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May 30, 2005

Armstrong picks Ullrich as Tour "big threat"

BBC SPORT | Armstrong hails Savoldelli form

In an audio interview with Eurosport, Lance Armstrong said he's facing an "especially strong" field in the 2005 Tour de France.

Apparently, Discovery Channel has 7 members of its Tour squad nailed down: Armstrong, Azevedo, Beltran, Hincapie, Popovych, Rubiera, and Savoldelli, with 2 spots still to be determined.

Next up is the Dauphiné Libéré, starting Saturday, expected to be Armstrong's final tune-up for the Tour in July.

"Jan is the big threat," Armstrong told Eurosport. "He's the one who wakes me up early every morning. He says he wants to beat me in the Tour de France.

"Well, this is his last chance."

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong 2004, Paolo Savoldelli, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Di Luca holds ProTour lead

UCI ProTour | Rankings as of 5/29/05

Danilo Di Luca continued to lead the inaugural UCI ProTour competition, ahead of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi.

Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli leapfrogged into 5th overall with his Giro d'Italia win, while Bobby Julich and George Hincapie, still deadlocked at 75 points, are now tied for 8th in the standings.

Current Top 10:
1) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, 184 pts
2) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, 112 pts
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 111 pts
4) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 94 pts
5) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, 89 pts
6) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, 86 pts
7) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, 80 pts
8) Bobby Julich, Team CSC, 75 pts
9) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 75 pts
10) Jens Voigt, Team CSC, 72 pts

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Bobby Julich, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, George Hincapie, Jens Voigt, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Petacchi confirms he won't start Tour

Eurosport | Sapped Petacchi forfeit for Tour

Alessandro Petacchi confirmed on Sunday that he's skipping this year's Tour de France to focus on the World Championships in Madrid, on a flat, fast course that looks well-suited to Petacchi's legs. His statement confirms his season plans as originally laid out in January.

Petacchi's worlds teammate Paolo Bettini, who took the gold medal in Athens, may have something to say about that, as will Belgium's Tom Boonen (both of whom are expected to race the Tour, as well).

Petacchi has won multiple stages at the last few Tours de France, and won four stages at this year's Giro d'Italia, including yesterday's final stage into Milan.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Giro Stage 20 photo galleries


More Stage 20 photos @ GrahamWatson.com

Petacchi and Bettini from cyclingnews.com

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Savoldelli seals Giro, Petacchi takes final stage

VeloNews.com | Savoldelli wins Giro; Petacchi takes finale

No big surprises on Sunday, as Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli held his race lead into Milan, and Alessandro Petacchi took one last sprint win for his 4th of the Giro.

With Lampre's Gilberto Simoni 2nd by 28 seconds, the Giro saw its closest finish since 1976.

Savoldelli told procycling.com he doesn't see himself as Discovery Channel's next Tour de France threat:

“We have another young rider on the team, Popovych, who is the future of the team for the Tour,” Savoldelli said. “The team believes they can build him up and win the Tour once Lance retires. That’s fine with me. The Tour is a special kind of race and I’ve already been there a few times.”

Big news of the Giro:

  • The ProTour appears to have kicked the race up a notch, as the required participation by all 20 ProTour teams led to one of the most exciting and competitive Italian tours of the last 10 years.
  • Danilo Di Luca showed he can develop into more than a classics rider, as he contended right up to the race's last weekend.
  • Ivan Basso had an up-and-down Giro, getting knocked out of overall contention, but coming back to win two straight stages. His fitness is clearly excellent.
  • Congratulations to Dave Zabriskie, who took a TT stage for the Americans.
  • Savoldelli will be a tremendous asset to Lance Armstrong at the Tour -- he and Azevedo can climb with almost anybody, certainly any of the GC contenders.
  • José Rujano is a name to remember: he was able to ride away from anybody at will anytime he wanted to during the Giro.

Jersey winners:

  • Paolo Bettini: Points jersey
  • José Rujanoz: Climber's jersey
  • Stefano Zanini: Intergiro jersey

Also:

DailyPeloton.com | Giro Stage 20, GC, and Jersey Finals
The Paceline.com (free reg. req.) | SAVOLDELLI WINS GIRO!

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Dave Zabriskie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Boonen takes Tour of Belgium

Eurosport | Boonen toots Belgian horn

Tom Boonen dominated the 5-day Tour of Belgium, taking 2 stage wins on his way to his national tour win.

Boonen adds the tour win to his wins at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. With Alessandro Petacchi confirming on Sunday that he won't be riding in this year's Tour de France, Boonen has got to be the primary favorite in this year's Tour sprint stages.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 28, 2005

Rujano conquers Finestre, Savoldelli solidifies Giro lead

cyclingpost.com | Savoldelli survives, Rujano takes stage victory

José Rujano took a spectacular win on Saturday, doing his Giro king of the mountains jersey proud. On a day when the Giro rode a dirt road up the side of its only Categoria Speciale climb (equivalent but typically harder than the Tour's HC climbs), Rujano rode away from 2-time Giro winner Gilberto Simoni on the final climb to Sestrière.

