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Latest Cycling News for May 18, 2005

Date published:
May 18, 2005, 1:00 BST
  • So far, so good for Ullrich

    Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile)
    Article published:
    May 18, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Ravenna

    After yesterday's opening road stage of the Volta a Catalunya , T-Mobile leader Jan Ullrich says he...

    After yesterday's opening road stage of the Volta a Catalunya, T-Mobile leader Jan Ullrich says he has good sensations in his legs, with he and his team leading the chase along with Phonak to bring back the early breakaway. "My legs were very strong today. I am using this race to get my legs into gear - and so far so good," said Ullrich on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com.

    Directeur sportif was also happy with his team's performance: "The team did a good job today. We had eight riders at the front of the pack on the final climb, and we closed the gap to the break," he said. "It was a good showing."

    31 year-old Ullrich finished the stage the same time as winner Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas-Bianchi), and is currently lying 14th overall on the general classification, 14 seconds behind Miguel A.M. Perdiguero (Phonak).

  • Giro 2006 in Belgium

    Article published:
    May 18, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Ravenna

    The 2006 Giro d'Italia will travel through the Wallonian part of Belgium, according to a report in...

    The 2006 Giro d'Italia will travel through the Wallonian part of Belgium, according to a report in Gazet van Antwerpen. After a prologue in Seraing on May 6, the race will spend the next three days in Belgium, visiting the provinces of Liege, Namur, Hainaut, Brabant-Wallon and Luxembourg. Stage 1 on May 7 will be from Bergen to Charleroi and include a visit to Marcinelle, where there was a mining tragedy 50 years ago that killed 262 people, over half of which were Italian. Stage 2 on May 8 will run from Perwez to Namur, while the final Belgian stage on May 9 will start in Wanze, near Huy, and finish in Leverkusen in Germany, passing via the motor racing circuit in Spa-Francorchamps.

  • Aussie rest day ramblings

    Part of the Giro's Aussie mob
    Article published:
    May 18, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By John Trevorrow in Ravenna Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) (When we caught up with Robbie, he was...

    By John Trevorrow in Ravenna

    Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)

    (When we caught up with Robbie, he was lying on his hotel bed, enjoying dinner)

    CN: How did you spend the rest day?

    "Just resting today - I needed it. I've been feeling a bit ordinary the last few days. I came into the Giro without a really good base because I've been crook for a while. I rushed my preparation to make the Giro start in any sort of condition. Over the last two or three days it's really been starting to catch up with me, so I only had about an hour and a quarter on the bike today. The rest of the day I had a massage, some physio... mate, I'm dead - I'm making a real resting of it."

    CN: Tomorrow's the last day on the flats - how are you going to go?

    "Tomorrow's [Stage 10] totally flat and it should be a sprint, but it's supposed to be raining tomorrow so it'll be a little more dangerous and a little more hectic. I think Petacchi will be desperate for another win, even though the pressure is off him a little."

    Nick Gates (Davitamon-Lotto)

    ('Gatesy' was next to McEwen, also enjoying the rest)

    "I spent today the same as Robbie - an hour and a bit on the bike, a massage and a rest. I got out of bed at 10:40 this morning after ten hours sleep, had some breakfast, went for the ride and then had lunch - and I've been in bed ever since. I'll get out of bed tomorrow and be on my way again - I'm feeling good, and we're halfway through the Giro tomorrow; I'm recovering well each day."

    Russell Van Hout (Selle Italia-Colombia)

    "Today was a fantastic day - a quiet day, the best day of the Giro. Went for a 25km ride - a hit-out with Willo, Stuey and Whitey; it started to rain so we headed to a cafe. Lo and behold if we don't see another bunch of Aussies - Baden, Matt and Mark - so we had a brew with them and headed back for lunch and a lie...

  • Zabel likes (most) of what he sees

    Article published:
    May 18, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    So far, evergreen 34 year-old Erik Zabel has enjoyed his Giro d'Italia debut, and believes the...

    So far, evergreen 34 year-old Erik Zabel has enjoyed his Giro d'Italia debut, and believes the ProTour was the right step up for cycling, where he says a win now means more than before.

