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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for May 20, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones and Les Clarke

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).

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Stage 12 wrap-up: Horrach finally scores for Caisse d'Epargne

Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

After falling out the top of the general classification, Caisse d'Epargne realigned its aims in the Giro d'Italia towards stage wins, and today in Sestri Levante, Joan Horrach gave them what they wanted. The pony-tailed Spanish rider attacked inside the final kilometre to beat the rest of the lead group of six. Addy Engels (Quick.Step) took second ahead of Emanuele Sella (Panaria).

The break was part of a bigger move of 15 that went after only eight kilometres, but on the Passo del Bracco it split to pieces, leaving just six in front. On the descent, Sella attacked with Manuele Mori, but both riders came to grief on the second part of the twisty downhill, crashing against the barriers. They were caught by the four chasers, then Mori attacked and crashed again further down, causing Sella (at the back of the chase group) also to come off. The pair finished up chasing the other four, only catching them with 1 km to go. But the cards eventually fell Horrach's way, after the Spaniard waited until all the others had attacked before making his winning move.

In the general classification, there were a few changes to the top 10. Sella moved himself up from 22nd to 4th, thanks to his 7 minute plus bonus over the bunch at the finish, while Serguei Gonchar dropped out from third after he crashed early in the stage and was subsequently dropped on the Passo del Bracco. Also, Wladimir Belli and Manuel Beltrán moved up the rankings today.

See also: Stage 12 full results, report & photos and Live report.

Unlucky day for Saunier Duval

Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

The Saunier Duval-Prodir team didn't have the best of Fridays. Racing on two fronts, in the Giro d'Italia and the Volta a Catalunya, the team experienced several crashes at critical moments of the stage. In the Giro, Manuele Mori had attacked with Emanuele Sella on the last descent, and was looking good for a first or second place in the stage, before he crashed twice (with Sella) and lost his chance. His final result was fourth, as well as a bleeding chin, which required stitches.

In the Volta a Catalunya, David Cañada was part of the winning break as well, but with 1 km to go, he crashed. His final result was also fourth, but he was relatively uninjured and also moved up to second on the general classification.

"Ask before you write," warns Basso

By Anthony Tan in Sestri Levante

Ivan Basso
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
(Click for larger image)

At the end of yesterday's press conference in Pontedera, maglia rosa Ivan Basso got a little fired up, something rarely seen from the 28 year-old Italian.

Questions and answers were bounced to and fro for the first fifteen minutes or so, talking about his second place in the 50 kilometre time trial, how confident he is, and the distance between stage winner Ullrich and himself, which he said was something he'd rather not think about right now. "For the moment, I'm not concerned about it and I don't want to think about it, because this Giro is taking me a lot of energy each day. I'm happy with my time trial and I did better than I thought," Basso said.

Talking about his growing legion of fans was also discussed: "Ten years ago, I was asking Gianni Bugno for an autograph in July; now it's normal that whenever I can, I give autographs and stay a little bit with my supporters.

"For example, this morning, I saw two cyclo-tourists out on the road and I said, 'Ciao, come stai?' [Hi, how are you?] and they were really happy. I did nothing, but they will be happy for the rest of the Giro. It's only normal that if I have time, I dedicate some of that to my supporters and to the public."

Another anecdote was his visit to the University of Ferrara, where former rider turned TV commentator Davide Cassani goes once a month to give a lecture to students studying sports medicine, bringing along a champion sportsman as a special guest. One time, Cassani came with Basso, who brought along his SRM readings and showed the class his entire training sessions. Francesco Conconi, a professor and director at the university, also happened to be around, saying that Basso's engine was one of the best he'd seen.

But that's when Basso remembered something he'd recently read in a newspaper, which said he was still working with one Luigi Cecchini, a publicity-shy preparatore who has quietly worked with some of the biggest names in cycling, including Michele Bartoli, Alessandro Petacchi, Jan Ullrich and Damiano Cunego. His name was also involved in the doping case surrounding another Italian doctor, Michele Ferrari, but was dropped in 2001 due to a lack of evidence.

Cecchini was also Bjarne Riis' preparatore for a number of years, which saw the tall Dane triumph in the 1996 Tour de France. When Riis set up Team CSC, he hired the now 62 year-old Italian to help formulate individual training programs for his riders and assist with training methods, but as the relationship between Basso and Riis developed, the former's contact with Cecchini became less frequent. Around July last year, Basso terminated his cooperation with him.

"Before you write that, come and ask me, because I don't work with Cecchini," he said tersely. "I work with Bjarne Riis and my preparatore is Riis. If journalists come and see us training, they will see the way we work and our philosophy, and you will see how we are working.

"I don't like to read statements [about myself] that aren't true - ask before you write."

Just how far in front was Ullrich?

By Anthony Tan in Sestri Levante

Following the conclusion of yesterday's time trial in Pontedera, Giro organisers RCS Sport published some interesting figures on just how far in front stage winner Jan Ullrich was from the rest. We know his 58 minutes and 48 seconds equated to an average speed of 51.02 kilometres an hour, but relatively speaking, how far behind were his rivals?

