By Andrew Hood
Portuguese rider Candido Barbosa won his second stage and wrapped up the overall victory in the three-day GP Correos in Portugal. Barbosa edged two Spanish riders to take his second stage in three days and lay claim to the spoils of the first Portuguese race of the season. Garzelli confident in Giro
Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie) wants another maglia rosa to go along with 2000 victory and is putting everything into winning the 2004 Giro d’Italia.
The 30-year-old from Varese told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he’s confident he can take down defending champion Gilberto Simoni (Saeco).
“This Giro appeals to me more than last year’s,” he said. “It’s better for me there’s a time trial longer than 50 km (52.5km to Trieste). I know the climb well to Bormio well and I can make that mine. Mortirolo I can handle and there’s no Zoncolan or Alpe di Pampeago when Simoni dropped me last year.”
Garzelli will be able to count on the help of Russian Pavel Tonkov, winner of the 1996 Giro. Garzelli will make his season debut at the Giro della Provincia di Lucca (Feb. 24-27). Bortolami hit by car on training ride
Italian rider Gianluca Bortolami (Lampre) was hit by a car while training near Lago Maggiore on Tuesday. The veteran Italian was riding with teammates Massimo Apollonio and Andrea Noe when he was hit by a woman driving a Renault Megane, the Italian wires reported.
Bortolami was transported by helicopter to a local hospital for examinations. Luckily, he wasn’t seriously injured but doctors ordered 10 days rest and he’s not expected to start the Giro della Provincia di Lucca (Feb. 24-27). Tour Med up next
Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) returns Wednesday to defend his title in the Tour Mediterranean, a five-day romp along the French Riviera.
Race organizers have served up a tough course in what many call the first “real” race of the cycling season. There are plenty of challenging climbs and a final-day team time trial with an added twist to keep the race interesting to the end.
The 111-kilometer opening stage from Le Cannet to Menton includes two Category 1 rated climbs while the 130-kilometer second stage from La Londe to Hyeres is even harder, hitting four Category 1 rated climbs over the course.
Stages three and four will present chances for any sprinters who make it over the mountains with some spring in their legs.
Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze) will start despite crashing in Sunday’s GP Etruschi in Italy. Cipollini is eager for a stage win and his team is keen to go through the motions of practicing the Lion King’s set-up train.
Race organizers added an interesting twist for the final team time trial to Mont Faron. Teams will ride together, but instead of taking the time of the fifth rider across the line as is tradition in the discipline, riders will mark individual times.
Stages for Tour Méditerranéen(UCI 2.3)
Stage 1, Le Cannet to Menton, 109km
Stage 2, La Londe des Maures to Hyéres, 130km
Stage 3, Rousset to Berre l’Etang, 128km
Stage 4, Greasque to Marignane, 150km
Stage 5, La Garde to Mont Faron (TTT), 42km
Vasseur to get Med Tour start, Gaumont questioned
Cofidis will allow Cédric Vasseur to start Wednesday’s Tour Méditerranéen despite his name being linked to police investigations involving other Cofidis team riders.
Vasseur was picked up by police along with teammate Philippe Gaumont on Jan. 22 after they returned from a team training camp in Spain. While Gaumont has admitted to taking banned doping products, Vasseur maintains his innocence and his team is standing by him.
Gaumont, meanwhile, gave testimony in a hearing Monday in Nanterre. Five people are now involved in an ongoing police investigation, including Gaumont, a Cofidis team soigneur, Boguslaw Madejak, Polish riders Marek Rutkiewicz and Daniel Majewski as well as Frenchman Robert Sassone.