Giro d'Italia Cycling News for May 8, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
Stage two wrap-up: McEwen wins first round of the sprinters
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen has triumphed in the first sprinters'
stage of the Giro d'Italia, which finished in Marcinelle, on the outskirts
of Charleroi. After what looked to be a perfect leadout by his Milram
boys, Alessandro Petacchi just didn't have the legs to prevent Olaf Pollack
from pre-empting the sprint with 200m to go. But McEwen wasted no time
and grabbed Pollack's wheel, before powering past on the inside to win
by over a bike length. Third place went to Paolo Bettini, with Petacchi
a disappointed fourth.
The 197 km stage through the provinces of Hainut and Namur was relatively
unremarkable, being held on a grey, damp day. A breakaway of four riders
got away after 23 km: Gabriele Missaglia (Selle Italia), Mickael Delage
(Française des Jeux), Beńat Albizuri (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Arnaud Labbe
(Bouygues Telecom). The four gained 7'00 shortly before the 100 km mark,
before Discovery, Milram and Davitamon combined to chase them down with
19 km to go. No-one was able to break the grip of the sprinters' teams
after that, and it was a showdown on Marcinelle's Avenue Eugčne Mascaux.
Petacchi had five men to lead him out, but the slight uphill finish was
enough to take the sting out of his legs when Ongarato pulled off at 250m
to go. Pollack tried the early move, but McEwen was far too strong for
the German and took the second stage.
The overall lead did not change, and Paolo Savoldelli goes into tomorrow's
third stage with his 11 second advantage over Brad McGee intact.
Also see: Stage
two full results, report & photos and Live
McEwen's 'a real team leader'
By Brecht Decaluwé in Marcinelle
Coming up on
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Davitamon-Lotto's Preben Van Hecke was happy to hear that Robbie McEwen
could clinch the win in Marcinelle: "I didn't see Robbie take the win
because at that time, my job was done," he told Cyclingnews.
"My goal was to work in the peloton so that we could get a sprint;
with ten km to go, the Milram guys took over and I let the peloton go."
Van Hecke said McEwen knew this was one of the few opportunities he had
to grab a win: "He asked us to work out a sprint for him, so he must have
been very confident; to me, he's a real team leader. I don't know if he
can do it again tomorrow, but you never know since he'll be in a winning
All for Il Falco
By Les Clarke in Marcinelle
With a strong team in attendance and greater focus on this year's Giro
d'Italia, Discovery Channel boasts two names who can shake up the overall
classification - Paolo Savoldelli and Tom Danielson. While Savoldelli
is the defending champion, one of America's great stage race hopes, Danielson,
must surely have some aspirations for the third Grand Tour of his pro
Cyclingnews caught up with Discovery Channel DS Sean Yates and
discussed who is top dog within the Disco camp, and the experienced Brit
was quick to point out that it's all for Paolo. "It's clear from the start
that Paolo is number one; there's no question about that," said Yates.
With an eighth place in last year's Vuelta a Espańa, Danielson is certainly
no slouch when it comes to racing big stage races, and Yates is aware
that the former Fassa Bortolo rider will have his day at the top of Discovery's
tree. But for now it's a case of 'Tom the worker bee' and that will only
change if something drastic happens. "Tom is obviously up and coming and
his objective is to be in the mountains when Paolo needs him. OK, if Paolo
suddenly falls off and breaks his leg, then Tom's going to be our hope...
but until something like that happens, it's clear that Paolo's number
one," said Yates.
"Obviously he [Danielson] has aspirations," added Yates, pointing out
that Danielson may in fact finish high on GC if the formula is right at
the crucial times. "It's possible to make it that we can place him [on
GC]. If he can stay with Paolo in the mountains and does reasonable time
trials, that won't be a problem."
While this year's Giro finish is a long way away, the formula for Discovery
Channel overall is simple - get il Falco to the finish first. "It's a
long way to Milan, and the idea is that Paolo wins the race; that means
he is kept safe and doesn't use up too much energy," said Yates. Finally,
when asked about rumours that Savoldelli may not start the Giro due to
intestinal upsets suffered during the recent Tour de Romandie, Yates was
very quick to reply with a chuckle, "That's news to me."
Bruyneel: "Tour even better for Savoldelli than Giro"
Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
After Paolo Savoldelli's impressive comeback to the Giro d'Italia on
Saturday, where he earned the maglia rosa rather than taking it
for granted from his last year's win, Discover Channel's team director
Johan Bruyneel was rather pleased with the Italian's performance. "It's
a very important win," Bruyneel told Sportwereld. "Especially mentally
for him. And it's also important for our main sponsor - since Lance Armstrong
left, there has been a lot of talk about this Giro which we won already
last year. On the first day of a Grand Tour since the Tour de France 2005,
there's one of us in the leader's jersey again."
