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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest News for September 11, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Tour & Giro stars in San Francisco

2002 Podium
Photo: © R. Karman
Click for larger image

The 2003 T-Mobile International (formerly the San Francisco GP) looks set to be the biggest edition yet of this hugely popular race that has filled the streets of San Fran with tens of thousands of fans for the last two years. US Postal's five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will be the main attraction, but he is unlikely to be going for the win himself.

In past years Armstrong has been content to pay back his team-mates for their support during the year and has worked for George Hincapie. However, with Hincapie in Spain for the Vuelta, Armstrong seems likely to ride in support of super-domestique Viatcheslav Ekimov.

Tour de France runner-up Jan Ullrich won't be in San Francisco but the Tour podium's third man, Alexandre Vinokourov will. He'll be joined by Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni and runner-up Stefano Garzelli, making for far and away the highest quality field that has ever taken the start in San Francisco.

The visitors are unlikely to have everything their own way if the impressive line-up of top local talent has anything to say about it. Last year's winner Charles Dionne will be looking to defend his title, and he will have a strong Saturn line-up behind him. Also chasing the glory that comes with a win here will be Chris Baldwin's Navigators team, Jonathan Vaughters and Prime Alliance and Cyclingnews diarist john Lieswyn and his 7UP/Maxxis squad.

The T-Mobile International also features a women's race for the first time this year and riders to watch there include World Cup champion Nicole Cooke (Ausra Gruodis), the very much in form Diana Ziliute (Acca Due O), three-time USCF Elite National Champion Dede Demet-Barry (T-Mobile), and 2003 Housatonic Classic winner Tina Mayolo-Pic (Diet Rite).

Course description

The men's 109 mile road race starts and finishes on the Embarcadero at the end of Market Street, near the city's famous Ferry Building in San Francisco. The women's field will race 49 miles. From The Start/Finish, the course winds through North Beach, along Fisherman's Wharf and the Marina. Halfway through the 10 mile circuit, the flatlands along the beautiful bay give way to the gut-busting climb up Fillmore Street. Once the riders reach the top of the steep 3-block climb; they will race through Russian Hill, back through North Beach, and to the Embarcadero.

Lap Length: 16.65 km/10.3 miles
Climbing per Lap: 215.25 meters / 706.25 feet
Maximum Elevation: 73.40 meters / 241.80 feet

Cyclingnews will have full race-day coverage of the men's and women's events.

Sevilla hangs on

Kelme-Costa Blanca leader Oscar Sevilla revealed the extent of his injuries from his stage 3 crash, which have made his Vuelta start a far greater challenge than expected. In an interview with Spanish paper AS, Sevilla confessed that he has been on the brink of abandoning the Vuelta.

"I've had a tough start, and I admit I've been thinking about stopping," he said. "Thank heavens I have an excellent team; the team has saved me with its support."

Sevilla's injuries include pain in both knees, bruising of his hip and elbow, and other muscle damage. "I'm quite annoyed," Sevilla said. "All year I've been having problems with the cyst (in the groin), and now the Vuelta has started like this. I'm concerned, but I'll give it everything and won't give up."

Petacchi eyes Madrid

Already winner of two stages in the Vuelta a España, this year's top sprinter Alessandro Petacchi hopes to reach Madrid and complete the three week tour. Petacchi has won a total of 12 stages in all three grand tours thus far this year.

"My idea is to make it to Madrid wearing the points jersey, although I know that it is going to be difficult," Petacchi said after his Stage 5 victory. "I've had a very hard season and I haven't had enough time to prepare myself for the mountain stages, so we'll first have to see how I get on in the Pyrenees. I have been studying the route closely. There are several stages in the second week that look good for me, so I'm going to try and make it through these three mountain stages."

Repeatedly caught in the splits behind the main field in Stage 4, yesterday's stage to Zaragoza was a better showcase for Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo team. "Their work was fundamental in bringing back the break and for me to be able to win," Petacchi said of his teammates, while also acknowledging that Alessandro Cortinovis's crash in the finale helped create a gap at the head of the field, putting Petacchi several lengths ahead of his primary rivals.

"At the end of the stage I was left alone with Angel Edo, so the victory wasn't as difficult as it has been on other occasions," Petacchi admitted.

Bad fall for Cortinovis

Alessandro Cortinovis crashed out of the Vuelta a España Wednesday as he worked to position Lampre teammate Jan Svorada for the final sprint in Zaragoza. Cortinovis sustained several fractures, including facial injuries and a multiple fracture to his clavicle. The Italian clipped a barrier just outside the 1km to go banner and fell heavily, along with Kelme's David Latasa, who was able to continue in the race.

Barbero extends

Lampre's Sergio Barbero has extended his contract with the team for an additional year, reaching an agreement with team manager Giuseppe Saronni. Barbero's most recent success came at the Coppa Bernocchi, where he pipped Massimo Giunti at the line as Giunti began his victory celebrations prematurely.

Barbero now hopes for selection to the Italian national team for the upcoming world championships in Canada. He offered "an enormous thank you" to Sarronni for the Lampre manager's confidence and a fifth year on the team in 2004.

2004 Tour won't reach Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain will not host the Tour de France in 2004, despite being a serious candidate for a stage start and finish. With the Grand Départ planned for Liège, Belgium, Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc determined that extending the parcours as far south as Barcelona would be too great a stretch for one year. Barcelona City Council's sports director Pere Alcobar confirmed to Spanish daily Marca that the Tour would not reach the city next year.

"It's a disappointment, but [the Société du Tour de France] had already indicated that there may be problems, and ultimately it was not possible because of the start in Liège," Alcobar commented.

The 2004 Tour de France route will be announced by the organisers in late October.

Van der Kooij faces new challenge

Van der Kooij
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

The Dutch Division II Bankgiroloterij Cycling Team announced Wednesday evening that its rider Vincent van der Kooij has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. Initial expectations of a recovery are good.

Van der Kooij,24, started his pro career as a stagiaire with Rabobank before joining Bankgiroloterij full time in 2002. He is still chasing his first professional victory.

Motorcycle driver dies in Poland

Stage 3 of the Tour of Poland, won by Italian Daniele Bennati, was marked by tragedy after a camera motorcycle crashed in slippery conditions during a day of rain. A television cameraman was aboard the motorcycle, and he was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Sadly the driver of the motorcycle lost his life in the accident.

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