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Photo ©: Swift

Latest News for May 20, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Tim Maloney

86th Giro d'Italia news

The Nauduzs/Petacchi incident

Latvian sprinter Andris Nauduzs (CCC-Polsat) was sent home from the Giro yesterday after being disqualified for hitting Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) on the helmet in the final two kilometres of stage 9. However Petacchi, who started the proceedings by hitting Nauduzs with 2.5 km to go only received a 1 minute penalty on GC, a 25 sprint points penalty, and a 200 Swiss franc fine.

After the race, Giro director Carmine Castellano met with the jury and discussed the incident, before the jury announced its decision. The president of the jury Michel Riviere ruled that Nauduzs made his action while Petacchi was preparing for the sprint, and found that the action of Petacchi was earlier and less serious.

Nauduzs, who lives in Italy, was unhappy with the decision. "In Catania I crashed because of Petacchi's move," he was quoted in La Gazzetta dello Sport. "At Arezzo when I was trying to get the wheel of Cipo, Petacchi gave me a push. Here in Montecatini 2.5 km from the finish, he hit me with his hand on the helmet. I gave it back to him. It was him who started it and I was thrown out."

"We're all the same in the race and it's not written anywhere that Cipo's wheel is Petacchi's property," added the Latvian.

His teammate Pavel Tonkov said, "The person who provoked this was Petacchi. It is a really unjust decision."

For his part, Alessandro Petacchi said that "Yes I took my hand off the handlebar because I was exasperated. I really couldn't deal with him any more. Nauduzs is a bad rider. It was him who made me lose the sprint in Arezzo. From the beginning of the Giro we've been fighting. He's always crashing, haven't you seen that?"

After Wladimir Belli in 2001 and Francesco Casagrande in 2002, this is the third year in a row that a Fassa Bortolo rider has had a punch up with another rider or a spectator, and it puts a blot on Petacchi's performances in the first week.

Riders complain about dangerous circuit

The finishing circuit in stage 9 yesterday was the subject of a number of complains by riders, who felt that it was too dangerous to host a bunch of 164 riders literally fighting it out for the stage win. There was a sharp corner with 250m to go that was particularly bad, and this is where Andris Nauduzs slipped off and crashed, taking other riders such as Gilberto Simoni with him.

Simoni was strong in his opinion, telling La Gazzetta, "That was a really bad finishing circuit. There was a lot of danger in crashing and hurting yourself all over the place, which could have destroyed an entire season. In any case there would have been no real change in the GC with that kind of circuit. At the Tour or the Vuelta they don't have finishes like this. It's kind of useless to make people wear their helmets and throw them into a finishing circuit like this, where everyone gets to the front to try and win."

Race director Carmine Castellano responded, "Undoubtedly it was a tough finishing circuit, but the riders already saw it on the first lap. Simoni has got to match his race tactics to how difficult the course is, and shouldn't be doing things beyond his capabilities."

Stefano Garzelli was more upset at the way the sprinters were riding in the finale. "People were exaggerating their moves," he said. "When you see riders who are taking their hands off the handlebars, you have to make sure that everyone follows the rules."

Pavel Tonkov commented, "It was impossible to think you could have 160 riders coming into those corners together."

Top 10 Giro stage winners

Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

In winning stage 9 yesterday, Mario Cipollini became the new record holder of stage wins in the Giro d'Italia, breaking Alfredo Binda's 70 year record. In the current peloton, no-one is even remotely close to Cipollini in terms of this record. The two other top sprinters in the race this year, Alessandro Petacchi and Robbie McEwen, have both won three stages apiece in their careers. Another Italian sprinter Ivan Quaranta (who is not racing the Giro this year) has six stage wins to his credit, while out of the climbers, Marco Pantani has eight wins, Stefano Garzelli has five, and Gilberto Simoni and Julio Perez Cuapio have three each. Cipollini's record is going to take some beating.

Top stage winners in the Giro

1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) 42 stages (1989-2003)
2 Alfredo Binda (Ita) 41 stages (1925-1933)
3 Learco Guerra (Ita) 31 stages (1930-1937)
4 Constante Girardengo (Ita) 30 stages (1913-1926)
5 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 25 stages (1967-1974)
6 Giuseppe Saronni (Ita) 24 stages (1978-1985)
7 Francesco Moser (Ita) 23 stages (1973-1986)
8 Fausto Coppi (Ita) 22 stages (1940-1955)
9 Roger de Vlaeminck (Bel) 22 stages (1972-1979)
10 Franco Bitossi (Ita) 21 stages (1964-1975)

A new bike for Cipo

Mario Cipollini is going to have a special bike today, after breaking Alfredo Binda's record yesterday. It's the same Specialized frame, but mechanic Carube Lencioni had Specialized make it up in black with special gold colours, and on the top tube will be written "Il Re del Giro" (King of the Giro).