Meanwhile, Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli found his leader's jersey under constant attack: Simoni, trailing by 2:09 at the start of the day, got a gap on the day's worst climb, and had Di Luca and Rujano along, in an attempt to break the race open. Simoni occasionally had the lead on the road, but Savoldelli battled all day long, and found help from Juan-Manuel Garate, Sergei Gonchar, and Tadej Valjavec, who had been dropped by Simoni and Rujano.

A reflection of how hard this day was: the 10th-placed rider, Emanuele Sella of Panaria, came in 5:06 back!

Top 10:

1) José Rujano, Selle Italia-Colombia, 5:49:30
2) Gilberto Simoni, Lampre-Caffita, at :26
3) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, at 1:37
4) Juan Manuel Garate, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 1:53
5) Wim Van Huffel, Davitamon-Lotto, at 1:55
6) Serguei Gonchar, Domina Vacanze, same time
7) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, same time
8) Tadej Valjavec, Phonak, same time
9) Mauricio Alberto Ardila, Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:38
10) Emanuele Sella, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 5:06

Also:

CyclingNews.com | Preliminary results
ThePaceline.com (members only) | Giro d'Italia Stage 19 Report


Posted by Frank Steele on May 28, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Giro decisive stage underway

It all comes down to today. Gilberto Simoni's last chance to take a third Giro, on terrain well-suited for him, but trailing Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli by more than 2 minutes.

Simoni gapped Savoldelli early on the day's biggest climb, the Colle delle Finestre, and quickly got 45 seconds on the maglia rosa. Alongside Simoni are Di Luca (!), Garate, Rujano, and X others. Ivan Basso covered this break, but then fell off, back into Savoldelli's group, and then off of that pack as well. Vladimir Karpets similarly has been dropped by Simoni's group.

Now, on the dirt (!) road near the top of the climb, there are only 4 riders left in Simoni's group: Simoni, Di Luca, Rujano (who has to be looking for a stage win after a Giro of stellar climbing), and Valjavec.

Now Valjavec has been dropped. There's still another (easier) climb up to the finish, and where the riders that have been shed by Simoni's group wind up (with Savoldelli or Simoni) on the descent is going to be interesting: Savoldelli has spent most of the climb leading his group, while Simoni, Di Luca, and the others who were in their group were trading pulls.

At 4:14 Italian time, the Simoni group has 1:42 on Savoldelli! The gap has gone up dramatically -- looks like Savoldelli may have hit a wall. This is exactly the situation where Tom Danielson would have been an incredible asset.

Near the top of the Finestre, Simoni and Di Luca have 2:12 on Savoldelli, putting Simoni in the virtual maglia rosa. Savoldelli is going to have to make up some time on a 9 km descent (his specialty) and an 11 km climb (Simoni's specialty), if he's going to take a second Giro title.

Valjavec and Garate are in no-man's-land between Simoni and Savoldelli, but more than a minute up the road from Savoldelli. If Savoldelli could close that gap, would they have the legs or the motivation to work? It may be academic.

At 4:30, the leaders (Di Luca, Simoni, Rujano) are back on asphalt for the descent. Di Luca, who has been driving the break, takes the King of the Mountains points, but that's not what he's riding for -- he's trying to get back on the podium, after a disappointing ride on Thursday. Rujano has (and had even before today) the King of the Mountains competition sewn up.

Gap at the summit: 2:19.

On the descent, Savoldelli has picked up Gonchar and Van Huffel, and dropped the gap to 2:05, but CyclingNews points out the time bonuses at today's stage finish: 20, 12 and 8 seconds for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Crediting Simoni with 3rd on the day, he would still take the race lead if it ends as it is now.

Di Luca is cramping on the flats between the descent and the final climb, having a lot of trouble, trying to get hydrated. Savoldelli is about 40 seconds behind Valjavec and Garate, who are together.

Now Di Luca is dropped, and Simoni and Rujano are starting up the day's final climb, leading by 1:50. If Simoni took the stage win bonus, it would be enough, assuming Savoldelli wasn't third, but it's going to be extremely close.

Savoldelli has picked up Garate and Valjavec, and sits at 1:45. He's got a pretty good group now, with Gonchar, Garate, Valjavec, and Ardila. Di Luca is 10 seconds back of Rujano and Simoni, and that's got to hurt Simoni: Di Luca was doing a lot of the work on the last climb.

Savoldelli continues to close down Simoni: it's 1:30 now, with Di Luca between, nearly 20 seconds behind Simoni.

