Road

Friday’s Euro-file: Simoni takes over at Trentino

Saeco's Gilberto Simoni won Friday's climbing stage of the Tour of Trentino in northern Italy and bounced into the overall lead. Simoni and yesterday's winner Stefano Garzelli (Sidermec) traded places, with Simoni taking the flowers this time ahead of the resurgent Garzelli. The opening two days of Tour of Trentino give a nice glimpse of who's in form for the upcoming Giro d'Italia, with both Simoni and Garzelli looking sharp. The race continues with Saturday's 165km third stage from Fondo to Levico Terme. Stage 2, Tour of Trentino (UCI 2.2), Moena to Ronzone 1. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saeco,

By Andrew Hood

Photo: AFP

Saeco’s Gilberto Simoni won Friday’s climbing stage of the Tour of Trentino in northern Italy and bounced into the overall lead. Simoni and yesterday’s winner Stefano Garzelli (Sidermec) traded places, with Simoni taking the flowers this time ahead of the resurgent Garzelli.

The opening two days of Tour of Trentino give a nice glimpse of who’s in form for the upcoming Giro d’Italia, with both Simoni and Garzelli looking sharp. The race continues with Saturday’s 165km third stage from Fondo to Levico Terme.

Stage 2, Tour of Trentino (UCI 2.2), Moena to Ronzone
1. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saeco, 4 hours, 42 minutes, 19 seconds
2. Stefano Garzelli (I), Sidermec, at 9 seconds
3. Tadej Valjavec (Slo), Fassa Bortolo, at 16 seconds
4. Leonardo Bertagnolli (I), Saeco, at 47 seconds
5. Paolo Lanfranchi (I), Panaria, at 1:19Overall standings after stage 2
1. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saeco, 9 hours, 40 minutes, 3 seconds
2. Stefano Garzelli (I), Sidermec, at 9 seconds
3. Tadej Valjavec (Slo), Fassa Bortolo, at 16 seconds
4. Leonardo Bertagnolli (I), Saeco, at 47 seconds
5. Paolo Lanfranchi (I), Panaria, at 1:19

Herrero takes Rioja opener
Spain’s David Herrero (Euskaltel) won Friday’s 129km opener of the three-day Tour of Rioja in Spain’s famous Rioja wine region. Herrero outsprinted Nacor Burgos (Relax) and Rafael Casero (Paternina), who came across the line third. The race continues Saturday with the difficult 188km climbing stage to Cruz de la Demanda, a climb featured occasionally in the Vuelta a España.

Stage 1 and overall standings, Tour of La Rioja (UCI 2.3) Autol to Calahora
1. David Herrero (Sp), Euskaltel, 129km in 2 hours, 43 minutes, 37 seconds
2. Nacor Burgos (Sp), Relax-Fuenlabrada
3. Rafael Casero (Sp), Paternina-Costa Almeria
4. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Kelme
5. Eric Leblancher (F), Credit Agricole – all same time

Milaneza keeps rolling at GP Cortez
Rui Sousa won the second stage in a row for Milaneza-MSS at the GP Cortez-Mitsubishi, taking the field sprint ahead of teammate and race leader Francisco Perez (Milaneza-MSS) in Portugal on Friday. Milaneza-MSS continued its typical domination of Portuguese races and has three riders in the top-5 going into Saturday’s third 147km stage.

Rich in control at Tour of Lower Saxony
Saulius Ruskys (Marlux) relegated Danilo Hondo (Telekom) to his third straight second-place finish at the Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt (UCI 2.3) in Germany on Friday. Ruskys held off Hondo in the bunch sprint in the 176km third stage while Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner) retained the overall lead. The race continues with Saturday’s 188km fourth stage from Göttingen to Bückeburg.

French rider suspended one year for doping
French rider Niels Brouzes, 22, is suspended for one year after testing positive for testosterone during the 2002 Tour of Normandie, L’Equipe reported Friday. Brouzes won the U23 French title in 2001 and joined Big Mat in 2002.

Caucchioli, Steels doubtful for Giro
It looks like the entire 2002 Giro d’Italia podium won’t be back to duke it out for the May 10 start of this year’s Italian grand tour. Winner Paolo Savoldelli (Telekom) and runner-up Tyler Hamilton (CSC) are both eyeing the Tour de France while third-place finisher Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio) was operated on for a herniated disk in early April and might not be in Lecce for the first stage.

“I hope with all my heart I will be able to start the Giro,” Caucchioli wrote on his web page just after the surgery. “Unfortunately, the doctor has ordered 15 days rest and then I will be able to begin my training.”

Caucchioli joins a growing list of missing names for this year’s Giro. Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) fractured his arm in a crash in Wednesday’s Fleche Wallone, forcing the Italian to the sidelines for three to five weeks.

Belgian sprinter Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet) also announced he will skip the Giro and instead race at the Four Days of Dunkirk (May 7-11) and the Tour of Belgium (May 21-25). Steels said he’s simply not fit enough to race for three weeks.

There should still be plenty of fireworks at the Giro, however, especially in light of comebacks by Marco Pantani (Mercatone) and Stefano Garzelli (Sidermec), who won his first race back in Thursday’s opening stage of the Tour of Trentino after an 11-month doping sanction.

Gilberto Simoni (Saeco), Francesco Casagrande and Raimondas Rumsas (both Lampre) and 2002 Vuelta a Espana winner Aitor Gonzalez and Dario Frigo (both Fassa Bortolo) also round out the list of challengers in what should be an unpredictable Giro. The final 40-km individual time trial in Milan on the final day (a la Vuelta a Espana) is sure to keep the outcome uncertain until the final rider crosses the line.

