News for May 23, 2001

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84th Giro d'Italia news

On paper, today's stage three looked to be much tougher than yesterday's perhaps leading to several splits in the peloton as they finished at 761 metres in Potenza. It was not to be, as 120 riders arrived to contest the sprint. Once again the winner was German speedster Danilo Hondo, who is enjoying an excellent start to his first major tour.

Stage 3 comments

Danilo Hondo (Telekom, 1st stage)
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Danilo Hondo
Photo: © Sirrotti

"I was fully successful. Everything happened as planned. In the briefing this morning, we considered this scenario. The last 200 metres appeared to be very long to me. Lombardi prepared me well for the sprint."

"I was especially concentrating on the team of Leoni (Alessio). The Italians say that the finishes are dangerous. But I can tell you, when you win, you don't notice anything. Until now, I've only seen good things in this Giro. Especially what has been served at our table."
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Rik Verbrugghe
Photo: © AFP

Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto, 1st GC)

"I fell on the climb and have a lot of bruises. There was a small traffic island badly indicated after a level crossing. I fell with Aerts on top of another rider. My bike was broken. After my fall, nothing would work. When I forced it, I suffered immediately. I must have had a blocked nerve. I have already had this problem.

"I have an injured right shoulder and some pain in my back, I need a chiropractor tonight. I'll do my best tomorrow and hope to be there again."

"And Mr Cipollini is a great man. After my fall he ordered the peloton to wait for me. That's great. Jeroen Blijlevens wasn't super today and said to me: don't worry, I'll take care to bring you back to the peloton."

Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo, 2nd GC)

"I don't think that the next stage will be true mountain stage. But the general classification will change. Of course, my ambition is to take the Maglia Rosa. At nine seconds, I am right in thinking that."

Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno, 16th GC)

"I am thinking more of defending than attacking in the next stage. For two reasons: Firstly, I am not yet in my best form; secondly, these are not true mountains. The slope is not steep enough and big gear ratios will have to be used."

Pascal Hervé (Alexia, 48th GC)

"The Giro is my only bug goal of the season. I hope to finish in the top 10 and to win a stage. To wear the Maglia Rosa? It is practically impossible. I lost too much time in the prologue."
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Ullrich and Verbrugghe
Photo: © Sirrotti

Ullrich: Giro is my next big goal after second Tour win

Jan Ullrich is staying out of trouble so far in the 84th Giro d'Italia, having no designs at all to win this year as he is using it as preparation for the Tour. His teammate Danilo Hondo has been lapping it up though, winning two stages in two days and looking like he really enjoys being here.

Jan Ullrich as well is happy not to have the pressure of winning on his shoulders. "It is a lot of fun," he said today to DPA. "The people here do it wholeheartedly. The Tour is perhaps better organised, but the enthusiasm is greater here."

"Also my health is getting slowly better, although I have to take antibiotics for another 5 days for my bronchitis."

When asked whether he wanted to win, he replied: "In this year certainly not. Only once I am healthy again, then perhaps I can do something in the last weeks, if the others have exhausted themselves. I certainly want to ride right through until Milan."

"To win would be a dream. After my second Tour victory, my main aim could become this. There are also beautiful Classics. I don't need to win the Tour four times. I cannot win two big Tours in one year, perhaps I have too little talent," he added a little self deprecatingly

"I don't only race with talent. In order to have super form each year, I must work hard. But I am not that lucky, if I ride 250 kilometres per day."

Earlier in the year, Ullrich had said that he was in the second half of his career. "I am now participating in my seventh year, and I don't believe that I will race until I am 40. After my contract ends in 2003, I will decide whether it is still enjoyable. If I thought about now what to do afterwards, I couldn't be a bike racer any longer."

This year, Ullrich is at a "higher level than in 2000. I hope Armstrong is not also stronger."

Finally, he commented on the exclusion of Pantani from the Tour de France "I don't find that exclusion so good. A top figure like Pantani belongs there."

New name and colours for CSC-Worldonline

CSC-Worldonline wants to change its name to CSC-Tiscali in time for the Tour de France. At the same time the jersey will become red and white (CSC), and the shorts pale violet (Tiscali), much to the relief of Team Fakta. Tiscali is the owner company of internet service provider, Worldonline.

The team made the announcement in a press conference today, and said that they will inform the UCI and the Société du Tour de France of the change immediately. The contract with Tiscali runs out at the end of 2001.

Professional Cycling Denmark A/S (PCD), the company that owns the CSC-Worldonline team has a deficit of 3.8 million Danish kroner (almost US$400,000). The reason is that the team didn't manage to reach the planned sponsorship level in 2000, plus an increased activity level. Its budget had a deficit of two million kroner.

