First Edition Cycling News for May 17, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson
Petacchi lands Giro stage win - at last
The 88th edition of the Giro d'Italia returned to the traditional script yesterday as Fassa Bortolo led out super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi to the stage victory he's been chasing ever since the race began, ten eventful days before in Reggio Calabria.
The day's early action involved Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner), Mads Christensen (Quick.Step) and Eric Baumann (T-Mobile) who escaped after just a kilometer and built a three and a half minute lead before Baumann fell off the pace. Nineteen kilometers from the end of the 139km stage the Fassa-powered peloton scooped up Christensen and Krauss.
But instead of immediately taking the front to control the final dozen kilometers, Fassa allowed the other sprinters' teams and those of the GC contenders to jockey for position, before taking over at 3km to go. Petacchi had three team-mates to lead him out in the final kilometer and no-one could challenge the lead-out of Alberto Ongarato and Marco Velo, who took Petacchi to 200 metres to go and left the finishing touch to Ale-Jet.
American Discovery Channel rider Tom Danielson was the only DNF of stage nine, climbing into the team car at the 10 km mark with knee pain. Danielson's knee has been bothering him since the Tour of Georgia. "I probably injured it on the climb to Brasstown Bald, because it was cold," he told Cyclingnews before stage nine.
By John Trevorrow in Ravenna
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto, 4th): "I didn't have the legs," McEwen told Cyclingnews after crossing the finish line. "I got too far back and I had to use my sprint to get into position to sprint. I got to the front just as Petacchi was making his move, but I'd already spent it all."
Christian Vandevelde (CSC, 177th): "I'm happy to have one more day out of the way. One more day done, and one day closer to the mountains.
Are you pleased with Basso's ride yesterday? "I don't know who I'm more impressed with: Ivan or Dave!"
Ivan gained back more than the time he lost on Saturday. "This race is going to be so hard and so long," said Vandevelde. "He was never out of it, but some people had their doubts. Ivan just keeps improving in leaps and bounds each year."
Matt White (Cofidis, 14th): Matt White was upbeat when we spoke to him at the finish, although he had removed his Elvis sunglasses that he was wearing this morning. He obviously had good legs, as he led Stuart O'Grady out and finished one place behind him. "I'm feeling great," he said. "I got Stuey to the front and felt really strong myself. I'm getting better each day."
Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto, 26th): "I felt really strong today. I'm definitely getting quicker each day. I had Robbie on the wheel then Bettini decided to sprint today, and got in between us at the 1400 metre to go mark. Robbie got separated when Bettini went in a different direction and I couldn't lead him out. Unfortunately, Robbie had to hit out 100m early. It was a shame because I thought we would have got stage number 3.
Vogels also paid tribute to his teammate Nick Gates, who shared the work with the Fassa Bortolo team. "Nick was so strong today. He was on the front for most of the day."
Nick Gates (Davitamon-Lotto, 57th): "I had a good day, I felt good, and the knee is feeling fine now. I'm disappointed for Robbie, but we'll get another chance in a couple of days."
Davitamon-Lotto directeur sportif Marc Sergeant, on Henk riding the Tour de France: "I don't know. Henk is going very well but he's had a heavy program already and we'll just see what happens over the next few days. I would like to have him in but I have to do the right thing by Henk."
Anglophones strong in Japan, France & Belgium too
The big English-speaking contingent at the Giro d'Italia has been shaking up that usually locally-dominated race, with American Dave Zabriskie and Australians Robbie McEwen and Brett Lancaster taking stages, and Anglophones seemingly in the action everywhere you look, including somersaulting down the finish straight. But English-speaking riders haven't just been kicking goals in Italy in the last few days.
At the Tour of Japan, the lead changed hands yesterday between two Australians. Eighteen-year-old Mathew Goss (Australian National Team) won Sunday's first stage ahead of team-mate Nick Sanderson, deploying the speed honed over the last couple of years in Tasmania's track carnivals series. Goss handed over the leader's jersey to David McKenzie (Wismilak International Team) yesterday after the 30-year-old took line honours from a six-man break, despite being heavily out-numbered by the Barloworld team, which made up half the break.
Meanwhile in France, American Amber Neben (Buitenpoort Flexpoint) leads the Tour de L'Aude Feminin after three days of racing, ahead of Olympic champion Sara Carrigan (Van Bemmelen Aa Drink). Neben moved into the lead after winning the second of yesterday's two stages, a short, hilly dash that played to Neben's climbing ability and Carrigan's descending strength.
The morning stage had been won by Australian sprinter Oenone Wood (Nurnberger). It was Wood's second stage victory in the tour as her speed delivered her to the line first in stage one; her second place in stage two was thenn enough to put her into the leader's jersey.
In French men's racing yesterday's one-day GP de Villers Cotterêts also saw an Australian victory as Brad McGee escaped to a narrow solo win over Samuel Plouhinec (Bretagne-Jean Floc'h).
Finally, in Belgium, British rider Hamish Haynes (Cyclingnews.com) took out the Puivelde pro kermesse.
Scanlon out of FBD Insurance Ras
By Shane Stokes
Odds of an Irish victory in next week's FBD Insurance Rás have dropped significantly with the news that the country's top professional, Mark Scanlon, has been forced to withdraw from the eight day race.
Scanlon was due to line out alongside Stephen Gallagher, Paídi O'Brien, Conor Murphy and Brian Keane on the Irish national team at the race start this coming Sunday, but he has now been diagnosed with a virus and told to rest.
The Sligoman had struggled with injury earlier this year but then bounced back to win a stage of the Circuit des Ardennes in April. However his form dipped again after that victory, with recent tests showing evidence of illness.
