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5th Journalist World Championships - CM
Veronello, Italy, August 29, 2004
Under 50's: The Italian job
Fassa Bortolo's press officer Andrea Agostini has added a second U50 World Journalists' Championships to his palmares, winning a four man sprint after a fast, but tactical 69 km race. As the defending champion, Agostini was closely watched by all his rivals, but he was able to respond to every attack and make quite a few of his own, eventually relying on his formidable sprint to lead out with 300m to go and cross the line with several lengths to spare on fellow Italian Valerio Riparbelli (Il Tirreno) and Jeff Jones (Cyclingnews.com). Frenchman David Malle (Pigiste) was also in the break and finished fourth.
How it unfolded
There were 48 starters in the Under 50 category, most of them from the host country Italy but there were small contingents from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Ireland, Australia and Slovenia. Most of the foreigners and a fair chunk of the Italians had been entertained until 1:00am the night before at Verona's historic amphitheatre, where they witnessed an excellent performance of Rigoletto. It made for a late night, but the cultural experience was well worth it.
The circuit was located about 30 km from Verona at Veronello, near Lake Garda. Some of the categories in the World Time Trial Championships will be raced over this circuit. Measuring 9.8 km and classed as "flat" by Italian standards, the Belgians and Dutch were in for a surprise as a series of climbs in the first 3 km made for a more selective race than might have been expected.
After observing a minute's silence for the Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni who was killed in Iraq, the Under 50's got under way for their seven laps. The Italians were clearly motivated and many were clad in matching azzurro jerseys despite their different press affiliations - a formidable sight indeed. A breakaway of three escaped at the top of the climb on the first lap, containing eventual second place getter Valerio Riparbelli (Il Tirreno), but despite riding out to a 25 second lead over the peloton, Agostini was having none of it and almost singlehandedly chased down the break on the climbs at the start of lap 2, with a very strung out peloton in tow.
Last year's third place getter, Belgian Rik Lintermans (Cyclosprint), was very active in the early stages as well, but Agostini had marked him as a danger man and reacted every time the Belgian made a move. On the third lap, a series of attacks on the climbs succeeded in establishing a breakaway off the front of the peloton, containing Agostini, Lintermans, David Malle (Pigiste), Mark Koghee (Noordhollands Dagblad), Bart de Schampeleire (Wieler Revue), Robert Kuehnen (Tour), Jeff Jones (Cyclingnews.com), among others, with Gerard Cromwell (Ireland) bridging up later on.
The speed lifted markedly on the third lap and the strung out peloton was just 10 seconds behind the break at the start/finish line at the end of the lap. But the climbs at the start of lap 4 signaled a new round of attacks, and mid-way through the lap (35 km) a smaller selection had been made with just six riders: Agostini, Malle, De Schampeleire, Kuehnen and Jones, with Riparbelli managing to bridge up from the peloton.
The cooperation amongst the breakaways wasn't good, but it was enough to distance the peloton by 25 seconds at the end of lap 4 (39 km) with three laps to travel. The break was reduced to four when Agostini attacked mid-way through the fifth lap and was chased down by Jones, Riparbelli and Malle while De Schampeleire and Kuehnen were distanced. The remaining leaders watched each other closely with the two Italians now working more together.
Agostini put in a small attack on the climb at the start of the final lap and was countered by Jones. However, Agostini gave no quarter and was right on the wheel of his Australian rival, leaving the other two to chase back on. Agostini went again on the final part of the climb and Jones countered again - with the same result. A four man sprint was looking to be the likely outcome of the race.
Agostini hadn't shot all of his arrows though. He attacked on the descent with around 3 km to go as Riparbelli allowed the gap to open. Again Jones went after him, pursued by Riparbelli and Malle. It came back together with 2 km to go and Jones put in a strong counter, but naturally found Agostini on his wheel. Not wanting to tow the Italian to the finish, he eased up and allowed the other two to catch on. Then it was Riparbelli's turn to go with 1 km left: Agostini was immediately onto him and then took over the lead, preparing to lead out the sprint from the front. He jumped with 300m to go and no-one had an answer; he won easily and proved that he was the strongest rider in the race. A fast finishing Riparbelli caught Jones on the line for second, while Frederick Malle finished fourth.
Over 50's: Dutch courage
Dutch riders occupied the first and third positions on the podium in the Over 50's championships, which was run over four laps of the Veronello circuit. The winner in a nine man sprint was free lance journalist Peter de Groot, who beat the ever consistent Eugenio Capodacqua (La Repubblica) with Bennie Ceulen (Dagblad de Limburger/Limburgs Dagblad) finishing third. Nino Villa (Sabato Sera) was fourth and one of the organisers of the World's, Roberto Ronchi (Motosprint), was fifth.
The race was run in conjunction with the ex-professionals and women's categories, and in fact it was the Italian legend Francesco Moser who crossed the line first to win the ex-pro class. The women's race, which has doubled in size to two competitors since last year, saw Italian Samantha Profumo (La Valsesia) finish together with Moser to beat Slovenia's Lucia Bosnik (Poslovni Devnik Finance) by 1'20
The prize giving ceremony was worth noting as well. Besides trophies, flowers, books, and digital cameras for the place getters, every starter received a "lucky door prize", ranging from a simple t-shirt to a large hunk of parmigiano cheese, valued at €150 by the locals. All in all, the weekend was superbly organised by the AIJC and Mondiali Ciclismo spa/Lauta communication, which bodes well for the upcoming real World Championships in Verona this October.
