."

Mario Cipollini had no explanation for his lack of form, and offered only humble words on his thus-far winless Giro. "At this point, I don't know what's going on," he said. "I've had some bad moments in the past and I've overcome them. My only real disappointment I'm feeling now is that my teammates have been doing an exceptional job and I've not managed to finish the job."

Saturday's stage 7 will test the GC contenders with the first dose of serious climbing, finishing at the summit of the 16km Terminillo climb.

Full stage 6 report
Live report

Kel's back, Jamieson's run doesn't end and Nancy's all too clean

At then end of the first day of competition of round four of the UCI Track World Cup being held at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney, Australia, the home team topped the medals table with two gold and a bronze following some impressive performances from riders representing the old and new guard of the host country's track cycling specialists.

Photo © Mark Gunter
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The highlight of the evening was one of the most exciting individual pursuit finals seen at Dunc Gray, with Mark Jamieson achieving a dramatic victory in the final of the men's 4km individual pursuit. The Tasmanian teenager was trailing New Zealand's Haydn Godfrey by up to 1.6 seconds with only a handful of laps remaining, yet urged on by the crowd and national endurance coach Ian MacKenzie, he dug deep to put in one of his fastest laps at the bell, securing victory by .304 of a second.

"I took it to him at the start," Godfrey told Cyclingnews. "I thought it could put him off a little."

For most of the race, it seemed that his ploy had worked as Jamieson trailed by a margin that to most riders, would be insurmountable. "He did a brilliant job," Godfrey said of his younger rival. "His preparation, his coaching, his ride, it was all very good."

In other events, Germany's Jens Fiedler showed he's back to his best with a convincing win over a golden field in the keirin, Mexico's Nancy Contreras made easy work of winning gold in the women's sprint final, while Italy's Vera Carrara teamed up with comeback queen, France's Marion Clignet, to lap the field in the women's 20km points race.

The night also saw a tremendous return to form for Australia's Shane Kelly, who posted a sub-1.03 time to win the gold in the men's 1km time trial.

But Kel's win was not without its dramas. Earlier in the week, he had fallen heavily on his right shin during plyometric training, then yesterday, he nearly severed the top of his right index finger when pulling up too hard on his toe straps, always it seems, a somewhat troublesome area for this cyclist. Despite these setbacks and only settling on his bike with less than 30 seconds before the start, once the clock ticked over to start Kelly was out of the blocks and looked smoothed and fast.

"It's the first world cup race that I've won in the kilo," said the former world champion of this event, "and it's the first time I've had a win in the kilo since... 1997."

See full reports and photos in our complete track section.

Bianchi official

The Professional Cycling Council (PCC) has given the OK for Bianchi to take over for the embattled Team Coast. Bianchi is granted a place as a Division I team, although not all of Team Coast's rights and privileges have been transferred to the new formation. Most importantly, the new Bianchi team is not yet automatically granted entry into the grand tours, as normal Top Club (top ten ranked) teams are.

A new venture to be run by former Dutch pro Jacques Hanegraaf and directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage joins Bianchi in establishing the new team, which will continue to employ the services of Jan Ullrich. In fact, the PCC stipulated that its support for the new venture was contingent upon a concerted effort to provide contracts to all Coast riders and team staff.

Tour participation uncertain

The usual bank guarantees and proof of the team's viability are expected to be provided to the UCI and PCC within the next ten days, although this transfer of power could not come at a more critical moment. With the Société du Tour de France planning its announcement of the final four wild card selections on Monday, May 19, the new Bianchi team will have to do some quick work to instill confidence in the Tour organisers that it is a viable formation.

Daniel Baal, right hand man to Jean-Marie Leblanc, told l'Equipe again Friday that the new team's invitation to the Tour is not a simple formality. "It's not an option to select a team that has not yet been made formal," Baal commented. "A team with Ullrich offers a lot in our eyes, but the administrative issues need to be solved."

That appears to be the party line for the Tour at this point. Ullrich is considered a major asset for the Tour, but given the self-destruction of Team Coast, the Tour de France is not prepared to risk yet another team implosion, particularly in the middle of July.

Therefore, Monday will bring the expected team announcements, but five teams will be named, not four. Should Bianchi provide the necessary assurances in very short order, Ullrich and his weary teammates should be given a ride at the Tour. However, if Baal and Leblanc consider the situation to be in too great a state of flux, the team's woes will continue with a non-selection to the most important race of the year.

