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Cycling News
Scroll down to read these articles from L'Equipe.  Translated by Walt Ballenberger  

Tour of Italy Stage 20- Savoldelli, Three Years Later... 05/29/05
Tour of Italy Stage 19- Savoldelli Was Hot- 05/28/05
Tour of Italy Stage 18- Basso Does It Again- 05/27/05
Tour of Italy Stage 17- Basso Makes a Comeback- 05/26/05
Tour of Italy Stage 16- Victory for Le Mevel- 05/25/05
Tour of Italy Stage 15- And the Third for Petacchi- 05/23/05
Tour of Italy Stage 14- Parra for the Double- 05/22/05
Tour of Italy Stage 13- Success for Parra, Savoldelli 1st- 05/21/05
Tour of Italy Stage 12- Victory for Petacchi- 05/20/05
Tour of Italy, Stage 11- Savoldelli Wins, Basso in Pink- 05/19/05
Tour of Italy Stage 10- McEwen in the End- 05/18/05
Tour of Italy, Stage 9- Finally Petacchi !- 05/16/05
Tour of Italy Stage 8- The CSC Team On Time- 05/15/05
Tour of Italy Stage 7- Di Luca Retakes the Power- 05/14/05
Tour of Italy Stage 6- McEwen Wins, Bettini in Pink- 05/13/05

Tour of Italy Stage 20- Savoldelli, Three Years Later... 05/29/05

The Italian Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel team) won the Tour of Italy on Sunday in
Milan.  The winner in 2002, he takes the title from last year’s winner, his compatriot Damiano
Cunego.  Gilberto Simoni and the very surprising Venezuelan climber, Jose Rujano, a virtual
unknown at the start of the event in Reggio de Calabre on May 7th, completed the podium.

It was another Italian, Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), who on Sunday won the 20th  
and last stage of this 88th Giro, taking his 4th stage victory since the start and the 19th  of
his career.  He beat out Erik Zabel and Robert Forster.

A Week in Pink
The leader of the Discovery Channel team in the absence of  the American Lance
Armstrong, Paolo Savoldelli managed to keep the pink leader’s jersey for the last week of
the race after having taken it in the Dolomites, the massive mountains of the north which
were fatal to the Italian Ivan Basso, victim of a gasto-intestinal problem.  Until the end Paolo
Savoldelli held off the assaults of Simoni, the sole leader of the Lampre team after the
weakness shown by Damiano Cunego in the mountains.

The race almost turned upside down the day before the final stage when Savoldelli found
himself in difficulty in the grueling col de Finestre, the last part of which was hard packed
clay.  But he made up ground on the descent, an area where he is known to be the best in
all of cycling.  In the final classification the Bergamasque (Savoldelli) beat out Simoni by 28
seconds, the tightest finish in the past quarter century in the Giro.  As for Rujano, he
became the first South American to finish on the podium of the Tour of Italy.  The revelation
of the event, at the age of 23 years he won the best climber competition in his first attempt.

At age 32, at the beginning of the year Savoldelli joined the team of Armstrong whom he’ll
be helping in the next Tour de France to win for the seventh time.

And the Frenchmen in all this?  Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole team) finished 23rd, at
44'55" behind the winner and three places in front of his teammate Christophe Le Mevel,
winner of the first stage.  Laurent Lefèvre (Bouygues Telecom team) took 35th place in the
general classification and Cédric Vasseur (Cofidis team) was 54th.

Tour of Italy Stage 19- Savoldelli Was Hot- 05/28/05

The Venezuelan Jose Rujano (Selle Italia team) won the 19th and next to last stage in the
Giro at Sestireres on Saturday.  He beat out Gilverto Simoni (Lampre team), who was
second in the stage and is second in the general classification.  Simoni would no doubt have
taken over the pink jersey of leader from his compatriot Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel
team) except for experiencing cramps in the last six kilometers.

Except for unexpected surprises, Savoldelli should win the Tour of Italy on Sunday at the
end of the 20th stage, as he holds a 28 second lead over Simoni, who gave it his all on the
col de la Finestre with 45 km to the finish, and a 45 second lead over Rujano, who is third.

Rujano, 23 of age and a great future
The Italian Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas team)  forced the issue on the second half of the col de
la Finestre, surfaced in hard clay, to go over the summit followed by Simoni and Rujano with
a lead of 2’23” ahead of a small group including Savoldelli.  On the descent Savoldelli
regained time and held onto his pink leader’s jersey by keeping a hard pace until the finish
at Sestriere.

