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Old 05-22-03, 04:14 PM   #1
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Victorious McEwen lashes out over race danger

After winning the rain-soaked 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Australia's Robbie McEwen then fired a broadside at race organisers for setting up a dangerous finish.

A tight corner near the finish line claimed world champion Mario Cipollini, who crashed badly. Cipollini, who has won two stages to take the record for most stage wins in the Giro to 42, slid into the roadside barriers on the final curve with Spain's Issac Galvez, hitting his left shoulder and ribs as Wednesday's stage ended.

The 36-year-old was taken to hospital for a check-up and while first reports said he was uninjured, his Domini Vacanze team doctor advised him not to continue. A final decision was to be made on Thursday.

McEwen, in front of the crash, won the 222-kilometre stage from Faenza to San Dona di Piave ahead of Italians Alessandro Petacchi and Crescenzo D'Amore. Italy's Gilberto Simoni retained the pink race-leader's jersey and was still just two seconds ahead of compatriot Stefano Garzelli.

"I rode BMX when I was young, which is good for bike handling skills, but I also think I've got a natural talent for the corners," said McEwen, who also won the fourth stage into Vibo Valentia on May 13. "I went into the corner first and on the inside because that's the shortest line and there's no danger of anyone taking you down.

"Even though I won I want to say that the organisers didn't act responsibly by having a corner so close to the finish. It's the third or fourth time they have done that and it's not right. Just because it's now compulsory to wear a helmet [it] doesn't mean they can make the race more dangerous."

Despite winning his second stage on the Giro, McEwen said he would leave after Friday's stage to Marostica to save himself for the Tour de France.

"I'm happy with two stage wins but I'm going to go home after Friday's stage because I need to save some energy for the Tour de France," he said. "I've found that when I try to ride two major Tours in one season I always suffer in the second one . . . so I won't ride through the Dolomites."

Simoni, who finished safely in the middle of the main group to retain his lead, said he would need to attack on the gruelling climb to the summit finish on Monte Zoncolan on Thursday to increase his advantage. "I'm going to attack because the Zoncolan climb suits me and I need to gain more time on Garzelli," said the 2001 champion.
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Old 05-22-03, 04:20 PM   #2
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You know its a shame that McEwan is such a great bike handler because everything I have read and heard makes him out to be such an objectionable person. He is exciting to watch but I wish he would try to control himself more.
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Old 05-23-03, 12:28 AM   #3
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I thought his comments about the way the finish was set up were somewhat measured (this time). I also think he is right. That corner in those conditions had ugly written all over it. Even without the rain why spoil a good sprint stoush by sticking a near ninety degree bend that close to the finish.
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Old 05-29-03, 06:53 AM   #4
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I did a race recently where the finish WAS a turn...Man that sucked.
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