Simoni has been riding Rujano's wheel, and won't come around when Rujano tries to get him to take a pull, so Rujano has dropped him! He's got 5 seconds on Simoni, with Di Luca another 30 seconds back, and Savoldelli's group still closing, 1:24 behind Rujano (and 1:09 to Simoni).

Rujano started the day 3 minutes back of Savoldelli, so if he could finish with 2:40 and the day's bonus, he could take the race lead. On the other hand, Savoldelli's group is closing on Di Luca, who is just totally out of gas, so Savoldelli could take 3rd on the day. Even if Savoldelli holds the race lead, Rujano could move into 2nd overall, if he finishes with 47 seconds on Simoni.

Rujano takes the stage! Now it's all down to the gaps. Rujano also takes a 20 second time bonus.

Simoni 2nd, at 26 seconds (+12 second bonus).

Di Luca holds out for 3rd, at 1:34, with an 8-second time bonus.

Here comes Savoldelli, at 1:54 -- Savoldelli holds the maglia rosa, Simoni holds on to 2nd.

Live coverage:

Daily Peloton
CyclingNews.com
VeloNews.com
Eurosport.com

Posted by Frank Steele on May 28, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2005

Basso takes ITT for 2nd straight Giro win

VeloNews.com | Basso again!

CSC's Ivan Basso, who lost more than a half-hour during last weekend's mountain stages, has recovered enough to win 2 consecutive stages at the Giro d'Italia. On Friday, Basso covered the 34-kilometer course in 45:05, 9 seconds faster than Illes Balears' Vladimir Karpets,, and 20 seconds ahead of Basso teammate David Zabriskie, who won the Giro's first time trial.

Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli, the race's overall leader, was 4th on the day, and extended his lead over Gilberto Simoni (10th on the day) by 1:06, Danilo Di Luca (14th on the stage) by 1:32, and José Rujano (16th) by 1:36.

Sunday's stage is largely ceremonial, so Simoni, now 2:09 back in the overall, will need to do something special on Saturday's stage to have a chance at a 3rd Giro title.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 27, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Dave Zabriskie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 24, 2005

Simoni says he'll win Giro

procycling.com | Simoni: I'll win the Giro

Having successfully handled the threat of teammate Damiano Cunego, who has ridden a strong race in his support, Gilberto Simoni told race sponsor La Gazzetta dello Sport he's the overall favorite for Giro victory.

The course profile is certainly friendly to the climbing specialist: Thursday's stage to Limone Piemonte ends with a 25 kilometer+ climb, Friday's time trial includes the 7 kilometer climb of the Superga in a 34 kilometer package, and Saturday's stage is the last day of brutal climbs, most notably the Finestre, whose final 8 kilometers is over gravel! Once over the Finestre, the riders have a steep 8-kilometer descent, then will climb the final 18 kms into Sestrieres.

“The Limone Piemonte stage will be a rich antipasto for what is to come,” Simoni tells Gazzetta. “After that is the Superga time trial, and anyone who thinks that I will have difficulties that day is going to be very much mistaken. The fact that that time trial is very hard suits me very well. Then on Saturday the Finestre will be my launching pad. [Lampre team manager] Beppe Martinelli has told me that he has already won a Giro at Sestriere with Garzelli. We are hoping that’s a good omen.”

Posted by Frank Steele on May 24, 2005 in Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

Petacchi takes third stage; Savoldelli takes lead to rest day

Eurosport | Petacchi makes it three

Alessandro Petacchi took his third stage win of this year's Giro today, ahead of T-Mobile's Erik Zabel and Quick Step's Paolo Bettini -- certainly the best 3 sprinters left in this year's Giro.

It was Petacchi's 18th career Giro victory. As you would expect, Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli retains the overall race lead.

The day's Top 10:
1) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 3:32:41
2) Erik Zabel, T-Mobile, same time
3) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, same time
4) Simone Cadamuro, Domina Vacanze, same time
5) Marco Velo, Fassa Bortolo, same time
6) Paride Grillo, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, same time
7) Henk Vogels, Davitamon-Lotto, same time
8) Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner, same time
9) Isaac Galvez Lopez, Illes Balears, same time
10) Sven Krauss, Gerolsteiner, same time

Posted by Frank Steele on May 23, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Erik Zabel, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stage 15 shortened for weather

BBC SPORT | Bad weather cuts short Giro stage

Giro organizers have relocated the start of today's stage to Tirano, shortening the stage by 55 km, from 205 kms to 150 kms. Organizers cited heavy rains in the mountains near Livigno, and even some snow on the first climb.

