By Staff and wire reports
Giro d’Italia leader Damiano Cunego planned to kick back and relax on Tuesday’s first of two rest days in Porto Sant’Elpidio, Reuters reported.
“I will try to recover during the rest day,” said the Italian, who leads Saeco teammate Gilberto Simoni by 10 seconds in the general classification. “I’ll do one and a half to two hours on the bike, eat a little and rest.”
But the Italian is already looking ahead at the challenging week.“I’m thinking about the next few stages, for example the one in Cesena [stage 11], which could be more difficult than it looks,” he said.
Nevertheless, Cunego is expected to wear the pink leader’s jersey until Saturday’s 13th stage, a 52km time trial from Trieste to Altopiano Carsico.With the top 10 riders sitting tightly within one and a half minutes of each other in the general classification, the battle for the maglia rosa will likely fall out of the hands of Cunego, not an established time trialist.
If Australian Bradley McGee manages to minimize the damage in the week’s climbing stages, the Fdjeux.com rider; who has a deficit of 1:49, has a solid chance of reclaiming the overall lead.
— By Reuters
Cooke undergoes surgery
British Olympic cycling hope Nicole Cooke has undergone surgery in a bid to solve a persistent knee injury, Reuters reported.
The Welsh 20-year-old has had problems in the wake of the two serious crashes she suffered on her way to winning the World Cup last year. And, after working with doctors and physiotherapists at the English Institute of Sport in recent weeks, she decided she had to go under the knife in order to be fit for Athens when she will be considered among the gold medal contenders.
“If I want to be a serious contender for a medal at Athens in August, last week was the final opportunity for having surgery and still being able to recover properly and to train at the level necessary to be a contender for that Olympic medal,” she told Reuters.
The operation was performed by former England rugby union full-back Jon Webb and he gave the go-ahead for Cooke to resume training shortly as he was satisfied there was no long-term damage to the knee joint.
“These next few weeks are very important, but I feel confident the problem has been solved,” Cooke added. “This is not ideal preparation for such a demanding event like the road race but I can only look forward and try to make best use of the time available to me now. My ambitions are still as strong as ever and I am very fresh mentally. I have not been racing week after week since March so I have a huge amount of enthusiasm right now.”
— By Reuters
Euskaltel already has ‘Tour 9’
Euskaltel-Euskadi already has its nine-man Tour de France team selected with the hopes of having more support in the flats and transition stages. According to a report in the Spanish daily MARCA, sport director Julian Gorospe will return with six riders from last year’s successful campaign.
Topping the list are returning captains Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia. Mayo is fresh off a rousing run when he swept to five victories recently in Spain while Zubeldia finished third behind Mayo at the Tour of Asturias last weekend.Zubeldia finished fifth overall in last year’s Tour while Mayo won at Alpe d’Huez and claimed sixth overall. Both are vying for spots on the final podium.Supporting the two will be David Etxebarria, Unai Etxebarria, Mikel Artetxe, Iker Flores, Iker Camaño, Iñigo Landaluze and Egoi Martínez. Roberto Laiseka, a Tour stage-winner in 2001, is the team’s first reserve.