However, primary owner and managing director, Bjarne Riis has put more money into the company. "I'm using some of my savings since it is an exciting project. I like cycling but I am not naïve. PCD is supposed to break even at the least and it will. It is a long term investment," Riis told Ritzau's news agency.

Tiscali S.p.A (Tiscali) is a leading European internet and telecommunications service provider, offering integrated internet access, portal and e-commerce services along with innovative voice and data transmission services.

L'Hoir crashes in training

Belgian Manu L'Hoir, riding for Danish second division Team Fakta, has been taken to hospital after a crash during training near his home in Belgium. The 25 year old L'Hoir was found unconscious by his father in a ditch. The father went looking for his son after he didn't return from his training ride on time.

L'Hoir doesn't remember anything from the accident. He has suffered a cranial injury. The police are still uncertain about what happened, but a dead bird has been found at the site of the accident. The police will try and find out more as soon as the bicycle has been examined.

L'Hoir's injuries are not at all life threatening, according to the team manager Peter Sejr Nielsen.

Meier keeps spot for the time being

The second rider to fall foul of the UCI's EPO tests, Roland Meier (Team Coast), has not been sacked by his team, who are awaiting confirmation of his B sample test result.

"No-one has been suspended from the team or dismissed before it is sport-legally proven that he has doped," said Coast's main sponsor Gunther Dahms in a press release. "I am against any kind of suspicion or supposition due to doubtful test methods, which are not recognised by any sports federation in the world, including the International Olympic Committee, except for the UCI."

Coast Directeur sportif, Wolfram Lindner said: "It is possible for my riders to get the best results without doping," he said, adding that Meier had assured him he hadn't taken EPO. "I do not see any reason not to believe his statement, based on the current level of knowledge. A negative B sample would question that [the UCI's] method again."

According to Lindner, the UCI's new EPO method is doubted by the IOC, who used a similar method on a trial basis during the Sydney Olympics (no positives were reported). "We also support the fight against doping, however we ask that it be respectable, honest and according to uniform criteria," said Lindner.

Some have argued that Meier's "low" hematocrit of 45.6 is an indication that he did not take EPO, which has the side effect of raising one's hematocrit, hence the UCI 50% rule. However, 45.6 could be artifically high for someone with a hematocrit of 40; conversely, some athletes with 51% hematocrits have never taken anything in their life. The urine/blood based EPO test should prove this beyond all doubt, with no gray areas, if it is as bullet-proof as all drug tests are supposed to be.


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Photo: © Luis Barbosa

This third division Colombian team is currently topping its divisional UCI rankings, leading Czech team PSK Remerx by 140 points. 05-Orbitel, sponsored by a long distance telecommunications company, has been dominating Colombian racing for several years, and chose this year to become registered with the UCI. So far this year, the team has won the Clasica del Pasca with Daniel Rincòn (brother of Oliverio the great climber), Vuelta de Valle with Javier Zapata, Vuelta de Antioquia (and 3 stages) with Javier Zapata, Vuelta de Casanare with Marlon Pèrez, who won 5 stages, Vuelta de Tolima (2 stages) with Hernàn Bonilla, and the Vuelta de Boyacá (1 stage). Hence, their position at the top of the third division.

Their next race is the Classica del Norte de Valle, which has a field of around 90 of the best riders in Colombia. The team is seeking to compete overseas, but like most third division teams, its scope is limited by a low budget.

Cyclingnews team data


By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

Two years ago Bergslagstouren, a four day stage race, was held as a warm up for the Tour of Sweden. Last year, troubles with the road authorities stopped the race, but now the Örebro County Cycling federation and the clubs in the area are back with a new tour better than ever.

The race covers seven stages in six days and this time features a Dutch top amateur squad, MGI Fietsen, that rode the Tour of Sweden last year. John Talen is the top name among the Dutch. A Danish national team with Jimmie Hansen from Team Fakta and veteran track ace Jimmi Madsen is the other top number among the foreign teams. For the Swedish riders this is the chance to prove that they are worthy of a spot in some of the national teams in the Tour of Sweden in a few weeks time.

Cykeltouren results

Win a Cannondale CAAD 5!

It's easy to do, and the odds aren't that bad, but they will be by the end of the competition - all the more reason to enter now! That's right, by simply going to Cyclingnews' Cannondale Competition page and filling out a few details, you'll go into the virtual barrel to win a Saeco-Cannondale CAAD 5 frame (custom-made painted to your desired specs), or a Mario Cipollini signed Saeco jersey, or a Volvo/Cannondale jersey signed by Cadel Evans.

The competition closes the day the Giro ends on June 10, with the winner to be announced on Cyclingnews on June 18.

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