CSC's Ivan Basso will continue in the race, even though he now trails by 39:22.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 23, 2005 in Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 22, 2005

Vande Velde on Stage 14

VeloNews.com | Vande Velde's View: How I spent my 29th birthday

Christian Vande Velde got to witness Ivan Basso's jour sans firsthand today. The CSC team is going to have to figure out what they can save from this Giro, now that they have no shot at the podium. I was pretty surprised they put the brakes on today, and kept nearly the entire squad back, defending Basso, long after it was clear his day, and his Giro, were shot.

Vande Velde gives Basso a major shout-out for finishing the stage at all, and says he is himself suffering with the junior-league version of Basso's stomach troubles.

Despite the incredible difficulty, I actually did have a really funny moment, though. At one point, coming down a long descent, there were only two of us zooming down the hill, chasing to get back on to some group ahead of us. It was just Michael Barry and me. I started laughing.

Michael looks over and says "what are you laughing about?"

I just thought it was so funny that here in the middle of the Giro d'Italia, out of a peloton of - what, 165 guys? - it's just me, and the one guy in the world who I constantly train with. We were out there with no one else around. I mean, we ride together probably 90 percent of the time, whether it's back in Boulder or in Girona, or ....

"We could be anywhere in the world right now, Michael," I told him. "We always ride together and here we are doing it again... but we're in the middle of the Giro d'Italia."

Vande Velde thinks Savoldelli will take the overall, but looking at the course profile, it looks like Simoni has more opportunities to make up time on the uphills than Savoldelli has on the time trials. There's also a stage with a late climb that, were it a spring classic, would look tailor-made for Danilo Di Luca. This one's anything but over.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 22, 2005 in Christian Vande Velde, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Paolo Savoldelli | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Stage 14 photo galleries


More Stage 14 photos @ GrahamWatson.com

Cunego & Bye, bye, Basso from cyclingnews.com

Posted by Frank Steele on May 22, 2005 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Parra again; Savoldelli maintains slim lead

VeloNews.com | Parra scores a second Giro stage; Savoldelli holds lead

Ivan Basso is effectively out of contention at the Giro d'Italia. After losing 1:08 to Savoldelli on Saturday's last climb, giving the Discovery Channel rider the race leader's jersey, stomach problems have apparently taken their toll on the CSC leader: Basso finished Sunday's stage 42 minutes (!) behind Parra.

Selle Italia-Colombia's Ivan Parra showed off his climbing form, taking his second consecutive stage as the race passed over the legendary Stelvio in the Italian Dolomites.

Danilo Di Luca and Gilberto Simoni showed they're not dead yet, as they put 27 seconds into Savoldelli on the day's final climb. Di Luca sits second, 25 seconds back, with Simoni at 1:48.

Monday's stage is the descent from the Dolomites, followed by Tuesday's rest day. Savoldelli looks likely to hold the maglia rosa at least through Wednesday. Thursday and Saturday have some significant climbing bracketing Friday's last individual time trial.

It's been and continues to be an amazing Giro. Di Luca has shown he's much more than a classics rider, Savoldelli has shown what he can do if he's healthy, you had the McEwen/Petacchi/Bettini rivalry, the faceoff between Baden Cooke and Bettini -- just an amazing race.

Real Life has kept me from posting as much as I usually do, but I'm going to try to catch up a bit today with posts on previous stages, with the help of the Wayback Machine in TypePad.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 22, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Popovych takes Tour of Catalonia

Eurosport | Popovych tops in Catalunya

Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych coasted to the overall victory at the Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.

Popovych had raced only 8 days this season, as he worked out visa problems, but he looked strong in the tour's climbing time trial, where he was 5th overall, and limited damage by the climbers the next day.

Popovych now hopes to be selected for his first ride in the Tour de France.

"With me winning here and (Italian team mate) Paolo Savoldelli in the lead in the Giro d'Italia, Lance can count on some great backing," he said.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 22, 2005 in Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2005

GrahamWatson.com Stage 13 photo gallery


Di Luca, Basso, Savoldelli @ GrahamWatson.com

Posted by Frank Steele on May 21, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Parra takes Stage 13; il Falco poaches Basso for lead

BBC SPORT | Parra seals win as leader changes

Another stage win for the "minor" teams, as Ivan Parra of Selle Italia-Colombia managed to serve both team and self on a long breakaway through the Dolomites.

Parra was riding largely to support teammate José Rujano, seeking the overall Giro climber's jersey, but still had the legs to put 23 seconds into his breakmates and 4 minutes into the GC candidates.

Ivan Basso, complaining of stomach pains, couldn't hang on the day's last climb, and Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli took advantage, gaining 1:08 on Basso (and 6 seconds on Gilberto Simoni), and moving into the race lead, 50 seconds up on Basso. Danilo Di Luca is nipping at Basso's heels, 53 seconds behind Savoldelli. Simoni is back at 2:16 in 4th.

