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Pantani & Cipollini not invited to the TdF(21 posts)

Pantani & Cipollini not invited to the TdFmmaggi
May 2, 2001 6:43 AM
The TdF organizers today announced the 5 wild card teams (it was suppossed to be 4) that will join the other teams already selected for this year's TdF.

The 5 wild cards are Lotto (France), Euskaltel Euskadi (Spain), CSC World On Line (Holland), Big Mat (France) and Francaise de Jeux (France).

Some of the comments from Jean Marie Leblanc regarding Pantani: Mercatone Uno - Stream has done nothing in this new season. Pantani is their #1 rider and since last year's exit from the TdF hasn't won or placed in any race and has pulled out of 2 races so far this season.

Re Cipo: He has never finished a TdF. He's won many stages but the Tour needs to be respected. You can't quit once the mountain stages begin.

I hate to say it, but Leblanc's right.

Thank you very much Pantani for cheating us out of a rematch with Armstrong and Ullrich.
No Mercury...bummer...PaulCL
May 2, 2001 6:53 AM
...I won't miss Pantani - his team didn't deserve to be in the TDF. He's a whiner. If he's not leading, he quits. Cippo will be missed. It's a shame Mercury didn't get in. I think they deserved to be there, but the French are so biased against US teams now. It's not fair when a second tier French team gets into the TDF, when a first tier doesn't. Oh well. Life's not fair.
No Mercury...bummer...flyweight
May 2, 2001 11:37 AM
It is fair. After all it is the Tour de FRANCE. Being a French race there should be a large number of French teams present.

I'm just surprised they chose Euskatel over Mercury. I can see Lotto who have definitely earned their entry this year and who can probably count on a sprint stage win from Jeroen Blijlevens. CSC is also a good choice since they do have Jalabert and injury or not he's currently France's biggest name in cycling.
Well the U.S. open is a UNITED STATES tennis eventJ.S.
May 2, 2001 12:25 PM
so should we exclude some of the great european players to allow some lowly Americans in? These are international sporting events that are supposed to have the best athletes present. You know not of what you speak.
re: Pantani & Cipollini not invited to the TdFGW Rider
May 2, 2001 6:54 AM
My first thoughts this morning as I read the list of wild cards was "They've got to be kidding".

OK, so it is the Tour de FRANCE, and I can somewhat agree with the societe's desire to have french teams included, but 8 teams? And don't forget that 5 of those teams are Div II. It's like inviting Minor League teams into the playoffs. Yes, it's greater inclusion, but it leaves out the Major League teams that belong there. (Yeah, I know it's a bat-ball analogy, but I try to follow a wide range of sports).
The grandeur of the race, that is the Tour, will be diminished this year with the selection of these second-rate teams. The Tour is not just a french race, it has eclipsed the bounds of the french borders and is a world race. Don't the organizers bill the race as the toughest athletic competition in the world? If so, let the race participants be representative of the world.
re: Pantani & Cipollini not invited to the TdFmmaggi
May 2, 2001 7:29 AM

Wow. I didn't realize 5 of those teams are Div II. That's not right. Maybe 3 of those 5 should be invited, but take 2 more Div. I teams.

The Tour will still be the Tour. It will be Telekom against USPS and of course Ullrich vs Armstrong.
Hmmm....Makes SenseGreg Taylor
May 2, 2001 7:00 AM
Too bad for Mercury - Viatel, but I can sort-of understand why they weren't included. The Tour already has its "American" team, and they have won it two years on the trot. They've had enough of us by now. The prospect of a duel between two American teams may seem neat to us North Americans, but it probably wouldn't add significant viewership to the Tour's main market -- Europe.

Not surprised by the exclusion of both Saeco and Mercatone. One word: scandal. Along with Virenque, Pantani is the poster boy for the EPO era, and Saeco has recently had its own drug scandal with Salvatore Commesso, a former tour stage winner. Too bad, though, for Cipollini -- even if he doesn't make it to the finish, he's neat to watch in the first week of the race.
Hmmm....Makes Sensemmaggi
May 2, 2001 7:33 AM

Good point about Commesso getting busted. The TDF organizers has been looking for years to project a cleaner image. Leaving Mercatone Uno (Pantani) and Saeco home this year sends a strong message to the teams.

