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News for June 4, 2000
83rd Giro d'Italia
Garzelli, also known as the "small Pirate" rode extremely well today, and in the past few days. Although team tactics by Mercatone Uno were questionable yesterday, as Garzelli looked to be visibly suffering, Marco Pantani's numerous accelerations must have done something to Casagrande's legs. Francesco was not in the hunt today, despite the parcourse being more suited to his talents as a climber.
Garzelli said afterwards that he felt sorry for Casagrande. "To lose so shortly before the finish must be bitter. Perhaps he did too much in the last few days." said the 1998 Tour de Suisse winner. "I would like to thank Pantani again for his assistance in yesterday's stage. I win this Giro as he did in '98, but we shouldn't be compared. He is a born champion, I have to work all the time. If he was in winning form for the Giro, then I would have placed myself 100% at his service."
"I am surprised with the result, as I did not believe that I would do that well in the time trial. I quickly found my rhythm, and I could keep my performance on the level for the whole race. I believed before the start that I had a 50% chance of getting the pink jersey."
Casagrande, who had lost his 25 spare seconds after the first climb of the Montegenevre, described himself as "bitterly disappointed" with his result after he had the Giro within his reach. Overall, he has been the better climber and put time into Garzelli on many of the mountain stages. The 1.39 gap on the stage to Abetone was impressive. However, this tour has time trials and Casagrande does not excel in those. Possibly it was due to all the weight he lost in order to go up mountains quicker, but it cost him more than that in this race.
"I was suffering a lot of pain and was finding it hard to get my feet right coming to the first mountain. Afterwards I question whether it would have been better to lose the jersey after the time trial in Bibione. Then I would have ridden differently," said Casagrande.
Jan Hruska has had an excellent Giro in his first attempt. He won the prologue and this time trial, and placed second to his teammate in the Bibione time trial. He was running fairly highly on the GC until the last few days, where he lost a fair amount of time to now be 14th overall. He said though that he was "very confident before the start of the stage today" and felt quite recovered after the mountains previously.
"This is my first Giro, my first Grand Tour. To wear the pink jersey, even though it was only for a day, and to win two stages: that is balanced and it makes me even more happy. Next year I would happily return. My team is not riding the Tour, so I'll be preparing in July for the Olympics and the World Championships if I qualify. The Czech national selection takes place after the national championships at the end of the month.
Pavel Tonkov (Mapei) did not have a good day however, finishing 21st at 4.24 down. This meant that his Italian teammate, Andrea Noe' (who finished second today) overtook him for fourth in the GC. It may be the last time then that the Russian is captain in a Grande Tour if he stays with Mapei. Noe' rode consistently well, and was a little less susceptible in the high mountains. He did a lot of work for Tonkov and still managed to finish ahead of him.
Mapei boss Giorgio Squinzi reportedly criticised Tonkov in favour of Noe' a couple of days ago. "I don't need Tonkov to place 5th in the Giro. I know that Andrea Noe' is a strong, sincere rider and he is Italian.
The Rabobank team have started their serious preparations for the Tour de France this year by training on the team time trial course on Friday and Saturday. The team went to Wallonie (Bel) where Adri van Houwelingen found a parcours similar to that in the Tour.
After the first day the team wasn't satisfied with their performance (you can lose a maximum of 5 minutes in the team time trial in the Tour). Michael Boogerd said that "We have to learn to do the changes better."
Blijlevens back to Belgium
Polti sprinter Jeroen Blijlevens is moving back from Bergamo, Italy to his former home in Meerle, Belgium it seems. According to a report in the Zeeland Courant newspaper, Blijlevens said that his wife was pregnant with twins, and the extra travel was making it difficult.
"When we have children, it is difficult for my wife to travel up and down. Therefore it was better to go back."
Leontien tests herself
Last weekend Leontien Van Moorsel won twice in Stockholm (an omnium followed by the Tjejtrampet). It was her first successful test on her way to the Olympics. Van Moorsel will aim at two such test periods in order to decide whether she can combine the track and the road in Sydney. After her success in Moscow, where she won the Individual Pursuit, she then backed up to win the races in Stockholm. Is it possible to change between two different disciplines in a short period of time?
"The first test was successful," she said after Stockholm. "I have a good feeling about the combination."
The second test period is in July. Leontien will do the World Cup track race in Turin and a classic road race shortly after. After this test she will decide her program for the rest of the season. However, her Olympic plans depends of Dutch coach, Jean-Paul van Poppel. He will make the final selection in August after the Tour de France for women. Leontien thinks this is too late though. "The other girls have to fight to each other until that time. In the Olympics, there are only one day races, so he could better select the team after the Dutch Championships. Then we have enough time to train together and form a close team."
Gullickson added to MTB team
Mongoose Pro rider Marc Gullickson (Boulder) has been added to the 2000 U.S. World Mountain Bike Championship cross-country team. He replaces the spot left open by Trek-Volkswagen rider Travis Brown (Boulder, Colo.), who will continue to recover from a broken left tibia at home. Gullickson finished fifth at the Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championship Series race in Snow Summit, Calif. in May and was also the 1999 national cyclo-cross champion. This will be his first appearance at the World Mountain Bike Championships.
Buenahora and Chepe re-sign
Hernan Buenahora and José Jaime "Chepe" González Pico will prolong their contracts with the Colombian Italian team Aguardiente Nectar-Selle Italia for another year. After their fine performance in the Giro they were offered contracts from several Spanish and Italian teams, but chose to remain with their home team.
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 enormous 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.