Stage Top 10:
1) Ivan Parra, Selle Italia-Colombia 6:31:35
2) Juan Manuel Garate, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :23
3) José Rujano, Selle Italia-Colombia, at :23
4) Pietro Caucchioli, Credit Agricole, at :27
5) Tadej Valjavec, Phonak, at 1:45
6) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, at 2:55
7) Giampaolo Caruso, Liberty Seguros, at 3:03
8) Wladimir Belli, Domina Vacanze, at 3:48
9) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at 4:00
10) Gilberto Simoni, Lampre, at 4:06

Also:

Eurosport.com | Savoldelli ignores Armstrong advice

Savoldelli told Eurosport Armstrong told him to sit tight after the stage win on Thursday, and to rely on his time-trial performance to beat Ivan Basso.

"I decided not to take his advice and attacked today. Now I've got the pink jersey I think I did the right thing."

Daily Peloton | Giro d'Italia Riders and Abandons - Updated 21 May

Many, many abandons today, including Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Discovery Channel's Ryder Hesjedal, Jaan Kirsipuu, Joseba Beloki, and, most surprisingly, potential GC contender Stefano Garzelli of Liquigas-Bianchi. Garzelli hurt his leg on a fall earlier this week, and just didn't have it when the road turned up. Perhaps with Di Luca riding so well, the team wanted to reset his season goals a bit, and avoid any conflict.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 21, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Jaan Kirsipuu, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2005

Your Giro quote of the day

www.cyclingnews.com | Brutto finish in Frosinone

From Baden Cooke, who saw victory snatched away by the race barriers and Paolo Bettini's squirrely sprint:

F***! I f**king got over the hill no worries. None of the sprinters were left, I got on Bettini's wheel, he hit out early, I gave him a length, and I was f**in' absolutely cruising. Dropped it down the gears, ran at him, just about to blow his helmet off as I went past him...and he's just turned left and put me in the barrier. I had it won, I was just about to throw my hands in the air. Instead I did five somersaults down the road!

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2005 in Baden Cooke, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bettini DQ'ed at Stage 4 finish; Luca Mazzanti awarded stage

www.cyclingnews.com | Stage 4 results

A hard-fought sprint at the line today left Baden Cooke with nowhere to go but into the barricades (shades of Djamolodine Abdoujaparov) and initially gave the pink jersey, Quick Step's Paolo Bettini, a second stage win.

After discussion among the judges, Bettini was "relegated" from the final sprint, and given the field's time. That won't endanger his maglia rosa, but it gives the day's win to Luca Mazzanti of the Panaria team, which has a second stage win to go with Brett Lancaster's prologue victory. Mazzanti also leapfrogs into 3rd overall, behind Bettini and Danilo Di Luca.

Cooke had told Eurosport he was worried about "tricky finish" of Stage 4.

Basso, Simoni, Cunego, Garzelli, and even many of the sprint specialists (including Petacchi, Zabel, O'Grady, and McEwen) finished in the main field, but Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli, who won the Giro in 2002, lost about 40 seconds on all the other GC contenders. Savoldelli sits 29th overall, at 1:09 from Bettini, and trailing his Discovery teammate Volodymyr Bileka by 5 seconds.

Former Tour de France contender Joseba Beloki, who has never returned to top form after his crash in the 2003 Tour, finished at 1:18 behind Mazzanti, and sits more than 10 minutes back overall.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Erik Zabel, Giro d'Italia 2005, Joseba Beloki, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stage 3 photo galleries from Graham Watson, cyclingnews.com


More great Stage 3 photos @ GrahamWatson.com

More Stage 3 photos @ cyclingnews.com

You can check out the action from Stage 3 at GrahamWatson.com or cyclingnews.com, or by clicking through any of the thumbnails shown here.

Watson got a good shot of the T-Mobile team, which he says is working for Zabel this year. It's a shame they couldn't get him up into the break Tuesday.

He also chronicled Robbie McEwen's first career day in the maglia rosa, and got a couple of good shots of Australian Russell Van Hout, who was Stage 3's suicide break.

Watson is also offering a print of the landscape/rider picture that's first at right.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2005 in Erik Zabel, Photo galleries, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Start the Petacchi watch as Di Luca breaks the sprinters

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 3

Tell me the truth: Did anyone out there believe we would be waiting for Stage 4 of the Giro with no wins by Alessandro Petacchi? How about that his best result so far would be in the prologue (he was also 3rd in Stage 1, but 3 seconds back)?

Today, Danilo Di Luca and his Liquigas-Bianchi squad helped make a break with all of the GC hopefuls as the race thundered up a climb at Santa Tecla, about 10 kilometers from the finish. Petacchi found himself on the wrong side of the break, along with race leader Robbie McEwen, trailing the 50 riders in the break by about a minute.

