Events

Wednesday’s EuroFile: Casper scores at Dunkirk, Garzelli’s ready for Giro, but where is VDB?

Jimmy Casper gave his Cofidis team a welcomed boost in Steenvoorde, France, on Wednesday as he won the first stage of the Four Days to Dunkirk on the team’s very first day back to competition following a month's absence over a drugs scandal. Casper edged out Ag2r's Jean-Patrick Nazon in the 181km ride in northern Dunkirk which claimed a notable victim in the 2003 winner of the race as Christophe Moreau retired after being dropped by the peloton in wet and windy conditions. The dreadful weather also saw former Paris-Roubaix champion Servais Knaven and Jan Koerts of the Netherlands taken to

By Andrew Hood

Absence makes the legs grow stronger?

Absence makes the legs grow stronger?

Photo: AFP

Jimmy Casper gave his Cofidis team a welcomed boost in Steenvoorde, France, on Wednesday as he won the first stage of the Four Days to Dunkirk on the team’s very first day back to competition following a month’s absence over a drugs scandal.

Casper edged out Ag2r’s Jean-Patrick Nazon in the 181km ride in northern Dunkirk which claimed a notable victim in the 2003 winner of the race as Christophe Moreau retired after being dropped by the peloton in wet and windy conditions.

The dreadful weather also saw former Paris-Roubaix champion Servais Knaven and Jan Koerts of the Netherlands taken to hospital after falls.

No repeat for Moreau

No repeat for Moreau

Photo: AFP (file photo)

The Cofidis team went to the front at the summit from where Casper and Nazon made their break and still had several seconds’ advantage over their rivals by the time they crossed the line.

The team’s sponsor, the Cofidis financial services firm Cofidis, suspended all racing on April 9 following the stinging doping allegations made by former rider Philippe Gaumont who pointed the finger at more than one member of France’s top cycling team.

The claims of doping leveled by Gaumont have been dismissed as wild by Britain’s world time trial champion David Millar and as lies by the team managers.

However the fallout of the temporary halt to their competing resulted in manager Alain Bondue and team doctor Jean-Jacques Menuet leaving the team.

The French justice system has placed eight people under investigation over the allegations.

Four days of Dunkirk – Stage 1
1. Jimmy Casper (F), Cofidis
2. Jean Patrick Nazon (F), Ag2R Prevoyance,
3. Danilo Hondo (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:13
4. Roman Luhovyy (Ukr), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover
5. Henk Vogels (Aus), Navigators Insurance
6. Stuart O´Grady (Aus), Cofidis
7. Heeswijk, Max Van (Nl), U.S. Postal Service
8. Peter Wrolich (A), Gerolsteiner
9. Tristan Hoffman (Nl), CSC
10. Jeremy Hunt (GB), MBP
FullResults

Amreicans at Dunkirk
There was a strong American accent at the start this morning as Navigators Insurance and U.S. Postal Service lined up for the five-day French race.

Navigators are back in Europe for the final leg of yet another successful run on the continent. Viktor Rapinski is back in form following a crash last month and scored a win in the 175km sixth stage of the Tour of Turkey while racing with the national Belarusian team.

Following Dunkirk, the Navs head back home to gear up for the Philly races starting with the Tour of Connecticut, a five-stage event that begins in Litchfield on May 16.

The Posties, meanwhile, bring a young team led by sprinter Max Van Heeswijk and Benoit Joachim. Damon Kluck, Michael Creed and Patrick McCarty will be jumping into the action.

American teams at 50th Four Days of Dunkirk (FRA 2.1)
Navigators Insurance
Siro Camponogara (I)
Vassili Davidenko (Rus)
Chris Baldwin (USA)
Mark Walters (Can)
Ciaran Powers (Irl)
Viktor Rapinski (Blr)
Henk Vogels (Aus)U.S. Postal Service
Damon Kluck (USA)
Mike Creed (USA)
Benoit Joachim (Lux)
Stijn Devolder (B)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (B)
Patrick McCarty (USA)
Gennady Mikyalov (Rus)
Max Van Heeswijk (Nl)

Giro news: Garzelli ready for battle
Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) says he’s more than ready for a run at a second Giro d’Italia title as the Italian grand tour kicks off Saturday with the prologue in Genoa.

“I will start from Genoa convinced that I had done all that I can to be prepared for an assault on the Giro,” Garzelli told DataSport. “In the Tour de Romandie, I won a stage and rode well in the final time trial in Lausanne, confirmations that my preparation has gone well.”

Garzelli rode well at Romandie, but lost contact in the difficult climbing stages Friday and Saturday in the Swiss Alps. The 2000 Giro champion said Phonak was determined to carry Tyler Hamilton to victory.

