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By Andrew Hood
2002 Giro d’Italia champion Paolo Savoldelli’s injuries caused by a training fall last weekend in Spain are not as bad as originally thought, reports his Telekom team. In an interview posted on the team’s web page, Savoldelli said he didn’t break his jaw as originally feared and he expects to miss just two weeks of training after crashing in Tenerife on Saturday.
“My guardian angel must have been with me,” said Savoldelli, recounting the accident. “We were riding and came upon some motorcycles and we each turned the same way. I slammed my face against his helmet. Luckily, I only broke my nose.”
Savoldelli returned to Italy on Monday to Bergamo where doctors examined the “Falcon.” Telekom team doctor Lothar Heinrich said contrary to earlier fears, Savoldelli did not have a broken jaw. Salvodelli did suffer a deep thigh bruise, a broken left thumb and a broken nose, which will be reset this week.
Savoldelli had wanted to start his season the Tour of Valencia (Feb. 25 to March 1), and still hopes to be ready for Milan-San Remo on March 22. The team also reported that Savoldelli likely won’t be at the 2003 Giro to defend his title. Instead, the Italian will be part of a re-energized Telekom team intent on derailing defending champion Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France.
Also falling in the spill was teammate Mario Aerts, who suffered cuts and scrapes to his knees and hip. Also riding with them but not involved in the incident were teammates Cadel Evans, Matthias Kessler, Giuseppe Guerini and Alexandre Vinokourov.
Armstrong headlines Vuelta a Murcia line-up
Lance Armstrong will headline the upcoming Vuelta a Murcia (March 5-9) and will mark the season debut for the four-time Tour de France champion. Race organizers released the official list of teams for the upcoming race, but former Tour and Giro d’Italia winner Marco Pantani won’t be among the starters.
Pantani had hinted he wanted to renew his comeback efforts at the Vuelta a Murcia, but he’s still awaiting for the UCI to rule on the status of his suspension. Other star riders expected to start include Francesco Casagrande and Gianluca Bortolami (Lampre), Angel Casero (Coast), Juan Carlos Dominguez (Phonak), Erik Zabel (Telekom) and Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank).
U.S. Postal Service
Relax-Fuenlabrada and Labarca 2
Roux joins D2 Flanders-IteamNova.com
French rider Laurent Roux has joined the the second division Flanders-IteamNova.com for the 2003 season, the Belgian wires reported Monday. Roux, a winner of a stage in the 2001 Tour de France who raced last year with Jean Delatour, becomes the 17th rider to join the Belgian team.
Cipo presents rainbow jersey
Mario Cipollini officially unveiled his world champion rainbow jersey he’ll be wearing during the upcoming season during a presentation in Milan on Monday, his team reported. Cipollini was showing off his Domina Vacanze jersey that he’ll wear in his season debut at the Luis Puig race Sunday in Spain.
“This is an important moment for me. For the first time since the world championships in Zolder I have presented this rainbow jersey and I hope to win some important races this year,” Super Mario said.
Cipollini said he hasn’t worn the rainbow jersey since he won in dramatic fashion in October in Belgium. His season debut was postponed from last week’s Tour Mediterranean to Luis Puig when the 35-year-old said he simply wasn’t ready to compete in a stage-race so early in the season.
Tirreno-Adriatico team list released
Race organizers for the upcoming Tirreno-Adriatico released the official list of 20 starting teams on Monday for the upcoming “Race of the Two Seas.” The Italian stage race (March 13-19) is an important final tune-up for riders going into Milan-San Remo that starts just a few days later on March 22.Officials said the race will start in Sabaudia and end in San Benedetto del Tronto and course details will be released Feb. 24. Twenty teams with eight riders each will comprise the peloton.