News for June 5, 2001
84th Giro d'Italia news
17 stages, 15 seconds. That's the difference between first and second place in the Giro d'Italia on current standings. Today's stage 16 was certainly a sprinter's benefit, with the pace only lifting above 30 km/h in the final hour. Once this happened, it was a battle between Telekom, Saeco, Mobilvetta, Alessio and Alexia to try and get their fast men to the fore. In the end, it was Ivan Quaranta who gained his second stage of the Giro d'Italia in front of Endrio Leoni and Mario Cipollini.
Stage 16 comments
Ivan Quaranta (Alexia, 1st stage)
"Every stage is different. To have won does not make me become the number one sprinter. I would especially like to finish the Giro, and I will do my utmost for that. I have to avoid elimination in the mountain stages. Each time, it is an adventure for the sprinters. We always find ourselves together after the first 500 metres of the climb, and we help each other without ulterior motives. The next day however, we are ready to go into the barriers to win the stage."
"I came to the Giro without being in great form. Now, I am much better. In this sprint, it was a nervous finish which was appropriate to me well. There no was racing for 120 kilometres."
"With Cipo it was mano a mano, him on the left and me on the right. I was a little surprised to see Leoni coming back, and I kicked again. Together with Hondo and Cipo, we each have two victories. Perhaps the third will be played out next Sunday in Milan."
Gilberto Simoni (Lampre, 1st GC)
"For me, the hardest part has been passed. I don't have to do anything any more but supervise Frigo."
Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo, 2nd GC)
"Fifteen seconds compared to the Maglia Rosa, it is at the same time a lot and nothing. A lot can still happen by Sunday."
Bjarne Riis goes Italian
CSC-Worldonline director Bjarne Riis has paid a visit to the Giro d'Italia with the aim of adding some Italian stallions to his stable for next season. He told AFP newsagency that he "intended to recruit five Italian riders" in 2002, given that the team will have an Italian sponsor (Tiscali).
Without being specific, he said that he was looking for a sprinter, with the favourites in this race being Mario Cipollini (Saeco) and Ivan Quaranta (Alexia).
Francesco Casagrande decision on Friday
World number one Francesco Casagrande's Giro d'Italia was over almost before it began when he fractured his left wrist on the first stage. That left Fassa Bortolo without their top man, although the lanky Dario Frigo has managed to fill that role perhaps better than Giancarlo Ferretti had hoped.
Casagrande has had to watch his teammate defend, and finally lose the Maglia Rosa to Gilberto Simoni, and it looks like a tough job to get it back. However, Casagrande may be able to pour his energies into the Tour de France, where Fassa Bortolo should once again have an excellent team. Raimondas Rumsas, Ivan Basso, and Alessandro Petacchi would make an excellent team to support Casagrande, with Rumsas a useful GC rider in his own right.
On Friday, June 8, Casagrande will undergo a medical examination on his left wrist, to assess whether he can resume competition. Currently, after spending 5 days off the bike, he has been regaining his fitness on a stationary trainer and has even ventured out onto the road for up to four hours.
"If the test on June 8 confirms the good indications, he will make his re-entry to competition in the Route du Sud (June 23-26)," said Giancarlo Ferretti.
Casagrande's best placing in the Tour de France is 6th, in 1997.
First Union series kicks off in Lancaster, PA
Tuesday, June 5 will see the USA's biggest week of cycling kick off with the First Union Invitational classic in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The 13 lap, 147 kilometre race will feature 16 teams, including 7 from division I, all competing for the US$20,000 in prize money
Each 11.3 kilometre lap will travel around the streets of Lancaster, containing a number of short hills and tight corners. The race starts at 1630 in Queen Street.
Riders to watch include 2000 winner Trent Klasna (Saturn) who will be backed by an in-form and highly motivated team. But the competition will be fierce for the honours this year. Domo have US champ Fred Rodriguez, backed by Dutch speedster Max van Heeswijk and Polish strongman Piotr Wadecki. Mapei-Quick step has sent a "mixed" team including Eugeni Petrov, Fabian Cancellara, Scott McGrory and Adriano Baffi.
CSC-World Online have had success in the First Union series in the past with riders like Nicolaj Bo Larsen, who is not present this year. However, Peace Race winner Jakob Storm Piil is, and is a big threat if he can escape. So too is Latvian champion Arvis Piziks, who packs a powerful sprint.
