First Edition News for May 25, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones and Tim Maloney
86th Giro d'Italia news
Stage 14 wrap up: Simoni in control
Gilberto Simoni provided another stage victory in the Maglia Rosa, extending his lead over Stefano Garzelli after winning atop the Alpe Di Pampeago 35" ahead of his closest rival. Simoni also took bonus seconds for his win, although Garzelli managed to limit the damage and take second behind the Saeco leader. Andre Noè (Alessio) also held onto his third place in the general classification after a defiant ride and in the face of a strong attack from Yaroslav Popovych (Colnago-Landbouwkrediet).
A big day of climbing, with four major mountains to summit, saw an early break of 16 riders escape before the first climb. By the summit of the Passo di Rolle, king of the mountains Fredy Gonzalez (Colombia-Selle Italia) moved clear to take the GPM points, and stayed away until the foot of the final climb. He was caught by a remnant of the break at the foot of the final climb of Alpe Di Pampeago, and it was Wladimir Belli (Lampre) who took the lead, again acting as a carrot for the rapidly closing maglia rosa group. In the chasing group, Popovych was the first to make a move, until Gilberto Simoni countered and immediately moved ahead, leaving the Ukrainian to settle the score with the chasers behind, including Garzelli, Rumsas, Casagrande, and Pantani.
Simoni held a small but effective advantage to the top as Garzelli, Rumsas and Perez Cuapio kept him in their sights to finish 35 seconds behind the Saeco climber. Pantani struggled, as did Casagrande, while Andrea Noè fought bravely to come back from difficulty on the lower slopes and limit the gap to Popovych, who threatened his podium position in the overall classification.
Tonkov attacks, then abandons
Pavel Tonkov (CCC-Polsat) was one of the eight riders to abandon the
stage today. The Russia was lying in 10th on GC before the stage, and
went on the attack on the second climb of the day in pursuit of the 15
leaders. However he only gained a minute on them before he was pulled
back and dropped by the gruppo maglia rosa. He stopped at the foot of
the final climb of Alpe di Pampeago and abandoned the race.
Don't call him Cheeseburger
By Tim Maloney in Marostica
Today was Bo Hamburger's (R) 33rd birthday, congratulated here by Formaggi Pinzolo teammate and recent Tour De Georgia stage winner Moreno DiBiase. When we asked Bo what he wanted for his present, his answer was an unequivocal "everything".
The likeable Dane from Copenhagen, father of three and long-time resident in Tuscany, is a former Maillot Jaune in the Tour De France. Last year, Hamburger was an important part of Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli's defunct Index-Alexia team that won the Giro, and only ended up on Formaggio when Index-Alexia was not allowed to register by the UCI due to financial issues.
DiBiase (L) is wearing the Intergiro leader's jersey. The diminutive sprinter from Lanciano has been battling with the giant Swede from fakta-Pata Chips Magnus Bäckstedt for the Intergiro lead. "It's been a good struggle so far...he (Bäckstedt) is tough!"
DiBiase and his Formaggio team will be looking forward to racing in the Wachovia Cycling series in a few weeks, where the speedy DiBiase will certainly be a big threat in the sprinter's favourite Wachovia Trenton Invitational on June 5th.
Elite honours 100th Anniversary of Tour De France
Friday night was a special occasion at Elite, the Italian bicycle accessory firm in Fontaniva, near Padova. Elite is the official water bottle supplier to the Tour De France and to honour the upcoming centenary of Le Grande Boucle, company president Amerigo Sartore organized "Serata d'Elite".
On the occasion that the Giro d'Italia stage finished in nearby Marostica, Elite president Amerigo Sartore invited numerous cycling personalities and media to company HQ. Guest of honour was Tour De France race director Jean Marie LeBlanc, as well as UCI President Hein Verbruggen.
Always a charming public speaker, LeBlanc thanked Elite for their continuing collaboration with the Tour, which uses 80,000 Elite bottles for every Tour De France. Jean Marie told the audience of the time when he went to see Paris-Brussels as a young boy in the early '50's. As a rider raced by, he threw out an old time aluminum water bottle with a cork stopper, which LeBlanc grabbed. That was the moment that inspired LeBlanc to ask Sartore to create a special commemorative water bottle in aluminum with a cork stopper for this year's Tour De France centenary.
Carpenter-Phinney at the Giro
Davis Phinney and his wife Connie Carpenter were in Marostica, Italy on Saturday for the start of Stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia. Davis and Connie and their family are based in Marostica for part of the year, and had just finished an Italian trip with their popular Carpenter-Phinney Cycling Camp. Davis still has a lot of friends in Italian cycling since he was based in Brunate, near Como while riding on the legendary 7-Eleven cycling team. "It's great to see all these guys!", said Phinney.
Certainly America's winningest modern pro road racer, Phinney was a terrifyingly fast sprinter who has two stage wins in the Tour De France in his prestigious palmares. Most notable among his wins, Phinney smoked super sprinter Jean Paul Van Poppel in the '87 Tour at Bordeaux, jumping the PDM man like he was standing still for the bouquet. However, Phinney's magnum opus as a rider was his GC victory in the final edition of the Coors Classic in 1988, a tough determined performance on a difficult parcours.
