Second edition news for March 21, 2000

Jalabert realigns

World number one, Laurent Jalabert (ONCE) has been in recent years, more successful in stage races than in the one day events. The latter were formerly his bread and butter, but with age Jalabert has grown to like the longer events with the possible exception of the Tour. He claims that he "doesn't have the legs anymore," to contest the classics, and hasn't actually won a major one day race since the Giro d'Lombardia in 1997.

From that year onward, the world Time Trial champion opted for the stage races and has not looked back since. His number one ranking is a reflection of how it is easier to gain UCI points if you lead a tour for several days. He used to be renowned as a formidable sprinter, but now is far more of an all rounder

However, he recognizes the value in possessing a good kick and is hoping to use it again in Liege-Bastogne-Liege on April 16 - a race he has never won despite finishing second on two occasions. His nemesis, Michele Bartoli might not be in top form, allowing the French born, Swiss based powerhouse to take "La Doyenne."

Jalabert's closing few years in his career will, according to him be aimed at capturing races that he has not yet won. He is 31, and the motivation is difficult to find when he is not winning. For now, that is not a problem.

More Milan San Remo reactions

From a Belgian and Dutch point of view, the Milan San Remo was not an outrageous success, but that is normal for them. In the Belgian and Dutch press, the reactions were varied

Theo van Rooy (Rabobank): "Milan San Remo means only the last 30 kilometers, that's a fact. The race is controlled. Nobody can go. And when the weather is good the race isn't hard. You can attack as much as you can, but it has no sense. It's the easiest classic to ride, but the most difficult one to win."

Teun van Vliet (Farm Frites): "Always exciting till the last few hundred meters. I don't have a problem with the fact that a sprinter wins. Otherwise only Museeuw and Bartoli win World Cups."

Rudy Pevenage (Telekom): "We had it in our own hands. The only risk was that Erik Zabel should start his sprint too early. Then he could lose to Freire, like twice before this season. I knew that there aren't the riders who can make a final jump on the Cipressa or Poggio. Okay, one rider can do that, when he is in top shape: Frank Vandenbroucke."

Erik Zabel (Telekom): "Times are changing. It isn't possible anymore to come to the finish with a small group after a attack on the Poggio. Every year more riders can follow on the Cipressa and Poggio. Cycling changes. For me it was great to work with Fagnini. I lost him in the climb of the Poggio, but 1.5 kilometers before the finish he came aside me. Only a few words were enough. Till next year!"

Maarten den Bakker (Rabobank): "It was a slow race. Even on the climb of the Cipressa it was easy to follow. Never before it was so slow."

Peter van Pegetem (Farm Frites): "It was impossible to escape. One minute we (with Rebellin and Tchmil) had some meters on the peloton. Rebellin was so strong on the climb, I couldn't take over. But the peloton came back. Milan San Remo is a sprint-classic.

Fagnini takes a step up

Telekom's new lead out man Gian Matteo Fagnini gained a lot of attention and appreciation after the race, something he didn't have that much of when he had the same role in Mario Cipollini's Saeco "red train". He still considers Cipo to be the stronger rider of the two, and also cooler toward the end of the race, but Zabel is a more complete rider. Last Saturday he was along at the sprint, Cipollini was not.

Fagnini said to La Gazetta dello Sport that he will get his own chances to race, probably at the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold Race. He has won around ten races in his career, among them two stages in the Giro in 1998. He is rumoured to be earning some 750 million lire annually (around 450,000 USD) to help Erik Zabel win races.

Pantani delays again

It's been a hard road back for "Swampy" Pantani. Two days before he was scheduled to make his return in the Settimana Ciclista Internazionale (Memorial Cecchi Gori), Marco Pantani has announced that he will be a non-starter. His director sportif, Guiseppe Martinelli said that he needs a greater period of rest, and will not specify when he will return to competition.

In his official release, Pantani writes that "My world is cycling. I want to return with sincerity and enthusiasm. At this moment, I am in a period of physical difficulty, caused by too many inner problems that I cannot overcome yet. In order to return, I need to rest."

Belgian and Italian justice to meet

Two prominent judges involved in anti-doping investigations, Belgian Daniele Reynders and Italian public prosecutor Giovanni Spinosa met in Bologna today to discuss problems associated with their cases. Reynders is specifically concerned with the entrance of drugs into Belgium from Italy. He is currently investigating a Belgian doctor who treats up to 120 Belgian and Danish riders.

The meeting also was aimed at examining the Bolognian, Florentine, and Roman parts of the Italian doping investigations, as there are many cross-over points between these and the Belgian case. The name of the Belgian doctor, for example has already appeared in the Bolognese investigation.

BMC Software Grand Prix

The second running of the US series, the BMC Software Cycling Grand Prix, will commence on April 8 in Austin, Texas with a criterium. The four race series has a rich prize list, with a bonus of $US 250,000 being offered any cyclist, male or female who wins all four races.

The first event in Lance Armstrong's home town of Austin will see the 1999 Tour winner appear but not compete in the event. Other events in the series include road races and criteriums in Houston (May 14), San Jose, Calif. (June 24) and Boston (Sept. 17). All events are part of the Saturn USPRO tour. With the exception of the possible bonus, nearly $200,000 in prize money will be awarded at the four BMC Software Grand Prix events. In addition, the Houston and Boston events will be televised on ESPN2. The broadcast dates will be announced at a later date.

2000 BMC Software Grand Prix Schedule

Apr 8: BMC Software Downtown Criterium Austin, Texas
May 14: BMC Software Tour of Houston Houston
Jun 24: BMC Software Tour of San Jose San Jose, Calif.
Sep 17: BMC Software Tour of Boston Boston

Freire to RAI derny race

Spaniard Oscar Freire (Mapei) has confirmed that he will start in the Amsterdam RAI Derny race on April 30. The race has some big names on its start list, including: Michael Boogerd, Leon van Bon, Maarten den Bakker, Michele Bartoli, Johan Museeuw, Jacky Durand, Andrei Tchmil.

Riis offered position

Recently "officially" retired Tour de France winner of 1996, Dane Bjarne Riis has been offered a position as adviser and consultant at Team Deutsche Telekom. "Riis has many good ideas," said Telekom's communications director Jürgen Kindervater. Riis' former team mate and compatriot Brian Holm would also like to cooperate with Riis in his coming team for next season.