First Edition News for May 23, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Giro stage 12: Simoni conquers Zoncolan
Simoni on top
Photo: © Sirotti
There were no surprises in Thursday's very tough 12th stage to Monte
Zoncolan, as Maglia Rosa Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) strengthened his grip
on the general classification with a strong ride over the last 3 km of
the brutally steep climb. Simoni finished 34" in front of Stefano
Garzelli, who chased him all the way to the top in the company of Marco
Pantani. The latter was on track for third until he was caught by Francesco
Casagrande and Yaroslav Popovych in the final few hundred metres, but
it was an inspiring ride from the pirate.
The big losers of the day were Pavel Tonkov and Franco Pellizotti, who
were both dropped near the bottom of the 13 km climb and lost over four
minutes. On the other hand, riders like Julio Perez Cuapio (6th), Aitor
Gonzalez (9th) and Dario Frigo (12th) performed better than they did in
the first mountain stage.
12 full results and report
Giro crash claims three
A crash in the peloton caused several riders to hit the deck quite heavily
during stage 12, and reduced the field size once more. Two of the principal
victims of the crash were Italians Cristian Moreni (Alessio) and Paolo
Tiralongo (Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo). Moreni is reported to have broken
his collarbone, as well as fracturing several bones in his left hand.
Tiralongo fractured several vertebrae. Kelme's Carlos Garcia Quesada also
abandoned, having suffered from a groin injury.
Mason breaks pelvis
Among the crash victims stage 11, which saw Mario Cipollini go down in
spectacular fashion in the dangerous finale, was Vini Caldirola's Oscar
Mason. One of Stefano Garzelli's key tempo men, Mason went down with three
others with 51km to go in Wednesday's stage, and suffered a broken pelvis.
Pantani finding his wings
Photo: © Sirotti
Marco Pantani showed some flashes of his former brilliance on the brutal
climb of the Monte Zoncolan Thursday, finishing in 5th place, 43" behind
stage winner Gilberto Simoni. Pantani was pleasantly surprised to have
such a good day, but also insists there is more work to be done. "The
others are stronger. I still have trouble with the changes in rhythm,"
Pantani told Datasport.
"The hard work is outweighing the pleasure," he added. "I still need
to recover. I'm not yet at my best."
Stefano Garzelli, Pantani's former teammate, was happy to see his old
team leader back in the thick of the action. The two went head to head
in the final kilometres, until Garzelli finally got the better of Pantani.
"It was a great day for cycling and a great day for me...plus a great
day for Pantani," Garzelli commented after the finish. "I was really happy
to see him up there."
UCI discuss Coast/Bianchi situation
By Tim Maloney on Monte Zoncolan
UCI president Hein Verbruggen was in the press room atop Monte Zoncolan
today talking to the world cycling press regarding the status of former
team Coast. The UCI is looking at the situation carefully but it realises
that Bianchi has provided a long term commitment to take over the team.
Since the UCI wants to encourage companies who are willing to make a long
term commitment, it is working with the team to try and resolve the situation.
"We're doing our best to support these efforts," said Verbruggen.
UCI auditing firm Ernst and Young is examining all of the final information
presented regarding the new sporting group, and in a short time are expected
to present further information to the Professional Cycling Council (PCC).
Once that is presented, then there will be a decision as to whether the
new sporting group will enter into the top club or enter as a second division
team. There should be around 20 riders remaining on the roster of the
new team, including Jan Ullrich.
Verbruggen said that it wouldn't necessarily impact their Tour de France
status, as Jean-Marie Leblanc can invite Bianchi-? as a wild card.
Clearly the UCI is supporting the whole process, but it does not shed
any further light on the status of Domina Vacanze getting a start in the
Tour. Tomorrow night, Leblanc will be in Italy at the headquarters of
Tour sponsor Elite. He is expected to meet Mr Preatoni, the owner of Domina
Vacanze, to discuss the selection issue. It seems as time passes, and
with the unfortunate retirement of Mario Cipollini from the Giro due to
injury, that the chances of Domina Vacanze starting in Paris are diminishing.
