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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition News for June 1, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Giro d'Italia News

Stage 20 wrap up: Lombardi wins animated stage

Lombardi worked for it
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Giovanni Lombardi put his sprinting talents to good use today, winning the 20th stage ahead of three breakaway companions after an incredibly active stage. What looked to be on paper another opportunity for the sprinters provided a more open race, thanks largely to the fact that most of the big sprinters are already out of the race.

The first selection of 27 riders was made in advance of the day's Intergiro sprint (km 95). Marco Pantani was among those looking to liven up the race, showing that he is just as motivated on a transitional stage as he is in the high mountains. Pantani had three teammates, but none of them were able to go with Marco Velo and Giovanni Lombardi when they attacked with 28 km to go. On the climb with 16 km to go, Giuliano Figueras and Eddy Mazzoleni bridged up to the two leaders, and after some more attacks that proved ultimately fruitless, Lombardi easily won the four man sprint.

There were no problems for race leader Gilberto Simoni, who finished in the main peloton 1'42 back and kept his eight minute plus lead going into tomorrow's final time trial in Milan.

Stage 20 full results and report
Live report
Scott Sunderland's diary

Lombardi wants two more years

Stage 20 winner Giovanni Lombardi says that he wants to race for another two years, hopefully with more success on top of the podium. As he showed today, Lombardi is a very complete rider, able to attack on hilly stages with no reserves about working hard in a breakaway. His 45 career victories are a testament to that, despite the fact that he has spent his best years working in the service of others.

Lombardi will be 34 next month, and already he is talking about the future. "I will meet with Cipollini tomorrow, and we'll talk about our programs and the future," he said. "I want to ride another two years, I have a lot of desire to do well and I hope to keep winning."

He also had a comment about his team's possible selection for the Tour de France, which will be shortly decided one way or another. "I hope that Leblanc will invite us to the Tour, today we showed we were a competitive squad."

Stage 21 preview: Idsroscalo-Milan ITT, 33 km 

The Giro d'Italia wraps up tomorrow in Milan with a 33 kilometre time trial, a break from the traditional processional circuit finish. Although the maglia rosa is cemented on Gilberto Simoni's shoulders, the battle for second and third place will be decided tomorrow. Currently Stefano Garzelli leads Yaroslav Popovych by just two seconds on the general classification, and Popo, being a stronger time trialist, is the favourite to move up one step on the podium.

The course is technical but contains no climbs, with a maximum elevation difference of 10 metres. The Intergiro is located at kilometre 20, so team fakta's Magnus Bäckstedt will be going full throttle for that, not only to stamp his authority on the Intergiro jersey, but also to try and win the Most Combative classification, which is a combination of Intergiro, points and mountains.

Join us for live coverage of the final stage commencing at 14:30 CEST.

No room for Pantani in Bianchi

Marco Pantani's dreams of a ride in the Centenary Tour this year will likely remain exactly that, after the possibility of riding with the new Team Bianchi was knocked on the head by the sponsors. "There was never a meeting between the directors of Bianchi and the directors of Mercatone Uno to plan for the next Tour," said long time Bianchi associate Felice Gimondi. "There was only a meeting in view of a reunification in 2004-2005."

Gimondi added, "The regulations allow for the transfer of a contract to another team, so technically it could be done. But the team already has two leaders (Ullrich and Casero), and to introduce a third one is improbable."

No more legal hurdles for Team Bianchi

A legal dispute between former Coast boss Günther Dahms and the new Bianchi team has been quickly resolved, meaning that Ullrich and his teammates now have the green light to race until the end of the season. Lothar Venn, the administrator of the Rad Sport Marketing company that is managing the bankrupt Team Coast, announced this today but would not go into details.

"Mr. Günther Dahms is happy that through this, the sporting success of his work of the last few years will continue, and wishes the athletes of Team Bianchi every success for the future," said Venn in a statement. "Team Coast will not put any more sticks in the wheels of its members who are joining Bianchi."

Bianchi has signed 19 of the 22 riders who were part of Team Coast, and some of the staff. However team director Marcel Wüst did not get an offer to join Bianchi. "The new team direction has a business policy that I am not in agreement with," said Wüst to DPA. One of the Spanish team leaders was offered such a low salary that he would have trouble filling his fridge once a month. A lot of riders had to agree to big pay cuts."

Team Bianchi participated in its first race today: the Rund um die Hainleite-Erfurt, where Jan Ullrich finished 16th, despite suffering from a stomach bug that has kept him off the bike for the last six days. Ullrich said before the race that he was angry at his former employer Günther Dahms. "It is he who deliberately screwed us up," said Ullrich to DPA.

However Ullrich feels that he'll now have a smooth run. "I can approach the Tour without stress," he said, adding that "a stage win would be great."

Saeco keep on rolling

The World's number one ranked team, Team Saeco, is on the verge of winning the Giro d'Italia with Gilberto Simoni safely entrenched in the Maglia Rosa. However Saeco also has other irons in the fire at the moment, and will be sending its remaining riders to Germany and the USA next week for the Tour of Germany and Wachovia Series respectively.

For the Tour of Germany (June 3-9), the team will consist of Ivan Quaranta, Mirko Celestino, Salvatore Commesso, Joerg Ludewig, Nicola Gavazzi, Gerrit Glomser, Christian Pepoli and Giosuè Bonomi.

For the Wachovia series, Flèche Wallonne winner Igor Astarloa will be joined by Juan Fuentes, Alessio Galletti, Antonio Bucciero and Stefano Zanini.

Two stagiaires for Marlux

Ukrainian riders Denis Kostyuk and Volodomir Starchyk will ride for the Belgian division II squad Marlux-Wincor Nixdorf as stagiaires from September 1 this season, according to Het Nieuwsblad. Starchyk is the reigning Ukrainian road and time trial champion, while Kostyuk is the current leader of the U23 World Cup.

Indoor velodrome for California

North America may get a second indoor velodrome next year, as part of a $150 million sport complex in Carson (Los Angeles), California. The complex, named the Home Depot Center, has just opened and will play host to soccer, tennis, track and field, boxing, beach volleyball and...cycling. The velodrome is expected to be completed next year, and it's understood that the UCI hopes to hold a round of the UCI track world cup in LA.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)