News for June 1, 2001

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84th Giro d'Italia news

Today's (once again very wet) 12th stage featured an interesting little climb with 4 kilometres to go, that completely destroyed any chance of a bunch sprint. Fassa Bortolo scored a significant "home win", when Matteo Tosatto outsprinted Zoran Klemencic (Tacconi) and Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) to take the stage.

Post-stage comments

Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo, 1st stage)
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Matteo Tosatto
Photo: © Sirotti

"I knew the finish well, and I had a free reign from the team. I live within six kilometres of the finish line, and I have ridden the climb before the finish hundreds of times."

"When I attacked, Klemencic came up to me. We quickly decided to work together until the final 500m, then to dispute the finish honestly. He underestimated my sprint. I surprised him by leading out."

"When we saw Simoni coming up to us under the red kite, I initially thought it was Missaglia. Simoni is riding for the GC and there was no question of working with him. I put myself on his wheel."

"This win is more important to me than winning the Maglia Rosa last year, which I kept for three days during the first week. Here, half of the village was present, my family as well."

Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo, 1st GC)
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Dario Frigo
Photo: © Sirotti

"For Fassa Bortolo, which has its base in the area, it is a beautiful gift."

"My wife was afraid - for the crashes as well as for losing the Maglia Rosa. It was necessary to have cold blood, it is also why I am called Frigo! One second, that doesn't change anything. On Marmolada, it will be necessary to count in minutes."

"I have been in form since the beginning of this season. I am still thinking of success in a beautiful stage, even though it may be difficult to keep the Maglia Rosa."

Danilo Di Luca (Cantina Tollo, 10th GC)

"I was surprised by the attack of Simoni. The rain made this stage a little tricky. I don't like that kind of descent right before the finish. I lost a few seconds but it is not serious."

I have good legs and, if I do not think of winning in Pordoi, I hope to finish with the best."

Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno, 15th GC)

"I am ready to follow or to attack, according to how I feel. It is the first time since the start that we will climb the mountains of truth. We will be able to judge each one. It is important that I be myself, and do not occupy myself with the others."

Mountain madness in stage 13

Tomorrow's stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia is the toughest of the race so far, a mere 225 kilometres with three category 1 climbs and an above category climb to finish in Pordoi at 2239 m, will produce some lengthy separations amongst the top 20 on GC.

Starting in Montebelluna, the riders start climbing almost immediately, reaching the first peak at 93 kilometres (Passo Rolle, 1989 m, 23 km at 5.5%). Following the descent, the intergiro is located at Moena (km 124), before the race climbs to Pordoi for the first time at kilometre 153. This climb is 12 kilometres, at an average gradient of 6.4%, maximum 10%.

There is a descent into Caprile (1014 m, km 183) followed by the climb of the Passo Fedaia (2057 m), a 13.7 kilometre slog at 7.7%, averaging averaging 10% in the last 6 kilometres. Finally, following a descent to Canazei (1465 m) the riders make their way up to Pordoi again for the finish.

There will be many questions answered on this stage: How fit are Marco Pantani and Jan Ullrich?, What's Garzelli going to do?, Is Gilberto Simoni as strong as he looks?, Will Ivan Gotti discover his Giro winning form?, Can Abraham Olano and José Azevedo climb?, Will Dario Frigo and Wladimir Belli continue to hold the Fassa Bortolo fort?, Or can Andrea Noé confound everyone and take the Maglia Rosa?

This is certain to be a deciding stage, and Cyclingnews will be providing live updates of the stage from 1400 Central European Summer Time, which corresponds to 0800 USA East coast/0500 USA West coast/2200 Australian East coast.

More live coverage of the Giro

Verbruggen still keen on Cipollini and Pantani

UCI president Hein Verbruggen has expressed his desire to have both Mario Cipollini and Marco Pantani compete in the upcoming Tour de France, despite their teams having no invitation from the Sociètè du Tour de France.

In comments made yesterday, Verbruggen insisted that the Sociètè leave the possibility open for the two high profile Italians to start on July 7 in Dunkirk. One of the reasons that Verbruggen gave was to keep the Tour younger - and most of the French teams have older riders (even though Pantani and Cipollini are hardly spring chickens).

