First Edition News for May 26, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Giro stage wrap up: Gonzalez takes stage; Simoni gains time
After a slow start, Fassa Bortolo's Aitor Gonzalez is finally coming into form in this year's Giro, winning in his specialty event, the 42.5 km individual time trial from Merano to Bolzano. Gonzalez started 19th from the end, and clocked 54'33 over the tough course to blitz early leader Magnus Backstedt's time by 51". Backstedt had a great ride though, finishing second in the stage and wresting the Intergiro jersey from Moreno Di Biase's shoulders, after being second fastest to the 24.2 km time check.
In the general classification, Gilberto Simoni showed great form to finish seventh in the stage at 1'40 and gain 39" on his arch rival Stefano Garzelli, who was 13th at 2'19. Simoni now has 1'58 on Garzelli on GC, and it's doubtful whether the gritty Vini Caldirola rider will be able to regain that.
Another good ride by Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) saw him finish in 6th place and take over third in the GC from Andrea Noe (Alessio), who lost two minutes to the talented and powerful Ukrainian.
Petacchi crashes in TT
It was not smooth sailing for quadruple stage winner Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) in the time trial. Petacchi crashed at the 25km mark, landing heavily on his left side. The Italian sprinter finished the time trial 11'34" behind teammate and stage winner Aitor Gonzalez, and went immediately to the hospital for x-rays. Tests did not reveal any fractures for Petacchi, however he did suffer heavy bruising. He will decide Monday morning whether or not to carry on in stage 16 of the Giro.
Gonzalez to the Tour
Following a steady build up during the Giro d'Italia, which today saw him take the victory in the stage 15 individual time trial, Aitor Gonzalez has indicated that he will now ride plan to ride the Tour de France. Gonzalez and Fassa Bortolo team manager Giancarlo Ferretti had originally planned for the 2002 Vuelta a España winner to ride the Giro and the Vuelta, however now the Tour appears a feasible objective.
"Aitor didn't have a chance in the Giro since he arrived with some injuries and then had problems with his allergies in the first week," explained Ferretti. "Little by little, things have improved, and he'll be in peak condition for the Tour."
Gonzalez started to come around in the mountains of the Giro, after an initial setback on the Terminillo climb which dashed any hopes for the general classification. Sunday's victory in the time trial was an important benchmark for the Spaniard. "I was waiting for the time trial to do a good ride, but I didn't think I was in a position to win," Gonzalez told Datasport. "I expected a lot in this Giro, even if it has not gone as I would have hoped. Perhaps I'm just getting here a week too late."
Aussies in orange
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
This year at Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, there are three Australians sporting the team's bright orange strip, and Cyclingnews caught up with dynamic duo Graeme Brown and Scott Davis before the start of Stage 14.
Cyclingnews: How's your Giro been going so far, Graeme?
CN: How do you fancy your chances for upcoming sprinters' stages?
(Brown finished 139th at 28'35", outside the time limit on stage 14. Out of the 2003 Giro, Brown will now begin his preparations for the 2003 World Track Championships, where he has a chance to take up to three medals in the Team Pursuit, Points Race, and Madison.)
CN: Scott, this is your first experience in a grand tour. How's
CN: You have been racing in Italy a long time now...
(Scott Davis finished 81st at 18'15" on Stage 14, and after the stage 15 time trial is now in 92nd place overall, 1 hour 38 minutes behind Maglia Rosa Gilberto Simoni.)
Di Luca breaks collarbone
While his teammates were dominating the Giro d'Italia up north, Cyclingnews diarist Danilo Di Luca was at home in the Marche region in south-central Italy preparing hard for the Tour De France. Di Luca had some bad luck while out training on Sunday. On the road near his home in Spoltore, Italy, Di Luca hit a pothole while training and went down hard. Di Luca broke his collarbone from the crash and will be operated on Monday morning in Ortona by Dr. Ciampa.
However, Saeco team doctor Carlo Guardascione was optimistic about Di Luca's condition and his potential to heal in time for the Tour De France start in July. "After an initial examination, we see that Di Luca's break is a compound fracture, which will need this Operation to reduce the time needed to recover. Di Luca can (probably) get back on his bike in about two weeks, but in the mean time, he can train on rollers. If there are no complications, I think Di Luca will still be able to ride the Tour de France."
Rogers' first for Quick.Step
Another talented young Australian, Michael 'Dodger' Rogers, notched his first victory in Quick.Step-Davitamon colours Sunday by winning the overall title at the Tour of Belgium. Rogers assumed control of the five stage race in the penultimate stage, a 20.6 km individual time trial. The final stage, which covered many of the roads of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, put Rogers to the test, but thanks to the full support of his team he was able to secure the overall victory.
"For me it's a great win," Rogers said. "The team work was excellent today. Most of all I want to thank Van Goolen, who in the final part of the race gave me his wheel after a puncture. The stage was very hard, but fortunately I was able to rely on a very united team that supported me during any difficult moments. I hope I'll be able to repay them for this work."
For the team, which has had its share of bad luck through illness and injury this season, Rogers' win- his fourth career victory- was no accident. "The Tour of Belgium is very important for a Belgian team like Quick.Step-Davitamon," said team manager Patrick Lefevere. "We went well on every stage and we were always in the action. We planned Michael's build up to the race very carefully because we knew it suited him very well and he could win."
Click here for Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Tour of Belgium.
Team Bianchi revealed
The full composition of the newly registered Team Bianchi has been revealed. Team leader Jan Ullrich will be joined by 18 other riders from the now defunct Team Coast. The team retains Coast's primarily German flavour, along with a strong Spanish contingent.
Germany: Daniel Becke, Andre Korff, Thomas Liese, Steffen Radochla, Thorsten
Rund, Raphael Schweda, Tobias Steinhauser, Sven Teutenberg, Jan Ullrich,
Malte Urban, Christoph von Kleinsorgen, Thorsten Wilhelms
Lehigh Valley Hall of Fame
The Lehigh Valley Velodrome's new Hall of Fame, which this year will induct its inaugural class, will celebrate the 28 years of cycling history that have made the velodrome in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania world-renowned. The Velodrome Hall of Fame is to honour the many cycling stars that have helped make the velodrome a success and to educate newcomers about the facility and track cycling. The inaugural Velodrome Hall of Fame class will be inducted on Friday, May 30th.
The list of first year inductees includes:
Bob and Ardath Rodale, Jerry Ash, Leigh Barczewski, Danny Clark, Jane Eickhoff, Gilbert Hatton, Jack Simes III, Lucy Tyler and Shaun Wallace.
The Velodrome Hall of Fame will initially exist online, in anticipation of a proper facility. Included in the Hall of Fame section of the velodrome's website (www.lvvelo.org) are photos of the inductees along with biographical information and their specific history with the Lehigh Valley Velodrome.
It's official, France just can't get enough Laurent Jalabert. Even in retirement, or perhaps more so, the immensely popular Jaja continues to entertain. Already involved in a number of post-professional endeavours, including commentating for France Télévisions and working as a consultant for Look, Jalabert can now lend his popularity to the dinner table.
Wine maker Gaillac has introduced a vintage of wine in Jaja's honour. A ready to drink wine, Gaillac's Jaja can be found in the supermarché for around 3€. Fit for a simple dinner or social occasions, Jaja has found a wine that he says "descends as well as I do."
Gaillac has also created a Cuvée Bernard Laporte for the coach of the French national rugby team.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)