Giro d'Italia Cycling News for May 7, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones, assisted by Susan Westemeyer
Stage 1 wrap-up: Savoldelli with a great start
Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) has started his 2006 Giro campaign
in the best possible way, winning the first stage in Seraing by a very
healthy 11 seconds from Bradley McGee (Française des Jeux). The Italian
two-time Giro winner averaged 47.49 km/h over the testing 6.2 km parcours,
and was the only ride to go under eight minutes. In third place was José
E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak), who was 13 seconds down.
There were no real surprises among the other general classification riders,
except for Ivan Basso, whose 13th place at 23 seconds was a little slower
than expected. But Gonchar (5th at 16 seconds), Di Luca (10th at 19 seconds),
Cunego (15th at 25 seconds) and Simoni (16th at 26 seconds) are still
all within striking distance of each other.
Also see: Full
results, report & photos, Live
report, and Photos
Giro Stage 1 post-race quotes
Coming up on
Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of
the Dauphiné Libéré live
as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe
time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).
WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/
By Brecht Decaluwé in Seraing
Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner, 4th)
Stefan Schumacher surprised many people with a solid fourth place. "Normally,
I'm more of an all-round rider, a classics rider; but today it looked
that I can do a good time trial as well," the young German rider told
Cyclingnews. "The wind played an important role today, especially
with that headwind on the climb making it all very hard." The descent
of the time trial looked very 'special', and Schumacher confirmed that
fact, saying, "It was very dangerous with those bumps right before the
Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone, 20th)
Belgian Rik Verbrugghe
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
Rik Verbrugghe had promised before the stage that he'd try and win the
time trial, just like he did in 2001. As he crossed the line he was fourth,
but ended up in 20th position. Living close to Seraing, Verbrugghe hoping
for a big day, but didn't look happy at the finish. "I'm disappointed
with my performance; I gave everything I had, but the climb was 200 metres
too long for me," he said. "So on top of that climb, I couldn't accelerate
The Belgian explained the reasons for his perceived poor performance
thus; "The home crowd was fantastic for me but it made me feel very nervous
- when I was getting ready on the starting podium, it was a crazy atmosphere
with all those people supporting me. Maybe that's why I started off too
quickly and blew."
Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile Team, 28th)
Olaf Pollack had some top ten placings in the Giro time trial in the
past, today he was under performing with a 28th place: "My legs didn't
feel great at all but near the end I started to feel better; still, there
are a lot of other riders coming in, so I'm not counting on a great result."
Bert Roesems (Davitamon-Lotto, 35th)
Belgian Bert Roesems is known to be a good time trialist, but finished
a disappointing 35th today. "I'm not disappointed with my performance
because for me, the climb was too long and the other parts were too short;
so I'm losing time on the climb and I can't make up that time on the flat
sections. The time trial later in this Giro suits me more, so I'm expecting
a better result within ten days," he said.
Axel Merckx (Phonak Hearing Systems, 63rd)
Axel Merckx certainly isn't a a chrono specialist, but in front of a
home crowd he dug deep; at the finish line, the Belgian rider didn't have
much left in the tank. "It was quite hard; especially that last step of
the climb was killing me," he said "When I arrived at the top of the climb,
the lactic acid in my legs had really built up," he explained.
A new gig for Museeuw?
By Brecht Decaluwé in Seraing
Belgian legend Johan Museeuw
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
"The job I have on the Quick.Step team is like a dream to me; I can do
whatever I want. Because the Giro is here in Belgium, I got an invitation
to visit the race. Later on, I was asked to ride with some important people,
but I can't say who they are, sorry," the former world champion said.
Cyclingnews asked Museeuw about the offer he received to lead a
new team, to which he replied, "I'm always willing to listen when people
are offering me something; but I can say that this thing will not be decided
upon in a short time."
Time trial tidbits
By Les Clarke in Seraing
Cyclingnews spoke to Phonak's other American, Jon McCarty,
at the start in Seraing, who was pleased to be at his first Grand Tour.
"It's my first grand tour and I'm just happy to be here," he said. "I
think in a few days we'll be able to go for stage win."
With names such as Axel Merckx and Victor Hugo Pena in the Phonak lineup,
McCarty added that "we've got a good experienced team here and the teamwork
is good." The American competed on home turf at the Tour of California
in February, where compatriot Floyd Landis won the overall title, and
he believes that the foundations laid during that race will serve the
team well in terms of team work at the Giro.