Scanlon's place will now be taken by John Dempsey, a Tipperary rider who has been in fine form in domestic races this year. He won the Ras Mumhan and also the opening stage of the recent Tour of Ulster.
Gallagher, who recent replaced Paul Griffin on the Irish team, and O'Brien are both based on the continent and so seem to have the best prospects of those on the five man squad. However, with Scanlon now out, the odds of the Irish team defending the Rás title they won last year with David McCann seem much less likely than before.
McCann and David O'Loughlin, first and third last year, have been forced to miss this year's race due to commitments with their professional teams. McCann won the recent Tour de Korea with his Giant Asia team, while O'Loughlin competed in Navigators Insurance colours in the Tour de Picardie.
Sweet okay after crash
Australian Corey Sweet (Comnet-Senges) is recovering at home after a crash in the final stage of the International Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt meant he failed to finish the race. Sweet was lying fifteenth on GC when one of his team-mates crashed on a descent in the first 5km of the stage from Kaiserslautern to Koblenz. Sweet, who had been following close behind, went over the top and sustained bruises and abrasions, but no broken bones.
Teams announced for Tour of Connecticut
Defending Tour of Connecticut champion Mark McCormack (Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home), fresh off of a pair of victories in cycling-mad Belgium, leads an international field of challengers to his title in the 2005 event, May 20-22. Ten professional and eleven amateur eight-man teams will contest this year's three-day race with stages in New Haven, Waterbury and Litchfield Hills/Torrington.
Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home brings international flair to aid McCormack's defense with Italian amateur star Davide Frattini, looking to make his professional name on the American Continent, and a pair of Argentine sprinters, JJ Haedo and Gustavo Artacho.
2003 Tour of Connecticut winner David Clinger, now sporting a full-face Maori warrior tattoo that has raised much controversy in the racing world, has returned to the US racing scene after a tough year in Europe. He is the co-leader is of the Webcor Builders Cycling Team alongside T-Mobile International winner Charles Dionne, second overall at the Tour CT last year. Webcor Builders, smarting from its non-selection to April's Tour of Georgia, is coming to the Tour CT looking for a big result.
Another powerhouse squad to watch is the New Jersey-based Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, which has always performed superbly at the Tour CT. Russian sprinter Vassily Davidenko, twice winner of the Housatonic Valley Classic stage, Jeff Louder winner of last year's grueling Waterbury stage and new professional Shawn Milne, third overall and best amateur in 2004, promise to ignite the race. Of note as well from the Navigators, the only Professional Continental Team from the United States in the new UCI classification system, is Colombian climber Cesar Grajales, looking for redemption after a sub-par Tour of Georgia.
Fiordifrutta Cycling Team with white-hot amateur star Mike Dietrich leads the amateur side of the battle. Cannondale bicycle designers and team members Chris Peck and Curt Davis have moved to the other side of the barriers and now direct the team.
2002 US professional champion and Tour de France veteran Chann McRae has returned to the amateur ranks to captain the Weston, CT-based TARGETRAINING team. This new team is made up of experienced international riders, and is fast tracking towards pro status in 2006.
Team TIAA-CREF, a developmental racing program for young professionals, is the brainchild of Tour de France star Jonathon Vaughters. The young pros are returning from a successful European campaign and are led by 23-year old Will Frischkorn.
Massachusetts native Tim Johnson captains the 'Bean Team', Jittery Joe's/Kalahari, making its first-ever Connecticut appearance. 27-year old Johnson is still searching for the power that had made him one of the brightest young prospects from the US.
Stage 1 - May 20: New Haven criterium, 40 miles
Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium added to the 2005 NRC series
The Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium presented by PowerBar has been officially added to the 2005 US National Racing Calendar series, organizers have announced. This 19th annual event will take place on Saturday, July 23 in Downtown Boise, Idaho. Race promoter Mike Cooley has added a junior category to the 2005 schedule for the first time. Participants can expect a $16,000+ cash and merchandise purse, and an average attendance of 12,000 spectators lining the 1km course.
UK end to end dash for charity
Ten British cyclists plan to spend five days in June dashing from one end of the country to the other in an effort dubbed The Race Against Time to raise GBP20,000 to support AIDS orphans and the terminally ill in some of South Africa's poorest townships.
Touring cyclists typically take a week or two to cover one of the routes between Britain's most southerly point at Land's End and its most northerly at John O'Groats, but these riders, nine men and one woman, plan to do it faster to reflect the urgency of the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa.
Newsreader Jon Snow of Britain's Channel 4 News has thrown his support behind The Race Against Time. Snow is a keen cyclist himself, and passionate about South Africa, a country which is being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. In South Africa, one person dies every 15 seconds from the illness. "By the time the riders have come to the end of their 5-day journey, 28,800 people will have succumbed to the AIDS virus across the continent" said Snow, adding that in South Africa alone there are currently more than half a million AIDS orphans.
For more information see: www.theraceagainsttime.com
Tour of the Riverland
Next month's 31st Tour of the Riverland will be South Australia's "not-to-miss" regional cycling event, according to the otganisers. One hundred and fifty riders are expected to take their place at the starting line to participate in the richest cycling event in the state. The main handicapped race is on Saturday, June 4 with several local riders keen to participate to contest the Tom Perry Memorial Trophy for the first Riverlander across the line and the Bob Fisher Memorial Trophy for the fastest Riverland competitor. Saturday's 90km course will take riders through the district via Berri, in what will be a fast-paced adrenalin rush. A 37km race starting at the Berri Hotel and traveling to Renmark and back will be staged on Sunday June 5. Interested riders should contact the South Australian Cycling Federation or the Norwood Cycling Club.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)