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Tuesday’s EuroFile: Pozzato takes Trofeo Laigueglia; Dominguez takes over Ruta; Giro to honor Pantani

Italian young gun Fillipo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo) roared to victory in Tuesday’s 183km Trofeo Laigueglia along the Italian Riviera. Pozzato held off Lorenzo Bernucci (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) to win the race for the second consecutive year. Former world champion Romans Vainsteins (Lampre) came through third in the bunch sprint. Laigueglia is the traditional kick off to the Italian racing calendar and the 22-year-old Pozzato becomes the first racer since Eddy Merckx (1973-74) to win the race back-to-back. “This victory comes thanks to my teammates, who believed in me,” Pozzato said. “I didn’t

By Andrew Hood

Pozzato gets a good start to his season

Pozzato gets a good start to his season

Photo: Sirotti

Italian young gun Fillipo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo) roared to victory in Tuesday’s 183km Trofeo Laigueglia along the Italian Riviera. Pozzato held off Lorenzo Bernucci (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) to win the race for the second consecutive year. Former world champion Romans Vainsteins (Lampre) came through third in the bunch sprint. Laigueglia is the traditional kick off to the Italian racing calendar and the 22-year-old Pozzato becomes the first racer since Eddy Merckx (1973-74) to win the race back-to-back. “This victory comes thanks to my teammates, who believed in me,” Pozzato said. “I didn’t feel as strong as last year in the start, but I have changed my preparation for this season so it’s logical I will arrive in top form a little later. My goal is to be competitive for Milan-San Remo.” Navigators Insurance had Chris Baldwin, Ciaran Power and Mark Walters in the final group and worked to place Ciaran into position for a sprint finish. Power came in at 22nd, about 3-bike lengths from Pozzato. The Navigators Insurance team now moves into France for the Tour du Haut Var and the Classic Haribo. Trofeo Laigueglia(UCI 1.2)
1. Filippo Pozzato, Fassa Bortolo 183km in 4:35:28
2. Lorenzo Bernucci, Landbouwkrediet
3. Romans Vainsteins, Lampre
4. Sergei Gonchar, De Nardi
5. Luca Paolini, Quick Step all same time
Dominguez takes over Ruta
Juan Carlos Dominguez (Saunier Duval) won Tuesday’s difficult climbing stage and took over the lead of the Ruta del Sol in southern Spain. The 159km stage from Humilladero to Alto de la Virgin finished atop the Sierra de Cabra. Dominguez topped out 15 seconds ahead of Garcia Quesada (Kelme) and 19 seconds ahead of Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) to slip into the overall lead. Early in the stage, Thierry Marichal (Lotto) andl Francisco José Ventoso (Suanier Duval) tore off the front to open up an eight-minute gap at 59km. The gap started to get a little too big for comfort and Kelme started to hammer the front to limit the losses. The pair was reeled coming into the final 7km climb to the summit and Joquín Rodríguez (Saunier Duval) unleashed a move designed to force the others to chase. The group was stretched out when Dominguez made his move. Quesada and Sanchez gave chase, but couldn’t catch the wheel. The Ruta del Sol continues Thursday with the 159km rollercoaster fourth stage from Lucena to Jaén, hitting the Alto de Mojón (Cat 2, 6km), Las Caserías (Cat 2, 59km), Los Frailes (Cat 2, 81km) and Valdepeñas (Cat 2, 103km). 50th Ruta del Sol(UCI 2.3)
Stage 3 Humilladero to Alto de la Virgin
1. Juan Carlos Dominguez, Saunier Duval 159km in 4:05:16
2. Carlos Garcia Quesada, Kelme +0:15
3. Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel +0:19
4. Jose Gomez, Almeria-Paternina +0:28
5. Aitor Osa, Illes Balears +0:34
Overall standings
1. Dominguez
2. Garcia Quesada +0:15
3. Sanchez +0:19
4. Gomez +0:28
5. Osa +0:34 Armstrong’s season kicks off on Wednesday
