By Andrew Hood
Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) let his presence be known in dramatic fashion in Tuesday’s second stage of the Setmana Catalana, starting an early sprint and nearly sneaking away with the stage victory.
Horner was part of a larger group that chased back on to a front group of 25 riders with 2km to go in the mountainous 168.8km stage from Lloret de Mar to Empuriabrava. Horner started an early sprint, but was swarmed by Italian Claudio Corioni (Fassa Bortolo) at the line to take eighth in his best result so far in his European return.
Corioni held off Aitor Perez (Spiuk) to score his first professional win and moved into the overall lead ahead of Wednesday’s difficult climbing stage.
It was cool and cloudy for the second stage that featured four rated climbs, including a difficult Cat. 1 climb within 15km of the finish that saw the big guns show their form, including Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros), Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) and Jose Luis Rubiera (Discovery Channel).
Discovery Channel’s Pat McCarty suffered a crash on the descent of the day’s final climb, the first category San Pere de Rodes near the finish of the race. McCarty got back on the bike and finished last in the stage in 101st place, 12:58 back. The team reported he was immediately transported to a local hospital for exams.
“He had a bad crash on the downhill, but I haven’t seen him yet since I just arrived,” Team director Johan Bruyneel told Dan Osipow. “I do know there are no fractures, no severe injuries. We’ll have to see how he gets through the night to determine if he can race tomorrow.”
Wednesday’s third stage features a difficult summit finish at the Pal ski station in the Pyrenees in what will be the longest and hardest climb so far in the 2005 season.
Setmana Catalana (SPA 2.HC), Stage 2, Lloret de Mar to Empuriabrava, 168.8km
1. Claudio Corioni (Ita), Fassa Bortolo) 4h05:02
2. Aitor Pérez (Spa), Spiuk
3. Josep Jufré (Spa), Relax Fuenlabrada
4. Volodomyr Bileka (Ukr), Discovery Channel
5. Javier Pascual (Spa), C.Valenciana
8. Chris Horner (USA), Saunier Duval – all same time
Overall standings after two stages
1. Claudio Corioni (Ita), Fassa Bortolo) 8h27:32
2. Uros Murn (Slo), Phonak
3. Volodomyr Bileka (Ukr), Discovery Chanel
4. Josep Jufré (Spa), Relax Fuenlabrada
5. José Iván Gutiérrez (Spa), Illes Balears – all same time
Frischkorn just misses victory
William Frischkorn just missed victory in Monday’s prologue of the Tour de Normandie in France. Argentine rider Martin Garrido Mayorda covered the 5.6km course in 6 minutes, 54 seconds while Frischkorn tied for third at just two seconds back.
The GC didn’t change in Tuesday’s road stage, taken in a bunch sprint by French rider Stéphane Bonsergent. The race continues Wednesday with the 143km stage from Forges-les-Eaux to Elbeuf.
Frischkorn joins with his brothers in arms at TIAA-CREF making their first venture of the season to Europe. Team boss Jonathan Vaughters says the team might be back later this season for the Tour de Avenir.
Tour of Normandy
Monday, March 21 : Mondeville (5’6km)
Tuesday, March 22: Mondeville to Forges-les-Eaux (208km)
Wednesday, March 23: Forges-les-Eaux to Elbeuf (147 km)
Thursday, March 24: Elbeuf to Flers (201km)
Friday, March 25: Flers to Domfront (74km) + Domfront to Avranches (80km)
Saturday, March 26: Avranches to Bagnoles-de-L’orne (173km)
Sunday, March 27: Bagnoles-de-l’Orne to Caen (147km)
Landis set for Dauphiné
Phonak confirmed that Floyd Landis will race the Dauphiné Libéré (June 5-12) as part of his final preparations ahead of the 2005 Tour de France.
Phonak for Dauphiné Libéré
What seemed to be just cuts and bruises after Andrea Peron’s crash in Saturday’s Milano-San Remo turned out to be more serious than expected, Team CSC reported on its web page. X-Rays revealed two minor fractures, meaning the Italian rider will be sidelined for at least 7-10 days.
“I was quite surprised to learn about the two fractures, since I wasn’t in a lot of pain after the crash,” Peron said after being examined by a specialist in Milan. “Of course, these are just two minor fractures, so I will allow myself to be optimistic. If things go according to plan, I’ll be ready for the Giro, a race I wouldn’t miss for anything in the world.”
Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Peter Luttenberger will replace Peron and Fränk Schleck in this weekend’s Criterium International.