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85th Giro d'Italia (GT)

Italy, May 11-June 2, 2002

News for May 14, 2002

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Stefano Garzelli (Mapei, 1st stage and GC)

Stefano Garzelli
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

"I am happy to hold the jersey now, even though we will not kill ourselves to defend it at all costs. I will wait to give everything in the last week of the race, and if in the meantime I should slip to second or third, it's no drama. The important thing is to have the maglia rosa in Milan."

"The Giro starts to hurt but of course it is very good to have won and to have gained some seconds. I have the morale, the energy and the team. Psychologically, I am not in the same position as I was in 2000, when my victory was a surprise."

"This stage was not a miniature Liege-Bastogne-Liege, only the last 10 kilometres was the same. It was planned that Bettini would contest the sprint in the case the peloton arrived together. Otherwise, it was up to me."

"My rivals? Casagrande evidently, it was he who attacked strongly on the cote de St Nicolas. Frigo also. Simoni? He was a little behind today but we know that he can do a lot in the mountains."

Dario Frigo (Tacconi, 10th GC)

"I couldn't do any more, and these first two stages have been very difficult, not just for me. I saw looks of pain from the effort in the peloton. But I cannot complain myself: I was static for nine months and had a little period of inactivity."

"In the GC I am well placed and the time gap does not worry me at the moment. Certainly Garzelli is going really strongly and showed that in the races over the last few weeks. This race however is long and a lot will happen."

Winner's bio: Stefano Garzelli

Today's stage winner and new Maglia Rosa is Stefano Garzelli (Mapei), a previous winner of the Giro in 2000 and a big favourite for this year's race. Already it's looking like a duel between Garzelli and Casagrande, but there's still a lot of racing to come.

Garzelli first rose to prominence in 1998 when he won the Tour de Suisse as a second year pro for Mercatone Uno. His biggest success is of course the Giro, which he won courtesy of a strong ride in the final mountain time trial in 2000, beating Francesco Casagrande. Garzelli can also sprint quite well, and was instrumental in Paolo Bettini's Liege-Bastogne-Liege win here three weeks ago.

Born: July 16, 1973
Birthplace: Varese, Italy
Height: 1,76 m
Weight: 60 kg
Current UCI ranking: 28th
Teams: Mercatone Uno (1997-2000), Mapei (2001-2002)

Major results

GP de Larciano 2002
2nd Liege-Bastogne-Liege

1 stage Vuelta al Pais Vasco
1 stage Tour de Suisse
Derny Arona (with Stefano Zanini)

1 stage Settimana Lombarda
Giro d'Italia + 1 stage
Memorial Fabio Casartelli
1 stage Tour de Suisse

G.P. Miguel Indurain
1 stage Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Tour de Suisse + 2 stages

Cyclingnews interview with Garzelli

No Bartoli and Bettini showdown today

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Michele Bartoli had certainly been thinking about the Giro d'Italia's Stage 2 finish in Liege before he won the Amstel Gold World Cup classic two weeks ago. After all, Bartoli, a two-time winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege knew that the finale was the same as his favourite classic, and the 31 year old Fassa Bortolo man was looking hard for a Giro stage win, his first since 1998. And after all, Bartoli's former gregario Paolo Bettini had now won L-B-L (like his mentor) twice as it happens, and Bartoli wanted to score another win at Liege, even it was "just" a Giro stage. Today, Michele Bartoli had other things on his mind.

Three weeks ago, Bettini and his Mapei Quick Step teammate Stefano Garzelli did a number on everyone at L-B-L, while Bartoli finished behind, out of the money. But Bettini finished out of the money today at the Giro because of a crash and a flat tire at a bad time on the Cote de St. Nicolas with 7 km to go, losing his chance to take over the Maglia Rosa from Mario Cipollini.

"I was right there; we had made the selection", said a disappointed Bettini. "It was a tough break; Boogerd put me into the barriers and so I flatted at the worst possible moment."

When Bettini returned to his hotel, he found that his knee had swelled up. However, he should be OK to start tomorrow's stage according to his Mapei team.

Another disappointed Tuscan was Mario Cipollini, who lost his 1'19" and his pink jersey today in the tough last 8km. "I tried to hang on, but I realized I couldn't do it - the finish was for the climbers, not for me."

Meanwhile, Bartoli, the most disappointed Tuscan of all, was back home in Pisa after a medevac flight home from Germany. Bartoli crashed heavily on the final finishing circuit in Munster yesterday, fracturing his right pelvis and abandoned the Giro. Germany must be bad luck for the Italian "fuoriclasse"; he had a terrible crash in the Tour Of Germany three years ago, all but destroying his knee.

"I'm feeling OK, all things considered", Bartoli told Auro Bulbarelli today of RAI TV via mobile phone. "I slept OK last night and I have to stay flat on my back for a week or so," said he groggy Bartoli. "I have to wait about 6 weeks before I can ride."

Bartoli went on to tell Bulbarelli that after his crash, he felt something wrong inside and just stayed down. "But the crash could have been worse so I'm sure I'll be back", said an upbeat Bartoli

Castellano comments on Euro Giro

The crowd support during the early stages of this year's Giro has been fantastic, putting to rest some of the organisers' fears that the 'Euro Giro' would not be a success. Giro director Carmine Castellano first came up with the idea of a Euro Giro during a visit to Groningen in 1997, the eventual starting place of this year's Giro. The town submitted a proposal to him to host the start of the Giro, and Castellano though it was a good idea (and also a crazy idea).

"I said that if we found other cities to host stages, we would think about it," said Castellano in an interview with AFP. "As 2002 was the year of the Euro, we thought of drawing a line between the six founding countries of Europe. A lot of cities wanted a stage: s'Hertogenbosch and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Sint-Niklaas, Zolder, Waregem, Bruges and the Liege province in Belgium, Munster, Cologne, Leverkusen, Koblenz and Freiburg in Germany. We also had the possibility to go to Strasbourg, the European capital with the European Parliament. We arrive there during the week of the general assembly."

Castellano commented on the TV rights issue, with several countries not willing to pay the high costs for broadcast rights to RAI TV. "We gave RAI permission to sell the external retransmission rights," he said. "But RAI thought more of the economical aspect than the beauty of the race. This problem has direct consequences on the participation."

The contract with RAI runs for another two years. "But we have the possibility to renegotiate the external rights. The leaders of our corporation are already discussing it."

Finally, after the spectacular raids during last year's Giro ripped the heart out of what was turning out to be a very interesting race, what were Castellano's actions vis a vis anti-doping this year?

"The situation was criticised after Sanremo. We set up in conjunction with the Italian government an education program for the young, in the schools, the smaller races, about doping and its dangers. We also came to an agreement with Italian television to bear responsibility for all the expenses involved with anti-doping tests, and with the Federation, in the juniors and espoirs categories."

EU president likes the 'Euro Giro'

The president of the European Union, Roman Prodi, commented favourably about the 'Euro Giro' so far. "It was a marvellous spectacle," he said in Ans today. "It seemed like a crazy idea, but instead this Giro is a grand idea."

Prodi particularly liked the idea of starting in Holland and uniting the six countries, the foundations of the European Community. He also commented about the race: "Cipollini? He resembles a train," said Prodi, a Marco Pantani fan who thinks that this year's route is "not hard."

Giro stage 2 coverage

Full results & report
Live report

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

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