|Tech Features Road MTB Cyclocross Track News Photos Feedback|
News for June 2, 2000
83rd Giro d'Italia
Can they crack Casagrande?
What happened today on the road from Geneva to Pratoneveso? Mercatone Uno's number one man, Stefano Garzelli, showed no signs of the weakness that he suffered last week when Casagrande put 1.39 into him on the stage to Abetone. Today, Garzelli was one of the attackers, along with Simoni, Belli and even Tonkov. Casagrande was tailed off at one point, although he recovered and finished right up there with the lead group. If this happens again tomorrow on the longer climbs, then his comparatively small time gap to the rest could evaporate. 'Could' being the operative word...
Although he rode well today, Pavel Tonkov will have to pull something special out in the TT if he is to erase a 2.41 gap. On the other hand, Garzelli only needs 25 seconds, while Simoni requires 53 and Belli 1.11. Casagrande is not a super time trialist on the flat as we have already seen, losing enough time to his main rivals in stage 11 to make the difference on Saturday. Of course, Saturday will be different but tomorrow's tactics will be important.
Casagrande: If he's feeling good and recovered, then he will attack on the last climb, the Izoard, with the summit at 20 kilometres (all downhill) to the finish. Any extra time that he can get on Garzelli will be valuable in the TT, as Garzelli beat him by 1.17 in stage 11.
"I came third today, which was better than I expected before the race. I was surprised at the steepness of the final climb. I thought that it would be steeper. This sort of climb is better for Garzelli. My form is good, however I noticed today that others are not weak, and they've improved over the course of the race.
"Today was not a failure or a defeat. I would have been, had I lost over two minutes. Tomorrow, I will attack again. I have no other choice," said Casagrande.
Garzelli: He may choose then to save himself for an all out effort on Saturday, but if Casagrande is suffering on either of the two climbs tomorrow, then he'll go for it.
"The next stage? I don't know. I will do everything that I can, but I think the decisive stage will be in the time trial. Belli could be the fastest one there. Whoever has recovered quickest before the time trial will win the Giro," he said.
"I've ridden for a long time in the team of Pantani and I've learned a lot from him. Today, he had hoped that he could help me, but in the end it was Forconi who helped. I was alone at the finish, but that applied to everyone," said Garzelli.
Simoni: He is probably the best climber at the moment, and will need to attack rather than rely on his time trialling skills. In stage 11, he only just beat Casagrande.
Belli: Another good time triallist, similar to Tonkov. He could erase the gap in the Saturday TT as well and may save himself for that.
Tonkov: Needs a little more time to pull it off on Saturday, but does he have what it takes to put a minute into the rest tomorrow? Doubtful. He said today that "I found the way back again to my strength. I wanted the stage win, but before the sprint, my chain jumped off. In the last few kilometers I was trying to gain time for the GC, but Casagrande and the others did not let me go. In addition, it is proff that they are still afraid of me."
Part of the key to getting up mountains fast is a light bike. Casagrande's De Rosa machine that he used today was certainly that, with the "Bono" frame made out of U2 aluminium alloy the principal saving. The frame weight is 880 grams, and the entire bike with Campagnolo 10 speed and Bora wheels, weighs 7.3 kilograms.
U2, Bono? Mr De Rosa is a fan of a certain Irish rock group.
Giro hematocrit tests
The UCI blood tested 18 riders from 8 different teams yesterday. The teams tested were Lampre, Polti, Liquigas, Mercatone Uno, Mapei, Selle Italia, Vini Caldirola and Fassa Bortolo. All values were below 50%.
Cipo still suffering
Mario Cipollini came back to the Giro yesterday for a visit, to see how his team are getting on. He said that he is still suffering from asthma, although the drugs he's taking make it a little easier to breathe. However, as soon as he starts going hard, he cannot breathe properly. He is unsure when he will be able to return to racing.
After she won today's German time trial championships, Hanka Kupfernagel cemented her place in the German Olympic team. She clocked 39.34 for the 30 kilometres at an average of 45.5 km/h to beat Bettina Schöke by 1.37. In third, on almost the same time was Ina Yoko-Teutenberg, while last year's winner, Judith Arndt finished fourth, less than a second behind Teutenberg.
For Arndt, it means that she will miss out on an Olympic spot in the time trial and will put her hopes on the road race. However, with only three spots up for grabs, and Kupfernagel likely to take one, Arndt will have to fend off Teutenberg and Rossner. Both are excellent sprinters and this could be valuable on a course like Sydney, which could end in a group sprint. It's more likely to be a breakway, and Teutenberg has shown that she is more than capable of riding hard and winning with one or two others.
Tour of Germany fallout
Well, it has to be said that Telekom were beaten on their home ground this year for the GC by Festina's David Plaza. Plaza powered on his M4 in the stage 7 time trial to put 40 seconds into favourite Andreas Klöden and 1.41 into Udo Bölts. Race leader Jens Heppner lost 2.21 to put him out of contention with one easy stage to follow.
With the final GC reading: 1st: Plaza, followed by Klöden at 42 seconds, and Bölts at 1.26, should the tactics have been different in the King Stage on stage 3? Easy to say in hindsight of course, but the tactics of the day were to defend Heppner and Klöden's potential lead, with Bölts being ordered not to work with Bartoli after they hard broken away.
Now, Bartoli had already lost 2 minutes on stage one, and was unlikely to be a threat in the time trial. Had he and Bölts worked together, they could well have put the extra 1.26 into the pack that Bölts required to win the overall. On the day, Bölts was ordered not to work (which he apparently wasn't happy about) and sat behind until the sprint, where Bartoli was not that amused to see him go by.
Well, Telekom at least had Erik Zabel winning 3 stages this year, Bölts 1, and Heppner 1. Five out of eight is not bad going, although there are still concerns with Jan "so far" Ullrich's form. He finished 18.04 down in 29th place, after losing 2.33 in the time trial (9th). He's definitely better than he was in Midi Libre, but time is running out.
Australian MTB team
The Australian team for the World MTB Championships, June 7-11 in Sierra Nevada, Spain, is as follows:
Reserve: Luke Stockwell
South African Cyclist Allan Wolhuter was struck down by a motor vehicle whilst out training near Boulder, USA. He has suffered a broken pelvis, three fractured vertebra and two broken ribs. The driver told police he did not see the cyclist & thought he hit a "mail box". Witnesses say the driver was doing between 55-60 mph.
Wolhuter was air lifted to Greenly Medical Centre where he is in a stable condition. The accident took place at midday on the Memorial Day holiday in the USA.
Marc Streel to Collstrop
Belgian TT Champion Marc Streel will leave Ville de Charleroi and go to Collstrop. Streel was ranked in top 100 when his haematocrit level was found to be over 50 percent. He was immediately sacked by his team Home Jack&Jones (now Memorycard J&J). All he could get for this season was a contract with the little Ville de Charleroi team. But now the stronger, but division two team Collstrop-Federale Verzekeringen will sign him for the rest of the season.