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Latest Cycling News for May 17, 2005

Date published:
May 17, 2005, 1:00 BST
  • A brief guide to Giro classifications for the bewildered

    Article published:
    May 17, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Tim Maloney, European Editor in Firenze

    Many correspondents have expressed a certain degree of confusion about the Giro's rather more than...

    Many correspondents have expressed a certain degree of confusion about the Giro's rather more than usually extensive list of prize lists - and the consequent length of our results pages... Roger Hughes attempts to demystify some of these mysteries of the 2005 Giro d'Italia.

    Many of these classifications, or classifiche, are a result of the race having rather a lot of small sponsors. Each classification is of course a chance for another company to get its name mentioned somewhere, or for another notable to take his place on the podium for the prize ceremonies. Here is a quick rundown of the categories used for the 2005 race. Most are calculated both overall for the race as a whole and individually for each stage.

    General classification (classifica generale - maglia rosa)

    The big prize, the race for the pink jersey, is, of course, the normal general classification on total elapsed time, less time bonuses (20, 12 and 8 seconds for the first three at the finish and 6, 4 and 2 seconds for the first three in the Intergiro sprint in each non-time trial stage). Total prize list: €360,000 for the overall competition plus €328,000 for daily stage placings.

    Points classification (classifica ai punti - maglia ciclamina)

    The equivalent of the Tour's green jersey competition, awarded on the basis of points for placings at the stage finish (the first 15) and the Intergiro sprint (the first 6). Unlike the Tour (where the competition is deliberately biased towards sprinters), the same points are awarded for all stages (except the prologue), so this often goes to a rider who has a good final week in the mountains (especially given the recent trend for the top sprinters to go home and watch that week on TV). Total prize list: €102,000

    Mountains classification (Gran Premio della Montagna - maglia verde)

    Again, a...

  • Zabel getting better, but Petacchi too fast

    Article published:
    May 17, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Tim Maloney, European Editor in Firenze

    Sitting pretty in fourth wheel behind Alessandro Petacchi and his last two lead-out men with a...

    Sitting pretty in fourth wheel behind Alessandro Petacchi and his last two lead-out men with a kilometre to go, T-Mobile's Erik Zabel appeared to be in the best slipstream of all on Stage 9 of the Giro from Firenze to Ravenna. But in the end, the finishing speed of Petacchi resulted in a victory won by over two bike lengths from his nearest competitor, Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), while Zabel ended up fifth.

    Said his sporting manager Valerio Piva on the team's website, www.t-mobile-team.com: "Erik was well-positioned in the finale, and the team did a good job at leading him out. But when Petacchi got going, there was nothing you could do. Petacchi is just too fast at the moment!"

  • Team CSC: "It's hard not to be optimistic"

    Article published:
    May 17, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Tim Maloney, European Editor in Firenze

    After two brilliant performances in Sunday's Stage 8 time trial at the Giro d'Italia, where Dave...

    After two brilliant performances in Sunday's Stage 8 time trial at the Giro d'Italia, where Dave Zabriskie won the stage and Ivan Basso finished second, Team CSC got a relatively easy ride before today's rest day in Ravenna, as the second - and ultimately decisive - phase of the race awaits.

    "We let the other teams do most of the work today. Instead, we concentrated on looking after Ivan [Basso] in the peloton, and we only took the lead for a short while in order to prevent any of our riders getting involved in a crash. The team really got a confidence boost after the time trial, and everyone is ready to take their turn, when necessary," said sports director Alain Gallopin on the team's website, www.team-csc.com, shortly after the conclusion of Stage 9.

    "After the rest day, we enter the second phase of the Giro, which includes several difficult stages, but after yesterday's success [Stage 8], it's hard not to be optimistic," he said.

    Over in Spain, the team finished 20th out of 23 teams in the opening team trial stage of the Volta a Catalunya, but nevertheless were happy with the return to form of Dane Jakob Pill after an injury-plagued spring.

    "Jakob was very strong today, probably our strongest rider, so he's definitely on track for the Tour de France," said sports director Scott Sunderland after the 20 kilometre stage.

