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News for June 3, 2000
83rd Giro d'Italia
Lanfranchi sneaks one by the rest
"It is a dream!" said Lanfranchi afterwards. "I am often further down in the field, but today I was helping Tonkov up the front. At the top of the Izoard, we were behind a little. I told Tonkov to hang on and we descended together. When we came back to the Pantani group, I had a feeling that they were surprised. Then I attacked and knew that I could stay away over the last 600 metres, which was very hard."
"Pantani? I didn't expect him at this level - he really has a lot of class," said a surprised Lanfranchi.
Francesco Casagrande looked a little better today, and was much more comfortable with the pace. Stefano Garzelli on the other hand was struggling a little, and must have been cursing his old captain Pantani for pouring on the pace for no useful reason. Garzelli said yesterday that he wanted to save everything for the time trial, his best chance. Hopefully, Pantani didn't blow it for him today.
Casagrande said that he was optimistic for the time trial, and he believes that none of the top three (Garzelli, Simoni and him) are in any fresher condition at the moment. "I carry the Maglia Rosa. I am the favourite."
Gilberto Simoni was happy with Pantani's attacks, as they were good springboards for him as well. However, he was not quite strong enough to get away in the end, and was annoyed when Lanfranchi and Tonkov came back to the group. "We should have had the stage win between us," he said.
Colombian Hernan Buenahora (Selle Italia) had a good ride as well today, and he now lies in 5th overall. He profited from Belli's weakness, but will have to ride a good time trial tomorrow to keep his spot. He was another victim of a fall as well...
Gotti still down
Last year's Giro winner Ivan Gotti (Polti) will not make the podium this year after he lost time in a couple of critical mountain stages and never really looked good enough to attack the lead. He was 8th at the end of yesterday at 4.25 down, however today he plummeted to 19th, over 26 minutes down.
The reason, according to Gotti is that he's suffering from a knee injury that he has been nursing for most of the Giro. He hoped that the rest day would have fixed it, but it was nowhere near enough. In addition, he's had a bad cough for the last week and finds it hard to speak. After his knee worries, he hoped just to be able to stay with the leaders, but even in this he was unsuccessful.
Gutierrez Cataluna out
Despite his brave attempts at the front yesterday, a fall late in the stage put Kelme's José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna out of the race with a fractured collarbone. Dario Peiri was another who fell on the descent of the Giovetti and he did not start today.
As the Giro crossed into the French border today, vehicles from two teams were searched by customs police. No surprises though for Vini Caldirola and Mercatone Uno, who were allowed to continue to Briancon and go about their business.
After their exclusion from this year's Tour de France, Italian team Lampre Daikin have lodged an official protest with the UCI. The AssoGruppi, the association of Italian teams sent a letter to president Hein Verbruggen as well as Manolo Saiz (head of the International teams association) requesting that Lampre be given a Tour start. They called it "unjustified and unsportsmanlike."
Smaller field for Dauphiné
Only 14 teams of 8 riders will start in the Criterium Dauphiné Libéré, June 4 - 11, the smallest start list in history of the race. One of the most important preparation races for the Tour de France lost its French head sponsor Lotto, who were worth $US250,000 to the race. The start list is therefore mostly French. A total of eight French teams will be accompanied by Lotto-Adecco (Bel) and the Spanish teams ONCE, Banesto, Kelme and Euskaltel-Euskadi as well as US Postal.
The Lotto team: Sébastien Demarbaix, Glenn D'Hollander, Manu Lhoir, Kurt Van de Wouwer, Paul Van Hyfte, Kurt Van Lancker, Rik Verbrugghe, Geert Verheyen are similar to their Tour line up. Manu Lhoir is the only one of these who won't be riding the Tour. Other candidates for the 9 places include Mario Aerts, Serge Baguet, Jacky Durand and Thierry Marichal who are training in Luxembourg at the moment.
Second last year, Jonathan Vaughters (Credit Agricole) will be trying to go one better this year in the absence of last year's winner, Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom). He will be up against his former teammates from US Postal though, including Tyler Hamilton, Kevin Livingston and Lance Armstrong. Stronger competition is likely from Jean Delatour's Laurent Brochard and Bonjour's Didier Rous. Also, Euskaltel's Haimar Zubeldia is in good form after winning the Euskal Bizikleta last weekend.
Classique des Alpes
An important French one day race before the Dauphiné Libéré starts is the UCI class 1.1 Classique des Alpes on June 3. This year is the 10th edition of this race, first won by Charly Mottet in 1991. Laurent Jalabert, who features twice on the winners list (1996, 1998) will be one rider competing this year, after he has had a month long break from racing. So too will Lance Armstrong, who is one of the many starting their final Tour build up in June. Others include Alex Zulle, Abraham Olano, Jan Ullrich, Christophe Moreau and Bobby Julich.
The 192 km race starts in Chambery and finishes in Aix-les-Bains, taking in several mountains including the Granier climb at kilometre 87. Three main mountain passes, and a smattering of smaller ones make this a useful preparation for the mountainous stages that will be encountered in July.
Jalabert has not found the past month easy however, after his fall in the Amstel Gold Race. He experienced back problems, forcing to abandon the Tour of Romandy and then went on holiday for a week with his family. Most recently, he's been training in the Alps with his ONCE teammates.
Last year, Jalabert didn't ride the Tour after incidents in 1998 however he will be back this year with an eye on the GC once again.
Cannondale competition closes on Sunday
Yep that's right. If you think you would like to acquire a new Saeco Cannondale custom frame, simply fill out our competition form by this Sunday, June 4 after the finish of the Giro d'Italia. While we've had an enourmous response so far (not counting double entries), there's still room for more if you're keen. The winner will be announced the following week subject to confirmation.