Images by Roberto Ronchi
Images by Jeff Jones/Cyclingnews.com
Under 50 - 67.9 km, 7 laps 1 Andrea Agostini (Ita) Ufficio Stampa Fassa Bortolo 1.39.05 (41.116 km/h) 2 Valerio Riparbelli (Ita) Il Tirreno 3 Jeff Jones (Aus) Cyclingnews.com 4 David Malle (Fra) Pigiste 5 Bart De Schampheleir (Bel) Wieler Revue 1.20 6 Robert Kuehnen (Ger) Tour 7 Frederik Backelandt (Bel) Cyclo Sprint 1.36 8 Mark Koghee (Ned) Noordhollands Dagblad 9 Rik Lintermans (Bel) Cyclo Sprint 2.06 10 Claudio Ghisalberti (Ita) La Gazzetta dello Sport 11 Gerard Cromwell (Irl) Irish Daily Star 12 Frederick Iehl (Fra) Le Cycle Magazine 13 Rinaldo Bernardi (Ita) Il Giorno 14 Frederick Dohen (Fra) La Depeche Meusienne 15 Philippe Aquillon (Fra) Autoplus 16 Markus Jauslin (Swi) Bartler Zeitung 17 Carlo Lisciotto (Ita) The smart fitness magazine 18 Maurizio Marogna (Ita) L'Altro Giornale 19 Adrianus Kuil (Ned) Freelance 20 Giovanni Fantozzi (Ita) Il Resto del Carlino 21 Luca Vitale (Ita) Il Sole 24 Ore 22 Ivano Santachiara (Ita) La Gazzetta di Reggio 23 Giuseppe Costantini (Ita) Cicloturismo 24 Primoz Kalisnik (Slo) Polet Magazine 25 Stane Petavs (Slo) Press Finance 26 Franco Pavan (Ita) Il Gazzettino 27 Claudio Di Benedetto (Ita) Mediaset 28 Filippo Vendemmiati (Ita) Rai 29 Andrea Prandi (Ita) La7 30 Pietro Luca Paolazzi (Ita) Il Sole 24 Ore 31 Andreas Schiwy (Ger) Bike magazine 32 Giorgio Del Fabbro (Ita) Il Friuli 33 Karel Beckmans (Ned) Noordhollands Dagblad 34 Giovanni Bruno (Ita) Sky TV 35 Alberto Alvoni (Ita) Il resto del Carlino 36 Giampaolo Balestrini (Ita) Ansa 37 Gianluca Donato (Ita) Sky TV 38 Giovanni Faccenda (Ita) La Nazione 39 Alessandro Zamboni (Ita) Telenuovo 40 Davide Petrizzelli (Ita) Luna Nuova 41 Giampaolo Grossi (Ita) La Gazzetta di Mantova Starters: 48 Classified: 41 Over 50 - 38.8 km, 4 laps 1 Peter De Groot (Ned) Freelance 1.01.05 (38.111 km/h) 2 Eugenio Capodacqua (Ita) La Repubblica 3 Bennie Ceulen (Ned) Limburg Dagblad DDL 4 Nino Villa (Ita) Sabato Sera 5 Roberto Ronchi (Ita) Motosprint 6 Fabrizio Frigieri (Ita) L'Incontro 7 Sergio Robutti (Ita) La Valsesia 8 Giuliano Dolfini (Ita) La Stampa 9 Roberto Rossin (Ita) Il Gazzettino 10 Franco Sitton (Ita) Rai 1.27 11 Enos Rizzotti (Ita) Telenuovo 12 Fabrizio Rappini (Ita) Il Corriere di Ravenna 13 Claudio Pasqualin (Ita) Sky TV 14 Flaviano Busato (Ita) Il Giornale di Vicenza 15 Alberto Paoli (Ita) La Gazzetta dello Sport 16 Walter Rottiers (Bel) Cycling Press 17 Lino Rubini (Ita) Il Gazzettino 18 Ruggero Quadrelli (Ita) Corriere dello Sport 19 Walter Guagneli (Ita) L'Unità Starters: 19 Classified: 19 Women - 38.8 km, 4 laps 1 Samantha Profumo (Ita) La Valsesia 59.45 (38.96 km/h) 2 Lucia Bosnik (Slo) Poslovni Devnik Finance 1.20 Starters: 2 Classified: 2
Consultants (ex-pros) - 38.8 km, 4 laps 1 Francesco Moser (Ita) 59.45 (38.96 km/h)
Under 50 2003 Andrea Agostini (Ita) La Voce di Romagna Under 45 2002 Menno Grootjans (Ned) Fiets 2001 Harry Ruiterkamp (Ned) Infostrada 2000 Franck Chopin (Fra) La Bretagne Cycliste Over 50 2003 Michel Queruel (Fra) L'Usine Nouvelle Over 45 2002 Rik Lintermans (Bel) 2001 Eugenio Capodacqua (Ita) 2000 Eugenio Capodacqua (Ita) Women 2003 Aurélie Crouvisier (Fra) Audiovisuel