Bikes grabbed, Cioni grounded
The Australian team have been stricken by an encounter with Italian bicycle thieves, while Italy’s D
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE The Australian team at the Worlds awoke this morning to discover thieves had struck overnight and stolen eight team bikes from the garage of the team’s hotel in Lazise, west of Verona. Cadel Evans (T-Mobile), Matthew Hayman (Rabobank) and Matt White (Cofidis) had their race bikes for Sunday’s road race stolen, while the training bike of newly crowned world time trial champion Michael Rogers (Quick Step) also went. Olympic team pursuit gold medallist Peter Dawson was forced to line up for the U23 road race on a spare bike, while three of the junior men – Patrick Shaw, Andrew Wade and Simon Clarke – will race tomorrow on bikes borrowed from their U23 team-mates. Assorted other items including Polar watches and SRM heart rate monitors were also taken with the total value of the stolen items estimated at A$60,000 (35,000 euros). Italian police are investigating and insurance options are being pursued, but the loss will be most keenly felt by the juniors who do not all have professional teams or major sponsors who can replace their machines. Meanwhile, the Italian team have hit a late problem as well, with one of their key domestiques forced out of Sunday’s race because of an elevated red blood cell count. Dario Cioni is the rider in question, with his haematocrit level registering above the 50 per cent limit in tests done on Thursday morning, writes Susanne Horsdal. Cioni has been been replaced by Alessio’s Franco Pellizotti. Since it was not a UCI-conducted test, Cioni won’t have to sit out the obligatory 14 days ‘rest’ before he can race again. So far, there’s been no official reaction from Cioni’s Fassa Bortolo team.