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
Australian Mathew Hayman is currently recovering from a stack in last
Monday's Rund um den Henninger Turm, didn't seem to be suffering any effects
before today's prologue. However, he was still being cautious: "I'm a
little worried about my knee, but hopefully in a couple of days I'll feel
good and have a go," he said.
With the climbers set to dominate this year's Giro, Hayman knows the
chances for a stage win are limited. "It's an increasing thing that a
lot of the stages are controlled by the leading teams, so we have limited
stages to have a go."
In terms of favourites for the three weeks, Hayman said "CSC and Discovery
are pretty big favourites - Discovery have brought a different team and
it looks pretty strong." But the 'Aussie diesel' also added: "I think
you'll see a few surprises."
Like his countryman, Saunier Duval-Prodir's Aaron Olson is another American
who is riding his first Grand Tour, and the rookie was genuinely excited
to be starting the Giro on Saturday: "It's definitely great to be here,"
he said with enthusiasm to Cyclingnews. "It's a big organisation;
being at the Giro is amazing - it's a dream come true!"
Riding on the team of pre-race favourite Gilberto Simoni puts Olson in
the special position of riding for one the Giro's strongest riders, saying
that "everyone is very motivated. We checked out the team time trial course
the other day and it looks good. Gilberto's looking fit and we're sure
he'll do well."
Ullrich cuts his hair
Photo ©: Sirotti
Jan Ullrich has made the ultimate sacrifice in his preparations for
the Giro d'Italia: he has cut the long locks that so thrilled his female
fans this spring. The new 'do "is shorter and lighter, so I will sweat
less in the mountains," he quipped. He might need every bit of help he
can get. "It will be a real struggle, a battle all the way. The mountain
stages are very hard, but I will get through them without digging deep
into the red zone and riding myself into the ground."
In an interview on www.team-t-mobile.com, he noted that, "For
me the Giro is about form-building and getting into shape for the tour.
I am not here to target the GC. I don't want to lose sight of my goal
to be in top form for 'Le Tour'."
In an interview with the dpa German press agency, he said, "I
will try to win the Tour - I'm not saying that I will do it. There is
no better preparation than riding the complete Giro. The difficult mountain
stages at the end are just what I need after my late start in the season."
Former pro Marcel Wüst told sid that Ullrich has a difficult
task ahead of him. "To go to the start with so few race kilometres is
pretty dangerous. It's a high-wire act." Even T-Mobile's sports director
and Ullrich mentor Rudy Pevenage says it will be "damned hard."
Caisse d'Epargne places two in top 10
Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
After the Giro d'Italia's first stage, the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
team found itself with two riders in the top 10 of the general classification:
Francisco Pérez (6th) José Iván Gutiérrez (7th). Gutiérrez was one of
the favourites before the race, but he described himself as not too disappointed
with his final placing.
"I was feeling very good but I knew Savoldelli was very strong, most
of all after he won the prologue in the Tour of Romandy. Maybe I could
do a little better in the climb, but anyway Savoldelli did so well today
that it was just impossible to beat him. Many riders could be on the podium
today, but only one could go for the win."
Pérez's performance was a good result for the team, while Vladimir Efimkin
crashed in the last corner and finished 1'15 behind the winner.
Giro diary watch: Vampires and ice cream
Ronny Scholz' day started with vampires and ended with ice cream he
reports on www.ronnyscholz.de. "The day began early, as the vampires
from the UCI came in the early morning to take our blood." After breakfast
and a two-and half hour training ride, the Gerolsteiners "sat in a cafe
and enjoyed the sun." Late that afternoon was the team presentation. "On
the way back to the hotel, we all went together to eat an ice cream and
the café owner turned out to be a big cycling fan, who invited us all
for an espresso."
Rabobank's Grischa Niermann also enjoyed the "quiet before the storm,"
spending time with his girlfriend, son and mother. He has a special goal
for the Giro: "It will be my ninth participation in a three-week tour,
so it's about time I had a stage win. I just hope that my rivals and especially
my legs think so too!" (grischa-niermann.de)
Olaf Pollack of T-Mobile wore the Giro leader's jersey for a day two
years ago. He knows it will be more difficult this year. "The Giro is
super difficult this year. It goes constantly up and down and there are
two hard time trials." But he is looking forward to it, "especially because
there are so many fans out on the road. I'm ready." (olafpollack.de)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)