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85th Giro d'Italia (GT)

Italy, May 11-June 2, 2002

News for May 10, 2002

Latest newsflashes

May 25 - Mathew Hayman interview: Making hay while the sun shines
May 25 - Stage 12 wrap up, Post stage comments, Lunghi wins 12th stage, Simoni out, Saeco cancels journos' football game, Perfetto denies doping
May 24 - Stage 11 wrap up, Post stage comments, Simoni not in the clear yet, Cadel Evans re-launches website, Garzelli case to be heard on June 3, Frigo taken for a ride, Saeco pulls Simoni before B sample announced, Mercatone flicks Sgambelluri
May 23 - Stage 10 wrap up, Post stage comments, Simoni allowed to continue, regardless of B test, Mapei to continue in the Giro
May 22 - Stage 9 wrap up, Garzelli's B sample positive, Post stage comments, Gutted Garzelli to take a break from cycling, Cipollini comments, Castellano comments, Why probenecid?, Policeman admits to supplying Varriale and co. with doping products, Simoni non-negative for cocaine
May 21 - Stage 8 wrap up, Post stage comments, Santi Perez hospitalised with cranial trauma, Garzelli's counter-analysis due on Tuesday, Varriale and the wicked fridge

Complete story index

Panaria substitutes Chesini for Figueras

The Panaria Fiordo team has had a few changes in the last couple of days with riders pulling out for various reasons. The most important was team leader Giuliano Figueras, who was suspended by the FCI for doping resulting from the investigation into last year's Giro d'Italia. His place will be taken by Italian sprinter Nicola Chesini.

Enrico Degano is riding in place of Antonio Varriale, who has a knee injury.

In Mercatone Uno, Ermanno Brignoli has been replaced by Kazakh Andrei Mizurov, as a result of his six month suspension.

Click here for the latest start list

Zanette becomes a dad

Fassa Bortolo's Denis Zanette became a father two days before the start of the Giro in Groningen. Zanette's baby is called Paola and weighs 3.86 kg. He will not see her until stage 15 in Conegliano, but asked for a photo to be emailed him as soon as possible.

Health check OK for all 198 riders

The entire peloton of the Giro d'Italia has passed the mandatory health checks two days prior to the start. 198 riders from 22 teams were declared fit and well, according to the UCI's medical inspector. The health checks took place between 7 and 9:30 this morning, and are part of the UCI's broad monitoring of the health of the peloton. Both the Tour de France and the Vuelta Espaņa have similar controls before the start.

Principal difficulties

With five mountain stages and 80 kilometres against the clock in this year's Giro, it remains a race suited to the climbers, with riders like Simoni, Garzelli, Casagrande, and Frigo the top favourites. There are three time trials: the prologue in Groningen (6.5 km, flat), stage 14 in Numana (30.3 km, undulating) and stage 19 from Cambiago to Monticello Brianza (44.2 km, gradually uphill). The last time trial could well prove crucial, given its length and proximity to the end.

The first mountain top finish comes at the end of stage 5 on May 17 from Fossano to Limone Piemonte. The last 27 kilometres contains the short but quite steep climb of Colletto del Moro before the finishing climb to Limone Piemonte (1407m). It's not too steep, but is 20 km long, and should certainly thin the bunch.

The next uphill finish is stage 11 from Benevento-Campitello Matese (1440m). It's a similar sort of climb to Limone Piemonte, but slightly steeper at 5.7% average.

Stage 13 to San Giacomo (1105m) contains one other climb of Ceppo (1334m) in a generally up and down stage, and it is not an easy finish.

The toughest stages are the 16th and 17th, which contain the majority of the big mountains. Stage 16 from Conegliano to Corvara in Badia does not finish on a climb, but features four serious ascents. Starting with the 1773 m Forcella Staulanza, the riders tackle the Passo di Fedaia (2057 m), Passo Pordoi (2239 m) and Passo di Campolongo (1875 m) with the summit at 6.5 km to go. The Pordoi is the highest point in this year's Giro, and is dubbed the 'Cima Coppi'.

Stage 17 from Corvara in Badia to Folgaria is much longer than the previous stage (222 km) but the climbs are less fierce. The start is not easy, with the relatively short climbs of Passo Gardena (2121 m) and Passo Sella (2213 m) in quick succession, followed by a gradual descent until km 163 when the climbing starts again. Santa Barbara (1165 m), and the Passo Bordala (1253 m) are followed by the finishing climb to Folgaria (1614 m), the last mountain top finish in the Giro.

Click here for all the stage profiles.

Participant breakdown: Italians in the majority

Unlike the Tour de France, which will have been 30 and 35 French riders in its 189 rider peloton this year, the Giro d'Italia has a much greater local representation. This is mostly due to the fact that many of the top division I teams which have automatic selection into the Grand Tours are Italian.

In total, there are 84 Italians out of 198 riders in this year's Giro - over 42 percent of the peloton. The next strongest representation comes surprisingly from Spain, which has 21 riders but only one team (Kelme). Then follow Germany (15), Colombia (9) and another 23 nations respectively.

Breakdown by country

Italy: 84
Spain: 21
Germany: 15
Colombia: 9
Ukraine, Netherlands, Belgium: 8
Denmark: 7
Slovenia, Russia, Austria, Australia: 4
Switzerland, Lithuania: 3
United States, Mexico, Kazakhstan: 2
Yugoslavia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Poland, Moldavie, Great Britain, Japan, France, Croatie, Belarus: 1

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