Lance Armstrong debuts his season Wednesday at the Tour of the Algarverace in southern Portugal. Organizers added an individual time trial sothe five-time Tour de France champion will get a chance to test a new timetrial position.The past few years, Armstrong has debuted his racing season at the Tourof Murcia in early March, but decided to race at Algarve to add some extratime in Europe as he’s adding more time back in the United States laterthis spring.U.S. Postal Service sport director Johan Bruyneel said the team isn’tnecessarily looking for a victory and the most important element for Armstrongis to make a time trial test under race conditions.The race features rolling stages until Saturday’s 24km ITT and Sunday’sfinale into Malhão that includes some challenging climbs late inthe stage, ensuring a good fight to the end.Portuguese team Milaneza will be looking for victory, but defendingchampion Klaus Moller is no longer on the team. Two-time winner CandidoBarbosa (LA Pecol) will be looking to continue on his winning ways aftertaking the Portuguese opener last week at the GP Correos. The only Spanishteam to make the trip will be Euskaltel, though the mixed team Relax-Bodysolis a late addition to the lineup.Tour of the Algarve (UCI 2.3), Feb. 18-22
Stage 1: Albufeira-Albufeira, 149.4km
Stage 2: Castro Marim to Portimao, 182km
Stage 3: Lagos-Lagos, 180km
Stage 4: Vila Real S.Antonio to Tavira (ITT), 24km
Stage 5: Parque Das Cidades to Malhão, 178.5kmTeams:
Antarte-Rota dos Moveis (Por)
ASC-Vila do Conde (Por)
Barbot-Gaia (Por)
Beppi-Ovarens (Por)
Carvalhelhos-Boavista (Por)
Imoholding-Loule Jardim Hotel (Por)
LA-Pecol (Por)
Würth-B.Petisco-Tavira (Por)
Milaneza-Maia (Por)
Cofidis (F)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Sp)
Rabobank (Ned)
RAGT Semences-MG Rover (F)
Relax-Bodysol (Sp)
U.S. Postal-Berry Floor (USA)
Vlaanderen 2016 (B)
Last 10 winners:
2003: Claus-Michael Möller (Den, Milaneza-MSS)
2002: Candido Barbosa (Por, LA-Pecol)
2001: Andrea Ferrigato (I, Alessio)
2000: Alex Zülle (Swi, Banesto)
1999: Melchior Mauri (Sp, Sport Lisboa e Benfica)
1998: Tomas Konecny (Cze, ZVVZ-DLD)
1997: Candido Barbosa (Por, Maia-Cin)
1996: Alberto Amaral (Por, Troiamarisco)
1995: Cassio Freitas (Bra, Boavista)
1994: Vitor Gamito (Por, Sicasal)
Giro to add Pantani honorary climb
Giro d’Italia race organizers announced Tuesday that it will add aspecial mountain prize in the name of Marco Pantani in each Giro startingthis May. The Giro already features the “Cima Coppi,” a climb in honorof Fausto Coppi who died in 1960 and “Tappa Bartali,” a stage in honorof Gino Bartali who died in 2002. This year’s Pantani climb will be thefeared Mortirolo climb, featured in this year’s 19th stage from Bormioto Clusone.Pantani funeral Wednesday
Marco Pantani’s family is preparing a funeral for Wednesday, accordingto the Italian wire service ANSA. A ceremony will be held in the squareat the St. Giacomo church in Pantani’s hometown of Cesenatico. The townhas also called for a day of mourning for Pantani, who died Saturday inRimini. Tens of thousands of fans are expected to pile into the coastalcity to pay final respects to the fallen champion.Holm reports he has cancer
Former pro and T-Mobile assistant sport director Brian Holm reportedon his web page that he’s been diagnosed with intestinal cancer“What I had expected should have been a normal medical check up on Feb.11 turned out a little different. After two days at the hospital I wasdiagnosed with cancer in the intestinal system. The hospital has takenblood and tissue samples to check for further cancer,” he wrote on hisweb page. “I’m not having the best days of my life, but all things considered.I’m in good spirits.”

On Monday, he returned with this entry: “I lied or was a little toofresh when I wrote yesterday that I was in good spirits all things considered.I think that anyone who’s been close to the illness knows that you’re notin good spirits after being told what I was told unless you’re an idiot.“The truth is I’ve never been more scared in my life. It’s not particularlybrave to cry more than your eight months old son. It’s not cool to lieawake at night feeling that an alien inside your body is eating you up.The only courage I can come up with right now is to fight that fuckingillness.”