At the line, Di Luca nipped Lampre's Damiano Cunego and Liquigas teammate Stefano Garzelli for the win. Paolo Bettini was 6th on the day, and moves back into overall race leadership, but Di Luca looms 9 seconds back, and Cunego, the defending Giro champ is 3rd at 17 seconds.

Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli sits 5th overall, just 26 seconds behind Bettini, with Gilberto Simoni (Cunego's teammate/rival) 9th at 33 seconds. Ivan Basso is 14th at 36 seconds.

Di Luca has had a fantastic season, winning Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne, and the Tour of the Basque Country, and currently leading the ProTour competition. It was Di Luca's 3rd career win at the Giro, and first since 2001. After the stage, he said he would be gunning for race leadership Thursday.

The field of sprinters was thinned out a bit on Wednesday when Davitamon-Lotto's Tom Steels abandoned, citing stomach problems.

Also:

Daily Peloton | Giro d'Italia Stage 3 Interviews

VeloNews.com | Complete Results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2005

New York Times looks at Hamilton's chimera defense

nytimes.com (free reg. required) | Cheating, or an Early Mingling of the Blood?

New York Times health and fitness reporter Gina Kolata talks to some researchers who lend at least some credence to Tyler Hamilton's defense, and interviews the MIT professor, David Housman, who assisted in Hamilton's defense. Housman, a molecular biology professor, believes that chimerism could cause a person to produce non-matching red blood cells off and on through their life, which could possibly account for the inconsistencies in Hamilton's blood tests through the 2004 season. He also professes doubt that the test is sufficiently reliable.

A Seattle hematologic oncologist, who routinely performs flow cytometer measurements, called the test "quite finicky from experiment to experiment."

Kolata also talks to Ross Brown, the Australian scientist who helped develop the test in question, and defended the test in Hamilton's hearing before the US Anti-Doping Agency. Brown admitted that chimerism is a possibility, but that in 20,000 samples, he had never seen a convincing sign of a chimera in blood.

But Dr. Ann Reed of the Mayo Clinic says that 50 to 70 percent of healthy people are actually surviving twins of chimera. Rather than blood testing, she tests against DNA. Her opinion explains somewhat more fully why Hamilton and his advisers wanted to do DNA testing on the tested samples.

Reed also suggested that chimerism might explain some organ rejections that are otherwise unexplained.

Kolata wrote a book, Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Exercise and Health, that I enjoyed, although I found it a tad unfocused.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 10, 2005 in Doping, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2005

It's going to be an interesting Giro

VeloNews.com | Bettini e buonissimo!

QuickStep's Paolo Bettini found Stage 1 of the 2005 Giro suited him perfectly.

Bettini made a move in the last kilometer of the race, where the course came to a short steep uphill. It was a trademark Bettini move, and Alessandro Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo squad wasn't able to respond in time to reel in the 2004 Olympic road race champion.

Coming up to the line, Lotto's sprint specialist Robbie McEwen showed he's back in terrific form after an early-season flu led him to skip the spring classics, as he put a second into Petacchi and took 2nd on the day. Petacchi, who took 9 stages of last year's Giro, was 3rd, followed by Baden Cooke and Manuele Mori.

The full top 10:

1) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, in 5:09:32
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :03
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, at :04
4) Baden Cooke, Francaise Des Jeux, at :04
5) Manuele Mori, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :04
6) Erik Zabel, T-Mobile Team, at :04
7) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, at :04
8) Mirko Celestino, Domina Vacanze, at :04
9) Damiano Cunego, Lampre-Caffita, at :04
10) Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano, Davitamon-Lotto, at :04

It was Bettini's first-ever Giro win, and he'll wear the maglia rosa for the first time.

Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli finished with the leaders, and sits 4th overall, 22 seconds behind Bettini, and 3 seconds ahead of Lampre's Cunego. Ivan Basso finished at 9 seconds today.

Also:

Daily Peloton | Giro Stage 1 Live Report

CyclingNews.com | Stage 1 full report (with results)

Posted by Frank Steele on May 9, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Baden Cooke, Damiano Cunego, Erik Zabel, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2005

Brett Lancaster Giro's first leader


Cipollini's last skinsuit fashion show

Australia's Brett Lancaster of Panaria was the fastest kilo man in the field Saturday evening, taking the prologue of the 88th Giro d'Italia.

The unusually short prologue favored riders with track experience and sprinters, and Lancaster, who took a gold medal in Athens in the team pursuit, made the most of it, covering 1.15 kilometers in 1:20.958. Of course, the shortness also means you can throw a blanket over about the top half of the field, with the top 10 all within 2 seconds of Lancaster. The last-placed rider was Australia's Trent Wilson, 17 seconds back of Lancaster.