The two top US teams, Mercury-Viatel and US Postal will be vying for superiority as well, with the big aim being the USPRO Championships on Sunday. Mercury has a team packed with sprinters: Leon van Bon, Jans Koerts, Gord Fraser, Fabrizio Guidi, Henk Vogels and Baden Cooke, with Geert Van Bondt, Chris Horner, Chris Wherry and Scott Moninger in reserve. US Postal has its classics star George Hincapie at the helm, backed by Viatcheslav Ekimov, Julian Dean, Antonio Cruz, Benoit Joachim, Levi Leipheimer, and Christian VandeVelde, not to mention Robbie Ventura, Matthew White, and David Zabriskie.
With other teams such as Saeco, Festina, Mroz, Navigators, Jelly Belly, Simpatico.ca, DeFeet Lemond, 7UP-Colorado Cyclist, Zaxby's, Realitybikes.com and Prime Alliance, the First Union series should produce some very intense racing.
Of course, Cyclingnews will be there to cover it with our correspondent Tim Maloney very much in evidence.
First Union Invitational - provisional start list
La Grande Boucle 2001
The 15th running of the women's Tour de France will once again be held in August this year, starting on the 5th in Bilbao (Spain) and finishing on the 14th on the Champs Elysées in Paris. At the presentation today in Bilbao, Spanish defending champion Joane Somarriba said that she would be aiming to win it for the second time in a row.
"To win is difficult," said the Alfa Lum-RSM cyclist. "We will make every effort to do so." Somarriba has been hampered so far this season by pneumonia, but hopes to be ready in time for this prestigious race.
She will be one of the favourites in the opening 9.9 kilometre time trial in Bilbao on August 5, which will see 20 seven rider teams take the start. The second half stage will be run the same day, taking the cyclists from Bilbao to Guernika. Then the race returns to France, with stage 2 (Barèges - Campan) a short, sharp 34.4 kilometre slog up and down the Tourmalet.
The race will leave the Pyrénées and travel via the Massif central, through the Alps (including the col de l'Izoard on the penultimate day) before finishing in Paris on August 14. The race totals 1565 kilometres, and the teams are expected to be announced shortly.
Alvaro Pino to direct Phonak
Former Kelme DS Alvaro Pino will return to professional racing as the director of the Swiss division II Phonak team. Phonak have ambitions for division I next year, whatever that entails, given the UCI's team restructuring, and want the previously successful Pino to work his magic with the Swiss team.
30,000 ride in Montréal
Approximately 30,000 cyclists took part in Montréal's Tour de l'île on Sunday, a non-competitive event that is considered one of the biggest of its kind in the world (rivalled by the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay tour in South Africa and the Bike New York Tour in the USA). This year marked the 17th edition of the 66 kilometre event, which winds its way through the streets of Montréal.
The event was helped to run smoothly by a massive volunteer taskforce numbering some 3,500, who assisted participants in getting to the finish in case of accident. The people of the city got behind the event as well, decorating their houses with balloons and playing music as the ride went by.
Leading the charge were a scant 1,000 "express" cyclists who finished the event in less than two hours. Quebec's cycling star Geneviève Jeanson was also amongst the starters, one day after her crushing win in the Women's World Cup race in Montréal. She did not choose to repeat the feat however.
Over 50 percent of the field were native to Montréal, with the other half coming from neighbouring provinces. It should be noted that one in two people in Quebec own a bike, making it one of the most cycling dense regions in the world.
Breaking the Chain
The English translation of Willy Voet's tale of doping and other unsavoury activites in professional cycling is currently available from online book stores in the UK and Australia. The copyright owners have not yet decided on a USA release, so American readers will have to order their copy from the UK site. Cyclingnews has an associate program with Amazon.co.uk - which covers the European and North American markets - as well as with Dymocks, an Australian book store which covers the Asia Pacific territories. By ordering your copy through these sites, you will also support Cyclingnews.
In addition, Cyclingnews has obtained online rights to publish extracts from the book, written as a result of the well-documented "Festina affair", which rocked the 1998 Tour de France and continues to reverberate through cycling and sport as a whole. Voet's story details more than half a life's involvement in world cycling, where he estimates he treated 500 cyclists in his career and that, from them, the innocent ones he can "count them on two hands, maybe two hands and two feet if I'm generous". It is both chilling and compelling, and no cyclist can afford to ignore it.