Yesterday was one of mixed emtions for the Italian sprinter after he learned just before the stage that his team, Domina Vacanze-Elitron, had not received a wildcard entry to enter this year's Tour de France, a decision which has resulted in howls of protest. Have your say on the Tour de France wildcards in our online survey.

Vierhouten out

Dutch rider Aart Vierhouten abandoned the Giro yesterday during stage 9, as he was too tired to continue. At that point he was 10 minutes behind the peloton and did not feel good. That left 163 riders in the Giro, from 169 starters.

Tour of Belgium preview

Held over the five days between Wednesday, May 21 and Sunday, May 25 is the second edition of the relaunched Tour of Belgium, a UCI 2.3 stage race. Held over five stages and 795 km, the race starts in the west part of Flanders and gradually moves south east over the country, eventually finishing in Liege (Ans) on Sunday. The format is three flat road stages, one individual time trial, and a final hilly stage.

All of the Belgian teams will take part in the race, including strong squads from Quick.Step (VDB, Boonen, Museeuw, Knaven) and Lotto-Domo (Van Petegem, Merckx, Baguet, Van Dijk). Both Dutch teams Rabobank and BankGiroLoterij will take part, along with a handful of French teams, German team Telekom, Italian squad Fassa Bortolo, and US Postal-Berry Floor. The latter will be without top man Victor Hugo Peña, who could not enter Belgium due to visa problems. However the team will feature Cyclingnews diarist Floyd Landis, who is on the mend after a hip operation and is looking forward to getting into some European competition.

The stages

Stage 1 - May 21: Oostende-Oostende, 176.5 km
Stage 2 - May 22: Oostende-Knokke-Heist, 172,5 km
Stage 3 - May 23: Knokke-Heist-Haacht, 224 km
Stage 4 - May 24: Mechelen ITT, 21 km
Stage 5 - May 25: Mechelen-Liege-Ans, 201 km

ASO looking for Midi-Libre replacement

The Amaury Sports Organisation is interested in launching a race in 2004 that will replace the GP du Midi-Libre, which was cancelled this year due to financial difficulties. The ASO is currently in negotiations with the Languedoc-Roussillon region and wants to finalise an agreement before June 19, a deadline set by the UCI for its 2004 calendar.

ASO director Daniel Baal was quoted by L'Equipe as saying, "The name of the race couldn't be anything other than the Midi-Libre, but there could be a new partner from the media."

McCann joins

The current Irish national Time Trial champion David McCann has signed for Team, adding to its expanding roster of riders. McCann has twice ridden in the Olympics and was 8th in the 2002 Commonwealth Games Time Trial. He is also a former winner of the Manx International UCI Road race in 1996 and 2002, and a three time Irish road race champion. As well as is exceptional time trialling David is also well known as a good climber.

McCann was fired by Volksbank-Ideal last year after testing positive for nandrolone in the Tour of Austria in June. After serving his suspension he is now looking forward to getting back into competition. His first appearance in Endurasport colours will be the TEAG Hainleite one day race in Germany on May 31.

Field confirmed for Clarendon Cup

The organisers have announced that the 6th Annual Clarendon Cup, scheduled for Sunday, June 1, will feature all the major American professional teams, including six former Clarendon Cup podium finishers and over a dozen current and former USPRO, Amateur and Foreign National Champions.

The Cup will be contested in Arlington, VA with the racing commencing at 8:15am, leading up to the Comcast SportsNet Men's Pro Invitational at noon. Defending champion Vasilli Davidenko (Navigators) along with teammate Marty Nothstein will try to keep the Cup in Navigators hands over the 100 laps of the 1 kilometre course.

The Clarendon Cup is part of USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar (NRC) and the third event on the inaugural American Criterium Championship Series (ACCS). The ACCS was created by an independent group of bike race promoters and race directors to definitively crown a champion of the criterium racing discipline in America.

Pro teams

Jelly Belly/Carlsbad Clothing
Jittery Joe's
LeMond Fitness/Captain Cra-z Soap
Ofoto-Lombardi Sports
Prime Alliance
Schroeder Iron
Sierra Nevada - Clif Bar Cycling Team
US Postal Service-Berry Floor
West Virginia

Amateur teams

ARBT/Team Snow Valley
CRCA/Breitling/Tradeware Racing Team
G.S. Lombardi Sports/Foundry
Mathis Brothers
T.E.A.M. Fuji

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