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Thursday’s Euro-file: It’s not all about the Classics

There´s still an awful lot going on in Europe, and we´re noteven talking about the Belgian Classics here.First off, Lance Armstrong will test his form at the 54th DauphineLibere, June 9-16, according to race organizers in France. Armstrong alreadyconfirmed he will race at Midi Libre as he hones his form for a run ata fourth straight Tour de France. Also expected to start among 14 teamsare Christophe Moreau, last year´s winning now racing withCredit Agricole, and Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali).The race features a climb up Mont Ventoux, which will be part of thisyear´s Tour. "We have made

By Andrew Hood

There´s still an awful lot going on in Europe, and we´re noteven talking about the Belgian Classics here.First off, Lance Armstrong will test his form at the 54th DauphineLibere, June 9-16, according to race organizers in France. Armstrong alreadyconfirmed he will race at Midi Libre as he hones his form for a run ata fourth straight Tour de France. Also expected to start among 14 teamsare Christophe Moreau, last year´s winning now racing withCredit Agricole, and Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali).The race features a climb up Mont Ventoux, which will be part of thisyear´s Tour. “We have made something to respect the tradition ofthe race, with a prologue, some beautiful mountain stages, above all witha finish at Ventoux, another at Morzine and the finale with a circuit coursein Geneve,” said race director Charly Mottet. Along with the climb up Ventoux,a key stage will be the 146-km stage on June 14 between Albertville andMorzine with climns up Saisies, Aravis, Colombiere, Joux Plane and thefinish at Morzine.Vuelta a AragonTelekom´s Erik Zabel sprinted to victory in the secondstage of the Vuelta a Aragon Thursday in Spain while Leonardo Piepoli(iBanesto.com) maintained the overall lead.Zabel´s Telekom boys in pink worked hard over the final kilometersto hand the German his fourth win of the season, beating his former set-upman Giovanni Lombardi and Mario Cipollini, both with Acqua& Sapone.”My teammates at Telekom and more so the riders at Acqua & Saponehad to work hard over the final kilometers to arrive in a sprint,” saidZabel, who knew the course well. “It´s a finish that I like a lotand its characteristics are good for the way I like to race. This win demonstratesthat I am in good form and will help my morale.”Friday´s 174 km third stage will feature a healthy dose of climbingstage with the Category I Puerto de Sant Just, th Cat. III  Alto deAliaga and the Cat. II Puerto de San Rafael, just 13 km from the finish.Vuelta a Aragon, SpainStage 1
1. Leonardo PIEPOLI (ITA/ibanesto.com) 3:51:12
2. Juan Carlos DOMINGUEZ (SPA/Phonak) at 0:29
3. Alexander SHEFER (KAZ/Alessio) at 0:29
4. Santiago BLANCO (SPA/ibanesto.com) at 0:32
5. Aitor OSA (SPA/ibanesto.com) at 0:32
6. M.A. MARTIN PERDIGUERO (SPA/Acqua e Sapone) at 0:44
7. Oscar SEVILLA (SPA/Kelme-Costa Blanca) at 0:44
8. Eddy RATTI (ITA/Mapei-Quick Step) at 0:44
9. Bingen FERNANDEZ (SPA/Cofidis) at 0:44
10. Cédric FRAGNIERE (SUI/Phonak) at 0:44Stage 2
1.  Erik ZABEL (ALE/Telekom) 3:54:24
2.  Giovanni LOMBARDI (ITA/Acqua e Sapone) s.t.
3.  Mario CIPOLLINI (ITA/Acqua e Sapone) s.t.
4.  Fabrizio GUIDI (ITA/Coast) s.t.
5.  M.A. MARTIN PERDIGUERO (ESP/Acqua e Sapone) s.t.
6.  Josu SILLONIZ (ESP/Euskaltel-Euskadi) s.t.
7.  Ludovic TURPIN (FRA/AG2R) s.t.
8.  Andrea FERRIGATO (ITA/Alessio) s.t.
9.  Davide BRAMATI (ITA/Mapei) s.t.
10. Angel CASTRESANA (ESP/Once-Eroski) s.t.OVERALL after two stages
1. Leonardo PIEPOLI (ITA/ibanesto.com) 7:45:36
2. Juan Carlos DOMINGUEZ (ESP/Phonak) at 0:29
3. Alexander SHEFER (KAZ/Alessio) at 0:29
4. Aitor OSA (ESP/ibanesto.com) at 0:32
5. Santiago BLANCO (ESP/ibanesto.com) at 0:40
6. M.A. MARTIN PERDIGUERO (ESP/Acqua e Sapone) at 0:44
7. Bingen FERNANDEZ (ESP/Cofidis) at 0:44.
8. Eddy RATTI (ITA/Mapei) at 0:44
9. Roberto HERAS (ESP/US Postal) at 0:47
10. Oscar SEVILLA (ESP/Kelme-Costa Blanca) at 0:52Settimana LombardaMeanwhile, in Italy, The Kazahk racer Andrei Teteriouk (CCC-Polsat)won the second stage of 32th Settimana Lombarda on Thursday 164 kms fromAiruno to Alzate Brianza. Teteriouk  finished ahead of Swiss StefanRutimann (Tacconi sport), and Italian Paolo Tiralongo (FassaBortolo). The Swiss Laurent Dufaux (Alessio) conserved the raceleader´s jersey.While in Belgium, scores of riders are taking time during the breakbetween Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege to check out the nearbyworld’s course in Zolder. According to a Saeco-Longoni Sport press release,Danilo Di Luca, Mirko Celestino, Fabio Sacchi, DamianoCunego, Alessandro Spezialetti and Cristian Pepoli testedout the route along with Italian national coach Franco Ballerini and severalother riders.”It’s not a course which really suits me but that won’t change my plans,”Di Luca said in a press conference afterwards. “If Ballerini picks me I’llride and give it everything, not just for the sake of taking part.” MirkoCelestino was of a similar opinion. “It’s a course for sprinters but theworlds is a special kind of race, even if I’d have preferred a harder circuit.”Ballerini kept his options open and said that no rider is automaticallyexcluded from the Italian team.”There are still a lot of races before the worlds,” he said. “It’s tooearly to say what kind of strategy the Italian team will have. But of courseas well as the sprinters there will have to be riders who are ready tobe in the action in the crucial parts of the race. The worlds in Lisbonlast year taught us that anything can happen in a race as long and as difficultas the worlds.”Mapei-Quick Step teammates Oscar Freire and Paolo Bettiniwere scheduled to visit on Thursday the route as well. Joining Freireand Bettini were teammates Luca Paolini, Andrea Noè andCadel Evans.In mountain bike news, the organizers for World Cup race scheduled forJune 1-2 in Fort William, Scotland have a newweb page to get everyone stoked for the first World Cup downhill everin Great Britain, well, Scotland, to be specific.