Position               Metres behind
1 Ullrich                          0
2 Basso                      396.822
3 Pinotti                    864.506
4 Gonchar                    977.883
5 Savoldelli               1,119.606
11 Danielson               2,169.694
14 Bruseghin               2,508.483
17 Gutierrez Catalunya     2,579.344
21 Rogers                  2,834.444
26 Garate                  3,287.956
30 Rujano G.               3,613.917
33 Simoni                  3,698.950
48 Pellizotti              4,251.667
55 Di Luca                 4,435.906
60 Bettini                 4,520.939
71 Cunego                  4,733.522
84 Sella                   5,712.861       

If this is all a little too confusing, you can always look at our results and report!

Erviti ready to suffer

Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears rider Imanol Erviti is currently riding the Giro, his first grand tour, which is a dream come true according to the 22-year-old Spaniard. He lies in 127th place overall, almost one hour behind leader Ivan Basso, but isn't worried about his ranking on GC, instead he's just happy to be riding one of the world's biggest races, something he aims to learn from.

"I always watched those races [such as the Giro] on TV with the secret hope that, one day, I would take part in one of them myself," said Erviti. "It's a fact that the first time you start in such a race you are there to learn, but what I've felt since the very first stage is something very beautiful! I am carrying out the dream of a child who was found of cycling!" he added.

Ermiti said his goals for the Giro are to do his share of work for the team and learn as much as he can. "Because I am a rookie in this kind of race the first thing I want is my team directors and my team-mates to be happy with my job," he said. "After that what I most desire is to learn and learn again - as many things I can! I also need to accumulate experience for the future because I will need that if someday I want to be with the leaders."

As the race heads towards the tall mountains of Italy, the young rider is pleased with how he's feeling, considering it's all still very new to him. "I am satisfied because I don't think I've drawn from my reserves yet; it's very important before facing the last week," he explained. "Now I am a little bit disappointed because I hoped to get an opportunity to go with some breaks but it was not the case - on the other hand, however, I am happy because I had the chance to be in front and see how the leaders behave in such a race [as the Giro]."

Importantly, Ermiti is also learning how his body can handle a grand tour, and he's listening to it carefully. "I also have to learn how my body reacts during such a long race, that’s the reason why I am living from day to day," he explained. "I'm very respectful of those [mountainous] stages, but on the other hand all the riders will start from the same point to arrive in the same one too - nobody will start with any kind of advantage. I will try to do my best and I'm ready to suffer. I will do everything I can," he said.

Overall, how does the young Spaniard rate the race organisation in his first grand tour? "I think the organisation is pretty good," he said. "So many people are working here that they take care of every kind of problem. The riders have nothing else to do but to pedal!" he said. And he's also pretty fond of Italy's food, too. "It's also very nice for us to come here because the food is not so different from the one we eat in Spain and that's an important factor for a rider," he said. "Italy enchants me!"

Gasparotto makes comeback

Enrico Gasparotto
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image) Enrico Gasparotto in a thoughtful moment.

Liquigas rider Enrico Gasparotto has returned to riding after the Italian national champion was forced interrupt his season due to a bout of pneumonia that afflicted him during the Tour de Romandie. Gasparotto already had to take several months off due to mononucleosis.

Gasparotto finished fourth on stage one of Romandie before his recent illness, and the 24-year-old expects to defend his Italian champion's crown in late June - although training time will be limited. "The delight of returning to the bike is enormous and surpasses the disappointment and the sadness of this first part of season," said Gasparotto, before he added that, "I only hope to be able to ride problems until the end of the year, and I'm convinced that the results will come."

UCI wins legal battle against Voet

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal has confirmed its judgement of October 2004, again ruling in favour of the UCI in its case against former Festina soigneur Willy Voet. The latter had claimed in his book, Massacre à la chaîne, that the previous UCI president Hein Verbruggen had been linked with the establishment of antedated medical prescriptions for the administration of lidocaïne in the Laurent Brochard case, and that they had tried to suppress the facts and circumstances of this same case.

In October 2004, the court ruled that Voet's allegations were false, and ordered him to take out those words in his book. Voet appealed, but it was rejected on May 4, 2006. He has now been ordered to pay an indemnity of € 15,000 if he violates any of the court rulings. In addition, he has been ordered to pay all court costs.

Skil-Shimano signs Floris Goesinnen

Skil-Shimano signed 22 year-old Dutch rider Floris Goesinnen. He is currently riding Olympia’s Tour for Van Vliet-EBH Advocaten, but will be allowed to transfer to the pro continental team of Skil-Shimano.

Goesinnen is an all-round rider, and has proven that this season with top three results in de Ronde van Drenthe (second), Omloop van de Glazen Stad (third), the Friesche Wouden Klassieker (second) and his fifth place in the Hel van het Mergelland. These performances draw the attention of the management and sports directors of Skil-Shimano.

Goesinnen will sign a contract till the end of 2007. He is likely to make his debut for his new team at the Skoda - Tour de Luxembourg which will start on May 31.

Entry date set for Mont 24 hour

Entries for the Mont Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships, the largest 24 hour mountain bike race in the world, will open online at 8am on Thursday June 15 2006

Held on October 7-8 in Canberra's Kowen Forest, the Mont 24 Hour and Australian Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships have 2750 spots up for grabs, and to avoid disappointment organisers are encouraging riders to enter early. The event sold out four months prior to last year’s race and 850 riders missed out.

With fields boasting some of the best mountain bikers from Australia and overseas, keen interest in the event is guaranteed, and the weekend remains a highlight of the Australian mountain bike calendar.

For further information and online entries go to

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