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By Andrew Hood
Forced to take 15 days off the bike following his spill Tuesday in Setmana Catalana, Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) says he will certainly be at the May 11 start of the Giro d’Italia, but he’s not sure how fit he’ll be.
“The big races for April are now a question mark. I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it,” Simoni told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Saturday. “All I can do is wait. I will try to pedal the bike on Monday, but if there’s pain, I will stop right away. I just want to see how it feels. It’s not worth risking further injury.”
The Giro d’Italia defending champion suffered a small fracture to his right knee after falling in the Spanish race earlier this week. Doctors ordered Simoni 15 days of rest, sidelining his preparation and race schedule that included Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour del Trentino.
“How can I not be angry? My schedule for April is a mess,” Simoni added. “I have no doubt about starting the Giro, but I’m not sure what my form will be. If the Giro proves difficult, there’s still the Tour and the Vuelta to think about.”
Casagrande seals Coppi & Bartali victory
It was a good week for Fassa Bortolo in the five-day Coppi & Bartali, which concluded Saturday. Alessandro Petacchi won the first three stages and held the leader’s jersey until forfeiting it to teammate Francesco Casagrande, who sealed the overall title in the final stage.
Casagrande took the overall lead in Friday’s stage when he finished third and Petacchi fell back more than 16 minutes.
Last year’s winner, Ruslan Ivanov (Alessio) won Saturday’s 153-km stage from Casalguidi to Pistoia in 3 hours, 36 minutes, 47 seconds, beating Friday’s stage-winner Ruggero Marzoli (Moblivetti) and Massimo Giunti (Acqua & Sapone).
Casagrande crossed the line fourth, at 0:01, to seal the victory. Austria’s Peter Luttenberger (Tacconi) moved up to second overall and Mapei’s Cadel Evans moved up to third to round out the podium.
Coppi & Bartali, stage 5, 153-kms, Casalguidi to Pistoia:
1. Ruslan Ivanov (MOL), Alessio, 3:36:47; 2. Ruggero Marzoli (I), Moblivetti; 3. Massimo Giunti (I), Acqua & Sapone, both s.t.; 4. Francesco Casagrande (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:01; 5. Gerhard Trampusch (A), Mapei, s.t.Final standings, Coppi & Bartali, March 26-30;1. Francesco Casagrande (I), Fassa Bortolo, 20:16:11; 2. Peter Luttenberger (A), Tacconi, at 0:07; 3. Cadel Evans (Aus), Mapei-Quick Step, at 0:16; 4. Gerhard Trampusch (A), Mapei-Quick Step, at 0:20; 5. Massimo Giunti (I), Acqua & Sapone, at 0:27