    Sunderland added that while a ProTour race, the team's priority is clearly on the Giro d'Italia, and with a mixed bag of riders, a number of younger riders will get their chance to play their own cards.

    "We can't be good everywhere all year 'round, and some of our riders also need the occasional rest. So it's kind of a mixed line-up we have down here," he said. "Piil and [Carlos] Sastre are returning from injuries, while guys like...

  • Hoste pulls out of Catalunya

    Article published:
    May 17, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Tim Maloney, European Editor in Firenze

    After fracturing his sternum resulting from a crash in Paris-Roubaix back on April 10, Leif Hoste...

    After fracturing his sternum resulting from a crash in Paris-Roubaix back on April 10, Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel) was set to make his return to competition at yesterday's Volta a Catalunya. However, eight kilometres in the team time trial opener on a false-flat piece of road, the 28 year-old Belgian pulled out of the formation, stopped and began to hyperventilate.

    "All was going well for him and he was very much ready to come back to competition," said assistant directeur-sportif, Dirk Demol, in a team statement.

    Hoste sat down at the side down at the side of the road, breathing heavily, before team physician Dr. Dag van Elslande, who was in the car with Demol, checked him over. "We were all really scared," added Demol. "When I passed him, I saw nothing was wrong with his bike but on his face he looked like he was really breathing heavy."

    "Maybe the crash in Paris-Roubaix has got something to do with this hyperventilation," Demol told Het Nieuwsblad. "On top of that, such a team time trial demands extreme efforts of a rider, while Leif has only just come back to racing."

    Fortunately, Hoste recovered from his breathing difficulties and returns back to his home in Belgium today, where he will undergo a full medical check-up.

    However, it wasn't just Hoste who found the pace of competition too much. After 19.2 kilometres, only five of Discovery's eight riders - the minimum required for finishing a team time trial - crossed the line together in Salou, so given the circumstances, the team rode exceptionally well end up second to Phonak.

    "What I saw today was a strong Popo [Yaroslav Popovych] and the four others," Demol said. "Popo was good, Jurgen [Van Den Broeck] was strong and so was Roger [Hammond], Benjamin [Noval] and Stijn [Devolder]. They all had to take longer pulls, so to only lose by seven seconds with just five guys, it was frustrating."

    On what...

  • Tafi's forever Tifo

    Andrea Tafi accepts one of his many awards
    Article published:
    May 17, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Tim Maloney, European Editor in Firenze

    Tim Maloney, European Editor in Lamporecchio On Saturday evening at an elegant Tuscan villa high in...

    Tim Maloney, European Editor in Lamporecchio

    On Saturday evening at an elegant Tuscan villa high in the hills above Lamporecchio, Andrea Tafi said good bye to his career as a pro cyclist. Hundreds of friends and fans gathered at Villa Rospigliosi for "TifoTafi Forever", a unique talk-show style format party conceived by Italian PR maestro Gabriele Sola and hosted by RAI Sport TV broadcaster Alessandra Di Stefano.

    To honor Tafi, one of the most popular Italian riders in recent memory were a host of "i big" of cycling, including: UCI prexy Hein Verbruggen; Tafi's Tuscan neighbor, former Mapei team-mate and current technical director for the Italian pro federation Franco Ballerini; newly elected Italian federation president Di Rocco; two-time world champion Gianni Bugno; RAI Sport TV's Davide Cassani; and former pros like Roberto Conti, Saunier Duval-Prodir manager Mauro Gianetti, Tafi's last boss.

    Legendary Tuscan sprinter of the 1950s, Lorenzo Petrucci, was also present and Tafi's longtime DS Fabrizio "Mayday" Fabbri was there as well as former Giro boss Avv. Carmine Castellano. "I'm really honored by this evening... it's a great way to leave cycling as a rider, but I'm not going far," joked the ever-ebullient Tafi, who will open an agriturismo hotel dedicated to cyclists in Lamporecchio this summer.

