Shorts: Etxe, Van Pet, Tafi
Etxebarria ends winning drought, not much luck for Davitamon at Roubaix, Tafi calls time on career,
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
David Etxebarria won Sunday’s Amorebieta Classic in the Basque Country, ending a winning drought that stretched back to the Bicicleta Vasca race in June 2003. The Liberty Seguros rider beat Damiano Cunego, Aitor Osa, Joaquim Rodr¡guez, Rubn Plaza, Peio Arreitunaindia and Alberto Contador in the race-deciding sprint. “I am very satisfied because this victory gives me confidence after almost two years without winning,” said Etxebarria. “I dedicate it to my team, because this winter they had faith that I could still be a winner.”
– Paris-Roubaix was not a happy hunting ground for the Davitamon-Lotto team, who were badly affected by punctures on the early sections of cobbles and then saw team leader Peter van Petegem crash out a the halfway point. X-rays later showed that Van Petegem has cracked his pelvis and he is likely to be out of action for some weeks. Leon van Bon did offer the team a representative at the head of events, but the Dutchman punctured just as the decisive break went away and never got back up to the leaders again.
– Although Andrea Tafi is set to fulfil a commitment to his Saunier Duval team to ride the Tour de Georgia next week, the veteran Italian finished Paris-Roubaix with retirement very much on his mind. Tafi finished the final Classic of his distinguished career in 42nd place, 4-52 down on winner Tom Boonen, and admitted he had been hampered by bronchitis that had affected his sleep the night before Roubaix.
“At one point I was forced to a halt and almost abandoned for the first time in 13 Roubaix appearances,” Tafi explained after the race. “But all of my team-mates waited for me and urged me to continue. They gave me the strength to do that and I thank them for it because I’m proud to have finished. Now my career is over even though I will be riding the Tour de Georgia. I owe it to my team to do so even if, in my heart at least, Roubaix will be my last real race.”
– Having apparently given up on their hopes of hosting the start of the Tour de France, the Canadian province of Quebec is now investigating the possibility of hosting the Criterium International event in 2008. ASO’s director of cycling, Christian Prudhomme, confirmed there had been preliminary talks about taking the two-day race to Canada, with a May date slated for it instead of the usual end of March slot. ASO are looking into swapping the 2008 Tour of Picardy to a March date to accommodate the switch.
– Madrid’s proposal to host the start and finish on the road time trial event in the Olympic stadium that would be built in the event of them winning the 2012 Games has been described as “brilliant” by International Cycling Union representatives during a visit to the city. This would guarantee a crowd of up to 70,000 people watching the decisive moments in both the men’s and women’s time trial events.