Munich Six-Day - 2nd night
1. Silvio Martinello/Marco Villa (Ita) 118 pts 1 lap behind: 2. Adriano Baffi/Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) 123 2 laps behind: 3. Andreas Kappes/Carsten Wolf (Ger) 105 4. Bruno Risi/Kurt Betschart (Sch) 88 3 laps behind: 5. Erik Zabel/Etienne de Wilde (Ger/Bel) 83 6. Jimmy Madsen/Jens Veggerby (Den) 75 4 laps behind: 7. Urs Freuler/Olaf Ludwig (Sch/Ger) 65 8. Danny Clark/Matthew Gilmore (Aus) 19 6 laps behind: 9. Rolf Aldag/Peter Pieters (Ger/Ned) 15 9 laps behind: 10. Jean-Michel Monin/Lars Teutenberg (Fra/Ger) 20 10 laps behind: 11. Jens Lehmann/Franz Stocher (Ger/Aut) 12 laps behind: 12. Pierangelo Bincoletto/Tayeb Braika (Ita/Den) 13 13. Patrick Vetsch/Werner Stutz (Sch) 6.
Italian Riders call for Blood TestsItalian cyclists have called for the introduction of blood tests to crack down on the use of banned substances and eliminate the cloud of suspicion hanging over the sport, newspapers reported on Saturday.
Hein Verbruggen, head of the World Cycling Union (UCI), applauded the riders' initiative and said the UCI was ready to meet their request.
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy's leading sports daily, said the Italian riders' association ACCPI met in Milan on Friday to discuss doping.
The ACCPI later issued a statement saying the riders were willing to undergo blood tests provided the UCI set up coherent procedures for carrying them out.
Under current regulations, the winner and two riders picked at random undergo urine tests after each race. But some substances do not always show up in urine tests and blood checks are considered more thorough.
``We hope that the availability (to undergo tests) of the riders can finally put an end to the continuous accusations that have been levelled against us without proof,'' La Gazzetta quoted the riders' statement as saying.
``But we hope that if such a procedure is adopted, then it will be used in other sports as well,'' it added.
The use of banned substances in cycling hit the headlines last month when former world record holder Graeme Obree of Scotland alleged it was widespread among riders.
Obree said he was quitting the sport, partly because many cyclists were using drugs, especially erythropoietin (EPO), a substance that stimulates the production of red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body.
Following his remarks, French cycling officials urged their government to help them crack down on the use of banned drugs.
``We had to do something now because this is a very tough moment for (the image) of cycling,'' Marco Pantani was quoted as telling La Gazzetta.
``If a kid who rides hears that 70 percent of cyclists are taking dope then I think he'll just take up tennis or soccer,'' Pantani added.
Verbruggen said the Italian riders' initiative was ``fantastic.''
``We (the UCI) have long supported the fight against doping and if the athletes ask for stronger control measures then we are with them,'' he was quoted as telling La Gazzetta.
Giro 1997 AnnouncedThe 1997 Giro d'Italia will start at Venice's Lido, organisers said on Saturday, but the real test in Italy's top cycle race will come on six tough mountain stages.
It starts with a 127-km circuit at the famed Lido beach resort facing the lagoon city of Venice, and ends with a 165-km stage from the town of Boario Terme to Milan.
Two stretches have individual time trials -- the 18-km third stage from Santarcangelo to San Marino and the 39-km 18th stage from Baselga di Pine to Cavalese in the Dolomite Alps.
But the race could very well be won -- or lost -- during the six mountain stages, the last coming on the penultimate day. The 239-km stretch from Male Val di Sole to Edole in the Dolomites is also the race's longest stage.
More Giro CoverageNext year's winner of the 80th Tour of Italy will need to be a strong climber, after the organisers on Saturday unveiled three weeks of hell between Venice and Milan.
The race, which starts in Venice on May 17 and finishes 3,885kms later here in Sempione Park on June 8, is tailor-made for a triumphant return for Italian climbing hero Marco Pantani.
The figure of eight route winds through the length and breadth of Italy, starting with an opening stage around the Venice Lido. The first of two time trials, lasting just 18kms, follows on stage three and includes a hill climb finish to San Marino.
As the route winds south, stage five sees the first steep climb up to Terminillo (1,775mts) before pressing on via Lanciano by the Adriatic to Modragone on the Mediterranean.
After a 10th stage along the boot of Italy, the peloton has a rest day spent transferring to Lido di Camaiore on the northwest coast.
A short dash along the Italian Riviera follows and then it's northwards into the Alps for a series of mountain stages at Varazze (Monte Beigua Pass, 1,287mts) and Cervinia (Col de Champremiere, 1,260mts and St Pantaleon 1,645mts).
The 18th stage hosts the second time trial, a 39km dash to Cavalese, but woe betide any rider who gives himself totally to victory.
No fewer than seven mountain climbs await him the following day, including the 2,239mt Coppi Summit, named after the legendary Italian rider, and a further five climbs over the following two days.
Deliverance arrives in the last stage, a sedate 165km run to Milan.
Miguel Indurain, the five-times Tour de France winner, acknowledged it would be a tough race -- were he to take part.
"It's a hard Giro," the Spaniard said in an interview brodcast at the presentation here.
"It's going to be hard at the beginning with the time trial and anyone who gives it too much at the start is not going to see the race through to the end."
The Spaniard has not decided yet whether he will race the 80th Giro.
Pantani, the star of the ceremony here, said of the route: "I like it.
"It's one of the best of the last few years and I would really like to do well on it."
However, the man nicknamed "The Little Elephant" for his shaved head and protruding ears, is not guaranteed to be at the starting line.
Still recovering from a traffic accident during the Milan-Turin race a year ago, he said: " I feel good. I've done about a dozen races since August and the training is going well. But I'll have to see closer to the time if my condition is good enough to race the Giro."
Giro 1997 Route:
May 17 - Stage 1: Venice - Venice, 127kms 18 - Stage 2: Mestre - Cervia, 211kms 19 - Stage 3: Santarcangelo - San Marino (ITT), 18kms 20 - Stage 4: San Marino - Arezzo, 155kms 21 - Stage 5: Arezzo - Terminillo, 215kms 22 - Stage 6: Rieti - Lanciano, 205kms 23 - Stage 7: Lanciano - Mondragone, 206kms 24 - Stage 8: Mondragone - Cava dei Tirreni, 210kms 25 - Stage 9: Cava dei Tirreni - Castrovillari, 233kms 26 - Stage 10: Castrovillari - Taranto, 186kms 27 - Rest day 28 - Stage 11: Lido di Camaiore - Lido di Camaiore, 163kms 29 - Stage 12: La Spezia - Varazze, 214kms 30 - Stage 13: Varazze - Cuneo, 146kms 31 - Stage 14: Racconigi - Cervinia June 1 - Stage 15: Verres - Borgomanero, 170kms 2 - Stage 16: Borgomanero - Dalmine, 156kms 3 - Stage 17: Dalmine - Verona, 190kms 4 - Stage 18: Baselga di Pine - Cavalese (ITT), 39kms 5 - Stage 19: Predazzo - Falzes, 220kms 6 - Stage 20: Brunico - Passo del Tonale, 179kms 7 - Stage 21: Male - Edolo, 239kms 8 - Stage 22: Boario Terme - Milan, 165kms