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Sacchetto del Giorno

News from various corners of the globe today. Let's start with Italy:

  • More recriminations from yesterday's odd and exciting sprint, where Alessandro Petacchi and Max Richeze mixed it up. Let's do this Rashomon style. Here's Petacchi's version:
I got stuck on the outside through the turn. I pushed Maximiliano  with my hand, otherwise I would have crashed. If I did not reach out to touch Richeze then I would have ended up on the street. Basta! There is no longer respect. If you did something like this in the times of Cipollini or Museeuw, I would want to see how that would end up!

And now for Richeze:

I did not block anyone. I was on the wheel of Hushovd, and when Ongarato went I made my sprint. It is not true that I closed in on Petacchi. In fact, he took my jersey after the finish and gave me a punch.

Hm... whom to believe? Let's check with the voice of Reason, Mario Cipollini:

It is true that Richeze was wrong to impede Petacchi on two occasions. But Ongarato had a moment of hesitation and he was anticipating the Argentinean; instead, Alberto needed to start without fearing being so far from the finish. In fact, it was fundamental to launch Petacchi to the front in the last 'S' turn, at which point no one would be able to remount [a sprint].


  • Nerve-wracking story out of Germany concerning T-Mobile Corp's sudden cost-consciousness, wherein they are saying things like their investment in Cycling has to reflect well on the company or they'll turn off the spigot. Will today's outcome soften their outlook?
  • From Belgium, another harrowing moment... imagine being the reason Tom Boonen flipped his bike into a fence? Tommeke escaped with a broken toe and won't miss any time, but like most crashes, it could've been bad.
  • Back in the States, thug-du-jour Gheoghegan confesses and wheels out the drunk defense. Is that supposed to make people feel better about him?
  • Back in Italia, Pez photodocuments the sights, sounds and smells of yesterday's sprint stage. No mention of the Battle of Monte Cassino; they keep it light at the Pez.
  • Over to Spain, in case you missed it, here is the press release from Caisse d'Epargne saying they've reviewed the evidence and think Valverde's link to Operacion Puerto is nonexistent. They also say Valverde is OK with a DNA sample to disprove anything. It's hard to believe anyone, but this looks like a scandal that might not happen, thankfully.