Victims of cramps at the foot of the final ascent, Di Luca and Simoni let Rujano go out in
front.  Rujano is the second Venezuelan to win a stage victory in the Giro, after Leonardo
Sierra in the 1990’s.  At 23 years of age, he is certain to win the best climber classification in
his first Tour of Italy.

Tour of Italy Stage 18- Basso Does It Again- 05/27/05

The day after his first stage victory, the Italian Ivan Basso (CSC team) won the individual
time trial of 34 kilometers between Chieri and Turin on Friday.  His countryman Paolo
Savoldelli (Discovery Channel team) kept the pink leader’s jersey with two days to the finish.

Already second in the first time trial, Basso confirmed his great progress in that discipline.  
With his average speed of 45.249 km/hr, the Italian beat out the Russian Vladimir Karpets
by 9 seconds and the American David Zabriskie by 20 seconds on the course between
Chieri and Turin which included the small climb of Superga.  The leader Savoldelli increased
his lead over his principle rivals, the Italian Gilberto Simoni and the Venezuelan Jose Rujano.

Simoni ceded 1’11” to the pink jersey and Rujano, very impressive in the climb of Superga,
gave up 1’36”.  The excitement is high before the last mountain stage on Saturday, which
will lead the riders up the col de la Finestre.  In the general classification, Savoldelli is 2’09”
in front of Simoni, and 3 minutes ahead of Rujano.

Tour of Italy Stage 17- Basso Makes a Comeback- 05/26/05

The Italian Ivan Basso of the CSC team won the 17th stage of the Tour of Italy on Thursday,
raced between Varazze and Limone Piemonte near the French border.  His compatriot Paolo
Savoldelli (Discovery Channel team) kept the leader’s pink jersey.

Basso, who lost more than forty minutes in last Sunday’s stage, won a prestigious victory at
an altitude of 1,795 meters.  The rider from Varese was more than a minute in front of the
Venezuelan Jose Rujano and the Italian Gilberto Simoni at the end of the day’s 194
kilometers.  Simoni attacked with 5.5 km to the summit and took 40 seconds back from Paolo
Sapodilla (Discovery Channel) who kept the pink leader’s jersey.  The Italian Danilo Di Luca,
who was holding second place at the start of the day in Varazze, weakened in the last climb.  
He crossed the line more than a minute and a half behind Simoni.  To win the stage, Basso
outdistanced a group of escapees he was with at 7 kilometers to the finish.

The 27 year old Italian, third in the Tour de France 2004, won his first stage victory in the
Giro.  He held the pink jersey of overall leader for two days before breaking down because
of gastro-intestine problems on Sunday.  In the general classification, Savoldelli only holds a
lead of 58 seconds over Simoni with three days to the finish.  Rujano moved up to third
place at 1’24”, and Di Luca is 4th at 1’26”.

Tour of Italy Stage 16- Victory for Le Mevel- 05/25/05

The Frenchman Christope Le Mevel (Credit Agricole team) won the sixteenth stage of the
Tour of Italy on Wednesday at Varazze.  He surprised the group of his five breakaway
companions with 1500 meters to the finish line, and no one in the group responded to the
attack of this young 24 year old rider.  It was the first success for a Frenchman in the Giro
since that of Laurent Jalabert in 1999.  The Italian Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel
team) held onto the pink leader’s jersey.

Le Mevel came in a dozen seconds in front of the Belgian Christophe Brandt (Davitamon-
Lotto team), the only rider to have tried a timid counter attack, and 15 seconds ahead of the
Italian Alessandro Vanotti (Domina Vacanze team).   At the finish the escape group was
more than 20 minutes ahead of the main peleton.

“I Can’t Yet Believe It“
Christophe Le Mevel put an end to a long period in which he had little success since his first
victory in his debut year as a professional in 2001.  In 2002 he fell victim to a major crash in
which he ruptured his sciatic nerve during the Four Days of Dunkirk event.  “I dedicate my
victory to all those who helped me recover me after my accident” declared the Breton,
trembling with emotion.  “It took me two years to come back.  That was long and difficult.”

There were a lot of escape attempts in this transition day of 210 km.  A group of 18 riders
finally went out in front with 98km to the finish, and six of them (Vanotti, Engels, Schleck,
Brandt et Le Mevel, eventually joined by Fofonov) managed to break away in the Bric
Berton, the only difficult climb of the day which occurred at 50 km to the finish.

Tour of Italy Stage 15- And the Third for Petacchi- 05/23/05

The Italian Alessandro Petacchi won the 15th stage of the Tour of Italy on Monday.