Quaranta readies to take on Giro
Saeco’s sprint specialist Ivan Quaranta is in Italy pushing the pedals as part of an intense training program to get the Italian sprinter in top form for the 86th Giro. According to a Saeco team release, Quaranta is training near the Brescia area with teammate Antonio Bucciero. He is riding six hours a day until Saturday and will then a follow a lighter program until the start of the Tour of Romandie (April 29-May 4), his last race before the Giro. Even though Quaranta, 29, has only won two races this year, Saeco has high hopes for Quaranta in the sprints. Gilberto Simoni will be leading the team in the hunt for the overall title and is currently racing at the Tour of Trentino through Sunday.

UCI nearing helmet rule consensus
The UCI is inching closer to consensus on its push to require helmets by all riders in time for the start of the Giro d’Italia on May 10.

UCI officials, including president Hein Verbruggen, met with several key players in professional cycling, including representatives of the Professional Cycling Council, Francesco Moser, Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc and ONCE’s Manolo Saiz.

According to a release issued by the UCI on Friday, a growing consensus on the helmet-use rule among all the major players “should enable (us to) reach the goal, which is to establish this rule before the start of the next Giro d’Italia.”

There’s been growing pressure to require elite pros to wear helmets since the death of Cofidis rider Andrei Kivilev, who crashed in the second stage of Paris-Nice in March. Kivilev was not wearing a helmet at the time and Cofidis doctors insist a helmet could have saved his life.

The issue is not without its detractors. Some pros insist the choice should remain with each racer. Other points of contention include whether riders can take off helmets at the base of summit finishes and what exactly defines a helmet, as many aerodynamic helmets used in time trials provide little protection in the event of a crash.

There was no mention of rules or guidelines in the UCI release.

Vandenbroucke to likely skip Tour
Quick Step’s Frank Vandenbroucke said he will likely skip the Tour de France and instead focus on October’s world championships in Hamilton, Canada. Vandenbroucke will take a short break after Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege, race at the Tour of Belgium in May, then the Tour of Luxembourg, Dauphine Libere and then the Route de Sud. Although he told the Belgian wires he’s tempted to race the Tour, he prefers to shine at the world’s and hinted he might start the Vuelta a España to prepare.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege start-list
Lotto-Domo
Van Petegem (B), Baguet (B), Merckx (B), R. Verbrugghe (B)
Saeco
Astarloa (Sp), Celestino (I), Di Luca (I), Sacchi (I), Shefer (KZK)
Quick Step-Davitamon
Vandenbroucke (B), Canada (Sp), Paolini (I), Van de Wouwer (B), Virenque (F)
Telekom
Vinokourov (KZK), Aerts (B), Guerini (I), Julich (USA), Kessler (G), Kloeden (G), Nardello (I)
Fassa Bortolo
Bartoli (I), Basso (I), S. Ivanov (RUS), Kirchen (LUX),Pozzato (I)
fdjeux.com
Casar (F), Fritsch (F), McGee (AUS), Robin (F), Vogondy (F)
Rabobank
Boogerd (Nl), De Groot (Nl), Freire (Sp), Leipheimer(USA), Wauters (B), B. Zberg (Swi)
Alessio
Dufaux (Swi), R. Ivanov (MOL), Marzoli (I), Noè (I), Pellizotti (I)
Lampre
Casagrande (I), Belli (I), Missaglia (I), Rumsas (LIT),Sciandri (GBR)
Gerolsteiner
Bolts (G), Faresin (I), Rastelli (I), Totschnig (AUT), Trampusch (AUT), Wegmann (G), M. Zberg (Swi)
La Boulangère
Chavanel (F), Bénéteau (F), Bouyer (F),Rous (F)
Sidermec
Vainsteins (LET), Bortolami (I), Bossoni (I), Mazzoleni (I)
U.S. Postal Service
Armstrong (USA), Heras (Sp), Pena (COL), Rubiera (Sp), Van Heeswijk (Nl)
Cofidis
Mattan (B), Farazijn (B), Trentin (I), Vasseur (F)
Domina Vacanze
Kolobnev (RUS), Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Scarponi (I)
ONCE
I. Gonzalez Galdeano (Sp), Azevedo (POR), Jaksche (G), Serrano (Sp)
Ag2r
Brochard (F), Botcharov (RUS), Oriol (F), Portal (F)
Coast
Ullrich (G), Aebersold (Swi), Beltran (Sp), A. Casero (Sp), Garmendia (Sp), Steinhauser (G)
Phonak
Elmiger (Swi), Pereiro (Sp)
Euskaltel
D. Etxebarria (Sp), U. Etxebarria (VEN), Mayo (Sp), S.Sanchez (Sp)
Team CSC
Hamilton (USA), Blaudzun (DAN), Peron (I), Sastre (Sp)
Crédit Agricole
Moreau (F), Ljungqvist (S), Voigt (G)
ibanesto.com
A. Osa (Sp), Flecha (Sp), J.I. Gutierrez (Sp), Lastras(Sp), Petrov (RUS)
Landbouwkrediet
Duma (UKR)
Palmans
F. De Waele (B)Last 10 winners
2002 – Paolo Bettini (I)
2001 – Oscar Carmenzind (Swi)
2000 – Paolo Bettini (I)
1999 – Frank Vandenbroucke (B)
1998 – Michele Bartoli (I)
1997 – Michele Bartoli (I)
1996 – Pascal Richard (Swi)
1995 – Mauro Gianetti (Swi)
1994 – Evgeni Berzin (Rus)
1993 – Rolf Sorensen (Dk)