Masssimo Strazzer wins in Venice: Italy's Massimo Strazzer "celebrated" his coming to the "Daily Peloton" (an interesting interview with him will be online in a few hours on this site, in the meantime you can read the excellent introduction by Vaughn Trevisanut. Just CLICK HERE) by winning the "Millemetri del Corso", an unusual, 1000-mt-long Time-Trial held on Sunday in Mestre, in the very outskirts of Venice. The Phonak rider clicked a winning time of 1'06"00. TheWomen's competition was taken by local rider Giovanna Troldi (Bee on Bike) with a time of 1'14"57.
In the even more original "Trofeo delle Nazioni" , a Pair Time Trial with "mixed" couples, consisting of a lady and a gentleman, Alessio's sprinter Angelo Furlan and Vera Carrare of the Itera team clinched victory from the all-Ukrainian pair made up of Ruslan Pidgornyy and Iryna Karpenko. Lithuania's Vladimir Smirnov and Zita Urbonaite took third place. During the event legendary Belgian sprinter Rik Van Looy (70) was awarded a "golden lion" (similar to the one awarded to the winne rof the famous Venice Film Festival) as a tribute to the man and is great career. CLICK HERE for more details on the the Belgian's palmares
Fassa-Bortolo 2003: Who's in, Who's out: In the last period pages of several cycling-related media were filled with news concerning Fassa-Bortolo. After Mapei's "departure" from the pro cycling peloton at the end of the current season, the boys in white and blue will likely take over their status as strongest team in the peloton. Which riders will be in charge of accomplishing such a difficult task ? And who's leaving to another team ? Here is a brief sum-up of all transfers (so far) concerning Fassa.
Bye-Bye to nine riders: Many of which still big names of the pro peloton. Starting from Francesco Casagrande, who will be searching for a better luck at Lampre-Daikin, after two years marked by alternate fortunes (but especially misfortunes, like his crash in the early part of the 2001 Giro and the push to a Colombian rider which prompted his disqualification - for unsporting conduct - from this year's Tour of Italy). Also another 32-year-old, "Bergamasco" Wladimir Belli, protagonist of a similar event in 2001 (the punch to a fan abusing him on the Giro climbs, which led the jury to disqualify him from the "Corsa Rosa") will follow "Big House" in his move to the team in pink and blue.
Casagrande's younger brother Filippo will leave too, followed by two East -European veterans: former Time-Trial World Champion Serhyi Honchar of Ukraine and Russian Dmitri Konyshev (whose first races fon Italian roads date back to the late 80s, where he still was a citizen of the Soviet Union). Four more Italians are going to pull out of the team: sprinter Fabio Baldato as well as young riders Rinaldo Nocentini (U23 Silver Medallist in 1998 World Championhsips, but so far unable to follow the steps of Ivan Basso and Danilo Di Luca in their successful pro careers), Oscar Pozzi and eventually Sicilian Paolo Tiralongo, who according to reports should join Saeco.
And welcome to ...: Raimondas Rumsas ? Probably. Lastest rumours from different sources say the Lithuanian will be back to the team who launched him (after his first outsanding performances with the Mróz outfit of course ...) a couple years ago, the team he left at the end of 2000 reportedly after having some troubles with Francesco Casagrande. But now it's the turn of "Big House" to move from Fassa, so Rumsas would hardly have similar problems in case he actually joins Ferretti's crew.
The man a majority of cycling fans and "suiveurs" consider to be the best team manager (along with Belgium's Patrick Lefevre) is waiting for a definitve answer from Tour of Spain champion Aitor González Jiménez. The Basque-born is currently riding for Kelme-Costa Blanca, but had some troubles with team-mate Oscar Sevilla and "Directeur Sportif" Vicente Belda, during the recent Vuelta, such that he could leave the Spanish outfit quite soon. He got several proposals from different teams, including Fassa. And latest reports said Aitor welcomd Fassa's offer and could sigh for the Italian team by the week-end.
Waiting for the skilled time-triallist, Ferretti & Co. hired more than one promising youngster, starting from the recently crowned U23 World Road Champion Francesco Chicchi. Cipollini's fellow Tuscan (and fellow sprinter, and fellow World Champion ..) had no pro contract in sight before his successful ride at Zolder ten days ago. But the gold medal he earned suddenly opened him the doors of professional cycling. The Fassa's 2003 roster should also include another "young gun" Mauro Facci from Vicenza, coming from the "Mg Tagi Car" team, who already started as stagiaire.
Two riders younger than "Fast Francesco", but already with a certain experience in the pro cycling scene, are coming to the team right from archrival Mapei: Filippo Pozzato and Fabian Cancellara. The fairheaded "Veneto" comes from an extremely successful season, when he racked up victories here and there with the Mapei Espoirs outfit. And the Swiss time-trialling sensation had outstanding perfomances too, the last of which being Sunday's second place at Chrono des Herbiers.
Along with this pair of 21-year-old riders, another excellent cyclist will cross the bridge from Mapei to Fassa: 27-year-old Italo-British Dario Cioni. The former MTB star was a fundamental team-mate to Cadel Evans in this year's Giro, and should put his skills as disposal of his new captains in the season to come too.