    Born May 7, 1966 in Fucecchio, Italy, Tafi was a classic model of the rider the Italians call a "passista". In his prime, Andrea was a steamroller of a rider, a powerhouse pro, who could go incredibly hard on flat and rolling terrain and ride well on short climbs of 5-10km. He turned pro in 1989 and earned 30 wins in his pro career, but his last two seasons in 2003-4 at CSC and then Alessio were beset with injury and disappointment after his brilliant solo win at the Tour of Flanders in 2002 for Mapei.

    Although Tafi didn't win often, he often won big, with monuments like Paris-Roubaix, Flanders, Paris-Tours, Giro di...

  • Giro rest day shorts

    Dave Zabriskie's right cheek
    Article published:
    May 17, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Tim Maloney, European Editor in Firenze

    By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Firenze Rock and roll, dude: Dave Z enters the record books When...

    By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Firenze

    Rock and roll, dude: Dave Z enters the record books

    When Cyclingnews asked David Zabriskie before Stage 9 in Firenze how it felt to enter the cycling stats as the third American in cycling history along with Andy Hampsten and Tyler Hamilton to win a Giro d'Italia time trial, he smiled and said: "rock and roll, dude" - yet another example of his unique sense of humor, provoking plenty of laughter from his CSC team-mate Christian Vandevelde.

    Zabriskie told us that as Stage 8 unfolded, "I was waiting in our team car, watching the race on TV and I was really happy to realize that I had finally won." Already used to a Grand Tour podium appearance from his stage win at the Vuelta last season, Dave Z seemed to drink much more spumante than maglia rosa Di Luca. We asked the CSC rider if he had heard from the folks back home and he replied: "Yeah, I spoke to my girlfriend and my mom; they were happy I won." We then asked Zabriskie to rate Vandevelde's performance and after jokingly wondering if Vandevelde would even make it to Milano, Zabriskie praised his fellow American, saying, "he's doing really good. His back is sorted out and he seems happy and is smiling all the time."

    For his part, Zabriskie has seen an improvement in his performance since joining CSC. "The team has excellent organization and I would also say that Bjarne has helped my training, too; getting the power back into my left leg and a lot of big gear training that has helped me this year." The power increase for the American is clearly there, as Zabriskie rode the flat final 16km of Saturday's Stage 8 TT at an average speed of 55km/hr!

    We also asked CSC team boss Bjarne Riis about David Zabriskie and he smiled and replied: "Well, David is a funny guy... he has a very unique sense of humor. I think you have to get used to him. He has a special personality and I think you have to figure him out and...

  • Di Luca Deluxe in 2005

    Article published:
    May 17, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    By Les Clarke If Danilo Di Luca were to call an early end to his season after the spring classics,...

    A look at Danilo Di Luca's year so far...

    By Les Clarke

    If Danilo Di Luca were to call an early end to his season after the spring classics, many would say he's had an incredible year - but to follow up his wins at Amstel Gold Race and La Fleche Wallonne, Di Luca currently leads the Giro d'Italia, easily the most consistent rider so far.

    The Liquigas gun also leads the Pro Tour standings as a result of his great performances, donning the white outfit with plenty of pride. Over the last three weeks, the only time Di Luca hasn't been dressed in white on a bike is when he's been wearing the maglia rosa - something he's becoming very fond of.

    Touted as a great hope for the Liquigas team at their launch earlier this year, Di Luca has been quick to praise their efforts - following his Fleche Wallonne win he said; "My team did a great job. It was only when we all arrived together at the foot of the last climb that I thought of winning. This morning, I was actually more focused on Liège-Bastogne-Liège!" It's been more of the same during the Giro, with his team setting up a strong push in the last 50km of most stages, and Di Luca hasn't disappointed, finding the strength to hold off most contenders but never doing anything to harm his chances overall.

    Happy days after a disappointing 2004

    It may seem like Di Luca's stellar 2005 performances come after a promising buildup in preceding years, but that's definitely not the case - quite the opposite, in fact. Riding for the Saeco Macchine per Caffe team, 2004 wasn't one of Di Luca's best years - "I was feeling good at the start of the year. I was fourth in Amstel, second in Flèche, but then I was sick before...