The Belgian team director even compared Savoldelli to the seven-times
Tour de France winner. "The time that Paolo made (over his rivals) in
those 6.2 kilometres made me think of the way in which Lance used to ride,"
he continued. "But even a victory such as this one doesn't mean anything
for the evolution of a tour. It is only the beginning now."
Bruyneel signed Savoldelli in 2004, after he'd spent two rather unsuccessful
seasons at Team Telekom/T-Mobile. "I wanted to take him to US Postal already
in 2001, but the deal didn't work out," the Belgian added. "Paolo is a
top rider whose lifetime objective is the Giro d'Italia. I think that
the Tour de France would suit him even better than the Giro, but he is
Basso not worried
Ivan Basso (CSC) and Paolo Savoldelli
in stage 2
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Ivan Basso was not exactly off to a flying start in the 6.2-kilometer
first stage of this year's Giro d'Italia. The time trial with start and
finish in the Belgian city of Seraing resulted in a 13th place for the
Team CSC captain as well as a time loss of 23 seconds to last year's winner,
Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel). Nevertheless, Basso plays it cool.
"I had hoped for more, but I wouldn't exactly say I'm disappointed,"
the CSC team captain said. "Realistically, I expected to be about four
or five seconds faster, but I guess today wasn't my day. But there are
a lot of tough stages ahead, and I'm not worried about the time I lost
to Savoldelli today. It's plain to see that he's in great shape, but at
the same time he is a specialist in this particular discipline. The Giro
is rolling now and there's still a very very long way to Milan."
Team manager Bjarne Riis also thought that the result was not a catastrophe,
and even pointed at the bright side of the current situation. "I have
to take my hat off to Savoldelli, who was truly in a class of his own,"
Riis said. "Like Ivan I'd also hoped for more from him, but there's no
reason to panic. I know how hard he has worked to get ready for the Giro,
and on the positive side of things at least we can spare the team a bit
in the beginning, which will definitely prove an advantage later on."
Sergeant: "We can race without pressure"
By Brecht Decaluwé in Marcinelle
After a disappointing Spring Classics campaign, Davitamon-Lotto's team
manager Marc Sergeant looked very happy when Cyclingnews spoke
with him at the finish line after stage two at the Giro d'Italia: "After
Ličge-Bastogne-Ličge, I said we needed to turn that dark, empty looking
page... it just wasn't good enough for us.
"This is a new page, and it's already written full; now, we can race
without pressure," said Sergeant, the Belgian referring to a hat-trick
of wins the team scored at the Tour de Romandie and the stage victory
of Gert Steegmans at the Four Days of Dunkirk.
"Of course, we were unhappy and I think that's logical; the sponsor and
everybody that was involved with the team complained. Now that we've taken
all these recent victories, there will be calm. You know, recently a guy
from L'Equipe said that a French team would've been happy with
our results - but since we're in Belgium and rivalling Quick.Step, the
situation is completely different."
So what did Marc Sergeant think about today's victory of McEwen? "It
was really nice what Robbie did today - I think the others weren't even
in the photo finish!
"Tomorrow will be slightly more difficult since the finish is uphill
on the Citadel of Namur; but you never know with Robbie... once he's in
the winning mood, he's hard to stop. I expect that Quick.Step and Liquigas
will do the work to get Bettini and Di Luca into a good position for an
Merckx's quiet day in the office
Phonak's Axel Merckx had a quiet day at the office but wanted to give
his view on the race to Cyclingnews: "It was a classic development
of a stage race with an early breakaway and some teams that chase them
[down] late in the finale to lead out a sprint. The last 50 kilometres
of the race wasn't that quick like in the Tour de France, but that wasn't
necessary as the break wasn't going very fast."
With tomorrow's uphill finish is uphill, it might suit the Belgian a
little more. "I'm not super-super, so my fitness will not be any better
in one day. Maybe we can work something out for Fabrizio Guidi; he's fast,
strong and he's feeling alright, but today he got elbowed in the fight
towards the sprint [finish]."
Another fast German Schumacher?
Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
Formula One's Michael Schumacher is the fastest German on four wheels,
and apparently Stefan Schumacher is trying to be the fastest German on
two wheels. The Gerolsteiner rider, who has no family ties to Michael
and Ralf whatsoever, finished 14th in Saturday's Giro time trial, only
13 seconds behind the leader. "A super beginning," said the 24-year-old.