“Phonak made it very hard in the climbs,” Garzelli said. “I only lost 1 minute to Hamilton, so I am satisfied with that.”

Garzelli finished second overall to winner Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) last year.

Giro: VdB MIA for Giro
Frank Vandenbroucke isn’t expected to start the 87th Giro d’Italia after coming down with a fever. According to a report in the Belgian daily Le Deniere Heure, Vandenbroucke won’t be part of Fassa Bortolo’s lineup Saturday in Genova.

Vandenbroucke also missed Sunday’s homage to Johan Museeuw, raising speculation about the troubled rider’s whereabouts. The team confirmed the Belgian is sick, but hasn’t indicated which rider would take his spot on the roster.

Vandenbroucke was a late addition to the Fassa Bortolo lineup after team captain Dario Frigo, who’s been sick since Paris-Nice, concluded that he wouldn’t be able to start. The Italian team is coming to the Giro with a team entirely built to support ace sprinter Alessandro Petacchi.

Whether this impacts American Tom Danielson’s chances to ride in the Giro remains to be seen. Danielson told VeloNews on Tuesday that he won’t be starting the Giro. Instead, Danielson – fresh off an impressive 18th place in the Tour de Romandie – will be racing the Tour of Luxembourg and then the Tour de Suisse.

Giro: Vila helping Lampre
Spanish rider Francisco Vila will be one of the top helpers for the Italian squad Lampre in the hunt for the podium in the upcoming Giro d’Italia (May 8-30).

He’ll work hard for team leader Juan Garate while newly acquired world champion Igor Astarloa will hunt for stage victories.

“I feel a lot stronger than last year,” Vila told El Dario Vasco. “I am having good sensations. The times I had made on the climbs I normally train on were the best ever. It’s very clear what I have to do, stay with Garate as long as possible. I’m sure I’ll have my chances in one stage and if it happens, I’ll try to take advantage of it.”

The team also comes with sprinters Jan Svorada and Luciano Pagliarini. Injured team captain Francesco Casagrande won’t be starting while Wladimir Belli is not in his best form.

Cooke’s chances take blow
Welsh cyclist Nicole Cooke says her preparations for Athens have been hit by her troublesome knee injury, BBC reported.

“I haven’t raced at all this season, it’s unusual and I’m in unknown territory,” the 21-year-old told BBC. “I’m back training and happy with the progress, but it’ll need some thought in the next few weeks not to aggravate things as I build to full fitness.”

The Wick cyclist damaged the knee in a crash in a race in Canada last June and the recovery has been troublesome. The injury was aggravated in her first race back last July, with fluid gathering on the knee. She was still able to claim the World Cup last year, but had to abandon thoughts of defending that crown as protracted close-season rehabilitation took priority.

“My aim this year is definitely the Olympics and I want to hit top form by mid August,” Cooke told BBC Sport Wales. “I’m happy with the progress that’s being made and things are still on course.”
— By the BBC

Racing today
Action kicks off with the 181km opening stage from Dunkirk to Steenvoorde of the Four Days of Dunkirk(FRA 2.1), a five-day, six-stage race held in northern France. The race marks the return to competition for the French Cofidis team while last year’s winner Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) will be a favorite to repeat following his victory Sunday in the Trophée Grimpeurs in France.

