Shorts: Latest Tour and other news
champ wins at Giro Donne, Comunitat Valenciana set for double blow, McQuaid says cycling is no
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World champion Regina Schleicher won Sunday’s second stage of the Giro Donne, which ended in a bunch sprint in Formello. The 32-year-old German said after her victory that she will be donating her rainbow jersey to the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel, where the race ends on July 9. A museum is currently being built next to the chapel to house the substantial collection of cycling memorabilia that has been donated over many years. The overall lead in the Giro Donne stayed with stage one victor Nicole Brandli.
– According to a report in Sunday’s Levante newspaper in Valencia, the Comunitat Valenciana regional government is set to withdraw its sponsorship from the Spanish team after it was heavily implicated in the Operacion Puerto affair. Levante says the decision was made last Friday and all that remains to be decided is when the official announcement will be made. It also reports that the team is set to have its invitation to the Vuelta withdrawn.
– International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid was scathing in his assessment of those implicated in the Operacion Puerto scandal when he visited the Tour on Saturday. But the Irishman also suggested that several other leading sports could well feel a considerable backlash. “Only riders have been named so far. But many footballers, tennis players and athletes are on the list,” he said in Strasbourg, although he did not elaborate.
– It seems just the other day that Ivan Basso was complaining that he “couldn’t speak to Damiano [Cunego] for more than 10 seconds without him getting up and leaving.” Asked, though, to talk about his rival’s present woes by La Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday, Cunego was apparently much keener to hang around and voice some forthright opinions. “It’s a blow, but it’s right that anyone who transgresses should pay,” Cunego, making his debut at the Tour, commented of Basso’s exit. “I’m upset, because you suffer almost impossibly on a bike. And it’s not nice. I think back now to when I was getting dropped in the mountains [at the Giro], and now I ask myself questions.”
Cunego’s Lampre-Fondital team boss Giuseppe Martinelli reflected in a similar vein: “If I said ‘I expected it,’ it would mean that I had preconceptions, which I didn’t. But as a coach, now I start thinking and I begin to see the 19 minutes which separated Basso and Cunego at the Giro in a different light.”
– If you want news on the Discovery Channel team and their riders at this year’s Tour, you’ll be disappointed if your sole source of information is L’Equipe. The daily “bible” of French sports fans prints daily updates on the form and fitness of all Tour teams, but Sunday’s entry on Lance Armstrong’s former team read simply: “The American team does not wish to communicate news of its riders to L’Equipe.” It is believed that the reason for the embargo is either a) L’Equipe‘s claims that Lance Armstrong used EPO in 1999 b) L’Equipe‘s claims that Lance Armstrong used EPO in 1999 or c) L’Equipe‘s claims that Lance Armstrong used EPO in 1999.