"It was worthwhile to have studied the course so meticulously. I had hoped
for a place in top ten, but it surprised me a little that it worked out
so well. I am totally satisfied." And that's not the end of his plans
for the Giro. Would he like to go after the pink jersey? "Why not? I am
in good shape and will certainly try for it," Schumacher said.
Schumacher's performance didn't surprise teammate Robert Förster. Writing
on Radsportnews, "Frösi" noted that he, Schumacher and three other
teammates checked out the route on Saturday morning. "Schumi blasted up
the hill five times. I thought then, the guy is going to do something
today..." And Förster expects more from his teammate in the coming days:
"Schumi is already very strong. And he is an allrounder, he can time-trial,
does well in the mountains and can even sprint. He's like Valverde. He'll
show something in the next days, just wait!"
In Sunday's stage two of the Giro d'Italia, Schumacher sprinted to 11th
place behind winner Robbie McEwen.
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
Is Jan Ullrich doing everything possible to lose weight? Last week before
the start of the Giro he sacrificed his long hair. Now it seems he is
also doing without his trademark silver earring. It turns out that his
little daughter Sarah took it off him one day while they were playing
and he just never got around to putting it back on. Now, Ullrich said,
he's gotten used to not wearing it any more.
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
Fantasy Giro game prize list confirmed!
We are pleased to confirm a full prize list for this year's Fantasy
Giro game here at Cyclingnews. Thanks to the continued support
from the industry, we have some great prizes lined for this season and
we hope you'll enjoy this year's Giro competition. It's not too late to
join in the fun at this year's Fantasy Giro game at Cyclingnews. You can
join until stage 6 begins (12th May) and there is no disadvantage in joining
after the Tour has begun. You have until May 12th to fine tune your teams
for the Giro.
Grand Prize - Bianchi bike in Liquigas colours with Campagnolo groupset:
The Grand Prize in the 2006 Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game will be a brand-new Bianchi bicycle from the legendary Italian firm of Treviglio.
The bike is fitted with a Campagnolo Mirage groupset and painted in the same colours as Liquigas, the ProTour team of Danilo Di Luca. A complete description and specifications on the Bianchi will be announced soon.
Photo ©: Maxxis
HED Stinger wheels
Photo ©: HED
Stinger wheels: Hed are offering a pair of Stinger wheels! The Stinger
50 is pure breed all carbon road racing wheelset that retails for USD
$1090 and weighs in at 1400 grams.
pairs of Maxxis Courchevel tyres: Maxxis are providing 10 sets of
their Courchevel Tyres for this year's Giro. The Courchevel were reinvented
this year, from the rubber to the casing. Triple Compound Technology offers
long wear life, great traction, and better transition from compound to
compound. KevlarR belt technology provides puncture resistance.
complete sets of Santini wear: Santini are offering three complete
sets of Santini ProTour replica team kit - the lucky winners can choose
from any of the four ProTour teams using Santini clothing.
Giro Atmos Helmets: Win the helmet that graces the heads of some of
the best riders and teams in this year's Tour. You can win the same Giro
Atmos Discovery Team Issue helmet as worn by Lance Armstrong. We are pleased
to confirm Giro's continued support of our Fantasy games. They are providing
three helmets in total in team Discovery, Rabobank, and Fassa Bortolo
colours. Worn by the best they make a great addition to the line up.
Speedplay's Zero pedals: Speedplay are continuing to support the Fantasy
games with three more sets of their Zero pedals - the same style of pedal
used by ProTour teams such as Team CSC and Phonak. The stainless steel
model is on offer and it will provide years of faithful service. It allows
you to choose either a fixed position or up to 15 degrees of float. Zero
pedals maintain the traditional feel of a fixed system while incorporating
all the well-known advantages of Speedplay X Pedal Systems.
fi'zi:k limited edition saddles: fi'zi:k are also continuing their
support of this year's games with three of high-erformance road racing
saddles. You'll have the choice from the fi'zi:k range, such as the Arione,
Aliante or (appropriately) the Pave model. Or, you could choose from its
limited edition, team replica saddles, including the new 'Di Luca Killer'
and 'Cunego Piccolo Principe' models.
Play for FREE in the Giro 2006 game
Remember you can play for free for the first 5 stages! Try the game
out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games - all you
need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this
year's Giro start list. Then each day pick 9 riders to race for your fantasy
team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters
and general classification riders. For more details go to rules
section of the site for more info. It's a great way to follow the
To register your teams for the game go to http://fantasy.cyclingnews.com/
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)