Three more arrivals to Fassa (so far at least) are Guido "L'Americano" Trenti, who after spending this season as fundamental part of Cipo's leadout train will be helping rival Petacchi in his challenge to the Lion King, as well as Italy's Marzio Bruseghin (back to his homeland after spending a few years with iBanesto.com) and another ridfer from th iberinm penisula, Spain's Julián Sánchez Pimenta, coming for the Kelme-Costa Blanca Espoirs team.
Waiting for Rumsas, there's another rider to welcome back to Fassa: Dario Frigo. The man ended his previous period in white and blue the way you all know, after he was found in possesion of banned substances during the 2001 Tour of Italy, and subsequently fired by the team. But after his "redemption year" marked by excellent perfomances at Tour de Suisse (overall Winner), Tdf (only Italian stage winner in 2002) and World Cup (victory in Meisterschaft von Zürich), the Fassas doors were open again to him.
Cipo news: the man to challenge to horse ?: Participants in the recent Fabio's Fantasy World Championhsips" cycling game may have noticed the name of a team in competition: Francesco Grandi's "Cipo Speeder than Varenne": a "realistic" name for the Italian team ? We might know quite soon. Indeed after Super Mario's triumphal ride in Zolder, somebody in Italy porposed an unsual challenge betwen the legs that mostly made Italians happy in recent times: a 1-km-long match between the fastest road racer in the World (Mario Cipollini) and Europe's best horse (Varenne. also labelled as "the greatest horse ever"), the latter on the way to abandon the racing scene, the former still far from doing it. CLICK HERE to know a little more on the horse, also winner of the $1,000,000 Breeders Crown, and HERE in case you think Cipo is the only playboy around ...)
Varenne reportedly replied ... "Neigh!" to the proposal, while Cipollini sounded willing to accept the challenge "I must think about it. But I'd like to ride against Varenne. I cover a kilometre in 1'03" anyway" . While the horse reportedly set a record of 1'09"1. Hopefully in the future we'll be able to enjoy such a show ...
But the new World Champion talked also of his plans for the near future and the current situation of Italian cycling. The "Lion King" said he's going on vacation soon (to any exotic place for sure, but the destination has not been unveiled), then start his build-up for the 2003 season in the second half of November "A little later than usual, but I'll work harder to make up for the lost time, such that I may be at my usual level at the beginning of the new season". Cipollini also told that being the reigining champion is a reason good enough for him to take part in the 2003 Worlds and promised that, in spite of a route not exactly appropriate to his skills, he will be racing in Hamilton.
Last but not least, a few words on the current situation of Italian cycling "Bartoli, Bettini and me have given a lot to Italian cycling. And I think we should enjoy a better consideration from the whole (Italian cycling) environment. It's true that this sport is currently having problems in Italy, with some sponsors pulling out, but the guys really in trouble are others, like all those FIAT workers, whose jobs are in jeopardy due the current economic crisis (involving the car manufacturer)".
Young Guns - 51st "Trofeo Enzo del Rosso": This race held on Sunday in Montecatini Terme (Tuscany) saw just another win by the mighty Zoccorinese-Vellutex Palazzago team. And the fifth seasonal victory for 21-year-old Giairo Ermeti. The field of participants included two U23 World Champions (Road Race Gold Medallist Francesco Chicchi) and his ITT counterpart, Lithuania's Tomas Vaitkus), as well as Italy's National Champion Poalo Bailetti and another member of the "Squadra Azzurra" in Zolder, Daniele Pietropolli, but all of them pulled out of the race early.
The first serious attack came by the km. 90 from Russia's Kiril Goloubev (Promociclo), but the rider was caught on the Goraiolo ascent, when a leading group of seven formed, containing Michero, Ermeti, Radchenko, Bajenov, Cavalli, as well as climber (and future professional rider in Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) Domenico Puzzovivo, and Fabio Quercioli of. But as Quercioli and Puzzovivo got dropped on the following descent, the race ended in a 5-man sprint, with young Ermeti from Piacenza taking line honours.
Results - Top 5 Places:
1. Giairo Ermeti (Ita - Vellutex Palazzago) 179 km. in 4h18'56" (41.478 km/h);
2. Gian Luca Cavalli (Ita - Vezza Brunero) - s.t.;
3. Stelvio Michero (Ita - Centri Calzatura) - s.t.;
4. Roman Radchenko (UKr - GS Danton Caparrini) - s.t.;
5. Alexandre Bajenov (Rus - Impruneta Cotto Ref) - s.t.
Young Guns - 33th Trofeo Sportivi Magnaghesi: An all-Italian Top 10 in this contest held on Sunday in the outskirts of Milan, from Cassano Magnago to Besana Brianza over 150 km. The race consisted of eleven laps of a circuit, and saw Zoccorinese-Vellutex notch up a further win thanks to Diego Nosotti, who soloed to victory after dropping his six mates of a breakaway group previously formed during the eighth lap. Nosotti won by a 15-second margin over teammate Paolo Tomaselli, with Gianluca Mirenda, riding for a team named after legendary Italian rider of the 50s Fiorenzo Magni, taking third spot.