Without surprise, Alessandro Petacchi took his third stage victory of the Giro 2005 under
rainy skies in Lissone.  The sprinter of the Fassa Bortolo team beat out his main sprint
rivals, Zabel and Bettini.  His countryman, Paolo Sapodilla (Discovery Channel team) held
onto the leader’s pink jersey a day prior to the second rest day.

Tour of Italy Stage 14- Parra for the Double- 05/22/05

The Columbian climber Ivan Parra repeated in the Tour of Italy on Sunday at Livigno, where
the pink leader’s jersey rested on the shoulders of the Italian Paolo Savoldelli after the 14th

Parra, basically unknown here just two days ago, took his second victory in two days at the
end of another escape.  In this big mountain stage of 218km, the Italian Ivan Basso lost all
chance to win the Giro in which he held the leader’s pink jersey on Saturday morning.

The struggling Basso was outdistanced in the first slopes of the Stelvio, the big 25km climb
of the Dolomites.  His teammates (Blaudzun, Peron, Zabriskie) waited for him and helped him
over the summit at an altitude of 2758 meters, a full 20 minutes behind the race leaders.  
Before the start in d’Egna Basso said he was not able to eat dinner the previous night.

Savoldelli Under Pressure
Savoldelli, finishing alone, lost thirty seconds over his compatriots Gilberto Simoni, who
attacked with 10 km to the finish line, and Danilo Di Luca.  In the general classification
Sapodilla (Discovery Channel team) has only a 25 second lead over Di Luca and 1’48” over

To win the stage Parra outdistanced the others in the escape group he was with (Atienza,
Osa, Rujano, rejoined later by Sella) on the last climb, the Passodi Foscagno, with 22 km to
the finish.  They had all left the main field with 35 km to the end.  At the finish line Parra led
the Slovenian Tadej Valjavec et le Venezualan  José Rujano by 1’50”.

During two days in the high mountains the Columbian of the Selle Italia team stayed in front
for 370 kilometers.  Parra (29 years of age), whose older brother Fabio was on the podium
at the end of the Tour de France (3rd in 1988), is the current time trial champion of

Tour of Italy Stage 13- Success for Parra, Savoldelli 1st- 05/21/05

The Colombian Ivan Parra (Selle Italia team) won the thirteenth stage of the Tour of Italy with
a lone victory at the end of a mountain top finish Saturday at Ortisei.  Paolo Savoldelli
(Discovery Channel team) took the pink jersey of overall leader over another Italian, Ivan
Basso (CSC team).  Basso weakened in the last climb with 7 km to the finish under the
acceleration of Gilbert Simoni (Lampre team) before arriving alone more than five minutes

The first three places are now within one minute of each other as Savoldelli, second before
the start of this stage and the overall winner of the Giro in 2002, is 50 seconds ahead of
Ivan Basso and 53 seconds ahead of the Italian Danilo di Luca (Liquigas team) now in third.  
There is a significant gap between this group and the next group of followers since the
fourth place is held by Simoni, Giro winner in both 2001 and 2003, 2’16” behind Savoldelli.

Parra Makes His Brother Proud
During this stage, Gilberto Simoni and his teammate Damiano Cunego, defending champion,
attacked on the early slopes of the Passo delle Erbe, the most difficult climb of the stage,
with 70km to the finish.  They were not able to build up a gap of more than 30 seconds over
the group containing Basso (and also the climber Parra) which rejoined them shortly after
the summit.

In the last climb, with 11km left to the finish line, Parra escaped from the group.  At the line
the brother of Fabio Parra, third in the Tour de France in 1988, won by 23 seconds over the
Spaniard Juan Manuel Garate (Saunier Duval team) and the Venezuelan Jose Rujano (Selle

Tour of Italy Stage 12- Victory for Petacchi- 05/20/05

The Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo team) won the 12th stage of the Tour of Italy
on Friday at Rovereto in a sprint finish.  The Italian Ivan Basso kept the pink overall leader’s
jersey in this 178km transition stage between days in the high mountains.

Petacchi, 31 years of age, took his second stage victory in this year’s Giro after having won
last Monday’s ninth stage in Ravenne, the 17th stage victory in the Tour of Italy in his
career.  The peleton stayed in a group on the slopes of the Passo San Pellegrino, a first
category climb, which occurred soon after the start of the race in d’Alleghe.

At the finish, Petacchi was several lengths ahead of his compatriot Paride Grillo, who tried to
anticipate the effort of his rivals. The Spaniard Isaac Galvez came in third ahead of the
German Robert Forster and the Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu.

Le Swiss Philippe Schnyder lead the only real breakaway of the day (76 km in front), but
never attained more than a three minute lead over the peleton.  He was caught with 30 km
to the finish.  The positions of the leaders in the general classification did not change with
Basso still holding on to an 18 second lead over his compatriot Paolo Savoldelli.