The prologue was run under the lights, along the coast at Reggio Calabria, with prime-time TV coverage in Italy.

Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli finished highest among those with GC aspirations, in 1:21.923, fourth on the stage. Alessandro Petacchi was 3rd on the day, just behind teammate Matteo Tosatto. T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack rounded out the top 5.

Stuart O'Grady's special rig didn't get him the maglia rosa, as he had hoped, but did place him 6th on the stage and overall.

Michael Barry led North Americans in 15th; Discovery teammate Ryder Hesjedal, also of Canada, was 18th; Dave Zabriskie was 20th; Tom Danielson 75th; Tony Cruz 98th; Jason McCartney 113th; and Christian Vande Velde was 152nd.

Defending Giro champ Damiano Cunego was 22nd, while his teammate Gilberto Simoni, the 2003 winner, was 97th on the stage.

Mario Cipollini took a parade lap, starting last in a glow-in-the-dark pink skinsuit that featured the names of all the towns where he won his 42 career Giro stages.

The full top 10:

1) Brett Lancaster, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, 1:20.9
2) Matteo Tosatto, Fassa Bortolo, at :01
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, at :01
4) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :01
5) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, at :02
6) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis, at :02
7) Jaan Kirsipuu, Credit Agricole, at :02
8) Mark Renshaw, Francaise des Jeux, at :02
9) Sergio Escobar Roure, Illes Balears, at :02
10) Sven Krauss, Gerolsteiner, at :02

Also:

Daily Peloton | Prologue Live Coverage

CyclingNews.com | Live Report | Full Results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Dave Zabriskie, Giro d'Italia 2005, Mario Cipollini, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Giro set to go

In a few hours the 88th Giro d'Italia gets under way in Reggio Calabria with an unusually short prologue: 1.15 kilometers, or about .7 miles. Ex-trackie Stuart O'Grady has had a bike built specifically for the prologue; RoadCycling.com offers a look at the track-style setup, with a fixed 53x14 gear, narrow crank, "hidden" brakes, and bolted wheels.

The Giro has a different color assignment of jerseys than the Tour de France (or the Vuelta), and Eurosport goes over the differences, including an explanation of the "race-within-a-race" Intergiro (sky-blue) jersey. They've also got the official start list of 197 riders (Liberty starts 1 rider short because Ribeiro was ineligible for high hematocrit; the squad has since fired the Portuguese rider).

Today and tomorrow, there's same-day TV coverage on Outdoor Life Network in the US, running from 5-7 pm Eastern.

Online, look for live text updates from the usual suspects at CyclingNews and VeloNews.

The official Giro site is hosted at its primary sponsor: Italy's sports newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, but the Giro special is available in English, French, German, Spanish, and of course, Italian, which you can expect to be updated most quickly.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2005 in Giro d'Italia 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 05, 2005

A look at Giro rosters

VeloNews | Tentative start list for 2005 Giro d'Italia

Time for the annual Gilberto Simoni drama-fest, as he and Cunego slug it out for the overall, and leadership of their own Lampre team, all over Italy. Time, of course, for the Giro d'Italia.

Of course, the last few Giros have also seen the emergence of Alessandro Petacchi, whose Fassa Bortolo blue train has placed him perfectly for so many sprint wins. Potentially adding to the sprint drama this year is T-Mobile's Erik Zabel, who believes that some of this year's stages will be hard enough to neutralize Petacchi, and give Zabel (and teammate Olaf Pollack) a shot at a stage win in a select group.

Over at CSC, Ivan Basso has said he's riding for the Giro-Tour double, and raring to go. CSC will be riding two Americans, Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde, in Basso's support.

Discovery Channel will finally get a real look at new team member Paolo Savoldelli, who won the 2002 Giro, and has a reputation for finishing long tours strongly. Tony Cruz, Tom Danielson, Jason McCartney and Michael Barry are coming off April's Tour de Georgia.

The Daily Peloton has individual pieces on each squad, looking at who's got a shot at the overall, who will be fishing for stages, and who's just killing time.

Also:

Eurosport.com | The cream of Italy's crop

Posted by Frank Steele on May 5, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, Erik Zabel, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Tom Danielson | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ribeiro ineligible for Giro after high hematocrit

cyclingnews.com | Ribeiro out of Giro 2005 for high haematocrit

Portugal's Nuno Ribeiro won't take the start of the Giro d'Italia Saturday, after turning up with a hematocrit of 52 percent, where anything above 50 is grounds for exclusion.

Although the test results don't count as a doping positive, but only as a "health control", Liberty Seguros management said Ribeiro was being sent to Lausanne for more complete testing by the UCI. The team says Ribeiro had previously tested between 47 and 48.5 after training at altitude, but tested at 52 almost immediately afterwards.

