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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest News for May 30, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

86th Giro d'Italia News

Pantani continues

Nothing can stop him
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno) has decided to continue in the Giro, after fears that he had fractured his collarbone in yesterday's 18th stage. Pantani and Stefano Garzelli both crashed on the icy descent of the Colle di Sampeyre, which caused both of them to lose time. Pantani came off the worst, with bruises, abrasions and traumas, but no fractures. However, after a night's rest, Pantani decided that he would start today's 19th stage, which will be the longest of the Giro.

Casagrande out to stomach bug

Francesco Casagrande (Lampre) was a surprise abandonment early in the 18th stage yesterday, getting off his bike on the Colle d'Esischie, the first big climb of the day. Casagrande complained of gastrointestinal problems, and could not continue in the stage that was later marked by terrible weather. At the time, Casagrande was lying in 6th on general classification, a position that has now been taken by co-leader Raimondas Rumsas.

Points classification still open

With the loss of Alessandro Petacchi yesterday after he finished outside the time limit, the Giro has a new wearer of the ciclamino points jersey: Stefano Garzelli. The Vini Caldirola rider has 138 points, seven clear of Jan Svorada and 10 more than Gilberto Simoni. With one mountain stage, one sprinter's stage and one time trial to come, this classification remains very open.

Gonzalez assured of mountains jersey

Colombian Fredy Gonzalez (Selle Italia-Colombia) secured his green mountains jersey in stage 18, by being first to the top of the Colle d'Esischie, which was worth double points as the highest climb in the Giro. At the end of the stage, Gonzalez had a 35 point lead on Kelme's Constantino Zaballa, who has battled with the Colombian throughout the Giro for the mountain points.

Bäckstedt has Intergiro secure

Consistency and suffering have paid off for Magnus Bäckstedt, one of the four surviving members of the fakta-Pata Chips team after yesterday's stage. The big Swede has a very firm grip on the blue Intergiro jersey, with a 1'44 lead over Jan Svorada, after his closest rival Moreno Di Biase was excluded yesterday due to the time cut. Bäckstedt just needs to stay close to Svorada in the next two stages, and could well increase his lead again in Sunday's final time trial.

Whether that means a ride in a blue Lamborghini, is another question...

Also see:

Stage 18 full results and report
Live report
Scott Sunderland's diary

Longest stage today

The 97 riders left in the Giro will encounter the longest stage today, 239 km from Canelli to Cascata del Toce. After yesterday's epic stage, today should certainly test the riders, who will be on the road for the best part of seven hours. After a few relatively small, uncategorised climbs in the early to mid part of the stage, Stage 19 reaches its climax on the 1675m Cascata del Toce, a 19 km climb averaging 4.7 percent, with another 20 km of gentler climbing just to get to the foot of this ascent. The last three kilometres of the Cascata del Toce are the toughest, averaging 12 percent.

Depending on how the riders have recovered from yesterday, today could see a few more changes to the GC before Sunday's final time trial in Milan. While Gilberto Simoni would have to have a disaster to lose his seven minute buffer, the battle between Popovych (3rd at 7'19) and Garzelli (2nd at 7'08) will be especially interesting. For the stage honours, then Garzelli is certainly a chance, as is Dario Frigo, who is improving rapidly as the Giro goes on.

Live coverage of stage 19 commences at 14:30 CEST.

Carrigan looking to reclaim World Cup lead

Australian Sara Carrigan (BIK Powerplate) is keen to reclaim the leader's jersey in the women's World Cup when she lines up on Saturday for the sixth of the nine rounds in Montreal. Carrigan, who won the opening round in March in Geelong, Victoria, wore the jersey until round five in Belgium when Britain's Nicole Cooke took over the series lead.

"I feel confident with the form I've gained from the Tour de l'Aude, which has provided me with a good loading block going into this weekend," said Carrigan, who won two stages in that race. "Plus my BIK Powerplate team has especially flown here to Canada to help me."

Carrigan has never raced the Montreal World Cup and has been using the lead in to familiarise herself with the course. "This is my first time in Canada but I have heard many stories and comments about the course and past results," said Carrigan who admits wearing the leader's jersey was a two edged sword. "All riders tend to say that wearing the leader's jersey, whether it be a tour's Yellow Jersey or otherwise, helps lift you to another level and that's certainly true, but wanting (to hold onto) something so badly also stretches you beyond limits."

Strong New Zealand team named for track World's

By Alan Messenger

Sarah Ulmer heads the New Zealand team named today to ride the World Track Championships at Stuttgart, Germany in July-August. Ulmer, who convincingly won the Women's Pursuit and finished third in both the scratch race and the points race at the Sydney World Cup meeting will ride all three events at Stuttgart.

Greg Henderson also has a busy programme scheduled for the World's. He will ride the points race, the scratch race and in the madison he will be teamed with Lee Vertongen.

Hayden Godfrey who pushed Mark Jamieson to a close decision in the individual pursuit at the World Cup meeting at Sydney will ride the Individual Pursuit at the World's and he has also been named in the Teams Pursuit Squad with Marc Ryan, Hayden Roulston, Heath Blackgrove and Lee Vertongen.

Aitken leads Australian National Road Series

Olympic gold medallist and Cyclingnews fitness panellist Brett Aitken has an 80 point lead in the Australian National Road Series, with the second round being raced on Sunday in the West Australian mining town of Kalgoorlie. Aitken has 185 points after the opening round in Perth last weekend with Ed Hollands (WA) sitting in second with 105 points.

The Women's and U/19 Men's National Series kicks off with a two day tour in Cardinia, Victoria this weekend. Heading the women's field is reigning Australian criterium champion Elizabeth Williams (Vic) who in February claimed the honour of best young rider ahead of an international field in the Geelong Bellarine Tour. Barcelona Olympic road champion, Kathy Watt will also line up in the event.

Dunboyne Three Day preview

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Fresh from her job at the FBD Milk Ras last week, race official Alice Sherratt heads up the modus operandi this Whit weekend when the Dunboyne Three Day goes to the post for three days of action and four stages in and around the Dunboyne area of Co. Meath.

If they have sufficiently recovered from the rigours of eight days of racing in the Ras, the likes of Mark McLeavy, Fergus Kelly or David Tansey could be knocking on the door of overall victory, but a watching eye should be on the visitors from Munster who would dearly like to win this event. Stage races like this are the stepping stones to participation in the FBD Milk Ras, which since being listed on the Union Cycliste Internationale calendar has taken a quantum leap.

The 'Dunboyne' has now grown in popularity thanks to the trojan work taken on by the organising committee headed by Alice Sherratt. As a result there is always a well represented field from the four provinces. The organisation allows entry on the line, which is a bonus. Anyhow, with computer technology today, there is very little fuss.

According to race organiser, Alice Sherratt, "I'm expecting quite a number from all over the country because of the category three licence and of course the event would not be the same without Munster participation."

Racing begins tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30pm where the riders will tackle a 68 mile course which has a little of everything thrown in (climbs, drags, but good road surfaces mainly). On Sunday, it's a test against the clock that very few relish, especially first thing in the morning. In the afternoon it's a circuit around Moynalvey at 2.30pm. Finally on Bank Holiday Monday at one o'clock it's the Delvin/Dunsany leg over 74 miles.

The good points about the race are that it is entirely in the Dunboyne area. Accommodation is available in the area and at reasonable rates, thanks to the efforts of the organisers.

This is why it is so important to recognise the commitment that the Sheratts of this world along with her army of volunteers do to promote the sport, which is showing growth for the first time in many years.

Life, the universe and stage wins in the Giro

The answer is here
Photo: © AFP
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Forty-two is a special number and not just for fans of Douglas Adams' wonderful science-fiction series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". It is also the number of stage wins in the Giro d'Italia won by super-sprinter Mario Cipollini, who equalled and then broke Alfredo Binda's long-standing record in this year's edition of Italy's Grand Tour.

Earlier this week we announced that Canadian cyclist Patrick Brick won the main prize in the Cyclingnews-Specialized Giro d'Italia competition, a new Specialized S-works E5 Domina Vacanze replica. Patrick was within 32 seconds of nominating the correct stage time for stage 9, when Cipo broke the record in a tight sprint finish against Robbie McEwen. Patrick's entry of stage 8 to tie and stage 9 to win, with a time of 3:42.30 (Cipo won stage 9 in 3.41.58 (43.249 km/h) was one of over 6000 entries received in this competition.

However, many entrants came very close to selecting the correct stages and stage time. As a bonus, Specialized will be sending consolation prizes of the "42" t-shirts, as worn by Cipo's Domina Vacanze-Elitron team-mates, to five cyclists around the globe.

The next-closest time was 3:43.02, from Edvardas Scerbavicius of Lithuania, then 3:43.15 entered from Jo Tejeda (USA), while Cedrick Rauzy (Czech Republic) and Steve Soderling (USA) both thought it would be over in 3:45, Terry LePera (USA) selected 3:45.33 and finally Ben Dougall in Australia had 3:37.47. Thanks again to Specialized and congratulations to those entrants who will soon be receiving their t-shirts.

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