"I have asked the persons responsible for the Tour not to close the starting list for the next Tour," he said to De Limburger on Wednesday. "It would be a loss for the Tour and cycling in general if those two riders missed the Tour. The sport of cycling needs men like Cipollini and Pantani."

Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc is aware that Verbruggen is trying to get the two into the Tour, but he has not officially reacted. "This is not necessary," said Verbruggen. "Leblanc knows that by selecting French teams that we can't talk about making the Tour younger like he said. The French racers that are 30 years and older can easily be swapped for the teams of Cipo and Pantani."

At the moment, there are 21 teams selected already in the Tour, for a total of 189 riders. Refusing the existing French teams a start would cause problems, and one solution could be to increase the number of riders in the Tour by allowing two more Italian teams.

According to Italian sources, Verbruggen has already asked Giro organiser Carmine Castellano about the form of the two stars. "Mario has already proven his condition - yesterday he had a second success in the Giro, and brought his total season wins to 7. Pantani is progressing every day. From Il Pirata, we soon expect some high mountain successes," said Verbruggen.

The UCI president is reportedly going to visit the Giro on June 5 during the rest day in Parma, perhaps to check the form of these riders in person. Whether he can influence Leblanc to accept them remains to be seen.

Cyclingnews' reader opinions on who should and shouldn't be allowed in the Tour (in particular up to May 15):

May 3 letters
May 9 letters - part I
May 9 letters - part II
May 15 letters
May 22 letters
May 29 letters
May 31 letters

Chotard sacked from Mercury, Barbero keeps his place in Lampre

First year pro, Laurent Chotard has been sacked from the Mercury-Viatel team today, immediately following the news that his A sample from the Tour de Romandie was positive for EPO. A team statement issued by manager John Wordin was brief and to the point: "We fully support any action taken by the French Cycling Federation and by the UCI and commend their efforts to improve our sport. Chotard's actions were of his own initiative and without the knowledge of any staff or team member and his removal from the team was immediate."

The other rider to test positive was Lampre's Sergio Barbero, who was prevented from starting today's 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia by manager Guisseppi Saronni. The Lampre team did not take the same approach as Mercury however, and have called for an analysis of Barbero's B sample before taking any further action. The team statement follows:

"The Sports Management of Lampre-Daikin requested the cyclist to leave the race in order not to create pressure upon his teammates participating in the Giro and in particular on the evening of a stage likely to be decisive."

"The athlete immediately requested a new expertise with the purpose of clarifying the situation, questioning his innocence, which is finally confirmed until the opposite proven."

Lampre-Daikin expresses its confidence in the work of all competent parties in order to have the situation clarified within the shortest possible delay."

"For the moment the UCI is not suspending the cyclist. His suspension was decided by the Sports Management of Lampre-Daikin."

Barbero and Chotard are the third and fourth riders to fall foul of the UCI's primarily urine based EPO test, that was approved and introduced at the beginning of April this year.

Belgian pot lawsuit: judgment handed down

After the judgment in the Poitiers "Belgian pot" lawsuit was handed down this evening, only three of the 41 people accused in the trial will receive hard jail sentences, none of whom are French. The three convicted Polish traffickers (Mieczyslaw " Micky " Korycki, Bozena Korycka, and Janina Kwiatkowska), were judged in absentia and given 5 years, 2 years and 3 months jail sentences respectively. An international warrant has now been given for their arrest.

The rest of the accused received fines of between 2500 and 8000 francs, with deferred prison sentences of varying length. The penalties that were handed out to Charles Deschamps and Jacques Guillendou, who were responsible for re-selling the drugs in France, were given 30 months in prison, 27 of which were deferred.

The French Cycling Federation was awarded a symbolic one franc in damages, as well as the refund of the court costs.

Loddo turns pro with Lampre

Italian Alberto Loddo (Zoccorinese-Vellutex), already a winner of 9 races this year including the Coppa San Geo, and GP Liberazione, will turn professional next year with the Lampre-Daikin team. Loddo has signed a contract with the team this week and will make his debut into the peloton with riders like Gilberto Simoni and Oscar Camenzind.

Courtesy of Nicolas Leroy

Four operations for Stéphane Barthe

Former French road champion Stéphane Barthe (US Postal) has undergone his fourth operation today after breaking his left arm during the Four Days of Dunkirk. Barthe has been in hospital since May 11, and it is thought that he will be able to start riding again in two weeks, making it highly unlikely that he'll be in the US Postal Tour team.