Liberty is going above and beyond by providing Ribeiro for a battery of UCI doping tests to either confirm or deny the possibility that Ribeiro was artificially boosting his hematocrit. Many teams would have their rider serve out their 15 ineligible days, then stick them right back out on the start line.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 5, 2005 in Doping, Giro d'Italia 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 04, 2005

Discovery makes Tour pre-selection

ThePaceLine.com (free reg. req.) | TdF finalists Announced

Discovery Channel announced the 11 riders with a shot to make its 2005 Tour squad today. The only possible surprise is that Leif Hoste, from the team's classics squad, is on the list. All 11:

Lance Armstrong
Jose Azevedo
Manuel Beltran
George Hincapie
Leif Hoste
Benoit Joachim
Benjamin Noval
Pavel Padrnos
Yaroslav Popovych
José-Luis Rubiera
Paolo Savoldelli

Looks like the speculation in the Ekimov post's comments was pretty much on-target. The 7 remaining 2004 Tour riders are all here, plus Joachim, Hoste, and new Discos Popovych and Savoldelli.

Also, RoadCycling.com quotes Johan Bruyneel that Ekimov has no intentions of retiring as a result of his accident last week.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 4, 2005 in George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2005

Zabel to ride Giro

T-Mobile Team | Erik Zabel to ride Giro d'Italia

Erik Zabel will ride in his first Giro d'Italia, starting Saturday.

On Sunday, Zabel won the 'Rund um den Henninger Turm' for the third time, marking the second win (after Vinokourov's Liege-Bastogne-Liege) for T-Mobile this year.

The full T-Mobile Giro squad:

Erik Baumann
Matthias Kessler
André Korff
Daniele Nardello
Olaf Pollack
Jan Schaffrath
Bram Schmitz
Christian Werner
Erik Zabel

Posted by Frank Steele on May 3, 2005 in Erik Zabel, Giro d'Italia 2005, Giro d’Italia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OLN extends weekend Giro coverage, offers for-pay weekday coverage

olntv.com | Outdoor Life Network 2005 Cycling Schedule

Outdoor Life Network will offer two hours of coverage for each Saturday and Sunday stage of this year's Giro d'Italia. If 16 hours of Phil Liggett, Bob Roll and Paul Sherwen won't cut it, they're also selling web-streaming of the weekday coverage ("without commercial interruption") for $5.95.

No word on the technical details, and no sign-up is yet available, but it's likely to be linked from their main cycling page when it is.

You can download their release (in Microsoft Word format(?)) here.

Update: the service is provided through MediaZone in Windows Media, with no Mac support.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 3, 2005 in Giro d’Italia, Television, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

May 01, 2005

Ekimov crash ends '05 Tour hopes, threatens career

Eki, Stage 6, 2005 TdG
Ekimov's last stage? Eki @ TdG, Stage 6, 2005
Photo by Christy Steele - more TdFblog photos.

Eurosport.com | Ekimov out of Tour de France after crash

Discovery Channel's ageless wonder Viatcheslav Ekimov crashed while training with Lance Armstrong near Austin on Thursday. Ekimov suffered "several fractures in his chest and a broken vertebra" (Eurosport says 'a broken vertebrae', but 'vertebrae' is plural).

He remains in the hospital in Austin, but is expected to be flown to St. Petersburg, Russia, as soon as tomorrow for further treatment.

Eurosport quotes Discovery's Dirk Demol:

"In the best case scenario, he'd be back in August or September, but he won't ride the Tour, that's for certain."

Ekimov was expected to ride his 15th Tour de France in July, closing in on all-time leader Joop Zoetemelk, who won the Tour in 1980 at 33, and raced 16 Tours without ever abandoning. At 39, Ekimov has three career Tour stage wins, and took silver at last year's Athens Olympics in the time trial.

Ekimov and Hincapie are Discovery's all-round strongmen. With Eki out, Discovery will have to at least consider bringing Tom Danielson to the Tour. Post your Disco Tour lineup ... I'm thinking:

Armstrong
Hincapie
Azevedo
Rubiera
Beltran
Noval
Padrnos
Savoldelli
Joachim/Popovych/Danielson

Seven returnees, minus Landis and now Ekimov, so at least 2 spots to fill from {Danielson/Joachim/Popovych/Savoldelli}. Longshots: Barry or Hammond. Joachim hasn't made the Tour squad since 2002, but he's a similar rider to Ekimov. It feels like Savoldelli is 100 percent focused on the Giro, but he might be able to contribute in July. If they're worried about Danielson being too young for the Tour, then what about Popovych, who's only 25?

Also:

ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.) | Eki Hurt in Training Crash (older info than Eurosport, details crash)

Posted by Frank Steele on May 1, 2005 in 2004 Olympics, Tour news, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack