By Andrew Hood
Spain’s Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano stopped just four kilometers from Thursday’s finish line in the men’s elite world champion time trial race because of acute pain in his lower back prevented him from breathing properly.
According to ONCE team doctor Pedro Celaya, who was following behind in a support car, said Galdeano suffered an intense muscle contraction in his lower rib cage soon after the Spanish star worked his way through a tricky corner. While it was initially reported that last year’s bronze medalist crashed in the turn, Celaya reports that Galdeano simply stopped because he couldn’t breath.
“It was an intercostal muscle contraction (in his rib cage), which could have been caused by cold or a bad posture,” Celaya said. “It’s not serious and by Sunday he should be completely recovered.”
Galdeano is scheduled to compete in Sunday’s elite men’s road race, but the Spanish national coach Francisco Antequera said Isidro Nozal, fifth in Thursday’s time trial, will race if Galdeano still has problems.
“We have to wait to see how Igor reacts. Until then I don’t want to say anything,” Antequera said. “What’s sure is that I’m not going to call a reserve because there’s not much time left. Because of that, it will be Nozal who will take his place.” U23 fails blood test, others cleard
Switzerland’s Daniel Gysling failed a blood test Thursday and won’t be allowed to race in today’s under-23 road race.
In a random test, Gysling had elevated levels of haemoglobin and under UCI regulations has been ruled unfit to race for 15 days. There will be no other sanctions imposed on the 21 year-old Swiss rider, who is 75th in the UCI under-23 world rankings.
Elevated red blood cell levels can occur naturally under certain circumstances but can also indicate the use of EPO, or erythropoietin, a banned artificial hormone that increases an athlete’s aerobic ability. Any rider failing the health test receives an automatic two week suspension.
Meanwhile, 37 other racers from Spain, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway cleared blood controls conducted Thursday by the UCI. Saeco adds five
Saeco has bolstered its lineup for next season, adding five riders expected to add extra firepower to team leaders Danilo Di Luca and Gilberto Simoni.
Joining Saeco next year are Eddy Mazzoleni (Caldirola), Sylvester Szmyd (Mercatone Uno), Gabriele Balducci (Caldirola), Evgeny Petrov (iBanesto.com) and Goradz Stangelj (Fassa Bortolo).
“Our main target was to more strength and firmness to a team that proved its value all season long,” said team manager Claudio Corti on Saeco’s web page. “The newcomers have been selected for this aim. After confirming our leaders, we have looked for some riders for their experience, so that they will be able to guarantee their support in all the major events, both in stages and in one-day races.”
There are 15 returning Saeco riders, including Di Luca, Simoni and Classics man Dario Pieri. Transfer news
As reported yesterday, Julian Dean’s move from Team CSC to CreditAgricole has been confirmed by the team. Dean, a former U.S. Postal Servicerider and winner of six races this season, will round out the team’s sprintercore with Thor Hushovd. Credit Agricole has lost Stuart O’Grady(to Cofidis) and Jens Voigt (to CSC), but has signed scores of riders,including Patrice Halgand and Sébastien Joly (bothJean Delatour), Damien Nazon (La Boulangère), BenoîtSalmon (Phonak), Alexandre Botcharov (AG2R) and Kazakhs AndreyKashechkin and Dimitri Muravyev (both Quick Step).Spanish rider Juan Carlos Dominguez won’t ride next year forPhonak, his team since 2002. Dominguez, a strong time trialist who shinesin one-week stage races, is reportedly talking with Saunier Duval.Swiss rider Sven Montgomery will switch from Fassa Bortolo to Gerolsteinerfor the 2004 season.Massimo Codol, 30, will leave Mercatone Uno to join Fassa Bortolo.
Malaysian prime minister honored by UCI
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was given the UCI merit award on Thursday for outstanding contributions to the sport, Reuters reported.
Mohamad, who is set retire at the end of the month, will be presented with the honor next week by the president of the Asian Cycling Federation and member of the UCI management board Darshan Singh.
The UCI said that during 22 years as prime minister, Mohamad, the current chairman of the Organisation of Islamic Countries, had supported the development of cycling and was instrumental in the founding of the Tour de Langkawi, one of Asia’s most important races.