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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition News for May 22, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson

86th Giro d'Italia news

Post stage wrap-up: McEwen wins, Cipo crashes

Robbie McEwen
Photo: © Sirotti
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Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) has taken his second stage in the Giro, winning the rain soaked 11th stage between Faenza and San Dona. McEwen used his bike handling skills to good effect, coming into the final corner with 150m to go in front and never looking back. Mario Cipollini and Isaac Galvez were right behind him, but Galvez couldn't handle it and slipped out, taking Cipo with him. McEwen thus ended up with a 30 metre advantage to Alessandro Petacchi, who finished second.

The long but uneventful stage was marked by a two man breakaway from Sergei Lelekin and Mirko Marini (both Tenax). The pair escaped at 36 km, building up a maximum lead of 13'40 before they were swallowed by the peloton with 27 km to go. A heavy storm made life difficult in the finale, and although the rain had more or less stopped by the end, the roads were still slippery. McEwen realised the danger and got to the front first, and may well have won the stage even if Cipollini had stayed upright.

The Maglia Rosa stayed with Gilberto Simoni, who will have to defend it (or attack it) in tomorrow's tough stage to Monte Zoncolan.

Stage 11 full results and report
Live report
Scott Sunderland's Giro diary

Cipo will decide tomorrow

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in San Sona

Mario Cipollini
Photo: © Sirotti
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After his crash on the final corner, Mario Cipollini was taken to hospital for X-rays. Domina Vacanze team manger Vincenzo Santoni told Cyclingnews that "Cipollini fell hard but nothing is broken. He'll decide tomorrow morning whether to start, depending on how he feels."

There were some rumours that already in yesterday's tough 10th stage he wanted to retire, but the team saw that Petacchi had also been dropped, so they encouraged him to continue.

Another interesting tidbit is that Tour de France race director Jean-Marie Leblanc will be in Italy on Friday for a party at the headquarters of Elite, the Tour de France sponsor for water bottles. Rumours are circulating that Leblanc perhaps didn't expect the reaction that he got from excluding Cipollini in the Tour, and is considering allowing 23 teams to start the Tour. However, he would need a special dispensation from the UCI to do this. The chatter in the press room thinks that the chance of this happening is less than 50 percent, but it's more than than the zero percent he had on Monday.

Vincenzo Santoni told Cyclingnews that Domina Vacanze called Jean-Marie Leblanc to question him about the decision, as they really wanted to do the Tour. Leblanc's reply was that it would be hard because there were "Logistical problems because there were no hotels."

To which Domina responded: "We own the hotels all over the world. We'll get the rooms."

Stage 12 Preview

May 22: San Dona' di Piave-Monte Zoncolan, 185km

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in San Sona

The hand lettered signs in Veneto dialect are already posted: "Sopressa e Pan; Simoni Vince sul Zoncolan" (Salame and Bread; Simoni wins on Zoncolan).

From former World Champion Moreno Argentin's home town to the summit of one of Italy's toughest climbs, Stage 12 is perhaps the most anticipated stage of this year's Giro. After 117 km across the flat plains of Friuli, there are three tough climbs in the last 70 km awaiting the Giro peloton in the jagged Alpe Carniche, historic stomping grounds of Ottavio Bottechia. The first is the tough two part Fuessa, first 7.2km at an average grade of 8.4 percent, then a 1.3km descent, with a final 2km to the summit at 10.2 percent with 60km to go. After another up and down section over Col del Prete, it's another 20km to the base of the 7.1km climb up the 6.1 percent average Cat. 2 Selle Valcalda with 23km still to race.

Once over Selle Valcalda, it's a fast descent to Sutrio, at the east side of Monte Zoncolan. Actually, the climb from the west side, starting is Ovaro is more difficult, but the tiny one lane road was judged too small for the Giro caravan to even climb. Zoncolan is a fabled leg breaker of a 13.3km climb that is one of the toughest ascents ever included in a major stage race. The first 8.7km is on a two-lane road with long stretches connected by hairpin turns that leads to the ski slopes, with an average gradient of 8.7 percent.

There is a false flat after this section, then the road turns left onto a narrow one-lane road with a rough asphalt surface for the final assault on the summit. Halfway up the second part of Zoncolan there's is a brutal stretch of 800m at an average grade of 13.3 percent. With some sections at 18 percent and the initial part of the final kilometre at 22 percent grade, many riders will opt for either a 39X28 or even a triple! Maglia Rosa Simoni will certainly be the favourite and may put some time in his key challenger Garzelli.

"I hope it's nice weather tomorrow; I'm looking to get a few seconds if I can", said seconds Mexican climbing marvel Julio Perez Cuapio. He and his Panaria teammate Paolo Tiralongo will both be looking for victory in Zoncolan.

