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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for May 29, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones and John Stevenson

Giro d'Italia News

Stage 17 wrap up: Unstoppable Petacchi!

Count 'em
Photo: © Sirotti
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Alessandro Petacchi has firmly stamped his name upon this year's Giro d'Italia, taking his sixth stage win today. The shorter stage distance might have favoured the up and coming Jimmy Casper (, but there was simply no denying Petacchi in his lunge for the line.

Casper saw his own chances disappear when he missed the acceleration of his final leadout man, Bernhard Eisel. Instead it was Lampre's Jan Svorada who grabbed the wheel, and put in a powerful acceleration of his own to challenge Petacchi to the line, only to lose by half a wheel.

The generally flat stage once more featured a breakaway, this time from Tenax rider Martin Hvastija. However just before the only GPM sprint of the day, Hvastija was reeled in by Fredy Gonzalez, who took second on the climb behind Fortunato Baliani. Further down the road, Magnus Bäckstedt consolidated his lead in the Intergiro competition.

In steady wind up, the field roared to the finish in Asti under the control of several different teams, each trying to keep in position and out of trouble. The final surge from Domina Vacanze gave way to Petacchi and a lone leadout man, and the unstoppable Italian went ahead to claim yet another stage win.

Stage 17 full results and report
Live report
Scott Sunderland's diary

Giro anti-doping controls negative

In contrast to the drug scandal-ridden Giri d'Italia of previous years, this year's race has been a quiet affair, with no-one testing positive or having a high hematocrit so far. On the second rest day, 33 riders from four teams (Colnago-Landbouwekrediet, Fassa Bortolo, Gerolsteiner and Domina Vacanze) were tested, and all had negative results.

No Tour of Luxembourg for Bianchi

The newly re-financed Bianchi team (formerly Team Coast) will have to wait before it makes its racing debut. The team wanted to start in the Tour of Luxembourg (May 29-June 1) but was not permitted to by the organisers. "The team has not yet got everything completely in order," said the organiser according to Belgian teletekst. "We really hoped that they would be able to be here, as the publicity would have been very interesting."

There will be no substitute for the team in the race, as it is now too late. "If we had have known earlier, we could have perhaps substituted Vlaanderen-T Interim or another first division team."

Domina Vacanze still hopeful

He may have had to quit the Giro after a crash, but Mario Cipollini still has not given up hope of riding this year's Tour de France. Antonio Salutini, the manager of Cipollini's Domina Vacanze team, said yesterday that the team still expected a last-minute invitation to the Tour, according to the BBC.

"We are waiting for a call from Leblanc at any time after he recently gave us some hopes of starting in the Tour," Salutini said.

Tour organizer Jean-Marie Leblanc has previously said that logistical consideration, including finding sufficient hotel accommodation are a problem for the addition of a 23rd team to the Tour. Cipollini's team is sponsored by a holiday company and has countered that finding hotels will not be a problem.

Salutini added that Cipollini would be ready to start in July if the team is invited.

Hutchinson goes after Hour Record

Michael Hutchinson
Photo: © Steve King
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British time trial champion Michael Hutchinson is to make an attempt on the Hour Record, currently held by his countryman Chris Boardman who set a mark of 49.441km in 2000. Hutchinson's attempt is scheduled for early July at the Manchester Velodrome.

Hutchinson has been preparing for the record since January, undertaking a series of physical tests at Manchester Velodrome after deciding during the winter months that he would have a crack at Boardman's record.

"I felt that I needed to do something different, I had won most of the time trial championships and needed a new target," Hutchinson said. "I don't know when the hour first came up, it had been suggested to me by friends and then I just drifted into it, I suppose.

"My sponsors, Giant have been busy preparing bikes for the attempt and I have been experimenting with different equipment. I have no illusions about the Hour Record, it is the toughest time trial of all."

Boardman was at the end of a professional career when he set the record, while Hutchinson is, as he puts it "a full time sponsored amateur. I see myself more in the Graeme Obree style, a little bit of a British eccentric."

However, the 'eccentric' bikes and riding positions that were Obree's trademark are no longer options in Hour Record attempts and Hutchinson will use a conventional bike.

"Superman positions and aerodynamic helmets are out since the UCI demanded a return to 'pure' records with more normal looking bicycles," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson's sporting career started with rowing - "but I gave up after getting fed up waiting for the rest of the rowing team to turn up for training" - then running. He took up cycling in 1996 "to keep fit" and in 1999 won the UK's RTTC time trial series. He went on to dominate the UK time trial scene, winning the 2000 national championships at 10, 50 and 100-mile distances and claiming the 12 hour championships with a ride of 293 miles.

More than just a bike racer, Hutchinson has a doctorate in International Human Rights from Cambridge University. He branched out into track racing last year and won the British individual pursuit championship.

Steinweg banned for two years

The German Cycling Federation yesterday suspended German Olympian Stefan Steinweg from racing for two years and fined him 2000 Swiss Francs following his conviction in an Australian court in March on charges of illegal importation of performance-enhancing drugs.

