By VeloNews Interactive and AFP
As the 87th Giro d’Italia got under way, Saeco announced that it has signed Damiano Cunego for 2005-06 and given him a raise “reflecting the value of the rider and the results he has already obtained.”
“Damiano Cunego has again his seriousness and maturity and has rightly valued the way we have helped him develop and improved in our team,” team manager Claudio Corti said. “The agreement will guarantee this development in the next few years and should give us both a successful and important future.”
“Obviously I’m very happy,” Cunego said after signing his new contract. “I know I’ve made the right choice. Several teams made me offers but I think it would have been difficult to find a better deal. Saeco is an ideal team, where I’ve always felt at home and where I know I’ll have a great opportunity to do well at the right moment.
“I want to thank the team management for the faith they’ve put in me and I’m sure I can pay them back. This agreement will give me the right peace of mind and determination to ride the Giro as well as I can.”
Rous, Chavanel team up for win at Dunkirk
Didier Rous (Brioches La Boulangére) won the third stage of the Four Days to Dunkirk on Friday.
The Frenchman covered the 203km stage from Hondschoote to Longuenesse in 4:51:37, crossing the line with teammate and countryman Sylvain Chavanel, who was given the same time. Max Van Heeswijk (U.S. Postal Service) was third at 49 seconds back.
Belgian Marc Streel (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) holds the overall lead, 51 seconds ahead of Rous and a further 4 seconds ahead of Chavanel. –Copyright 2004/AFP
1. Didier Rous (F), Brioches La Boulangére, 4:51:37
2. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Brioches La Boulangére, same time
3. Max Van Heeswijk (Ned), U.S. Postal Service, at 0:49
4. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est), Ag2R Prevoyance, s.t.
5. Danilo Hondo (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.
6. Bjorn Leukemans (B), MrBookmaker.com, s.t.
7. Franck Hoj (Den), CSC, s.t.
8. Ronald Mutsaars (Ned), Rabobank, s.t.
9. Lars Ytting Bak (Dk), Bankgiroloterij, s.t.
10. Sebastien Rosseler (B), Relax-Bodysol, s.t
1. Marc Streel (B), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, 13:45:27
2. Didier Rous (F), La Boulangere, at 0:51
3. Sylvain Chavanel (F), La Boulangere, at 0:55
4. Roger Hammond (GB), MrBookmaker.com, at 1:43
5. Marco Bos (Ned), Bankgiroloterij, at 1:45
6. Danilo Hondo (G), Gerolsteiner, at 1:46
7. Max Van Heeswijk (Ned), U.S. Postal Service, s.t.
8. Rik Reinerink (Ned), Chocolade Jacques, s.t.
9. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, s.t.
10. Jan Kuyckx (B), Vlaanderen-T Interim, at 1:47
Mayo takes opener at Clasica Alcobendas
Spanish rider Iban Mayo underlined his credentials as one of the favorites for the Tour de France as he produced a commanding performance in the first stage of the Clasica Alcobendas on Saturday.
The Basque climber from the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, who was sixth in last year’s Tour, broke the will of the peloton on the Navacerrada pass, which was unusually snow-covered for this time of year.
Mayo finished 58 seconds ahead of fellow Spaniard Eladio Jimenez (CV-Kelme) with Colombian rider Felix Cardenas (Café Baque) third, 1:08 behind.
Two months from the start of the Tour de France, Mayo was cautious about his form.
“I don’t believe this is a warning to anyone for the Tour,” he said. “The important thing is not to have any problems until then. And I must keep making progress up to the Tour, which is the main focus of my season.”
Other Spanish riders tipped to do well in the world’s most famous race are taking part here. Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) finished eighth, 1:25 behind Mayo, and Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) was ninth, a further 10 seconds adrift.
But Joseba Beloki (Brioches La Boulangére) was well off the pace, trailing in 44th, almost five minutes behind the winner.–Copyright 2004/AFP
1. Iban Mayo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 4:30:46
2. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), CV-Kelme, at 0:58
3. Felix Cardenas (Col), Café Baque, at 1:08
4. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, at 1:12
5. Angel Gomez (Sp), Costa de Almeria-Paternina, at 1:14
6. Daniel Atienza (Sp), Cofidis, at 1:20
7. Roberto Laiseka (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:25
8. Roberto Heras (Sp), Liberty Seguros, same time
9. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:35
10. Hernan Buenahora (Col), Café Baque, at 1:38