Photo Gallery

Results

Four days of Dunkirk – Stage 1

1. Jimmy Casper (F), Cofidis

2. Jean Patrick Nazon (F), Ag2R Prevoyance,

3. Danilo Hondo (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:13

4. Roman Luhovyy (Ukr), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover

5. Henk Vogels (Aus), Navigators Insurance

6. Stuart O´Grady (Aus), Cofidis

7. Heeswijk, Max Van (Nl), U.S. Postal Service

8. Peter Wrolich (A), Gerolsteiner

9. Tristan Hoffman (Nl), CSC

10. Jeremy Hunt (GB), MBP

11. Julian Dean (NZl), Crédit Agricole

12. Speybroek, Wesley Van (B), VLA

13. Katwijk, Alain Van (Nl), BGL

14. Rik Reinerink (Nl), Chocolade Jacques

15. Marco Bos (Nl), BGL

16. Mikhail Timochine (Rus), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

17. Andy Cappelle (B), Chocolade Jacques

18. Robert Hunter (RSA), Rabobank

19. Francesc Planckaert (B), Chocolade Jacques

20. Mark Renshaw (Aus), FDJeux.com

21. Arnaud Coyot (F), Cofidis

22. Sébastien Rosseler (B), Relax Bodysol

23. Lars Michaelsen (Dk), CSC

24. Rony Martias (F), Brioches La Boulangere

25. Julien Smink (Nl), BGL

26. Aurélien Clerc (Swi), Quick Step-Davitamon

27. Der, Wal, Eelke Van (Nl), BGL

28. Jimmy Engoulvent (F), Cofidis

29. Andy Flickinger (F), Ag2R Prevoyance

30. Janek Tombak (Est), Cofidis

31. James Vanlandschoot (B), Relax Bodysol

32. Benoît Salmon (F), Crédit Agricole

33. Yuri Mitlushenko (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

34. Jimmi Madsen (Dk), CSC

35. Laurent Brochard (F), Ag2R Prevoyance

36. Roger Hammond (GB), MBP

37. Erki Putsep (Est), Ag2R Prevoyance

38. Peter Farazijn (B), Cofidis

39. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est), Ag2R Prevoyance

40. Bobbie Traksel (Nl), Rabobank

41. Christopher Baldwin (USA), Navigators Insurance

42. Mark Scanlon (IRL), Ag2R Prevoyance

43. Guillaume Auger (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover

44. Ciaran Power (IRL), Navigators Insurance

45. Frederik Willems (B), VLA

46. Christophe Mengin (F), FDJeux.com

47. Ruslan Gryschenko (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

48. Den, Broeck, Jurg Van (B), U.S. Postal Service

49. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step-Davitamon

50. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Brioches La Boulangere

51. Nico Mattan (B), Relax Bodysol

52. Bjorn Leukemans (B), MBP

53. Maxime Monfort (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

54. Stijn Devolder (B), U.S. Postal Service

55. Didier Rous (F), Brioches La Boulangere

56. Dimitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Cofidis

57. Kristof Trouve (B), MBP

58. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Crédit Agricole

59. Viktor Rapinski (Blr), Navigators Insurance

60. Frederic Amorison (B), Quick Step-Davitamon

61. Bert Roesems (B), Relax Bodysol

62. Michael Sandstod (Dk), CSC

63. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Quick Step-Davitamon

64. Ronald Mutsaars (Nl), Rabobank

65. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner

66. Laurent Lefevre (F), Brioches La Boulangere

67. Summeren, Johan Van (B), Relax Bodysol

68. Benoit Joachim (Lux), U.S. Postal Service

69. Wim Van Huffel (B), VLA

70. Andy Desmet (B), MBP

71. Wim Devocht (B), Relax Bodysol

72. Cédric Herve (F), Crédit Agricole

73. Lilian Jegou (F), Crédit Agricole

74. Nikita Eskov (Rus), LOK

75. Jurgen Van Goolen (B), Quick Step-Davitamon

76. Bart Despiegelaere (B), VLA

77. Gennadi Mikhailov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service

78. Wilfried Cretskens (B), Quick Step-Davitamon

79. Bart Voskamp (Nl), Chocolade Jacques

80. David Millar (GB), Cofidis

81. Geoffrey Demeyere (B), VLA

82. Damon Kluck (USA), U.S. Postal Service

83. Sergey Lagutin (UZB), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

84. Klaus Mutschler (G), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover

85. Lars, Ytting Bak (Dk), BGL

86. Rene Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner

87. Jan Kuyckx (B), VLA

88. Nick Nuyens (B), Quick Step-Davitamon

89. Franck Hoj (Dk), CSC

90. Marc Streel (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

91. Thorwald Veneberg (Nl), Rabobank

92. Niels Scheuneman (B), Relax Bodysol

93. Jan Boven (Nl), Rabobank

94. Pierrick Fedrigo (F), Crédit Agricole

95. Preben Vanheche (B), Relax Bodysol

96. Geert Omloop (B), MBP

97. Eric Berthou (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover

98. Paul Vanhyfte (B), VLA

99. Patrice Halgand (F), Crédit Agricole

100. Mark Walters (CAN), Navigators Insurance

101. Michael Creed (USA), U.S. Postal Service

102. Ludo Dierckxsens (B), Landbouwkrediet – Colnago

103. Uwe Peschel (G), Gerolsteiner

104. Allan Johansen (Dk), BGL

105. Johan Coenen (B), MBP

106. Renaud Dion (F), R.A.G.T. Semences-MG Rover

107. Thomas Voeckler (F), Brioches La Boulangere

108. Christophe Stevens (B), Chocolade Jacques

109. Franck Bouyer (F), Brioches La Boulangere

110. Frédéric Guesdon (F), FDJeux.com

111. Bernhard Eisel (A), FDJeux.com

112. Laurens Tendam (Nl), BGL

113. Michael Rich (G), Gerolsteiner

114. Kevin Deweert (B), Rabobank

115. Patrick Mccarty (USA), U.S. Postal Service

116. Robert Bartko (G), Rabobank
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