Posts filed under ‘Races’
Italian Danilo Napolitano (Katusha) is moving closer to his dream of winning
. He looks ahead to next season and another chance at winning Italy’s biggest one-day sprinters’ classic.
“Sanremo was a dream of mine when I was younger and saw Mario Cipollini winning on the Via Roma. Now I am there racing, and I have the possibility to realise that dream,” Napolitano told Tuttobiciweb.
He placed fifth in 2006 and 11th in 2007, and this year’s results show he can be back at the top next year. He won four times this season and 11 times finished second.
“It has been a positive year,” he continued. “It would have been better to have turned some of those second places into wins, but I am happy nonetheless. I will try for more in 2010.”
Napolitano shares the role as sprint captain on Russia’s Katusha team with Aussie Robbie McEwen and 2006 Sanremo winner, Italian Filippo Pozzato. The trio accounted for 11 of Katusha’s wins this season.
Gert Steegmans and Team Katusha may have terminated their contract effective immediately after the Belgian refused to sign the team’s anti-doping charter prior to the Tour de France. Media reports today indicated that the relationship was over, but the team has now it.
Team manager Andre Tchmil “said that there has not been a contract annument,” team press spokesman Andrea Agostini told us. “Steegmans was near our headquarters during the Tour de France, but did not take the opportunity to meet and clarify his position.”
The team put Steegmans on inactive status in late June when he refused to agree to the new requirement, which requires riders to pay five times their salary should they break anti-doping rules.
Steegmans had no comment on the matter.
The 28-year-old has not ridden for the Russian team since the Dauphiné Libéré in June. The team placed him on inactive status when he refused to sign a contract which would require him to pay a fine of up to six times his annual salary if he were convicted of a doping violation.
Several riders objected to the new requirement, but most eventually signed. Kenny Dehaes refused, and was released from his contract in June. He later signed with the Silence-Lotto team.
“Gert never wanted to sign our anti-doping charter,” Katusha Sport Director Jef Braeckevelt told the Belga press agency. “I think this is a good thing for both parties. He can now look forward to a new team where he can ride again. We don’t need to pay him any longer for not riding.”
Steegmans had two wins this season for Katusha, the first at the Trofeo Mallorca and the second in a stage of the Vuelta a Andalucia.
The sprinter turned pro in 2002 with Lotto, where he remained until he joined Quick Step for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He has won two stages in the Tour de France in his career including the final stage on the Champs Elysée in 2008.
Italian Champion Filippo Pozzato made an attack to join the favourites in an attempt to win Spain’s Clásica San Sebastián Saturday. He joined on the Miracruz climb, but Carlos Barredo made his winning move immediately after on the descent.
“I had faith became I was feeling good,” said Pozzato. “I joined the front riders with less than four kilometres to go because if I had not I am sure that our group would have not re-joined them.”
Pozzato (team Katusha) joined Barredo (Quick Step), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d’Epargne), Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), Kim Kirchen (Columbia-HTC) and Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom). Czech Kreuziger attacked immediately afterwards, at the top of the Miracruz climb.
Pozzato refused to respond to rest his legs for a later attack or a sprint finish. “But then everything broke apart and the tactics started. I risked it, I had hoped for more cooperation.”
Barredo reacted to Kreuziger’s attack. The two rode the final two kilometres together, to the finish along San Sebastián’s waterfront. Spain’s Barredo sprinted ahead of his partner in the final 200 metres.
Pozzato finished sixth and teammate Serguei Ivanov eighth. Katusha teammate, Russian Evgeni Petrov, won the best climbers’ award.
Pozzato finishes sixth in the Tour de France’s stage to Barcelona last month and second in the Paris-Roubaix in April. He won the Italian championship, a stage of Driedaagse De Panne and the E3 Prijs earlier this year.
Starting on a tip of coastline near the town of Béziers, the 178-strong peloton got underway in perfect conditions from Le Cap D’Agde, already 27 degrees Celsius and breezy at the 12:45 p.m. départ réel.
After 29 kilometres, two breakaway groups of three combined to form a lead sextet, including Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Geslin and Hutarovich (Française des Jeux), Sapa (Lampre-NGC), Ignatiev (Team Katusha) and Timmer (Skil-Shimano). When the peloton behind them decided to take to the call of nature, it became a definitive sign that the aforementioned six would be the break du jour.
Forty kilometres in, 8:45 was the distance between break and bunch, and that’s as far as they got; the undulating mid-section of Wednesday’s stage with a pair of Cat. 4 climbs after 112 and 115 kilometres, combined with the inevitable start of the chase-down, inexorably reduced the lead group’s advantage.
