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Friday’s Euro-file: ‘Il Pirata’ eyes ‘El Chava’

Marco Pantani is reportedly interested in signing another troubled star, Spanish climber Jose Maria Jimenez. The pair met while training in the Canary Islands and now Pantani wants Jimenez to join him at Mercatone Uno-Scanavino, according to a report in the Spanish sports daily AS. Pantani met Jimenez, nicknamed “El Chava,” in the same hotel in Maspalomas on Gran Canaria while training with teammates Daniel Clavero, Fabiano Fontanelli and Roberto Conti last week. According to AS, the team’s agents are interested in signing Jimenez, who missed most of last season suffering from depression. He

By Andrew Hood

Photo: Graham Watson

Marco Pantani is reportedly interested in signing another troubled star, Spanish climber Jose Maria Jimenez. The pair met while training in the Canary Islands and now Pantani wants Jimenez to join him at Mercatone Uno-Scanavino, according to a report in the Spanish sports daily AS.

Pantani met Jimenez, nicknamed “El Chava,” in the same hotel in Maspalomas on Gran Canaria while training with teammates Daniel Clavero, Fabiano Fontanelli and Roberto Conti last week. According to AS, the team’s agents are interested in signing Jimenez, who missed most of last season suffering from depression. He was eventually suspended by iBanesto.com in November after team officials concluded that he would not be back, but El Chava recently said that he is on the road to recovery and trying to make a comeback this season.

Teams want MSR, Lombardia left off World Cup
According to reports in the Spanish press, the Professional Cycling Council has asked the UCI in writing to exclude from cycling’s World Cup the Milan-San Remo and Giro di Lombardia races due to a rift over television broadcast rights.

Manolo Saiz, president of the team’s group, told the Spanish daily MARCA that if race organizers cannot guarantee that the two races will be broadcast throughout Europe, the races should be excluded from the 10-round World Cup. Saiz, also ONCE’s team manager, said RCS (an Italian group that organizes the two World Cup races and the Giro d’Italia) promised the teams the problem would be solved by the spring. Saiz insists the problem remains and there are no guaranteed TV coverage throughout Europe because RAI – Italy’s national television – is charging too much for broadcasting rights.

“If the UCI isn’t coherent with its decision it takes, it will lose all credibility,” Saiz was quoted in MARCA. “If it’s strict with the teams, it needs to be as strict with the organizers. If they don’t take them out of the World Cup, they will lose all legitimacy to sanction whichever team.”

Magnien takes Med stage, De Groot keeps lead
French rider Emmanuel Magnien snagged the second stage of the Tour Mediterranean on Thursday. Bram De Groot, the Dutch rider on Rabobank who won the opening stage Wednesday, retained the overall lead. The race continues Friday with World Cup champion Paolo Bettini poised to jump into the lead.

Stage 2, Tour Mediterranean
1. Emmanuel Magnien (F), Brioches-La Boulangere, 2:39:23
2. Filippo Pozzato (I), Fassa Bortolo
3. Fabio Sacchi (I), Saeco
4. Thor Hushovd (N), Crédit Agricole
5. Paolo Bettini (I), Quick Step-Davitamon
6. Michael Blaudzun (Den), CSC
7. Oscar Camenzind (Swi), Phonak
8. Nicolas Jalabert (F), CSC
9. Laurent Brochard (F), AG2r Prevoyance
10. Leonardo Zanotti (I), De Nardi-Colpack, all same time

DeGroot still in yellow

DeGroot still in yellow

Photo: Graham Watson

Overall standings after two stages
1. Bram De Groot (Nl), Rabobank, 5:07:32
2. Paolo Bettini (I), Quick Step-Davitamon, at 0:05
3. Thor Hushovd (N), Crédit Agricole, at 0:07
4. Laurent Brochard (F), AG2r Prevoyance at 0:11
5. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Brioches-La Boulangere, s.t.
6. Thomas Voeckler (F), Brioches-La Boulangere, s.t.
7. Mirko Celestino (I), Saeco, s.t.
8. Emmanuel Magnien (F), Brioches-La Boulangere, at 1:25
9. Filippo Pozzato (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 1:29
10. Fabio Sacchi (I), Saeco, at 1:31.

Paternina-Costa Almeria team presentation
Spain’s Division II Paternina-Costa Almeria unveiled its lineup for the 2003 season with 16 riders, including Spanish road champion Juan Carlos Guillamon. The team’s top goal will be the Vuelta a Espana. Paternina, a Spanish wine company, takes over the title sponsor from Jazztel. The team will makes its season debut Sunday in the Ruta del Sol.Riders: Juan Carlos Guillamón, Rafael Casero, José Antonio Garrido, Carlos Torrent, Ricardo Valdés, José Antonio Pecharromán, José Luis Martínez, Pedro Díaz Lobato, Carlos Golbano, Darío Gadeo, Joaquín López, Domingo Segado, Gustavo Toledo, Jorge Ferrio, Javier Tondo and Dermot Nally.

Barcelona wants 2004 Tour de France stage
Officials from Barcelona met Thursday with Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc about bringing a Tour stage next year to the bustling Spanish city. Leblanc is expected to visit Barcelona in May to study the city’s infrastructure, according to the Spanish wires.

The 2004 Tour route will be unveiled in Paris on Oct. 23, which will start in Belgium and arrive first in the Pyrenees before the Alps. Barcelona, which hosted the 1992 Summer Games, hopes to host at least one stage.

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