    "The first impressions are really good," Zabel said in an interview on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com. "It is a really nice race, and very well organised. But having said that, some of the stages, particularly the run-ins, can be really dangerous.

    "Whenever riders are really motivated, the racing starts to get nervy and then you get crashes. If we hit tricky sections of road, it can always get messy. But it is not any worse than in other similar races. The Giro's new ProTour status also means that the riders are more motivated and aggressive than in previous years.

    Speaking about the ProTour, Zabel commented that it's beneficial to both the teams, riders and sponsors. He said the teams can now plan better, bringing the right riders to the right race; the races have deeper fields and hence better competition, including non-ProTour races; and it also serves as a sound basis for what the sponsors are trying to achieve.

    However, the wise-man of cycling did say the ProTour's points system needs some work, a comment made by a large percentage of the peloton. "That is not yet fully sorted out," said Zabel.

    "If your consider that there are only three points on offer for a stage win at the Giro or the Tour, compared to 50 for a classics win, then it doesn't really add up. After all, a Tour stage win is not so easy to pull off! I think that there's a clear effort to strengthen the one days, but they should reconsider how they are going about it. But overall, I believe that cycling is on the right track."

    Zabel also added that he had a "good, hard talk" with T-Mobile's directeur-sportif Olaf Ludwig about his future with the team once he decides to stop cycling, and will be able to reveal more after the Giro finishes.

  • Scarponi growing confident

    Article published:
    May 18, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    After a two-hour light training ride with his Liberty Seguros team-mates, Michele Scarponi,...

    After a two-hour light training ride with his Liberty Seguros team-mates, Michele Scarponi, currently lying 13th overall in the Giro d'Italia, is growing increasingly confident.

    "Yes, now I feel very sure of myself," said the 25 year-old Italian. "The first week was the most difficult for me because I have competed very little. I believe that from Thursday [the first mountain stage - ed.] I am going to improve a lot; I have a very strong team and that gives me even more confidence."

    Asked how he felt he'd gone in the first phase of the race, Scarponi said "good enough, but not exceptional", adding that he lost a little more time than he wanted in Sunday's time trial, but is content to be a minute behind outright favourites Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego from Lampre-Cafitta.

    "I have seen [Ivan] Basso very sure of himself and he demonstrated to be the strongest on time trial stage. If I see a favourite, it's him, but Cunego and Simoni can do the difference uphill and Savoldelli, who has also already won one Giro, is another big candidate," Scarponi said of his rivals.

    "Apart from them, I am more in the shade and I'm waiting to see the tactics used by the others, especially how the Lampre will race. And, of course, I don't forget [Danilo] Di Luca and [Stefano] Garzelli, either. Liquigas has a very strong team, but Liberty Seguros-Würth is also a great team, and now the stages are to our favour," he said.

    Like many riders, Scarponi commented that this year's race is a fascinating one and not like past Giri d'Italia, in that it's not easy to predict a winner because of the number of favourites.

    "This second week will be very, very difficult, with long stages and very important climbs. There, we will see who can not win the Giro, but to know the one who will win in Milan, it will be necessary to wait to the third week, to the second time trial [Stage 18] and the stage to...

  • No extra wildcard given for the Tour

    Article published:
    May 18, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow in Ravenna

    There will only be 21 teams at the start of the Tour de France in Fromentine on July 2, after race...

    There will only be 21 teams at the start of the Tour de France in Fromentine on July 2, after race organisers ASO declined to invite a 22nd squad. That means the 20 ProTour teams plus Ag2r-Prevoyance will comprise the 189-rider Tour peloton, with five French teams in total. After a strong performance in Paris-Roubaix earlier this season, Agritubel was a candidate for an additional wild card spot, but ASO decided that the team hadn't done well enough in the more recent stage races and dropped it.

    The teams for the 92nd Tour de France:

    AG2R, Bouygues Telecom, Crédit Agricole, Cofidis, CSC, Discovery Channel, Davitamon-Lotto, Domina Vacanze, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Fassa Bortolo, Gerolsteiner, Illes Balears, La Française des Jeux, Lampre, Liquigas, Liberty-Seguros-Wurth, Phonak Hearing Systems, QuickStep-Innergetic, Rabobank, Saunier Duval, T-Mobile.