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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for May 6, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Valjavec looks for success in the Giro

Tadej Valjavec
Photo: © Sirotti
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Slovenian champion Tadej Valjavec (Phonak Hearing Systems) is hoping for a good ride in the Giro d'Italia after showing good form in the Tour de Romandie, where he finished fourth on GC. The 27 year old Slovenian will be Phonak's team captain in the three week tour, and his ambitions are "to achieve a stage victory and I am aiming to be in the top ten in the overall ratings."

Although the team's big gun Tyler Hamilton is saving himself for the Tour de France, Valjavec said on the team's website that he will be able to count on a strong team in the Giro. "Alexandre Moos will provide effective and helpful support in the mountains," he said. "Thanks to his presence, better tactics should be possible. Our sprinters Alexandre Usov, Daniele Bennati and Uros Murn give the team more arrows in its quiver. Daniel Schnider in particular ought to support our work as a strong team helper."

After a slow start to the season due to a virus, Valjavec is back on the right track again and he started to find his legs in the Setmana Catalana. He said that his confidence received a big boost during the TdR, where he was in front for both of the tough mountain stages. "I am very pleased with my performance on the Tour de Romandie. It confirms my feeling that I can make up lost time above all in the last week of the Giro."

Valjavec summarised the Giro as follows: "The first three stages are difficult enough and the third ends with a mountain finish. After three sprint days, we head upward again. A few downhill sections come after that before the first rest day. The 13th stage, a 52 kilometre time trial, ought to be a big turning point. Four mountain stages in the third week will then decide everything down to the last detail. Because not too many top names are appearing in the tour, I'll give the team an excellent chance and we'll certainly benefit from the great experience of our two sporting directors Jacques Michaud and René Savary here."

Valjavec named Gilberto Simoni and Stefano Garzelli as his favourites, "But the other Italians in the race are also very strong on their home ground and dangerous."

McEwen looks forward to Giro

The winner of four stages in the last two years, Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo), has set his sights on more success this year, hoping to get the better of Alessandro Petacchi and Mario Cipollini in the sprints. Lotto-Domo has no classification rider for the Giro, so everyone will be devoted to putting McEwen into a winning position on the flatter stages.

"I get my wins from the cooperation of the team," McEwen said in an Het Nieuwsblad interview. "Of course there were also teammates who could have worked perfectly in the Giro but didn't see any sense in making the trip. I also see a few young riders who will be stretched to their limits in the coming weeks. Gorik Gardeyn for example, who is riding his first grand tour. He asked if he could come himself. Then you don't have to doubt his motivation. Gardeyn has to try. He is the man who can put me into position. For him it's a case of hanging on and to stay with me as long as possible. The longer the better. They will certainly profit from it afterwards."

As usual, McEwen doesn't intend on riding out the Giro. "No, I think I'll go between the 10th and the 14th stage. I can finish, that's not the problem. But what do I really get by doing one col after another in the last week and then finish completely empty? I can better keep my reserves for the Tour."

Enter the Cyclingnews Fantasy Giro game

Win a Specialized frameset!

Win one of these
Photo: © MZ/CN
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The Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia 2004 fantasy cycling game is now officially open at The grand prize for this year's Giro game is a Specialized 04 S-Works E5 Road Frameset (Domina Vacanze team replica), featuring Columbus Aerotec tubing, S-Works carbon fork with carbon steerer, Pavé advanced composite seatpost and Mindset headset (1 1/8"). There will be additional prizes for the top scorers that will be detailed in the coming days.

The rider list is available now so you can pick your teams for the Giro d'Italia 2004 game. You can try out as many teams as you like for stages 1-5. You only need to pay for the teams you want to enter in the competition by the beginning of stage 6 (May 14). Thus, there is no disadvantage to entering a team once the Tour is under way.

For more information on joining, see the rules section.

Good luck!

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be providing live coverage of the 87th Giro d'Italia, starting each day from approximately 14:30 CEST/08:30 EDT/05:30 PDT/22:30 AEST.

Also see:

Route preview
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Stage profiles

Dr Ferrari's view
Trent Wilson diary
Simoni's reaction

2003 Giro

Dramatic TT improvement for Basso

Team CSC´s Italian tour hope Ivan Basso is expected to improve his time trial considerably during the coming month. Together with the team's other Tour captain, Spaniard Carlos Sastre, Basso has spent the last couple of days at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The two riders have tested their TT positions in the MIT wind tunnel and the test results have made Riis very optimistic.

Riis told the Danish media that he expects that the results of the test will enable Basso to improve his time trial by up to 3 minutes in a 40-50 kilometre race - an incredible 3-4 seconds per kilometre. "We can gain a lot of time through these tests," Riis said to Danish newsagency, Ritzaus Bureau.

The tests are quite expensive and the cost for a trip to MIT and the tests of the two riders was more than €20,000.

