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By Andrew Hood
Still basking in the afterglow of his dramatic victory at the93rd Milan-San Remo on Saturday, Mario Cipollini now says he willcertainly compete in the world championships in Zolder, Belgium in October.”The worlds will be my Milan-San Remo of the autumn,” Cipollini toldLa Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s a course well-suited for a sprinterand I will prepare 100 percent for it.”Now that Super Mario is overall leader of the 2002 World Cup, Cipollinisaid he will race at Tour of Flanders (April 7) and possibly Paris-Roubaix(April 14). He said he will also race Ghent-Wevelgem, a race he’s won twice,and check out the Zolder world’s while in Belgium.Still busy celebrating, the Lion King won’t race this week in the SettimanaInternazionale Coppi & Bartoli. Several small but important pre-Girod’Italia races kick off this week, including the Coppi & Bartali (March26-30) and Semana Catalan (March 25-29). Penciled in to ride the five-dayCoppi & Bartali are Francesco Casagrande, Dario Frigo,Pavel Tonkov and last year’s winner Ruslan Ivanov.The respective winners of last year’s other grand tours — GilbertoSimoni (Giro) and Angel Casero (Vuelta a Espana) are set tostart at Semana Catalan, which starts today. Levi Leipheimer wasa last-minute addition to the Rabobank lineup following Erik Dekker‘scrash at Milan-San Remo.Also this week is the 22nd Tour of Normandie, March 26-31, a race largelytailored for Division II and espoir teams … Dekker is expected to moveinto the top spot when the UCI rankings are released later this week, butwill be out at least a month, maybe longer, after he broke a bone in hisleft leg after going down before the Cipressa climb Saturday. For Dekker,the defending World Cup champion, the spring classics are over. …AMERICAN WATCH: Lance Armstrong is back in Spainafter his season debut at Milan-San Remo and is expected to race this weekendat Criterium International (March 30-31). Joining Armstrong at CI willbe U.S. Postal Service teammates Christian Vande Velde, a late scratchat Milan-San Remo, and Chann McRae, back on the continent afterracing at Redlands. George Hincapie is scheduled to race at ThreeDays of DePanne to further prepare on his assault on Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.Fred Rodriguez (Domo) had an fantastic Milan-San Remo, finishingsecond by a tire length and nearly spoiling Cipo’s big day. Hadthe sprint been just another 50 meters? Hmmmm …Rodriguez is scheduled to race at GP de Waregem (March 27) and GP E3(March 30), both in Belgium, before Flanders. Scheduled to join Leipheimerat Semana Catalan are Jonathan Vaughters (Credit Agricole), Tyler Hamilton (CSC-Tiscali) and Kevin Livingston (Telekom).