Fans have written Holm notes of encouragement, reminding him how LanceArmstrong survived cancer and then went on to win five Tours de France.For those who read Danish, check out www.vonholm.dk/Gaumont officially calls it quits
Philippe Gaumont, the French racer in the center of the alleged dopedistribution ring, announced his retirement from cycling, L’Equipe reported.Gaumont had already been fired by his Cofidis team for role in the so-calledCofidis Affaire.“Cycling is over for me,” he told L’Equipe. “What’s not finishedare the problems in cycling. From what I know, police and investigatorshave not finished making their presence felt this year in cycling.”Gaumont — who has been charged with by French authorities for “passingon illicit substances” in a wider investigation targeting past Cofidisriders — learned Monday that he was being fired. The Frenchman began hiscareer in 1994 with Castorama before a stint with Gan, where he was suspendeda first time for doping. Gaumont joined Cofidis in 1997 and won Ghent-Wevelgemthat year.Laigueglia draws all-star cast
The Italian season rolls on Tuesday with the 41st Trofeo Laiguegliafor Europe’s first 1.2 rated race of the season. The 183km course featuresthree major obstacles, hitting the 667-meter Passo del Ginestro twice andthe 690-meter Passo di Balestrino some 30km from the finish in Laigueglia.Race organizers will award the mountain’s prize in honor of Denis Zanette,the Italian rider who died just before the start of the 2003 season.Returning champion Filippo Pozzato – winner of the shortened Giro dellaLiguria on Sunday — is back with a motivated Fassa Bortolo lineup. Mostof the big Italian teams will bring their stars out, with Saeco leadingwith Mirko Celestino and Gilberto Simoni. Quick Step will come with LucaPaolini and Paolo Bettini while Team CSC, which roared to victory in Sunday’sTour Mediterranean, brings Jorg Jaksche, Michele Bartoli and Ivan Basso.Levi Leipheimer is penciled to start with Rabobank and the Navigators willbe hungry for a strong performance as part of their annual European swing.Teams with top riders:
Fassa Bortolo (Pozzato, Frigo, Kirchen, Vandenbroucke)
Quickstep-Davitamon (Bettini, Dufaux, Paolini)
Saeco (Simoni, Celestino, Commesso, Petrov)
Team CSC (Basso, Jaksche, Bartoli)
Lampre (Vainsteins, Casagrande, Bossoni, Garate)
Rabobank (Leipheimer)
AG2R Prévoyance (Flickinger, Bergès, Dumoulin,Inaudi, Krivtsov, Laidoun, Mondory, Portal)
Landbouwkrediet (Duma, Popovych)
Lotto-Domo (Brandt)
Gerolsteiner (Fothen, Rebellin, Serpellini, B. Zberg,M. Zberg)
Alessio-Bianchi (Caucchioli, Pellizotti, Noe)
Vini Caldirola-Nobili (Garzelli, Tonkov, Zampieri,Mason)
Vlaanderen (Van Hyfte)
Navigators (McKenzie, O’Bee)
Cofidis (Atienza, Bessy, Clain, Edaleine,Fofonov, Moncoutié, Roulston, Vasseur)
Miche (Borghesi)
De Nardi-Piemme (Borghi, Cadamuro, Honchar)
Panaria (Figueras, Perez Cuapio, Tiralongo, Lanfranchi,Mazzanti)
Formaggi Pinzolo (Di Grande)
Tenax (Loda)
Domina Vacanze (Gentili, Giunti, Scarponi, Simeoni)
Acqua e Sapone (Ferrigato, D’Amore, Hamburger, Marzoli,Palumbo)
Team Barloworld (Ravaioli)
Amore e Vita (I. Fanelli)
Team LPR (Aggiano, Lopeboselli, Konyshev)Last 10 winners:
2003: Filippo Pozzato (I)
2002: Danilo Di Luca (I)
2001: Mirko Celestino (I)
2000: Daniele Nardello (I)
1999: Paolo Savoldelli (I)
1998: Pascal Chanteur (F)
1997: Michele Bartoli (I)
1996: Frank Vandenbroucke (B)
1995: Johan Museeuw (B)
1994: Rolf Soerensen (Den)

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