Suspended sentences in Perpignan

Sentences were handed down Friday at the drug trafficking trial in Perpignan, France, where 26 former professional and amateur cyclists and team staff faced charges. Five riders were sentenced to 15 months in prison, 14 of which fell under a suspended sentence, in addition to a 4,000€ fine. Twenty additional riders were given sentences ranging from one to twelve months, all suspended.

Former Crédit Agricole team doctor Hervé Stoïcheff, was released without penalty. Two physicians accused of providing prescriptions and banned substances were fined 5,000€ and 3,000€, but sentenced to any jail time.

Thierry Laurent, a former Festina pro who spoke openly about his involvement in both drug use as a professional and his involvement in trafficking, was initially given a two year suspended jail term. This was reduced to 15 months, although he is one of the five who will face on month of actual prison time. Among those called in defense of Laurent was infamous Festina soigneur Willy Voet.

Of the riders who received shorter suspended sentences, the majority of the charges focused on the use of falsified prescriptions, and were presented by defense lawyers as having been victims of the system of doping in professional cycling, according to an AP report.

Beltran 'honoured'

Manuel Beltran, who signed with US Postal Thursday following the affairs of the crumbling Team Coast, has pronounced himself lucky to be given the opportunity to work for USPS leader Lance Armstrong. Beltran leaves the team of Armstrong's rival Jan Ullrich behind, joining the American at Postal, as well as fellow Spaniards Roberto Heras and José Luis Rubiera. "It's an honour for me to work for Armstrong," Beltran told Spanish paper Marca. "I'm very motivated, although I also know that riding for Lance means a lot of responsibility."

Beltran has worked in the service of team leaders such as Tony Rominger and Abraham Olano, and hopes to be given the opportunity to ride for Armstrong in the Tour de France, as the American chases his fifth consecutive victory. Beltran will likely make his debut in Postal colours at the Dauphiné Libéré, and added that he hoped good luck would come to his former Coast teammates.

Former top cyclist on the run

By Alan Messenger

Former top cyclist Marguerite Ritchie added a new dimension to her sporting career when she won the New Zealand Women's Duathlon Championship at Rotorua last weekend. The Hamilton dentist and mother of three young children came from a running background before taking up serious cycling in the nineteen nineties. In 1998 she finished second behind Susy Pryde in the National Road Championship.

Since then a series of three operations on an Achilles tendon threatened to end her sporting career. "The last operation, a major reconstruction, was three years ago.The surgeon said that I'd probably never run again. I'll never forget that day," Ritchie said. "I'm not one to give up though."

In last week's duathlon it was Ritchie's strength and experience on the forty kilometre cycle leg that gave her a gap of three minutes on her closest rival, former New Zealand Ironman Champion Karyn Balance. "I knew I had the cycling strength and I feel I've still got some improvement in me on the running," she said.

Wachovia Cycling Series charity pairs

The Wachovia Cycling Series and Dream Ride Projects announced Friday the pairing of the Lancaster County charities participating in Dream Ride 2003 with professional cycling teams racing in the June 5th Wachovia Cycling Series-Lancaster. Local charities each "adopted" one of the teams and to support during the race. Wachovia is donating $2,000 in prize money to the charities with teams placing in the top five ($1,000 for 1st place, $500 for 2nd, $250 for 3rd, $150 for 4th, and $100 for 5th, with charity matches).

2003 Wachovia Cycling Series-Lancaster Charity Pairings

CSC - Tabor Community Services
Health Net - Family Service
Mroz - Friendship Community
Navigators - Bridge of Hope
Ofoto Lombardi Sports - Mike Hartrhant Fund
Prime Alliance - SASD
Saeco - Council on Drug & Alcohol Abuse
Saturn - No Longer Alone Ministries
Schroeder Iron - Habitat for Humanity
Sidermec-Saunier Duval-Vini Caldirola - RRALF - Epilepsy Unit
US Postal Service - CONTACT Lancaster Helpline

Given the participation of 22 teams in the 2003 Wachovia Cycling Series, 10 teams were not matched with a charity. However it was agreed that if they were to have a finisher in the top five, the team placing next with an adopted charity would be the winner of contribution.

The Lancaster event kicks off the four-race Wachovia Cycling Series, June 3-8, which culminates with the USPRO championship in Philadelphia.

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