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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for May 18, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson

86th Giro d'Italia news

Stage 7 wrap-up - Garzelli claims pink

Stefano Garzelli
Photo: © Sirotti
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It's been a long year for Stefano Garzelli, but the 2000 Giro winner confirmed his class again by taking the first mountain stage atop the Terminillo climb ahead of 2001 Giro winner Gilberto Simoni. The pair dueled it out with 6 km to go after riding away from the leading group, and only Andrea Noe (Alessio) was able to hold them. Thus Garzelli is in the Maglia Rosa again, and this time he hopes to keep it until the finish.

The 146 km stage destroyed the hopes of many, including Francesco Casagrande (Lampre), who lost 2'35, Marco Pantani, who lost 3'50, and Aitor Gonzalez and Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo), who lost a lot more time. On the other hand, Pavel Tonkov rode well to take 4th place, 14 seconds behind the three leaders, and the experienced Russian will try to maintain his consistency after losing time in the first week due to crashes.

Stage 7 full results and report
Live report
Photos

Pantani loses more than he hoped

Marco Pantani
Photo: © Sirotti
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Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno) lost 3'46 in stage 7 to finish in 25th place, a far cry from his third place in Terminillo in 1997 when Pavel Tonkov won the stage. It was a fair performance from the Pirate, but he was hoping for a little more.

"I know I'm going to suffer," he was quoted in today's La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's been a long time since I've done that kind of a climb in a big race. I've also always needed to warm up a little on the climb. But I'll be happy if I'm able to limit my losses to a minute or a minute and a half today. This is going to be a race that goes all the way to the final day."

Petacchi happy to let go

Alessandro Petacchi's run in the Maglia Rosa finally came to an end in stage 7, after he lost 16'29 on the climb to Terminillo. It wasn't a surprise for the Fassa Bortolo sprinter, who found himself in a new role today, working for Aitor Gonzalez and Dario Frigo. It was an odd sight to see the Maglia Rosa getting water bottles from the team car and passing them up to his teammates. But that's what sprinters do in the mountain stages, and Mario Cipollini was also noticeable in getting his teammate Michele Scarponi up to the front.

"I really can't believe this," said Petacchi to La Gazzetta. "Three stage wins, six Maglia Rosa and six Ciclamino. Beyond that, when I'm with the team, eating dinner and in my room, I'm still the same person. I'm not a person who gets a big head with success. I'm just a regular guy and I'm lucky I'm a fast sprinter."

Petacchi's next chance will come in tomorrow's stage to Arezzo, where can could add a possible fourth stage win to his Giro palmares.

Formaggi Pinzolo manager comments on NAS raid

The Formaggi Pinzolo-Fiave team was the subject of a two hour raid late on Friday evening by officers of the NAS (Italian drug squad). Unlike past raids of this type, the police came away empty handed. Team manager Stefano Giuliani called it a "welcome visit. We have nothing to hide. It was a routine check and they didn't find anything. They're welcome to come any time and I think these checks should be part of cycling."

Track World Cup Day 2 wrap-up

New Zealand picks up the pace

Hail Mikhail
Photo © Tom Balks
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The new world order of track cycling continued to emerge on day two of the fourth and final round of the 2003 UCI Track World Cup being held at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney. In particular, Russian teenager Mikhail Ignatiev showed speed and maturity beyond his years to win a closely contested 30km points race, while the women's keirin featured an Australian double-act as Rosealee Hubbard and Kerrie Meares monstered the field to secure a 1-2 for the host nation.

Hubbard's gold put Australia back on top in the medal and points score for the meeting after New Zealand threatened to lead on day two after wins by the super-smooth pursuiter Sarah Ulmer in the women's 3km individual pursuit and also the Kiwi team in the men's 4km teams pursuit.

In the men's sprint, the gold went to Germany's Rene Wolff in a convincing display over Australia's Mark French, but the it was the quarter finals which had the crowd on its feet as the Australian teenager took out German track racing legend Jens Fiedler in three closely contested heats.

The long day of sprinting took its toll on French, who lined up for his twelfth sprint for the day when racing for the gold against Wolff. "It was not easy," Wolff said afterwards. "He (French) had two heats more than me, but it was also hard for me. I am in good condition and it helped me through."

French said, "I put in 120 percent every time. In the last one (heat), I gave it everything I had."

Earlier in the day, Mexico's Nancy Contreras picked up another gold in the women's 500m time trial, with a time of 34.757, ahead Yonghua Jiang (Chn) and Yvonne Hijgenaar (Ned).

See our track World Cup section for detailed reports, photos and full results.