Tour of Italy, Stage 11- Savoldelli Wins, Basso in Pink- 05/19/05

The Italian Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel team) won the 11th stage of the Tour of Italy
Thursday at Zoldo Alto, the first mountaintop finish is the event.  The Italian Ivan Basso,
(CSC team), second in the stage, took the pink leader’s jersey by dominating this first
mountain stage in the Dolomites (along with Savoldelli) which was notable by the weakness
of last year’s winner, the Italian Damiano Cunego.

For the stage victory, Savoldelli pulled ahead of Basso.  The duo came in 21 seconds
ahead of the Italian Gilberto Simoni, who fell back on the climb before the finish.  The wearer
of the pink leader’s jersey at the start of the day in Marostica, the Italian Danilo Di Luca,
followed relentlessly and came in fourth at just over a minute in arrears.  Cunego, who had a
bad day, found himself in difficulty on the steep slopes of the Passo Duran with 27 km left to
the finish.  He struggled to the summit in the company of another former winner, the Italian
Stefan Garzelli, more than three minutes behind the lead group.  At the finish Cunego, who
started as one of the race favorites, was more than six minutes behind the stage winner.  In
the overall classification, Basso is 18 seconds ahead of Savoldelli, and he leads Di Luca by
1’04”, and Simoni by 2’27”.

The winner of the day, Savoldelli (32 years of age), without doubt the best descender in the
peleton, won the Giro in 2002.  At Zoldo Alto, the Italian rider, who had joined the American
team of Lance Armstrong in the off-season, won his second career Giro stage, six years
after his first success.

Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel team), winner of the stage:  “I stayed in the wheel of
Ivan (Basso) for the last two kilometers.  I apologize to him for letting him do all the work and
then going for the sprint, but for me it was important to win.  I haven’t ridden the Giro for two
years.  On the Passo Duran, I tried to climb at my own pace.  I took the lead on the descent
in order to be in good position for the last climb.  I saw that Basso was the strongest.”

Ivan Basso (CSC team), overall leader:  “Now the cards are on the table.  I knew at the
beginning of the Giro that Savoldelli was one of the strongest rivals.  I will continue to not
underestimate anyone.  The Giro ends in Milan, not here.  There are still lots of mountains
ahead.  The most difficult stage?  In my opinion that will be the stage of Stelvio (Sunday).  
But there are also two stages in the Piedmont during the last week.  The failure of Cunego?  
I won’t comment on a difficult day by a colleague.  That can happen to anyone.”

Tour of Italy Stage 10- McEwen in the End- 05/18/05

Already the winner at Santa Maria Cedro and at Marina di Grossetto, Robbie McEwen once
again took a stage victory on Wednesday afternoon.  The Australian of the Davitamon team
won in a sprint at Rossano Veneto.  The Italian Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas team) kept the pink
leader’s jersey in the overall classification.  Thursday the riders will leave from Marostica
and will end the stage in Zoldo Alto.

Tour of Italy, Stage 9- Finally Petacchi !- 05/16/05

The years go by but are not the same for Alessandro Petacchi.  Winner of nine stages in the
Giro last year, he had to wait until stage 9 this year to get his first win.

The sprinter from the Fassa Bortolo team, unlucky during the first week of the race, brought
himself back at the finish in Ravenne and had his first success in this year’s Giro, the
sixteenth overall in his career.  He beat out his compatriot Paolo Bettini (Quick Step team) at
the line.  The Australian Robbie MeEwen, the winner of the first two group sprints in the
Giro, stayed in the slip stream of Petacchi but wasn’t able to catch up to him and finished
4th, just in front of Zabel.

During this transition day there was only one escape attempt which was launched in the first
kilometer by the Germans Sven Krauss (interested in winning the intermediate sprint
classification) and Eric Baumann, as well as the Dane Mads Christensen.  Krauss and
Christensen, whose maximum lead over the main field was less than 4 minutes, were caught
by the peleton with 20 km left to the finish.

Danilo Di Luca of the Liquigas team kept the pink leader’s jersey.  Tomorrow is a rest day

Tour of Italy Stage 8- The CSC Team On Time- 05/15/05

A double victory for the CSC team this Sunday in the 8th stage, the first individual time trail
of the event (45 km), which took place between Lamprecchio and Pisa.  There was a climb in
the first half of the course before the last 15 km which were flat.  It was David Zariskie, 26
years of age, who was the fastest.  At an average of 46.140 km/hr., the American beat his
teammate, the Italian Ivan Basso, by 17”, and another Italian, past winner of the Giro in
2002, Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel team) who came in 44 seconds behind.

