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Italian news for Tuesday, June the 3rd, 2003
By Fabio
Date: 6/3/2003
Italian news for Tuesday, June the 3rd, 2003

Stars pay hommage to Fabio Casartelli: No more than 24 hours after the end of the 86th Giro d’Italia, several big names of the peloton were back in the saddle in Albese con Cassano. This small town in the Como province of Lombardy was home to Fabio Casartelli, the 1992 Olympic Road Champion, who tragically died in a crash on the Portet d’Aspin descent during the 1995 Tour de France.

And to the memory of Lance Armstrong’s Motorola teammate is dedicated the “Circuito degli Assi - Memorial Fabio Casartelli”, a kermesse which takes place yearly the Monday following the Giro’s end. This year was no exception to the rule, and on the afternoon of Monday, June the 2nd a huge crowd (also helped by the fact that June the 2nd has been recently reinstated as Italy’s National Holiday, so it was no average working day) filled the streets of the Lombard town regardless of the rain, and had the chance to watch the likes of Garzelli, Popovych and more top-quality riders battle it out.

Even if Simoni was not attending (the Giro dominator wus busy elsewhere, but fans will have the chance to see him again tonight at a further Criterium, this time taking place in the town of Broni) the two other Giro podium finishers were up to the task of giving the crowd a very good time, and continued their one-on-one challenge: the Vini Caldirola SO.DI. team leader won the Elimination race, as in the final “match” Garzelli pipped nobody else but the Ukrainian to the line. And Popovych took immediate revenge by taking the “Scratch” contest.

Italy’s Andrea Peron, excellent time-triallist but notably Casartelli’s room-mate in the 1995 TdF, couldn’t take part in the race due to a tendon injury, but nevertheless didn’t miss the chance to pay tribute to the memory of his friend, as he fired the starting gun this time.

And now up to next challenge, the above quoted “Broni Criterium”, an event the “Daily Peloton” attended and reported about the past two years. And so we’ll do this time as well!!

Gibo de France ? What the Italians think: No more than 48 hours after the Simoni-dominated Giro came to end, it’s Tour de France time in Italian medias already. So the “Gazzetta dello Sport” newspaper, impressed by the Gilberto-show on the Italian climbs, thought that after organizing the “Corsa Rosa itself, it might be a good thing to set up an opinion poll and see what readers think of the chances of “Gibo d’Italia” in the upcoming “Grande Boucle”.

And according to the most recent results (latest update: Tuesday at 7PM CEST), it seems us Italians have left narrow-minded nationalism aside and are optimistic, but not too much. It’s not time for thinking too big, one would say after reading the results.

Indeed, the options most of the 2658 voters (so far) picked was the ”intermediate” one: 21.3 % of them thinks Simoni ”will win a stage and get a top 5 place in the overall”.

21 % of the voters think Gibo ”will give Armstrong a run for his money” in mountain stages.

Only 18 % thus far seem to believe in ”Simoni’s podium chances”.

While 12.4% of the voters are persuaded that Armstrong and Simoni ”will battle it out until the end”.

11.6% of the voters have a negative view of things, and see a Simoni’s ”no show” on French roads.

8.1% see him as ”stage winner”, but ”not as GC contender”, not even capable of going for minor top places.

But it’s when it comes to Gibo as Yellow Jersey wearer in Paris, that we can find the lowest percentage. No more than 7.2% of Italians think that he can be the ”next TdF Overall Champion”. The poll is not over, and future voters may change the results in the next hours. But I’m a little doubtful on that ..

Btw – even Yours Truly gave his opinion on the matter ... Which option did I pick ? Well, a Daily Peloton writer has the right to keep his little secrets, after all ;]

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