Saiz upset with UCI

ONCE team manager Manolo Saiz is upset at what he perceives as a lack of support from the UCI in the case involving Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, who is currently suspended from riding in France for six months. Gonzalez de Galdeano was sanctioned by the French anti-doping council (CPLD) for testing positive for a high level of salbutamol during last year's Tour de France. Although UCI rules permit the use of the asthma drug, provided medical justification exists, the CPLD took a harder stance and ruled that because the concentration of salbutamol in his urine was greater than 1000 ng/mL, Gonzalez was positive. More specifically, the CPLD did not see the concentration "as a consequence of the use of Ventolin in the usual therapeutic way."

The UCI stated that the decision of the CPLD is "questionable on a legal level", and also that the ruling "is contested by specialists, notably heads of anti-doping laboratories." However, UCI president Hein Verbruggen still doesn't believe that Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano will ride the Tour de France.

"Even though we don't agree with CPLD, we accept that the law of a country precedes the rules of a federation," said Verbruggen.

The UCI's apparent resignation has displeased ONCE's team manager Manolo Saiz, who said that "I feel sadness when I see that unlike other sports, the UCI doesn't defend the riders in situations like this. Verbruggen should understand that the victim of this affair could not be Igor or ONCE, but cycling itself. A race as important as the Tour might be hurt by it."

But even though Manolo Saiz feels angry, sad and disappointed by the lack of support shown by UCI in this case, he isn't someone who gives up easily. "I'm still confident that the truth will prevail and that Galdeano will ride the 2003 Tour. He's working to be in the top of his form in July," concluded the ONCE boss.

Return of the playboy

He managed to combine a career as a top class sprinter with a so-called 'glamorous' lifestyle. Malcolm Elliott was one of the big names of the European pro scene in the late eighties and early nineties. Now he's back for the FDB Milk Ras, writes Shane Stokes.

Nothing quite grabs the attention like a good comeback. Having it, letting it go, getting it back again. Six years ago Malcolm Elliott hung up his wheels when the American Comtel team went bust; at the time it looked like he'd never compete again, particularly as he repeatedly expressed his delight with his newfound freedom. Yet several weeks ago he stunned the British scene by making a return to competition, placing fourth in the Archer Grand Prix and then taking second in the Girvan Three Day at Easter. A hugely talented rider, Elliott confesses that he is training harder now than he did in the last couple of years of his career. His progress will be watched with fascination by all on this race.

Although remembered chiefly as a sprinter, Elliott was a rider with a huge amount of class. Indeed, some feel that with a little more application, his palmarès would have been even better. At the end of 2001 Cycling Weekly ranked him tenth in its assessment of the 50 best British riders of all time, quoting the experienced manager George Shaw, who gave him his first pro contract with Raleigh-Weinmann, as stating that "Malcolm was the most talented rider this country ever had… He had a pure, natural talent."

Given that Britain has produced cyclists of the caliber of Tom Simpson, Chris Boardman, Barry Hoban and Robert Millar, that was praise indeed.

Elliott made an impression early on, winning the Commonwealth Games road race in 1982 and helping England to a team time trial gold medal. He was equally at home on the track in those early days, being one of the GB team which briefly held the world record in the 4000 metre pursuit at the Moscow Olympics and later going on to win the British individual pro pursuit championships.

In 1984 Elliott lifted the British pro criterium title. Two years later, he placed second in the British Milk Race and won the fiercely-disputed Kellogg's criterium series. 1987 brought opportunity to impress abroad with the fledgling ANC pro team, and he earned vital exposure for them when he placed an excellent third in the Amstel Gold classic. Thanks largely to this result, the team secured a slot in the Tour de France, where Elliott was one of just four on the squad to reach Paris. On the way there, he picked up three top ten stage finishes, including an excellent third in the bunch sprint which decided stage 12 into Bordeaux.

Elliott also won the Milk Race that year and raised his tally to a record 17 stages, but it was the Nissan Classic where he really impressed. The Sheffield man went into the race with little preparation and had low expectations, but stunned the cycling world - and himself - when he out-galloped cycling greats such as Sean Kelly to take the opening stage. Two more stage victories followed that week, ensuring a barrel-load of plaudits and a pro contract with Stephen Roche's Fagor squad for 1988.

With Roche out due to injury, the team were under considerable pressure to perform. Elliott relieved that stress somewhat when he first took a stage of the Tour of Aragon and then out-sprinted Kelly to take a magnificent win on the 17th leg of the Tour of Spain. He went on to record six top ten stage finishes in the Tour de France, including fourth place on the Champs Elysees, the Queen stage for sprinters. He also showed his all-round ability in winning the Kellogg's Tour of Britain.

Elliott's strong showing that season earned an approach from Teka for 1989 and 1990, and with more money on offer, he was happy to leave the chaos of Fagor behind. He unleashed those fast-twitch fibres again in 1989 when he won two stages plus the points jersey in the Tour of Spain, but his team missed out on a ride in the Tour de France. They were absent again in 1990, and despite a move to Seur, Elliott found himself once more on a team which was not riding the world's biggest bike race.

