By Andrew Hood
Tyler Hamilton’s exploits in the Giro d’Italia headline Americans racingin Europe this week. Hamilton is the only American starting in the Giro(yeah, we know, Acqua & Sapone’s Guido Trenti races with American licensebut is Italian) as Telekom’s Kevin Livingston and Bobby Julichwill be racing elsewhere in the coming weeks to get ready for the Tourde France.No American teams are in the Giro. Hamilton’s Giro didn’t start theway he would have hoped. The CSC-Tiscali team captain skidded into barriersin Saturday’s opening prologue, but luckily he wasn’t injured and finished34 seconds off the winning, a good result considering the crash. Hamiltonwas caught behind a late-race crash in the first stage and lost more time,but rebounded in Monday’s second stage ending in Liege.Hamilton finished fifth in the first group as the peloton split comingover the St. Nicholas climb 5 km from the finish of the 199-km stage.The Giro d’Italia by the numbersMost overall victories: Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and EddyMerckx, five each.
Most stage victories: Alfredo Binda, 41.
Most stage wins in one Giro: Alfredo Binda, 12 in 1927.
Leaders from the start to finish: Costante Giradengo (1919),Alfredo Binda (1927), Eddy Merckx (1973) and Gianni Bugno (1990).
Most podium finishes: Felice Gimondi, nine times in the top-3including overall victory in 1967, 1969 and 1976.
Smallest margins of victories: Twelve seconds in 1955 betweenwinner Fiorenzi Magni and Fausto Coppi. It was 12 seconds again betweenwinner Eddy Merckx and Gibi Baronchelli in 1974.
American podium finishers: Andy Hampsten, winner in 1988, thirdin 1989; Greg Lemond, third in 1985.
Longest Giro: 4,337 kms in 1954
Shortest Giro: 2,439 kms in 1912
Fastest average speed: Average speed by 1983 winner GiuseppeSaronni, 38.937 km/h.
Slowest average speed: Average speed by 1914 winner AlfonsoCalzolari, 23.374 km/h.
Oldest winner: Fiorenzo Magni in 1955 (35).
Youngest winner: 20-year-old Fausto Coppi in 1940.Bartoli out for two monthsMichele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo), who was forced to withdraw fromthe Giro on Sunday after fracturing his right iliac bone, is expected tobe out at least two months. That means Bartoli, who recently won the AmstelGold race in Holland, likely won’t be starting the Tour de France in July.Looking to the Tour (or not)The big news last week was Jan Ullrich’s decision not to startthe 2002 Tour de France. Lance Armstrong, whose next race is MidiLibre (May 22-25) had this to say on his web page: “It’s too bad – forme, he’s our most-feared rival and I always look forward to racing him.The race needs as many animators as possible and he is one of the best.Again, I’m truly disappointed.”In the latest UCI rankings released Monday, Armstrong remains the highest-rankedAmerican and slipped from fourth to fifth overall. Other Americans in thetop-100 include: Levi Leipheimer at 30th, George Hincapieat 43rd and Fred Rodriguez at 54th.U.S. Postal’s David Zabriskie finished 9th in a 23.3-km individualtime trial at Four Days of Dunkirk last week. The Navigators strong Europeanshowing continued with Aussie Tom Leaper finishing in 16th overall.Michael Barry (USPS, Can) finished 42nd at 23:16 back, Kirk O’Bee(Navigators) at 46th at 25:18, Antonio Cruz (USPS) at 68th at 30:29and finally Zabriskie finished up at 106th at 44:14.The week aheadThe Giro continues this week with two long flat stages across Belgium,Luxembourg, Germany and France before the first of two rest days on May16 for a transfer. The race returns to Italy for stage 5, a 143-km summitfinish at Limone Piemonte at 1,407 meters.The favorites will be watching each other closely in this short stage,but pretenders won’t be able to hide poor form at this point. Stages 6-10are transition stages along the Med coast and Tuscany as the Giro plowssouth with a variety of medium climbs suited for breakaways and stage-hunters,especially in stages 6-8.Other continental races this week are the Tour of Picardie (France,2.2) from Friday to Sunday and the Subida de Naranco (a one-day climbingrace in northern Spain) and Vuelta a Asturias (Spain, 2.3) on Wednesdayto Sunday. Ibanesto.com will bring a motivated team including LeondardoPieppoli (winner of Tour of Aragon), Aitor Osa (winner of Vueltaal Pais Vasco) and Juan Miguel Mercado (winner of Setmana Catalanaand Vuelta a Castillo y Leon), who will only start at Naranco.Joseba Beloki (ONCE) and Oscar Sevilla (Kelme) also willbe starting at Asturias as part of their Tour preparationsFat tiresMountain biking’s World Cup opens this weekend with the first cross-countryrace of the season in Madrid. If past Spanish races are any indication,huge crowds are expected to turn out to cheer hometown faves Marga Fullanaand Jose Antonio Hermida.AlcobendasCofidis finished 1-2 in the Clasica International a Alcobendas overthe weekend in Spain, with David Moncoutie taking the victory anda resurging David Millar finished second.Moncoutie won a morning climbing sector of Sunday’s two-race finaleand held off ibanesto.com’s Juan Miguel Mercadco through the afternoontime trial to take the overall. Millar seems fully recovered from the healthproblems that dogged him through the winter and spring and finished strongin the climbing stage to Alto de Navacerrada and took third in the timetrial.Final overall standings: 1. David Moncoutié (F),Cofidis, 5 hours, 23 minutes, 33 seconds, 222,9 kms. (41,335 kms./h.);2. David Millar (GB), Cofidis, at 2 seconds; 3. Andre Teteriouk (Kaz),CCC, a 0:07: 4. Iker Camaño (Sp), Phonak, a 0:08; 5. SantiagoBotero (Col), Kelme, a 0:14