In the general classification, Danilo Di Luca, (Liquigas team) who came in 10th in the stage
at 1’35” behind, kept his pink leader’s jersey by a slim 9 seconds over Ivan Basso, who has
now positioned himself well in this Giro.  Salvoldelli is now 3rd overall at 1’35: behind the
leader.  It’s notable that Damiano Cunego (Lampre team) the favorite of the event and the
defending champion, only took 16th place in this stage and fell back to 4th overall at 1’15”
behind Di Luca.  And his teammate Gilberto Simoni, 2003 Giro winner, also ceded time and
is now 2’11” behind Di Luca.  But nothing is lost as yet for these two riders who should show
their strengths when the road slants upward in the mountain stages.  Quant à Paolo Bettini
(Quick Step team), he is 13th at 2'37".

Originally from Salt Lake City, Zabriskie rode alongside Lance Armstrong for four years on
the US Postal team.  Last year he won a stage in the Tour of Spain after a long individual
breakaway.  During the off-season he signed with the Danish team CSC, managed by
Bjarne Riis.  As for the French riders, the best placement is 17th position, held by Laurent
Lefebvre (Bouygues Telecom team).  He is 3’24” behind the pink jersey.

Tour of Italy Stage 7- Di Luca Retakes the Power- 05/14/05

The Spaniard Koldo Gil (Liberty team) won the 7th stage of the Tour of Italy on Saturday at
Pistoia which was marked by the pull-back of the Italian Ivan Basso.  The Italian Danilo Di
Luca (Liauigas team) regained the pink leader’s jersey after this stage of 211 kilometers
which took place in Tuscany the entire time under a cloudy sky that was sometimes rainy.

Gil took off from an escape group of 21 riders with 32 km to go before the last climb, the
Sammone, a first category climb which was in the last 25 km of the stage.  At the summit with
17 km to the finish, Basso was over 30 seconds behind his major rivals for the overall
victory, in particular his compatriots Damiano Cunego and Gilverto Simoni, who had pushed
the pace on the climb.

At the finish, Basso ceded 30 seconds to his major rivals, one day before the first big
individual time trial of the event, to be held over 45 km between Lamporecchio and
Florence.  Gil won the stage with a 20 second lead over a small group led by Cunego  who
was in front of Di Luca.  The Italian Mirko Celestino came in fourth in front of the Frenchmen
Patrice Halgand and Sandy Casar.

The Olympic champion, the Italian Paolo Bettini, who wore the pink leader’s jersey at the
start in Grosseto, was also outdistanced on the Sammome.  He crossed the finish line almost
two minutes behind the leader.  The Italian Stefano Garzelli, the winner of the Giro in 2000,
was also in the group with Cunego.  He apparently fell in the last three kilometers, but his
injuries were light.

Gil, born in Pamplona 27 years ago, won the biggest race of his career, which started in
2001.  In the overall classification, Di Luca is leading Cunego by 26 seconds, and is 54
seconds ahead of Celestino and Simoni.  Basso is 1’27” behind the wearer of the pink jersey.

Tour of Italy Stage 6- McEwen Wins, Bettini in Pink- 05/13/05

The Australian Robbie McEwen (Davitamon team) won the 6th stage of the Tour of Italy on
Friday at Marina di Grosseto.  The Italian Paolo Bettini (Quick Step team) took back the pink
leader’s jersey from Danilo Di Luca.

McEwen, already the winner of the second stage in Santa Maria del Cedro, was victorious
for the seventh time overall in the Tour of Italy.  The Australian champion was several
lengths ahead of  the Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu, the Ukrainian Volodymyr Bileka, and the
Spaniard Isaac Galvez at the end of 153 kilometers.

The Australian Henk Vogels, a teammate of McEwen, took off at the “flame rouge”, the red
marker indicating the final kilometer.  He was still ahead with 50 meters to go, and he finally
finished 5th in the stage.  Petacchi was slowed down with 4 kilometers to the finish because
of a large pileup which was involuntarily caused by his teammate, the Italian Marzio
Brusdghin, at the head of the peleton.  The Italian rider Petacchi won nine stages of the Giro
last year, but so far this year is waiting for his first victory.

Bettini profited from the intermediate spint, called the Intergiro, to take a six second bonus
and thus go ahead of Di Luca by 3 seconds in the overall classification.  Several crashes
occurred at the finishing circuit (three laps of 6 km).  Among other victims, the New
Zealander Julian Dean, who fell on a shoulder, and who suffers from a probable broken
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