The frustration of missing the Tour must have been immense, given his good showing in 1987 and 1988, and his strong collection of victories during those four years after Fagor. Elliott won races such as the Trofeo Masferrer plus stages in the tours of Catalonia, Burgos, Galicia, the Basque Country and the Semana Catalana but despite all this, racing in Spain was not really to his liking. Spending a lot of time commuting from Sheffield, he lost interest in the European racing scene and might have retired had he not switched to competing on the US pro circuit.

The change of scene was a good one. Rejuvenated by his 1993 move, he spent four years in the colours of the Chevrolet-LA Sheriff team and carved out a rewarding existence. Elliott became one of the stars of the US scene, enjoying the lifestyle and earning a decent amount of money along the way. In that time he took three stages of the Tour Du Pont, two wins in the First Union Grand Prix and a healthy amount of other wins, and when his team eventually folded at the end of 1996, he resolved to ride for two more years on the US circuit. He signed with the Comtel team, but received a fax on the day of his 36th birthday telling him that the team had gone bust. And so his career drew to a premature end.

Elliott achieved fine results as a pro, but Shaw remains convinced he could have done more. "I wish he had realised his full potential," he said in December 2001. "Malcolm had fantastic palmarès yet they could have been three times better. But then he's made a lot of money, so who are we to criticise?"

With Elliott showing no interest in getting back on the bike at the time, Shaw's next comment now seems like a bit of inspired precognition. "He had so much natural ability he didn't have to train like other bike riders. He's 40 now but I know that he could get his bike out, train for just two weeks and win a race."

A year on, something along those lines is happening. Elliott spent a bit more time getting ready and hasn't yet made a return to the top of the podium, but that first win is surely drawing close. Maybe it will come this week in a bunch finish of an FDB Milk Ras stage.

Friday Night Winter Track racing returns

After a successful first season last year that saw keen competition and many new riders trying out the boards, Friday Night Winter Track Racing (FNWTR) returns to Sydney's Dunc Grey Velodrome on May 23 - so if you've been inspired to have a go at track racing by the current World Cup action at Dunc Grey, now's your chance to have a go in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Racing starts at 7pm with five rounds of graded races followed by presentations in the Handle Bar Tavern (adjoining the velodrome). Competitors and spectators can enjoy a cyclist pasta meal at a special price.

Starting from June 13, Lionel Cox (former world champion) and his son Brad will host a junior development program, with sessions starting at 5pm.

Promoter Paul Craft says there is also a greater purpose to the FNWTR sessions than just a bit of winter fun and fitness. According to Craft, Dunc Grey Velodrome "is relatively underutilized during the winter. This is forcing venue management to allow non-cycling events to book the velodrome. It is important for the DGV to remain predominantly a cycling venue. FNWTR deserves the backing and support of all cyclists."

For more details, contact Paul Craft at pcraft@vtown.com.au.

41st Snowy Wilson Memorial Criterium

Sydney's Randwick Botany Cycling Club will run the 41st edition of its annual Snowy Wilson Memorial Criterium on June 9 this year. The slightly later date than last year is the Queen's Official Birthday, a public holiday in much of Australia.

AE "Snowy" Wilson was Randwick Botany's longest-serving club secretary, joining the club in 1917 and remaining a member for much of his life, including a 30 year stint as secretary.

Racing starts at 8.15 am with at least $2,500 in prize money on offer for the seven races on the tight 2km circuit at Heffron Park.

UCI anti-doping news

The UCI has announced the following sanctions against riders who committed breaches of its anti-doping rules.

Christophe Laurent, sanctioned by the Fédération Française de Cyclisme, has been disqualified from the Tour de l'Avenir, September 12 2002, and suspended for of 6 months from October 1 2002 to March 24 2003.

Eduard Bogaert, sanctioned by the Royale Ligue Vélocipédique Belge, has been disqualified from the Triptyque Ardennais, May 25 2002, and Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo, June 9 2002, and suspended for a year, with six months deferred, so receives an actual suspension from February 1 2003 to August 1 2003.

Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez, sanctioned by the Real Federación Española de Ciclismo, has been issued a warning and his time in the final stage of the Euskal Bizikleta - Bicicleta Vasca, June 9 2002, increased by one percent.

Stève Fogen, sanctioned by the Fédération du Sport Cycliste Luxembourgeois (decision confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport the 24 January 2003), has been disqualified from the Tour du Luxembourg, June 2 2002, and Luxemburg Championships, June 30 2002, and suspended for one year including 6 months of deferment, so an actual suspension from July 12 2002 to January 11 2003 and fine of CHF 2,000.

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