Aebersold joins Phonak
With the Team Coast/Team Bianchi transition still a work in progress,
Switzerland's Niki Aebersold has decided to accept an offer from Phonak
Hearing Systems to ride for the Swiss-based team. Aebersold signed a contract
with Phonak Tuesday in Hombrechtikon, Switzerland, confirming a position
in the team through the end of the 2003 season. Aebersold joins compatriot
and former Coast teammate Alex Zülle at Phonak. Zülle moved
across to Phonak in the spring, in the wake of Coast's first suspension
Estonian Cycling Weekend: A warm welcome at home for Jaan Kirsipuu
EOS Tallinn Grand Prix (1.3) and Ühispanga Tartu Tänavasõit
By Jean-François Quénet in Tallinn
Estonia is taking a big step ahead on the map of world cycling, not only
by sending good riders to big French pro teams but also by building competitions
on their soil. The Estonian Cycling Weekend consists of three days of
racing: two one-day UCI sanctioned events, the first one on May 23rd in
Tallinn, the country's capital, and the second one on May 24th in Tartu,
180km further South, where Jaan Kirsipuu comes from. The third day, held
on May 25th, is a fun ride where all the pros will also line up with 4000
"This is my third visit in the country," indefatigable French attacker
Jacky Durand explained. "Two years ago, Kirsipuu- who had been my team-mate
at Casino- asked me to come for two criteriums. Last year, the same events
became 1.5 UCI races and I organised a French national team with amateur
riders to be there again, and I'm back now. It's important for me to be
faithful to these races, now that they are classified 1.3. I tried to
bring my FDJeux.com team with me but it wasn't possible because a part
of the team is doing the Tour of Italy and the other part is having a
training camp in the Alps."
'Dudu' got special permission from the UCI to be part of a mixed team
with Estonian, Latvian and Finnish riders, including CCC Polsat's Andris
Naudzus, coming directly from the Giro d'Italia where he pulled out.
For the first time, Kirsipuu will race in his country with the help of
his Ag2R-Prévoyance team. "I wasn't too happy with my ride at the
Tour de Picardie last week," he said. "But I had two rest days here since
and I feel good now. I want to win."
Defending champion Oleg Grishkin also wants to repeat his success in
180km long ESO Tallinn GP, organised mostly in town, which is the speciality
of the Russian champion normally riding for the Navigators in the US but
he's here with his National team. "My only problem is that I haven't raced
since May 4th in America," he said, whereas Jeremy Hunt leading the the
third French team Oktos-MBK lined up for these races has the confidence
of someone who just won a stage in the Tour de Picardie.
Other pro teams for the Estonian Cycling Weekend are from the TT3 category:
Team Ringerike of Norway, Team Mälarenergi from Sweden, Poland's
Legia Baszylysek and MROZ, Glud and Marstrand Horsen from Denmark and
the Marco Polo cycling club with Hong-Kong's Wang Kam Po. There is also
an interesting bunch of young Estonian talents who all hope to imitate
their hero and ride the Tour de France one day like former yellow jersey
Javier Ochoa back on the bike
Former Kelme professional Javier Ochoa, seriously injured in a training
accident which also killed his brother Ricardo, will be on the bike this
weekend. Ochoa will join some 3,000 disabled riders at a paralympic event
on May 24th in Basauri, Spain.
"Selfishly speaking, we're very happy about everything his presence brings,"
event organisers said. "But we're most excited for him, his family, and
friends, and for everyone who loves the sport. For those who value the
superhuman effort required for paraplegic sports, this is great news."
Ochoa was seriously injured in early 2001 when he and his brother Ricardo
were struck by a car while on a training ride. Javier was in a coma for
an extended period of time, and has undergone a lengthy recovery.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)