18 August News ...
Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas-Bianchi) won yesterday in the 85th Tre Valli Varesine. The race finished on his mother's home roads, in Campione d'Italia. The final 3K was uphill to Campione, and Garzelli (32) attacked from the remainder of the peloton with 500 meters to go. It had been 444 days since his last victory in the 2004 Giro d'Italia, the stage from Bormio to Presolana.
"This time I did not make any errors, like at San Sebastián, where I was too generous," said Garzelli afterwards. In the Clásica San Sebastián he showed he was on form, but by the end of the Spanish race he was out-numbered by Saunier Duval-Prodir. "I had decided to play out my chances all in the last kilometer, and I risked my race all on this. Thanks to the work of my teammates, it worked out. They went well to win here, in front of my people." Then Garzelli reflected on the significance of the race, "When I was a boy I would always come to watch, it is a classic that for me that has a special flavor. From here to the end of the season I am able to have some satisfaction."
Some have been asking if Garzelli wishes to race the World Championships in Madrid (25 September). Garzelli says that it is not his style, "the course in Madrid is not made for me. Ballerini has designed a squad that does not have my name on it, and that is fair."
Today is the 59th Coppa Agostoni, starting and ending in Lissone. The Italian course takes the riders over 197K roads, just north of Milano. The riders will enter the famed zone Monticello Brianza, where they will then do 21.5K circuit 5-times. Each time they will climb the brutal Lissolo, it has slopes at 18%, and is always a key point in the Coppa Agostoni. From the final circuit is a matter of 50K to the finish. Mamma mia!
Yesterday's stage 2 of the Deutschland Tour finished with two tough category 2 climbs. Filippo Pozzato (Quick-Step) was able to stick with the favorites, and fight for victory in Bodenmais. "I was tired after the two climbs in the finale, but I stayed with the best riders, there were not more than 15 riders," said an excited Pippo post-stage.
Pippo is enjoying great form lately. The young Italian won the HEW-Cyclassics and the GP Lazio, then suffered some in the Clásica San Sebastián. After missing out in Spain, Pippo is now back to his winning ways in Germany. "When Jaksche attacked, I remained calm, but 300 meters I understood that, if I didn't chase then the German would win."
The finish between Pippo and Jörg Jaksche (Liberty Seguros-Würth) was very close. It took the race officials a long time after the finish to determine the winner. "After the finish I did not understand right away if I had won. The jury had to look at the photo finish over and over." Pippo closed the gap in an impressive manner for the win. Now he focuses on helping his team win the overall GC.
José Rujano (23) will end his contract with Selle Italia-Colombia at the end of May 2006. His current team manager, Gianni Savio, needs Rujano's star-status to get the team's wild card invitation into the 89th Giro d'Italia. As soon as the Giro is over, Rujano will make the switch to the team of Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step. Lefevere, and tifosi world-wide, were impressed with the Venezuelans's climbing abilities in the 2005 Giro. Rujano took out the toughest stage to Sestriere (stage 19), and then went on to finish 3rd overall.
Rujano's teammate, Ivan Parra, is considering a move to Cofidis. The move of Parra, winner of two stages in the 2005 Giro, is more complicated due to the French team's negotiations with Gilberto Simoni. Stay tuned for further developments. (read: Rujano to Quick-Step in Mid-2006, 13 August)
Famous director to the sport of cycling, Ambrogio Molteni, has passed away of a heart attack at the age of 72. Molteni's father, Piero, operated a salami company that sponsored a cycling team in the 1960's and 1970's. Cycling legend, Eddy Merckx, won 246 victories riding under the Molteni name and Ambrogio management. Gianni Motta and Marino Basso also rode for Molteni, contributing 48 and 34 victories respectively. BiciRace.com extends warm wishes out to the Molteni family.
Team CSC have selected their nine-man roster for the 2005 Vuelta a España. The Vuelta is the third of three grand tours this year. The team has their ambitions based on Carlos Sastre. The Spaniard (30) is always a threat in a three week race. Backing up Sastre is a group of strong-men: Christian Vande Velde, Jakob Piil, Nicki Sørensen, Manuel Calvente, Linus Gerdemann, Andrea Peron, Giovanni Lombardi and Vladimir Gusev.
Just in case you are wondering, this will be Lombardi's third grand tour this year. The Italian backed Ivan Basso in the Giro d'Italia, and then was asked specifically by Basso to help in the Tour de France. Now Lombardi (36) will use his skills for the good of Sastre. At the end of three weeks the race ends in Madrid, Lombardi's current home base.
16 August News ...