Thevenet & Hinault open 100 Years of the Tour expo

A brace of Bernards
Photo: © AFP
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Tour de France winners Bernard Hinault and Bernard Thevenet were present yesterday for the opening of an new exhibition at the 'musée de L'auto, moto, vélo' (Museum of the car, motorcycle and bicycle) in Chatellerault, France. The exhibition, 'Yellow jersey - 100 years of the Tour de France' runs until November 23, 2003.

Hinault and Thevenet are pictured with bikes they rode in the Tour in 1979 and 1977 respectively, alongside Andre Darrigade, winner of the points jersey in 1961.

Armstrong collects gong

Another one for the trophy wing
Photo: © AFP
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Lance Armstrong collecting the award for Laureus World Sportsman of the Year in Monaco on May 20, as reported yesterday.

Other award-winners included footballer Ronaldo, who collected both the Laureus World Comeback Award and laureus World Team Award on behalf of teh Brazilian soccer team; tennis star Serena Williams, World Sportswoman of the Year; basketball player Yao Ming, Newcomer of the Year; skier Michael Milton, Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability; and rock climber Dean Potter, Alternative Sportsperson of the Year. Gary Player received a Lifetime Achievement award, and the Sport for Good award went to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Pozzato looking up for 2003

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Cyclingnews caught up with Fassa Bortolo's youngest rider, 21-year-old Filippo "Pippo" Pozzato at the Giro yesterday. The handsome, likeable young rider from Sandrigo, Italy was visiting his teammates and took a few moments to tell us about his recovery from his early season crash and his plans for the rest of the year.

"[I'm feeling] petty good," said Pozzato. "After my crash in Milano-San Remo, I did the Belgian races but I had lost some form. My last race was Frankfurt (May1) and I felt pretty good there. So I've been training pretty hard and am getting back to good form now."

Asked what's ahead of him for the rest of the season, Pozzato told Cyclingnews, "I'll do the Tour of Germany, Catalunya and the the Italian championships - I want to do well there. Then my program targets the World Cup; I like Hamburg [HEW Cyclassics] and [Clasica] San Sebastian.

"Then I hope I can get selected to the [Italian] Worlds team. [FCI selector] Ballerini tells me the course is hard, but not that hard."

Pozzatto then went off to have dinner with the rest of his Fassa Bortolo teammates, with high hopes for the second half of the 2003 season.

Luttenberger joins CSC

Austrian rider Peter Luttenberger has joined the Danish CSC team. The 30 year old was previously unable to find a deal for the 2003 season, but will be able to start riding for CSC almost immediately.

According to reports on Danish radio, CSC team boss Bjarne Riis, said that he is not completely sure of Luttenberger's present form, "But we will put him to the test during the Tour of Luxembourg to see whether he is fit for the Tour de France," Riis said.

In an interview with the Danish news agency Ritzau, Riis explained that he did not need to find new funding in order to be able to employ the Luttenberger, who was fifth the year Riis won the Tour de France.

"It´s not because I have found new money. It´s simply because we have been good at not spending the money we already have. It´s not costing us a fortune and it has always been the plan that we should have more riders," Riis said.

Dean named as top Kiwi cyclist

By Alan Messenger

New Zealand's top ranked professional Julian Dean was named the country's Road Cyclist of the Year at Cycling New Zealand's Annual General Meeting and dinner held at Wellington last weekend. The CSC rider hasn't had a great year by his own standards but his ranking was enough to give him the award.

Greg Henderson pipped Sarah Ulmer to take the Track Cyclist of the year award. The Otago rider, one of the stars of the Sydney World Cup meeting is currently based in the USA where he rides on the road for the 7Up-Maxxis team.

With most of the country's best road riders now based overseas, the points table competition was won by Waikato rider Stephen Elder. Melisa Holt built up enough points before taking off for the USA to win the women's points competition.

Aucklander Lyn Murphy took out the Coach of the Year award for her work with women cyclists, particularly in the North. Bryan Simmons (Wanganui) was named Official of the Year and Peter Van der Loo (Dunedin) Volunteer of the Year.

The Shona B Smith Award for Services to Women's Cycling went to Kirsty Fleming (Dunedin). Fleming has been heavily involved in coaching and the development of women's cycling in the South.

Di Luca helps MS charity

Saeco's Danilo Di Luca will take part in a charity dinner in Pescara on Friday May 23 to raise funds for the Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla (AISM - the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association). Di Luca has been a supporter of the charity since the latter half of last year and has been collecting a proportion of the sales of his, er, rather unusual t-shirts for the AISM. At the dinner, Di Lica will hand over the 5000 Euro collected so far to Mrs Cornio of the AISM.

The charity hopes to open a new surgery in Pescara and create a transport network for MS sufferers. "Doing [this] is really satisfying, it's a different kind of victory," Di Luca said. "I'm happy to help by giving my name the charity AISM, hope can people win their own challenge against MS."

Di Luca's next personal challenge is of course the Tour de France. "After a good start to the season, things didn't go exactly as I hoped but now there's the Tour and I'm working hard to be ready," he said.

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