Postgirot Tour of Sweden news

By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

Taking place between June 13-17, the Postgirot Tour of Sweden will feature at least nine division one teams for the 2.3 class event. Included in the lineup are CSC-World Online (Laurent Jalabert and Martin Rittsel), Credit Agricole (Bäckstedt, O'Grady and Hushovd), Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola, Deutsche Telekom, Team Coast (Swedish Champ Stefan Adamsson), Lotto-Adecco, Mapei-Quick Step, Rabobank (Erik Dekker a possibility), Team Fakta (Marcus Ljungqvist), and Mercatone Uno (Michael Andersson, who has won the event three times). In addition, there may be a Swedish national team formed around Swedish pro's whose teams aren't riding: Glenn Magnusson (Domo) and Thomas Grönqvist (Amore&Vita) are possible. Other Swedish teams included Team Postgirot (National U23 Team), Team Crescent (Div III led by Tommy Prim), and Team Mälarenergi (leading Swedish amateur team).

The stages

Two of the stages have climbs on the finishing circuits, but otherwise it's dead flat(-ish)

  • Stage 1a - June 13: Uppsala ITT, 10 km
  • Stage 1b - June 13: Uppsala-Eskilstuna, 150 km
  • Stage 2 - June 14: Eskilstuna-Motala, 200 km
  • Stage 3 - June 15: Motala-Skövde, 170 km
  • Stage 4 - June 16: Skövde-Huskvarna, 160 km
  • Stage 5 - June 17: Jönköping-Göteborg, 200 km

British event updates

Ayrshire Classic given the all clear by MAFF

The Ayrshire Classic round of the National Under 23 Road Race series has been given the go ahead by MAFF and the police to run as planned. The postal strike has been a cause for concern for some riders, but organiser Ian Sinclair's message is not to worry: "The closing date is the 11th June and all delayed entries should be delivered by then. However, please note that all Junior riders must bring their dispensation approval if they want to ride in this senior race of over 90 miles."

Peter Buckley Junior Road Race Series postponed

The BCF Peter Buckley Junior Road Race Series - Mobil Autumn Classic due to be held on Sunday 2nd September 2001 has been postponed one week to Sunday September 9, 2001.

The change has been necessary due to the proposed new course being rejected by the BCF South East Midlands Division as being unsafe. Organiser Bob Varney, on behalf of the promoting club Team Keyne - Trek, had the option to move the race to the BCF West Thames Division Cublington circuit but after discussion with the BCF South East Midlands Division, BCF Headquarters and the Bedfordshire Police, decided on a date change by one week. The race will now be on the Astwood circuit, used for several of the Peter Fryer Veteran's Road Races, and will be the last promotion within the old BCF South East Midlands Division. The race signals the end of one of the UK's most successful sponsorships' with long term sponsor Mobil ending a six year association with youth cycling in Milton Keynes which began when the oil giant moved into Milton Keynes in the mid nineties. The race will be the final promotion of the Mobil Youth Challenge, which has seen hundreds of youngsters in and around Milton Keynes try competitive cycling for the first time. The organising team, Team Keyne-Trek, born out of the Mobil Youth Challenge, will be fielding a strong squad to defend local honour. Local riders to watch out for include Adam Illingworth, Dan Corley, Stuart Flanagan, Adam Mansfield and Martin Quill.

Edinburgh Grand Prix Track receives sponsorship boost

A prize fund of over £3,000 will be available at the Grand Prix of Edinburgh Track Meeting to be held on June 23-24, 2001. Support from the City of Edinburgh Council, Classic Walls, Sandy Gilchrist Cycles, DM Hall Chartered Surveyors and Doyle & Co Solicitors has enabled the East of Scotland Cycling Association who promote the event to increase the prize fund by over 33% from previous years.

The meeting has events for A and B category riders, women and Youth over the two days including points races, scratch races, handicaps, Course de Prime, Unknown distance, Keirin and Meadowbank Mile.

Riders from from Holland, Denmark, Trinidad, and the USA are expected to take on the best of the British riders in the International Sprint, and Chris Hoy and Craig Maclean will race for the first time on home ground after their Olympic and World Silver medal successes of last year.

Entry forms can be downloaded from the event website, or standard track entry forms will be accepted.

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