82nd Giro d'Italia, Grand Tour

Italy, May 15-June 6, 1999

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The Giro has just started and already there is a drugs cloud hanging over it. The organisers have refused to allow two riders - Spaniard Javier Ochoa (Kelme-Costa Blanca) and Italian Nicola Loda (Ballan-Alessio) - to start after they recorded hematocrit levels in excess of 50 percent. For the first time all riders have had to submit themselves to extensive medical tests.

162 riders were examined on Saturday morning by 4 doctors from Lausanne and Como and 4 medical inspectors working for the UCI. The medical tests will be repeated for the Tour and the Vuelta. The rule applied to prevent Ochoa and Loda from starting will see them unable to race again for 15 days. They will then have to show their blood levels have fallen within legal limits. 24-year old Ochoa started racing professionally in 1997. Loda, who is 27 began in 1993.

And so the action began and it was 25-year old Ivan Quaranta who upstaged the big sprinters to win the stage. As the peloton lined up for the final sprint it looked like a two-up battle between Italian Mario Mario Cipollini and Dutchman Jeroen Blijlevens. Neither counted on the technical downhill approach to the finishing straight. Quaranta was able to use the corners to his advantage and he attacked and held a 150 metres gap on the peloton. Just at the end, he was almost caught by Blijlevens and then Cipollini.

It was very warm (35 Celsius) and the first stage started slowly. The first hours saw 31 kms pass and the second hour 34 kms. Even the slowest schedule (arrival 5.09 pm) proved to be too fast (arrival 5.19 pm).

Quaranta's pedigree is not in doubt having won the Junior World Sprint Championship in 1992. He now holds the maglia rosa in what is his first serious professional season. He leads Blijlevens by 4 seconds on time bonuses. He said after the stage: "I want to keep the jersey as long as I can, but you have to have good luck in sprints. I had some today, and my track sprinting experience helped me forced my way through to the front."

Earlier in the stage, two Italian caught the attention. At the 100 kms mark, Paolo Valoti and Massimo Apollonio went away and they built up a maximum lead of 3.12. By the time they reached the single climb at Contra di Veninata, Valoti had dropped his breakaway partner but was being chased down himself by a group of 13 riders.

The 13 were: Paolo Valoti, Oscar Sevilla Ribera, Francisco Cabello, Miguel Angel Pena, Rodolfo Ongarato, Paolo Bettini, Andrea Peron, Alain Turicchia, Roberto Petito, Mauro Zanetti, Mikei Zarrabeitia, Pascal Richard and Aitor Osaeizaguirre.

Unfortunately, Valoti was caught when he fell on the climb going around a sharp steep corner. Just before the top Paolo Bettini sprinted away with Roberto Petito. Bettini won the sprint and is the first KOM in the Giro.

After the climb a group of 12 stayed clear until the 30 kilometers to go mark when Andrei Zintchenko (Vitalicio Seguros) attacked on his own. He gpt a gap of 50 seconds on the group of 11 and 1.46 on the peloton. This set the signals going in the peloton and it was largely the work of Saeco-Cannondale, riding to set up Cipollini, which closed his brave attempt down.

With 20 kms to go the whole group came together. Only Rodolfo Ongarato and Dirk Muller went away for a short period. At the finishline (with 1 lap to go) this duo had 20 seconds on the peloton. Miguel Martin left the peloton and lead for a short time. With 10 kms the whole group was together again.

It seemed that Saeco were controlling the finish beautifully as they came into the streets of Modica. But the narrow streets and the technical descent around 3 kms out made it difficult to control to the end and Quaranta took the advantage.

The Italian Olympic Committee announced that it will conduct drug tests themselves during the Giro because they do not trust the cycling authorities to do them honestly. This follows allegations last year by Pavel Tonkov who said he doubted the validity of last year's tests.

Another fact of interest is that there are 456 journalists covering the Giro whereas for the Tour de France last year there were 1080.

Stage 1, Agrigento - Modica, 162 kms:

  1. Ivan Quaranta (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave                    4.38.51 (37.655 km/h)
  2. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) TVM-Farm Frites
  3. Mario Cipollini (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale
  4. Guido Trenti (USA) Cantina Tollo-Alexia
  5. Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec
  6. Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
  7. Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Team Polti
  8. Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi
  9. Angel Edo (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
 10. Endrio Leoni (Ita) Liquigas-Pata
 11. Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Navigare-Gaerne
 12. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi
 13. Andrei Teteriouk (Kaz) Liquigas-Pata
 14. Orlando Sergio Gomes Rodrigues (Por) Banesto
 15. Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre-Daikin
 16. Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
 17. Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne
 18. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale
 19. Davide Rebellin (Ita) Team Polti
 20. Andrea Noe' (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
 21. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) ONCE-Deutsche Bank
 22. Daniel Clavero (Spa) Vitalicio Siguros
 23. Marco Velo (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi
 24. Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi
 25. Enrico Zaina (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi
 26. Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
 27. Josť Maria Jimenez Sastre (Spa) Banesto
 28. William Chann Mcrae (USA) Mapei-Quick Step
 29. Sergei Gontchar (Ukr) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec
 30. Roberto Sgambelluri (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia
 31. Andrea Peron (Ita) ONCE-Deutsche Bank
 32. Josť Luis Rubiera (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
 33. David Canada Garcia (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank
 34. Mariano Piccoli (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
 35. Aleksandr Shefer (Kaz) Riso Scotti-Vinavil
 36. Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
 37. Nicola Miceli (Ita) Liquigas-Pata
 38. Pascal Richard (Swi) Mobilvetta-Northwave
 39. Massimo Codol (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
 40. Dario Frigo (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale
 41. Serguei Ivanov (Rus) TVM-Farm Frites
 42. Ivan Gotti (Ita) Team Polti
 43. Aitor Osa Eizaguirre (Spa) Banesto
 44. Prudencio Indurain (Spa) Vitalicio Siguros
 45. Mario Scirea (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale
 46. Santos Gonzalez (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank
 47. Eugeni Berzin (Rus) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria
 48. Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
 49. Peter Luttenberger (Aut) ONCE-Deutsche Bank
 50. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
 51. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
 52. Pavel Padrnos (Cze) Lampre-Daikin
 53. Hernan Buenahora (Col) Vitalicio Siguros
 54. Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale
 55. Roberto Petito (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale
 56. Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Mobilvetta-Northwave
 57. Richard Virenque (Fra) Team Polti
 58. Denis Zanette (Ita) Team Polti
 59. Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia
 60. Stefano Panetta (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne
 61. Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Mapei-Quick Step
 62. Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Banesto
 63. Oscar Mason (Ita) Liquigas-Pata
 64. Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia
 65. Oscar Pozzi (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil
 66. Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank
 67. Marco Magnani (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia
 68. Aldo Zanetti (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne
 69. Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave
 70. Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank
 71. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Ballan-Alessio
 72. Marco Gili (Ita) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria
 73. Daniele De Paoli (Ita) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria
 74. Dario Pieri (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne
 75. Santiago Blanco Gil (Spa) Vitalicio Siguros
 76. Francisco J. Cerezo Perales (Spa) Vitalicio Siguros
 77. Alain Turicchia (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil
 78. Bo Hamburger (Den) Cantina Tollo-Alexia
 79. Simone Campagnari (Ita) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria
 80. Massimo Podenzana (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi
 81. Marco Della Vedova (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
 82. Andrei Zintchenko (Rus) Vitalicio Siguros
 83. Alex Zuelle (Swi) Banesto
 84. Inigo Cuesta Lopez de Castro (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank
 85. Paolo Valoti (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave
 86. Danilo Di luca (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia
 87. Amilcare Tronca (Ita) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria
 88. Enrico Cassani (Ita) Team Polti
 89. Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Ballan-Alessio
 90. Mirko Gualdi (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave
 91. Martin Hvastija (Slo) Ballan-Alessio
 92. Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil
 93. Niklas Axelsson (Swe) Navigare-Gaerne
 94. Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Ballan-Alessio
 95. Vjatceslav Ekimov (Rus) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria
 96. Oscar Pellicioli (Ita) Team Polti
 97. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Banesto
 98. Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria
 99. Gianluca Sironi (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec
100. Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi
101. Eduardo Hernandez Bailo (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
102. Miguel Angel Pena (Spa) Banesto
103. Francesco Secchiari (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale
104. Filippo Baldo (Ita) Ballan-Alessio
105. Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Navigare-Gaerne
106. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne
107. Massimo Donati (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec
108. Samuele Schiavina (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil
109. Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec
110. Mauro Zanetti (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec
111. Piotre Ugrumov (Rus) Ballan-Alessio
112. Riccardo Forconi (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi
113. Jose' Luis Arrieta (Spa) Banesto
114. Felice Puttini (Swi) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria
115. Massimo Apollonio (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec
116. Francisco Cabello (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
117. Fausto Dotti (Ita) Liquigas-Pata
118. Josť Manuel Uria Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
119. Simone Bertoletti (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
120. Rodolfo Ongarato (Ita) Liquigas-Pata
121. Josť Jaime Gonzalez Pico (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca
122. Alexandre Gontchenkov (Rus) Ballan-Alessio
123. Dirk Muller (Ger) Mapei-Quick Step
124. Filippo Casagrande (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec
125. Mirko Celestino (Ita) Team Polti
126. Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) ONCE-Deutsche Bank                 0.30
127. Ruslan Ivanov (Mda) Liquigas-Pata                             0.30
128. Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                       0.33
129. Biagio Conte (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                              0.33
130. Guido Trombetta (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave                    0.38
131. Andreas Klier (Ger) TVM-Farm Frites                           0.38
132. David Navas Chica (Spa) Banesto                               0.38
133. Diego Ferrari (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil                       0.38
134. Simone Borgheresi (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Bianchi                 0.38
135. Carlo Marino Bianchi (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil                0.42
136. Alessio Galletti (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale                       0.42
137. Victor Pena (Col) Vitalicio Siguros                           1.13
138. Ivan Basso (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil                          1.26
139. Francesco Arazzi (Ita) Amica Chips-Costa Almeria              3.49
140. Pieter Vries (Ned) TVM-Farm Frites                            5.09
141. Olivier Asmaker (Fra) TVM-Farm Frites                         5.09
142. Davide Casarotto (Ita) TVM-Farm Frites                        5.09
143. Stephan Goubert (Fra) Team Polti                              5.09
144. Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Riso Scotti-Vinavil                    5.43
145. Cristiano Frattini (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                        5.43
146. Fabio Baldato (Ita) Ballan-Alessio                            5.43
147. Giuseppe Calcaterra (Ita) Saeco-Cannondale                    5.43
148. Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec                 5.43
149. Serguei Smetanine (Rus) Vitalicio Siguros                     5.43
150. Gines Salmeron Martinez (Spa) Vitalicio Siguros               5.43
151. Luca Cei (Ita) Navigare-Gaerne                                9.50
152. Andrea Brognara (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia                    9.50
153. Nicola Minali (Ita) Cantina Tollo-Alexia                      9.50
154. Michel Lafis (Swe) TVM-Farm Frites                            9.50
155. Hendrik Van dyck (Bel) TVM-Farm Frites                        9.50
156. Matteo Frutti (Ita) Lampre-Daikin                             9.50
157. Stefano Faustini (Cze) Lampre-Daikin                         11.14
158. Massimo Strazzer (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave                  11.14