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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Sunday, September 27, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Racing schedule:

This is World Road Championships week. Yesterday we had the Junior Men and Elite Women race

Today is the Elite Men's World Championships. Here is the podium history of this prestigious race with complete results for every edition.

Was the Mafia behind Marco Pantani's 1999 Giro Exclusion

La Gazzetta Dello Sport reported this bombshell:

To go to this story on La Gazzetta's English site

Fresh evidence could shed new light on the continuing debate surrounding Marco Pantani and the 1999 Giro d’Italia, and link the mafia to one of Italian sport’s most enduring controversies.

A member of Naples’ Camorra organised crime syndicate under investigation was overheard discussing Pantani’s doping-related expulsion from the 1999 Giro on a wiretap, throwing fresh fuel on rumours that have circulated since the event.

Shortly after Pantani, who had won a rare Giro and Tour de France double the year before, was expelled from the race which he was dominating, a Camorra gunman named Renato Vallanzasca claimed in his biography that he’d been advised to bet against the clear favourite while in prison.

MArco Pantani and Laurent Jalabert

Marco Pantani (in pink) talking with Laurent Jalabert in stage 19 of the 1999 Giro d'Italia. This is one of my last photos of Pantani racing.

Days after Vallanzasca claims to have received the tip, Pantani failed a drugs test on a mountain stage to Madonna di Campiglio. When examined, the rider’s haematocrit level was 51.9 percent, almost two points above the level that cycling’s governing body, the, UCI had agreed with the riders.

Leading the '99 race by more than five and a half minutes, he was suspended for two weeks for safety reasons but never recovered from what he felt was a great betrayal. The rest of Pantani’s life would be a sad downward spiral until eventually he was found dead on Valentine’s Day in 2004 in a hotel in Rimini from an apparent drugs overdose.

It has been suggested that the Camorra stood to lose millions in illegal betting if Pantani made it to Milan, and so they conspired to remove him from the competition by manipulating his test samples.

An interview given by Vallanzasca in 2014 lead to a case being opened by prosecutors in Forli, and others have since given statements to the Italian police confirming the former gunman’s account. This latest piece of evidence could help to shed more light on a case that continues to fascinate the Italian public more than a decade later.

Sky signs Michal Kwiatkowski

This release came from Team Sky:

Team Sky has signed world champion Michal Kwiatkowski for the 2016 season. The 25 year old from Poland joins Team Sky after four successful seasons with Etixx - Quick-Step.

Kwiatkowski has achieved 13 victories in his professional career to date, including wins at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, Amstel Gold Race and Tour of Britain. His most celebrated triumph however, came at the 2014 World Road Race Championships, where he escaped to victory in devastating style and earned himself a 12-month spell in the iconic rainbow jersey.

The talented and versatile rider has also featured in the last three editions of the Tour de France, topping the young rider classification during 12 days of competition.

Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski at the 2015 Tour of Poland

On signing for Team Sky, Michał Kwiatkowski said: "Team Sky aim for the highest goals in cycling so I'm very happy that this move has become a reality. Sir Dave Brailsford believes in my ability, which gives me great confidence for next season, and I know that this team can help me raise my performance levels and win big races.

"The team's marginal gains philosophy really fits my approach to cycling and I have great respect for what this team has achieved in such a short time. I am excited and motivated to race for Team Sky next year."

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: "Michał has performed fantastically well over the past couple of years. We have been following his career for a long time. We have attempted to sign him on two occasions previously and weren't going to miss out this time around.

"Team Sky can help him progress and develop both his one-day racing and stage racing. Michał is still young, a great talent for the future, and will keep getting better."

Colnago is new sponsor of Women's Giro Pink jersey

This news came from the Giro Donna mangement:

The history of cycling enters in the family of the Women's Giro d'Italia. The company directed by Ernesto Colnago becomes the official sponsor of the Pink and White Jersey of the most prestigious and important womens' Cycling Stage Race, that in the most recent years has been won by absolute champions like Fabiana Luperini (Italy), Mara Abbott (USA), Marianne Vos & Anna Van der Breggen (Netherlands).

This became official on Friday, when the Race Director Giuseppe Rivolta and the Company Owner Ernesto Colnago have signed a three-years-contract of sponsorship in the headquarter of Cambiago (Milan). The satisfaction is all in the declarations of Giuseppe Rivolta: "It's a true honor to have Colnago in our big family. It's the history of cycling in the world, the brand is known and admired everywhere for the quality of its products and for the sport victories in the last sixty years. It's official presence as sponsor gives to the Giro Rosa a bigger prestige all over the world".

Colnago is an historical brand of italian and international cycling: it was born in 1952 and the first factory was situated in Via Garibaldi 10 in Cambiago. It gave its first bikes to champions like Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx (Hour Record in 1972), Michele Dancelli (Winner of the Milano-Sanremo in 1970), Francesco Moser (Hour Record in 1984) and Giuseppe Saronni (World Champion in Goodwood 1982).

Ernesto Colnago and Giuseppe Rivolta

Giuseppe Rivolta (left) and Ernesto Colnago

The first prototype of a Colnago carbon frame was created in 1987 and in those years it started a partnership with Scuderia F1 Ferrari. The epic era continued in the '90s with the Team Mapei who dominated the North Classic Races with Ballerini, Tafi and Museeuw, until Oscar Freire and Erik Zabel. In Women Cycling the biggest successes have come with the Colnago Mountain Bike and Cyclocross Team represented by the Italian champion in the two offroad disciplines Eva Lechner, then in the road races giving its bike to the Wiggle Honda Team of Giorgia Bronzini and Elisa Longo Borghini, winner of the Tour of Flanders 2015. Her teammate Mara Abbott has finished second in the Giro Rosa 2015.

The good news about Giro Rosa doesn't end here: the UCI has communicated the beginning of Women's World Tour in 2016. The Giro Rosa is part of its calendar and it will take place from 1st to 10th July.


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