Steinweg, 34, gold medalist in the Barcelona Games team pursuit and 2000 world madison champion, was stopped by Australian Customs officials at Melbourne Airport on February 12 as he arrived in Australia to star in the Bendigo Madison, with his regular partner, fellow German Erik Weispfennig. He was found to have testosterone, growth hormone and sleeping tablets in his possession and was fined €385 plus a similar amount in court costs.

When Steinweg was originally stopped by customs, the organisers of the Bendigo Madison advised the rider they could not condone drug taking in the sport of cycling and could therefore not allow him to take part in their international event. A disappointed Weispfennig was teamed up with Tasmanian Darren Young and the pair finished second.

Steinweg had not been racing as he awaited a hearing with the German Federation. His case was originally scheduled to be decided last Friday but when that hearing was postponed because the Federation had not received any official documents, he took part in a club criterium, the Rund in Refrath, in Cologne on Sunday with Weispfennig.

As he showed his Australian girlfriend around the city and prepared to race, he was unaware that it would be his last competition for two years. A club spokesman said the club was "happy to have Stefan and Erik as big heroes at the start".

Steinweg had said that if he received a suspension, he hoped to start it from the beginning the year so that it might be finished before the six day season starts in October.

However the two-year suspension puts paid to that. It will also be a blow to Weispfennig, who told Cyclingnews in an interview after the Bendigo Madison that he was very sad about losing a partner he had been with for many years.

The German Federation website shows how embarrassed it is about the rider's actions. "The judgment might amount to the end of his career. The federal sport court of the BDR has punished Steinweg's obvious attempt to take forbidden substances into Australia," it reports.

Steinweg has claimed he was carrying the drugs but not using them himself. However, possession alone contravenes UCI anti-doping regulations (and trafficking carries a life ban, making 'they weren't for me' a somewhat risky defence).

Vladivostok - Scheveningen riders start out

13,000km to go
Photo: © AFP
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The 20 riders who comprise the Vladivostok - Scheveningen Megacycletour 2003 set out from Vladivostok in the far east of Russia on May 28 to ride the 13,000 to Scheveningen in the Netherlands in aid of the Rotary Club's campaign to eradicate polio.

The riders, pictured here in front of the monument for Fighters for the Soviet Power in Vladivostok, dipped the wheels of their bikes in the Pacific Ocean for good luck before their departure. The group contains riders from the Netherlands, France, Poland, the United States and Russia who will cross the length and breadth of Russia and several European countries for at least three months to arrive at their final destination in the Netherlands on August 30. The expedition aims to raise funds for the Rotary Club's program that provides Polio vaccinations for children from Africa and Asia.

Teutenberg to defend Clarendon Cup title

Saturn's Ina Teutenberg will be looking for a third straight win when she lines up for this year's Clarendon Cup in Arlington, VA on Sunday, June 1. If the German sprinter is first across the line, she'll make it five for five for her team which has dominated this event.

Teutenberg's stiffest competition is likely to come from riders such as Diet-Rite's Tina Mayolo-Pic who was third last year. "I always look forward to this event because it's a homecoming for me," says Mayola-Pic who grew up in Alexandria, VA.

Clarendon Cup women's teams

ABD Cycle Club
ABRT/Team Snow Valley
Bike Doctor/Cannondale
Colavita-Bolla Racing
Diet Rite
Evolution Cycling
Freddi Fu
Independent Fabrications/Wheelworks
Lateral Stress Velo/Trek/VW
Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club
NCVC/Edge Technologies
Richard Sachs
Ti Cycles/Prevention Solutions
Velo Bella

SBS Tour doco

In the run-up to this year's centenary Tour de France, Australian broadcaster SBS is to screen a three-part documentary series celebrating the Tour's centenary and examining the race's relationship over the years with the cinema and television media.

Today's Tour is a vast media event, with TV coverage all over the world - an evolutionary development from the race's original aim, to provide stories for Henri Desgrange's newspaper 'l'Auto'. But even in its early days the Tour organizers had an eye on the moving media too, with coverage of the Tour provided by cinema newsreels. The series, narrated by SBS cycling journalist Mike Tomalaris, looks at the development of this relationship between the Tour and the media through the 20th century.

The first program in the series will be broadcast at 7.30pm on Tuesday June 24.

Adopt-a-metre for Halesowen track

The UK's Halesowen Athletic & Cycling Club is busy raising funds to support its lottery application for the resurfacing of its track. The club needs to raise UKP18,000 and one of the ways cyclists can help is through the club's recently launched 'adopt-a-metre' scheme. For a donation of just UKP10 per metre you'll receive a certificate detailing the metre or metres you've adopted and at the end of the project, each name will be displayed by way of a plaque on the safety fence.

More details from the club's website at

UCI hosts Tour exhibition

The UCI's World Cycling Centre at Aigle Switzerland will host an exhibition celebrating the Tour de France from June 6 to 3August 31 2003.

"Tour de France: the biggest stadium in the world" will be opened with a preview on June 6 attended by Jean-Marie Leblanc, Director General of the Tour de France, and Hein Verbruggen, President of the UCI.

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