Determined not to be caught out in the wind again, Astana and Saxo Bank began assembling their troops at the fore some 80 kilometres from the finish, and when the team of maillot jaune Cancellara started driving in the heavy Tramontane crosswinds, the peloton eventually split, a lead group of 40 forming at the head. This time, however, most of the GC favourites made the move – the exception being Rabobank‘s star climber Robert Gesink, who crashed hard before the mayhem and never recovered, X-rays later revealing he had broken his wrist and ruling him out of starting the following day.
A consequence of the crosswind craziness was that it all but chewed-up-and-spat-out the lead of the early escape. But when those driving at the front let up, realising there was nothing to gain, a regrouping occurred, the break’s advantage went back out to a minute-and-a-half, and stood an even chance of surviving to Perpignan.
Française des Jeux held the upper hand with two in the move – but among them there was someone who’d been itching for a big win ever since he became a household name at the Tour de France, exactly five years ago.
|1||Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom||4:29:35|
|2||Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha||0:00:07|
|3||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia – HTC|
|4||Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Slipstream|
|5||Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram|
|6||Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Team Katusha|
|7||Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne|
|8||Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|9||Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank|
|10||Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team|
Filippo Pozzato will wear the Italian tricolore for the next twelve months after an impressive win in the Italian national championship race on Sunday in Imola.
The Katusha star won a sprint finish at the end of the 257km race. Pozzato relegated Damiano Cunego (Lampre NGC) to second, while Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone) took third.
“I have been chasing this win for many years and finally I have managed to win the title of Italian champion,” said Pozzato at the finish.
Pozzato’s win today marked the second time he has won a national title ahead of Cunego. In 1997 the compatriots finished in the same positions at the Italian school championships.
The new Italian champion immediately outlined his next objective.”I [will now] go to the Tour [de France] to win a stage with the jersey of Italian champion.”
A group of 28 riders attacked from the start and after only 10 kilometres had passed they had a 1:30 lead. The break contained José Ivan Gutierrez, Oscar Pereiro and Javier Zandio (Caisse d’Epargne), Stef Clement (Rabobank), Igor Anton and Iñaki Isasi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Hubert Dupont (Ag2r La Mondiale), Sébastien Joly and Anthony Geslin (Française des Jeux), Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Marco Velo and Martijn Wynants (Quick Step), Cyril Gautier and William Bonnet (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Christian Kux and Martin Velits (Team Milram), Daniele Righi (Lampre-NGC), Bert Grabsch, Adam Hansen and Frantisek Rabon (Team Columbia-Highroad), Nikolay Trussov (Team Katusha), Aliaksandr Kuschinski (Liquigas), Beñat Intxausti (Fuji-Servetto), Brent Bookwalter and Alexander Moos (BMC Racing Team), Jurgen Van Goolen (Team Saxo Bank), Tim Duggan (Garmin-Slipstream) and Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana).
The highest ranked of the escapees on GC was Clement, 15th at 9:40. When the gap was just over 2:20 to the peloton, Grabsch attacked on his own at km 48. The current time trial world champion stayed away until km 111 after gaining a maximum lead of 3:00. As soon as the German was caught, his teammate Hansen counter-attacked at the bottom of the Saint-Bernard-de-Touvet climb. The Team Columbia-Highroad Australian was soon joined by Duggan on the ascent.
On the Saint-Bernard-de-Touvet, Evans attacked several times but Contador was always prompt to respond with Valverde on his wheel. In a race with a lot of dynamic action, Duggan dropped Hansen but was soon joined by Clement in the lead. The duo had a 1:30 advantage over the Valverde group with 20 kilometres to go and were joined by Joly with 8 kilometres remaining. Joly attacked 1.5 kilometres before the line but Clement had enough strength to catch Joly and outsprint his breakaway companions for the stage victory.
Danilo Napolitano (Team Katusha) won the opening 157-kilometre road stage of the Tour of Luxembourg on Thursday. The Italian out-sprinted Steven Caethoven (Agritubel) and Tom Veelers (Skil-Shimano) in the bunch gallop to the finish in Mondorf-les-Bains.
“It was a nervous and very fast stage,” said Napolitano. “Astana kept the pace high to catch the escapees. In the sprint my teammates Horrach, Markov and Mikhailov brought me to the front and then I took the wheel of CSF Group-Navigare’s Dall’Antonia. He started his sprint at 200 metres to go which may have been a little bit early because of the headwind.”
Switzerland’s Grégory Rast (Astana), who won Wednesday’s prologue, remained in the race lead by two seconds over Jonathan Hivert (Skil-Shimano) and four seconds ahead of Romain Feillu (Agritubel).
The teams of the sprinters then kept the race together until the finish line for their field sprint to decide stage honours
1 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Team Katusha 3.48.29 (41.333 km/h) 2 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Agritubel 3 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano 4 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 5 Tiziano Dall'antonia (Ita) CSF Group - Navigare 6 Guillaume Blot (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 7 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskatel - Euskadi 8 Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 9 Cyrille Heymans (Lux) Continental Team Differdange 10 Christian Poos (Lux) Continental Team Differdange