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88th Giro d'Italia - PT

Italy, May 7-29, 2005

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Prologue - May 7 : Reggio Calabria ITT, 1,150 m

Big Bird Lancaster soars to Giro prologue win

By Tim Maloney, European Editor, with additional reporting from John Trevorrow

Brett Lancaster (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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Italian poet, daredevil and WWI hero Gabriele D'Annunzio called the Lungomare Italo Falcomata' in Reggio Calabria "the most beautiful kilometre in Italy". For the thousands of spectators who came to see the evening's 1.15km prologue on the Lungomare along the Straits of Messina, with the looming profile of Monte Etna across the Straits in Sicily disappearing in the twilight, the bright lights and spectacle of the 88th Giro, the road along the front in Reggio Calabria offered a beautiful, festive atmosphere. But for the 197 riders who took the start at 18:45, the most beautiful kilometre was a difficult way to start the first ever Grand Tour of the ProTour. Planned for prime-time TV in Italy, the best riders went off after 21:30 under the floodlights and the palm trees along the seafront in Reggio Calabria.

For the second year in a row, an Australian kangaroo leaped into the Maglia Rosa at the Giro d'Italia prologue, as two-time world champion and reigning Olympic team pursuit champion Brett Lancaster (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) powered home to victory in the 1.15km drag race prologue for his third win as a professional cyclist. Nicknamed "Big Bird" and of course "Burt", Lancaster was the only rider to go under 1'21, and the superb ride by the 25 year-old speed merchant from Shepparton, Victoria, near Melbourne, was ridden at an average speed of 51.75 km/h. Lancaster finished just 29 hundredths of a second ahead of Fassa Bortolo rider Matteo Tosatto, with Alessandro Petacchi rounding out the Giro d'Italia prologue podium in third, only 72 hundredths behind Lancaster.

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita)
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Cyclingnews spoke to Lancaster just after he had crossed the line with the new best time. "Yeah it was pretty good," he said in his dry, laconic drawl. "I might have to wait a while, there may be a few going a bit quicker." We asked him about his gear selection, and he explained, "I had the 15 from the start, then I clicked it down a bit. I don't really know what I went to. Felt good though."

Unlike his compatriot Stuart O'Grady, Lancaster didn't use a single speed bike. "I did give it a bit of thought, but it was a bit hard," he said. "This bike's pretty good. I started full on, made tempo in the middle, and brought it home."

Afterwards, Lancaster was blown away by what he'd done when we spoke to him. "It's pretty incredible," he said. "I don't think it's hit home yet. It was very nervous waiting for the last half a dozen riders to go. With those last few off, there were some really good riders, especially O'Grady. It just shows that now I'm full on road racing and left the track behind, I've had some good results this year. No wins, but this is a pretty good one to start with."

Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Sirotti
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On his chances of retaining the jersey in tomorrow's stage, Lancaster replied, "I was just talking to a few of the guys and they reckon it might not even be a sprint finish. I'll just see what I can do."

Discovery Channel's GC main man Paolo Savoldelli was a surprising 4th in the Giro's Reggio Calabria prologue, finishing ahead of many top sprinters and prologue specialists like Pollack, O'Grady, Renshaw, Escobar and Wiggins on his 32nd birthday. "Il Falco" Savoldelli gained a few precious seconds on Giro favourites like defending champion Cunego and two time Giro winner Simoni (Lampre-Cafitta), Ivan Basso (CSC) and Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas-Bianchi). A smiling Savoldelli said after the finish that, "Today's result won't make the difference in the Giro, but it's good for the morale."

Giro 2005 winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Cafitta) was happy after his decent 22nd place today, just 0.04 behind Lancaster. Cunego knows that today wasn't really his kind of race, explaining afterwards that, "It won't be easy for me to win the Giro again. Today was a nice prologue but the short distance wasn't easy! Tomorrow will start the real Giro d'Italia."

Ivan Basso (CSC)
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Cunego's teammate and winner of the Giro d'Italia in 2001 and '03, Gilberto Simoni joked after the short race today, "The prologue seemed like it would never end!...but it's over anyway!" Simoni finished 0'04 slower than Cunego. Another major player in this year's Giro, Ivan Basso (CSC), had a respectable ride for 53rd; in his first Giro in five years, Basso has prepared meticulously for the Giro and is off to a good start. Another Giro challenger, Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas-Bianchi) was 51st, just 0'02 behind Cunego. The likeable rider from Varese was relieved to get the prologue over, saying afterwards, "This race was hard..a new experience for me!"

Although he wasn't an official competitor tonight, last man off in the 88th Giro d'Italia Prologue in Reggio Calabria was Mario Cipollini, who rode the 1150m on the Lungomare Falcomata' not for time, but for heart. He was clad in a pink and silver glow-in-the-dark bodysuit with his record 42 Giro stage wins printed on the side and the slogan "Sweet Years" on the shoulders. Cipo rode the prologue today not as a competitor but as a symbol of Italian cycling and to provide an addio (goodbye) to his fans worldwide. An emotional yet eloquent Cipollini explained, "Behind these last thousand meters of a career is my whole life. It's difficult to end my career, but everything comes to an end. The affection of the fans is my last victory."

Mario Cipollini
Photo ©: Sirotti
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How it unfolded

The 1150m Lungomare Italo Falcomata' is flat as a billiard table, so the only real difficulty Saturday night besides combating the lactic acid build-up that makes the riders legs feel like lead after 800m at full gas, was the 10 km/h crosswind blowing in from the Straits of Messina. Little known French pro Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom) from Guadeloupe, who went off 41st at 19:28 had the best early fast time of 1'23" (49.879 km/h avg), and maintained the lead as virtual Maglia Rosa until 20:48 when Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), nicknamed "il muratore di Castefranco", blasted past Martias into the lead with a 1'21.247 to become virtual Maglia Rosa. Tosatto, the first rider to beat 50 km/h average, kept his lead until race favourite Brett Lancaster (Ceramiche Panaria-Panaria) came through with 1'20.958, just three hundredths of a second ahead of Tosatto to become the new virtual Maglia Rosa.

Next up was 2004 Olympic pursuit champ Brad Wiggins (Credit Agricole), but the Brit couldn't touch Lancaster's time. Touted as the world's fastest sprinter, Alessandro Petacchi got within a second of Lancaster, but despite failing to take the Maglia Rosa Saturday, the practically unbeatable Petacchi looks good to take over the precious pink tunic Sunday with time bonuses.

Brett Lancaster
Photo ©: Sirotti
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Five years ago, Mark Renshaw (Francaise des Jeux) was Junior World Kilo champ in Italy and despite recent saddle sores, the young Aussie kicked well to post a 1'22.853, which was good for 8th. Next threat to Lancaster was Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis), who was riding a track bike with a 53x14 fixed gear, but Stuey came up a little short and only had enough for sixth. Once the final three riders started, it was clear that Australian Brett Lancaster would come up the winner of the first Maglia Rosa at the 88th Giro d'Italia.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti


1 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                1.20.958 (51.75 km/h)
2 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                             0.01
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                            
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team          
5 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team                               0.02
6 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone               
7 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Credit Agricole                                
8 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux                              
9 Sergio Escobar Roure (Spa) Illes Balears                           
10 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                    
11 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Credit Agricole                             
12 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone    0.03
13 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step                                    
14 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                               
15 Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team            
16 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner                             0.04
17 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                               
18 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team           
19 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              
20 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC                                    
21 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                    
22 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita                               
23 Jan Hruska (Cze) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team                       
24 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                      
25 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quick.Step                                  
26 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Domina Vacanze                             
27 Baden Cooke (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux                              
28 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                             
29 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                 0.05
30 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Phonak Hearing System
31 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) Domina Vacanze                              
32 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                 
33 Dariusz Baranowski (Pol) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team               
34 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                     
35 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Quick.Step                                  
36 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                   
37 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team                 
38 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Davitamon-Lotto                             
39 David Navas Chica (Spa) Illes Balears                             
40 Isaac Galvez Lopez (Spa) Illes Balears                            
41 Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team         
42 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team         
43 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                  
44 Peter Luttenberger (Aut) Team CSC                                 
45 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team            
46 Frank Hoj (Den) Gerolsteiner                                      
47 Tom Steels (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                              0.06
48 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Illes Balears                              
49 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Quick.Step                                   
50 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick.Step                                      
51 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                           
52 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                     
53 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                         
54 Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Col) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare       
55 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile Team                              
56 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Team CSC                                  
57 Andre' Korff (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                  
58 Sandy Casar (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                              
59 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Credit Agricole                             
60 Didier Rous (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                
61 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC                                       
62 Francisco J. Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir           
63 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                      
64 Bram Schmitz (Ned) T-Mobile Team                                  
65 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                    
66 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                    
67 Brian Vandborg (Den) Team CSC                                     
68 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                          
69 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Credit Agricole                           
70 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              
71 Marco Milesi (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                               
72 Gregory Rast (Swi) Phonak Hearing System                      0.07
73 Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Illes Balears                          
74 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Davitamon-Lotto                
75 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team            
76 Ruslan Ivanov (Mda) Domina Vacanze                                
77 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole                          
78 Cedric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone              
79 Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                 
80 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                            
81 Cyrille Monnerais (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                        
82 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC                                   
83 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                  
84 Eric Baumann (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                  
85 Julian Dean (NZl) Credit Agricole                                 
86 Matthew White (Aus) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone               
87 Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team             
88 Marcel Strauss (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                 
89 Walter Beneteau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                            
90 Davide Bramati (Ita) Quick.Step                                   
91 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Credit Agricole                            
92 Franck Renier (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          0.08
93 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo                              
94 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Rabobank                                  
95 Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) Rabobank                                  
96 Johann Tschopp (Swi) Phonak Hearing System                        
97 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita                              
98 Antonio Cruz (USA) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team             
99 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze                              
100 Sven Montgomery (Swi) Gerolsteiner                               
101 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Illes Balears                          
102 Uros Murn (Slo) Phonak Hearing System                            
103 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                  
104 Christophe Kern (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                           
105 Sascha Urweider (Swi) Phonak Hearing System                      
106 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile Team                             
107 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                           
108 Bjoern Leukemans (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                           
109 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                       
110 Ignacio Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing System           
111 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                  
112 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                         
113 Jason McCartney (USA) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team         
114 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                   
115 Carlos Dacruz (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                       0.09
116 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Rabobank                                   
117 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone            
118 Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Liquigas-Bianchi                          
119 Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                 
120 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Rabobank                                      
121 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank                                   
122 Ivan Quaranta (Ita) Domina Vacanze                               
123 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Phonak Hearing System                       
124 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Credit Agricole                         
125 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole                        
126 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                          
127 Volker Ordowski (Ger) Gerolsteiner                               
128 Benoit Joachim (Lux) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team          
129 Guido Trentin (Ita) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone              
130 Andrea Moletta (Ita) Gerolsteiner                                
131 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank                                  
132 Massimo Codol (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                
133 Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu) Lampre-Caffita                         
134 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                   
135 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Lampre-Caffita                                
136 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                        0.10
137 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone           
138 Henk Vogels (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                
139 Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                            
140 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Domina Vacanze                             
141 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                     
142 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                       
143 Jose Luis Carrasco Gamiz (Spa) Illes Balears                     
144 Theo Eltink (Ned) Rabobank                                       
145 Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare       
146 Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Col) Selle Italia-Colombia           
147 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing System                       
148 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          
149 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                               
150 Mads Christensen (Den) Quick.Step                                
151 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre-Caffita                             
152 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC                              
153 Marco Fertonani (Ita) Domina Vacanze                         0.11
154 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Domina Vacanze                          
155 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Caffita                               
156 Raffaele Illiano (Ita) Selle Italia-Colombia                     
157 Daniel Schnider (Swi) Phonak Hearing System                      
158 Rene' Andrle (Cze) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team                    
159 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team                 
160 Roberto Laiseka Jaio (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                     
161 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Domina Vacanze                              
162 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                           
163 Jan Schaffrath (Ger) T-Mobile Team                               
164 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                             
165 Nicolas Inaudi (Fra) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone             
166 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Lampre-Caffita                             
167 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Liquigas-Bianchi                          
168 Philippe Schnyder (Swi) Selle Italia-Colombia                    
169 Moreno Di Biase (Ita) Selle Italia-Colombia                  0.12
170 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas-Bianchi                       
171 Antonio Tauler Llull (Spa) Illes Balears                         
172 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Lampre-Caffita                            
173 Jose' Antonio Garrido Lima (Spa) Quick.Step                      
174 Jose' Rujano Guillen (Ven) Selle Italia-Colombia                 
175 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team                
176 Francisco J Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre-Caffita                 
177 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                          
178 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux                          
179 Russel Van Hout (Aus) Selle Italia-Colombia                      
180 Christian Werner (Ger) T-Mobile Team                             
181 Unai Etxebarria Arana (Ven) Euskaltel-Euskadi                0.13
182 Addy Engels (Ned) Quick.Step                                     
183 Unai Osa Eizaguirre (Spa) Illes Balears                          
184 Ivan Parra (Col) Selle Italia-Colombia                           
185 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                          
186 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Selle Italia-Colombia               0.14
187 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux                    
188 Angel Gomez Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                     
189 Freddy Gonzalez Martinez (Col) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare         
190 Ruben Lobato Elvira (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                   
191 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank                                 
192 Alberto Lopez De Munain (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi              0.16
193 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir              
194 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare               
195 Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                 
196 Daniel Atienza Urendez (Spa) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone     
197 Trent Wilson (Aus) Selle Italia-Colombia                     0.17    

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