Courtesy of Ole Ryborg

Demeulenaere thinks big

The man behind the Chocolade Jacques team, Noël Demeulenaere, is thinking of an even bigger project: to build a "super team" with two big sponsors. According to a report in Gazet van Antwerpen, Demeulenaere wants to combine Domo and Berry Floor, but that may be a little optimistic, as the brothers responsible for running those companies, Jan and Luc De Clerck (both part of the Beaulieu group), do not see eye to eye with each other. But Demeulenaere called the rivalry between Jan and Luc "greatly overexaggerated...I think that I'm the man to breathe new life into their relationship."

"Beaulieu doesn't need anyone to set a top team on its feet," said Demeulenaere. "Domo is already putting in three million euros, Berry Floor with two million. If that last figure is increased to three million euros, then we are on the way to my ultimate dream. Berry Floor is still seeking for American partners, but I would give a push in the other direction."

Demeulenaere's super team could also take the form of a merger between Lotto and Chocolade Jacques. "The national lottery is looking for businesses that would combine with Lotto to put a team in the Pro Tour. I have asked for the forms from the Lottery, because it is certainly the intention to be one of those candidates."

Olympic Games road participation

On the basis of the UCI rankings as of April 30, the UCI has allocated places for qualified nations for the road events of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The following table indicates the maximum number of men and women per country that can take part in the time trials and road races. The final allocations made on June 30 will depend on the confirmations of the various National Olympic Committees. Any vacant places will be attributed by the UCI, as invitations of the tripartite commission, then as reserve places.

Olympic road participation by country

                        Men                   Women
                Road Race  Time Trial  Road Race  Time Trial
Australia           5          2           3          1
Austria             4          1           1          0
Belgium             5          2           1          0
Belarus             1          0           2          0
Brazil              3          0           1          0
Bulgaria            1          0           -          -
Canada              3          0           3          2
Chile               1          0           -          -
China               -          -           2          0
Colombia            4          1           -          -
Czech Republic      4          2           2          1
Denmark             5          1           -          -
El Salvador         -          -           1          0
Spain               5          2           3          2
Estonia             4          1           1          0
France              5          2           3          2
Great Britain       5          2           3          1
Germany             5          2           3          2
Guatemala           -          -           1          0
Hong-Kong           1          0           -          -
Hungary             1          1           -          -
Iran                2          0           -          -
Ireland             2          0           -          -
Italy               5          2           3          1
Japan               2          0           2          0
Kazakhstan          5          2           -          -
Korea               -          -           1          0
Latvia              2          0           -          -
Lithuania           -          -           3          2
Luxembourg          4          1           -          -
Moldavia            2          0           -          -
Mexico              -          -           1          0
Netherlands         5          1           3          2
Norway              4          1           3          1
New Zealand         4          1           3          0
Poland              5          1           2          0
Portugal            4          1           -          -
South Africa        3          0           1          0
Russia              5          2           3          2
SCG                 1          0           -          -
Slovenia            4          1           -          -
Switzerland         5          2           3          2
Slovakia            2          0           -          -
Sweden              4          2           3          1
Ukraine             5          2           3          1
USA                 5          2           3          2
Uzbekistan          1          0           -          -
Venezuela           2          0           -          -
Places by event    145        40          67         25
Maximum Quota      145                    67

Marin makes Colombian team

The Italian director of the Colombia-Selle Italia team Gianni Savio has announced that Rubert Albeiro Marín will replace Felix Cardenas in the Colombian Olympic team. Colombia is allowed four riders in the men's road race and one in the time trial. Marlon Pérez, Víctor Hugo Peña, Santiago Botero and Freddy González are the other riders named to the squad.

Track World's live on SBS

Australian free-to-air television network SBS has released its sports programming schedule for May. There's plenty of track cycling action, including live coverage of the 2004 UCI Track Cycling World Championships from Melbourne Park's Vodafone Arena. The schedule for May is as follows:

Sunday, May 16, 10:30am: Australian Track Cycling Championships Highlights (from Sydney)
Sunday, May 23, 10:30am: 2004 UCI Track Cycling World Cup Highlights (from Sydney)
Saturday, May 29, 7:00pm: 2004 UCI Track Cycling World Championships Live (from Melbourne)
Sunday, May 30, 12:00pm: 2004 UCI Track Cycling World Championships Live (from Melbourne)

The 30th Annual Cat's Hill Classic

The 30th Annual Cat's Hill Classic takes place in Los Gatos, CA, USA, this Saturday, May 8. The race is known for its challenging 23% Cat's Hill climb, making it one of the hardest criteriums in the USA. The Cat's Hill criterium has been run since 1974, with past winners including Greg LeMond, Derek Bouchard-Hall, Karen Kurreck, Suzy Pride, Nicole Freedman, Eric Heiden, Davis Phinney, Bob Roll, Ted Huang, Eric Wohlberg, Trent Klasna, Antonio Cruz and Dylan Casey.

The course is one mile long and starts at the corner of Tait and Nicholson Avenues in Los Gatos. The route is a clockwise loop that includes a steep 23% climb and six 90 degree turns. Race lengths range from 3 to 35 laps.

More information:

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