A few years ago, Phinney was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease; his wife Connie Carpenter, herself a great rider (1984 Olympic Gold Medal / Women's Road Race) told Cyclingnews that Davis has "good days and bad days" but when we spoke to him at the "Villagio Ospitalita", the dynamic American velocista was having a great day; reveling in the atmosphere of the Giro, saying hello to old racing friends like Marco Saligari (DS Colnago-Landbowkrediet) and Alberto Volpi (DS Fassa Bortolo).
Stage 15 - May 25: Merano-Bolzano 42.5km
Along the vineyards of Adige River valley, Sunday's time trial isn't as simple as it looks on paper. Local rider Quinziato told Cyclingnews that "this TT is hard!". The weather in Bolzano may be hot and with a headwind likely, the first 30km are mostly flat until the tough 2.3km San Paolo climb. Then it's downhill back across the Adige and into Bolzano.
Garzelli will be looking to take back time from Simoni, who will be looking to limit the potential damage inflicted on his advantage by the Vini Caldirola man. Popovych certainly hopes to move past Noè', who is a weak time trialist, into third on GC, while Rumsas has got the young Ukrainian and third place in Milano in his sights.
As for the stage win, certainly Aitor Gonzalez will looking to redeem himself with a winning TT performance from Merano to Bolzano, while former World TT champ Serguei Gontchar is another podium prospect on Sunday.
Join us for live coverage of stage 14, commencing 14:30 CEST.
Heras goes home
US Postal-Berry Floor rider Roberto Heras, who was racing in the Tour of Belgium this week, was forced to go home before the start of the third stage. Team director Dirk Demol told Het Nieuwsblad that, "He received a phone call just before the start that the health situation of his cancer suffering father has deteriorated greatly. It's disappointing because Heras had his sights set on Sunday's stage."
Tafi not in Tour
By Ole Ryborg
Danish Team CSC is almost ready to chose its team for this year's Tour de France. Team director and former Tour winner Bjarne Riis told Danish newspaper BT that he is almost sure about eight of the nine places. One thing that is certain is that the team's Italian star, Andrea Tafi, will not be riding the Tour.
"On our Tour team there is no room for riders who primarily ride the Tour to get in form for the autumn season. Tafi was allowed to do that at Mapei but not with us," Riis said.
According to Riis the main goal for the CSC participation in the millennium tour is to get at least one of the two team captains, Tyler Hamilton and Carlos Sastre, in the top five. "Of course I would like riders that could win a stage, but the overall goal is to back up Tyler and Carlos and to ride a good team time trial," Riis told BT.
According to Riis, Tafi is not the only prominent member of the team that will miss this year's Tour. Another is Danish champion, Michael Sandstød. It is almost sure that he will not get ready for the Tour after an injury that has kept him out for most of the spring season. "It would take a miracle to get him ready," Riis said.
Sandstød was supposed to be a key rider in the team time trial, and according to Riis the team selection will only be able to include two riders who are not strong in that discipline. "And only one if we are supposed to win it," added Riis.
Besides Hamilton and Sastre, BT concludes after talking to Riis, that they are expected to be backed up by Danish riders Michael Blaudzun, Jacob Piil and Nicki Sørensen, together with Italian Andrea Peron and French rider Nicolas Jalabert. Finally it is expected that CSC newcomer, Peter Luttenberger, will ride the Tour if he is deemed fit. That leaves one place that is not yet decided, but which could likely be filled by Belgian rider Paul van Hyfte.
As another sign that Team CSC this year is focussing completely on the general classification is that Tyler Hamilton and Carlos Sastre are spending this week in the Pyrenees, together with sports director Johnny Weltz.
"We are doing all the stages from the beginning to the end," Weltz told BT. "The tour will be settled in the Pyrenees this year. No doubt about that, so we have to prepare for what is coming."
Hamilton and Sastre are not planning special training in the Alps since these stages will be covered by their participation in the Dauphiné Libéré.
Garcia Casas to CSC
Spanish rider Felix Garcia Casas is leaving BigMat for CSC, according to L'Equipe. He will start with CSC at the Dauphiné Libéré and is also a possibility for the Tour.
Michael Rasmussen breaks bone in hand
Danish rider Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) has broken a bone in his hand after a training crash in France on Friday. Rasmussen was scouting a few stages of the Tour de France when he crashed on the descent of the Col du Galibier. He flew back to the Netherlands where he was examined in Amersfoort. It is not known how much time he will miss, but with the Tour de France six weeks away, his place in the Rabobank team is certainly in doubt.
Van De Walle breaks collarbone
Jurgen Van De Walle (Vlaanderen-T Interim) has sprained his wrist and broken his collarbone after a crash during stage 3 of the Tour of Belgium. The break was considered a "clean break" by the team doctor, who will decide whether it will need an operation.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)