The tifosi of ciclismo have much to be excited about this week. Triple
excitement actually , the Coppa Sabatini today, followed by the Giro dell'Emilia
on Saturday and the Milano - Vignola on Sunday. Of course the races gain an
additional significance other than the high esteem of victory - the man who made
the “Hell of the North” his own heaven, Ballerini, the Italian team selector for
the world championships will be watching the proceedings with more than passing
interest. Each rider knows that a good position in these races will add weight
to his claim for a shirt in the most selective team in World racing.
With passions running high the 50th Coppa Sabatini was a race of
determination, aggression and skill. The number of attacks was high, the number
of escapees low. The multi talented Mapei and Fassa teams kept an iron grip on
the race for their Captains. Mapei knew if they could deliver "il Grillo,"
Bettini, the world cup leader and second ranked rider in the World would be
unlikely to fail. The boys in silver and blue, had similar hopes for local lad
Michele Bartoli, making yet another comeback after serious injury.
That said - there was also a very high quality field - Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali),
Richard Virenque (Domo-Farm Frites), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), Ivan Basso,
Dmitri Konyshev (Fassa Bortolo) , Mirko Celestino (ITA, Saeco-Longoni Sport) ,
Serge Baguet (BEL, Lotto-Adecco) and Daniele Nardello (Mapei-Quick Step) are not
the sort of riders to be left behind very easily. The fact that a large group
survived the final climb is a sign of a quality field determined to impress -
but naturally one man impressed more than any other.
What can be said about that chirpy cricket, Bettini, that has not already
been written? Once again the Liege Bastogne Liege winner proved to be the
smartest of a very smart bunch, seasoned campaigner Andrea Ferrigato made the
first move. Bettini used that early jump to his advantage. Il "Grillo" chirps
again! He made it look easy and will now surely run as Co-Captain to that other
animal of Italian racing the “lion King” himself - Cipo.
1. Paolo Bettini (ITA, Mapei-Quick Step) 197,7 km in 4h30'31" (43,8 km/h)
2. Andrea Ferrigato (ITA, Alessio) m.t.
3. Ruggero Marzoli (ITA, Mobilvetta) m.t.
4. Michael Boogerd (HOL, Rabobank) m.t.
5. Fabiano Fontanelli (ITA, Mercatone Uno) m.t.
6. Michele Bartoli (ITA, Fassa Bortolo) m.t.
7. Giuseppe Palumbo (ITA, De Nardi) m.t.
8. Mirko Celestino (ITA, Saeco-Longoni Sport) m.t.
9. Serge Baguet (BEL, Lotto-Adecco) m.t.
10. Geert Verheyen (BEL, Rabobank) m.t.
COPPA SABATINI: A preview:
The 50th edition of "Coppa Sabatini" will take place on Thursday, starting
and finishing in the Tuscan town of Peccioli, close to Pisa. Michele Bartoli
will be keen to make an impression as it is his "home" (as he is from nearby
Pisa) race .Many big names will be there, once again under the glance of
national coach Ballerini.
The route: In the first part, a 22-km. circuit, to be repeated 8 times:
Peccioli, Terricciola, Selvatelle, Bivio (junction) Valdera, Bivio Belvedere, La
In the final part of the race two laps inside a 12-km. circuit, including:
Peccioli, la Fila, Bivio (junction) Belvedere, La Tabaccaia, Peccioli. The last
km. is fully going UPHILL.
Total distance: 197.700 km. Start at 1030 (Italian time), finish at about 1515
Teams and selected riders:
Fassa Bortola - Konyshev, Bartoli, Tosatto
Acquae & Sapone - Colombo
Alessio - Bertolini , Ferrigato, Dufaux, Pellizotti, Shefer
Cage Maglierie - Bianchi, Buenahora, Cardenas
Formaggi Trentini - Di Biase
Index Alexia - Lanfranchi, Valoti
Lampre - Bertogliati, Missaglia, Sciandri, Serpellini
Mapei - Bettini, Nardello
Mercatone Uno - Borgheresi, Clavero
Saeco - Celestino, Commesso,
Tacconi Sport - Donati, Bortolami
Team Colpack Astro - Lunghi De Nardi Pasta Montegrappa - Gobbi, Palumbo
Amore & Vita Beretta - Burrow, Perry
Gerolsteiner - Rebellin, Scholz
Landbouwkredit-Colnago - Popovych
Lotto -Adecco - Aerts, Baguet, Verbrugghe
Rabobank - Boogerd, Kroon
CSC Tiscali - Laurent Jalabert, Sastre, Rasmussen