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Tour de Langkawi Cycling News for February 5, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan

Giro doubtful for Rujano

By Jean-François Quénet in Tanah Rata

José Rujano, the Venezuelan sensation of last year's Giro d'Italia who finished overall and won two mountain stages, is a big miss on the start list of this year's Le Tour de Langkawi, where he finished second to Ryan Cox in 2005. But it appears he's also likely to miss the Giro due to a tussle between him and Selle Italia-Diquigiovanni's team manager Gianni Savio.

Arriving late in Malaysia, Savio recalled Rujano's comments to the Venezuelan press last month, saying: "I want to dedicate my first pink jersey to Gianni Savio." When he was approached by Quick.Step in August last year, his current team he was contracted with until the end of 2006 accepted to release him after the Giro d'Italia.

"We wrote a new five-month contract, until May 31st, Savio said. Then Rujano asked us to skip Le Tour de Langkawi because he wanted to peak for the Tour de France and use the Giro as preparation. We said it's fine. When he spent a few days with us in Venezuela, the relationship was very good, but then he flew to Italy and his manager called me, asking for more money. I told this person that a deal was a deal and I wouldn't speak with him anymore."

It was rumoured in Italy that Rujano wouldn't even start the Giro this year but would only begin the 2006 season with Quick.Step on June 1 and take part in the Tour de France and Tour of Spain. "At this stage, I don't know if Rujano will ride for Selle Italia-Diquigiovanni at all this year," lamented Savio, "although he's scheduled to start the GP of Chiasso and Lugano at the end of February."

Newton's Commonwealth Games plans intact

By Shane Stokes in Tanah Ratah

Chris Newton
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

World team pursuit champion Chris Newton was one of the most badly injured riders in the final-kilometre pileup at the end of stage two of the Tour de Langkawi on Saturday. The Recycling.co.uk rider was near the front with 250 metres to go, but when several others fell in front of him he had nowhere to go, hitting the ground hard and suffering deep cuts to his right and left forearms.

Several minutes after Ruben Bongiorno sprinted in for the stage victory, Newton was pushed across the line by one of the team staff. By this stage he had heavy bandaging on but he was clearly in a battered state, appearing pale, in shock and in a lot of pain. He sat in the ambulance for several minutes and was then driven away to hospital.

"He took a pretty bad fall, he's got deep lacerations and maybe has a fractured arm," said team manager John Herety shortly afterwards. "Chris was down to do the Commonwealth Games so this is clearly a threat to that."

Happily Newton's injuries turned out to be less serious than that and he was able to start Sunday's third stage to the Cameron Highlands. "I'm feeling okay today," he told Cyclingnews at the start. "I got some stitches but it turns out there is no fracture."

"Some guys went down ahead of me in the sprint and I ran into the back of them. It was pretty scary, my first thought was that the Commonwealth Games were gone. I am down to do the road and the track events there and thought those were finished with the crash. But it seems now that I will be okay for that."

Newton was world points race champion in 2002 and has got both a world championship gold and Olympic silver in the team pursuit. Having got through Sunday's tough stage to the Cameron Highlands, he will continue his build-up to Melbourne and what he hopes will be a successful campaign there.

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