Results - Top 10 Places:
1. Diego Nosotti (Ita - Zoccorinese Vellutex Androni Gioc.) 150 km. in 3h19' (45,226 km/h)
2. Paolo Tomaselli (Ita - Zoccorinese Vellutex Androni Giocattoli) - at 15";
3. Gianluca Mirenda (Ita - Sc Canavesi F.Magni) - s t.;
4. Cristian Murro (Ita - Team Aurora Named Concorezzo) - s t.;
5. Claudio Giaccari (Ita - Gs Colombina) - s t.;
6. Gianmario Rovaletti (Ita - Gsc Viris Lomellina Vigevano) - s t.;
7. Luca Marcomini (Ita - Gsc Viris Lomellina Vigevano) - s t.;
8. Antonino Mendolaro (Ita - Zoccorinese Vellutex Androni G.) - at 30";
9. Walter Aceti (Ita - Team Aurora Named Concorezzo) - at 33";
10. Manuel Dell'Acqua (Ita - Team Aurora Named Concorezzo) - s t.
Young Guns - Chrono des Herbiers: The Zoccorinese team completed their (further) triumphal day with a win in the Espoirs version of "Chrono des Herbiers", the Individual Time Trial held on Sunday in the Vandeé region of western France.
Sardinian Gianluca Moi took care of completing the hat-trick by setting a time of 50 minutes, 09 seconds and 41 hundreths, more than 50" better than Norwegian runner-up Jochen Rochau, with the best placed French taking third.
Moi's teammate Sergey Lagutin of Uzbekistan ranked sixth.
U23 Chrono des Herbiers - Results - Top 10 Places:
1. MOI, Gianluca (Ita - ZOCCORINESE VELLUTEX) - 50'09"41 (45,935 kmh)
2. ROCHAU, Jochen (Nor - TEAM ROTHAUS) - at 52"41
3. MONIER, Damien (Fra - VC RIOM) - at 53"68
4. KAISEN, Olivier (Fra - VC ARDENNES) - at 54"38
5. RAUDSEPP, Tarmo (Est - NANTES 44 CYCLISME) - at 1'36"19
6. LAGUTIN, Sergey (Uzb - ZOCCORINESE VELLUTEX) - at 1'53"83
7. MARGET, Wilfried (Fra - CC ISERE CYCLISME) - at 1'55"97
8. PACHE, Xavier (Swi - BIANCHI FIAT SUISSE) - at 2'n41"40
9. DURET, Sébastien (Fra - ALGIMOUSS CHOLET CYC) - at 2'55"00
10. MARTIAS, Rony (Fra - VENDEE U PDL) - at 2'55"43
Young Guns - 56th Milano-Bologna: A race not won by a Zoccorinese-Vellutex rider ! One if Italy's most ancient "Classics", traditionally marking the end of the Under 23 and Elite-2 calendar, took place on Sunday. Just like most of the races nominally going from Milan to another place, the 199-km-long contest didn't actually start in Italy's second largest city (the last thing quite a chaotic place such as Milan needs is the roads to be closed each time a Milan-to-anywhere competition takes place ...) but in the nearby town of Melegnano, and finished into Calderara di Reno, in the outskirts of Bolonia.
It ended in a "home win" for 22-year-old Alex Gualandi of Bolonia (Eternedile Ozzanese Team) who soloed to victory after making the decisive move with 5 km. to go. Gualandi saved a 7" margin over lombard rider Aristide Ratti (San Pellegrino-Bottoli-Artoni), who edged out Francesco Reda to take second place. The race was marked by an impressive average speed of about 47 km/h; of course the flat route helped.
Results - Top 5 Places:
1. Alex Gualandi (Ita - Eternedile Ozzanese)
2. Aristide Ratti (Ita - GS S.Pellegrino Bottoli-Artoni) - at 7”
3. Francesco Reda (Ita - Cicli Cinzia) - s.t.;
4. Marco Menin (Ita - GS S.Pellegrino Bottoli-Artoni) - at 12”;
5. Mauro Busato (Ita - GS Fausto Coppi Gazzera) - s.t.
Young Guns: Mapei-Grassi turns into Grassi-Colnago: One of Italy's most prestigious "young gun" teams, Tuscany-based Grassi, found new name, sponsor and bikes for the 2003 season, after the team directors found an agreement with Ernesto Colnago. The new team name will be Grassi-Colnago-Vannucci Piante, with bike manufacturer Colnago providing bikes to the squad. With such a sponsor, the arrival of several skilled riders (like Francesco Failli, Simone Guidi and Giacomo Cariulo from Cycling Team Casprini, Gianluca Coletta from Gardacalze-Resine Ragnoli and especially Cristian Tosoni from San Pellegrino Bottoli-Artoni), and powerful rival Zoccorinese-Vellutex losing some of his most-talented guys to professional teams, Grassi's ambitious plans for the next season look like being perfectly legitimate.