But I don't like the excuse that Leblanc used re Cipollini and respecting the TdF. How many years did Cipo go to the Tour, wins a couple of stages and then drop out? You mena to tell me that all of sudden it bothers the tour organizers? BS as far as I'm concerned.
Hmmm....Makes SenseGreg Taylor
May 2, 2001 7:49 AM
I'm with you on this one! The guy has the most Tour stage wins of all time. "Not respecting the Tour" my fanny! He also showed pretty well at Milan-San Remo this year. (2nd...again!). JaJa does finish, but he himself admits that the mountains are a struggle and that he will probably never win a Tour. And the guy lost the yellow last year in rather humiliating circumstances. (Pick up last month's Procycling -- good interview with Jalabert).

I guess that what it comes down to is that if you have to pick a wildcard team based on a single "star" rider, you go with the French guy (Jalabert) over an Italian (Cipo and Pantani).
Hmmm....Makes Sensemmaggi
May 2, 2001 8:01 AM


The bottom line is: it's called the Tour de FRANCE. The tour organizers (all French, mind you) have the right to invite to their party anybody they wish.

Maybe because the Giro d'Italia isn't as difficult as the last 3 years (therefore is less interesting than the TdF) had something to do with the decision of excluding certain teams. Who knows.
Hmmm....Makes Sensebartali
May 2, 2001 9:30 AM
Greg - I like Cipo plenty but I think Eddy Merckx has the distinction of most stage victories (42?) for the Tour.

I think Cipo has the most Giro d'Italia stage victories (25?) tied with Eddy Merckx but not Tour.
Hmmm....Makes Sensemmaggi
May 2, 2001 9:53 AM

It's more like 34 TdF stage wins for Merckx, but I'm not sure of the exact number.

It is the most of any cyclist in history.
Cipo's stats -- I stand corrected!Greg Taylor
May 2, 2001 10:44 AM
Hey, just a little Italian exaggeration in order to make a point!

You know, this will be an interesting Giro. Saeco and Mercatone will need to salvage the season, Telekom will have Ullrich (who vows to finish) and Livingston (maybe he will be allowed to ride for himself). Lots to prove for those who were left out of the Tour.
Pantani & Cipobartali
May 2, 2001 7:19 AM
That's too bad but the writing was on the wall a couple of weeks ago when a teammate of Pantani came up over 50%.

The Tour wants a clean immage. Plus Pantani just isn't the same anymore since the 1999 Giro bust. What a shame. He was awesome winning that RARE Giro & Tour double that only Coppi, Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, Roche and Indurain were able to do.

Hopefully he will impress in the Giro but unfortunately they watered it down this year in order to lure teams like Telekom.

As for Cipo, it's too bad he won't go to France either. What a character. An Italian through and through.

It's their show and they decide who can attend. I can't really blame them.
dissapointed, but it works for Postaljbrown2036
May 2, 2001 7:55 AM
Less competetion for Postal to be concerned about. The race won't be nearly as exciting too watch (especially the beginning) without Cipo'-and Pantani, well at least he was easy to dislike.

I don't get it, why can't the French riders ride well? They have every advantage!
agreeDuane Gran
May 2, 2001 10:22 AM
This is a dissapointment, but it does work out better for the US team. This goes somewhat against the grain of thought that the Societe vehemently doesn't want a US team to win. If that were the case, I think they would want more European teams in the mix who have a decent shot of beating postal. As it stands, everyone knows it is a matchup between Ulrich and Armstrong, but a third name in the mix could have really made it interesting.

Any way you slice it, it is still the tour, and it will be an incredible race.
May 2, 2001 11:36 AM
Watch out for Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Daikin) and Francesco Casagrande (Fassa Bortolo).

Simoni is an excellent climber and an OK time trailist. Casagrande can climb well too but not as good as Simoni but is better in the flats.

It will be intersting to see how they perform in the Giro and what they'll do in the TdF.
dissapointed, but it works for PostalWayne Scott
May 3, 2001 7:06 AM
No, they're missing the biggest advantage, DRUGS! Supposedly ever since the French instituted long-term (i.e. regular medical checks) they have been talking about 2 speeds in the peloton. The doped non-french speed, and non-doped french speed. Maybe this is just an excuse but maybe these medical checks are having an affect. I know in the first year of the tests they sited a marked decrease in abnormal blood readings and hormone levels. This is also why Jalabert switched from a French to a Swiss license, not sure where he is licensed now. He basically said, "I'm a professional, it's my responsibility to look after myself, and this is an intrusion, goodbye!"
list of invited teamsmmaggi
May 2, 2001 8:20 AM









I think it's interesting to note that only 3 Italian teams were invited. Italy has the most teams and riders in Div I racing. Italians have also been busted on doping more than any other riders.
Mario Cippollini the "Lion king"Breck
May 2, 2001 9:39 AM
Me and all the kids will miss Cipos brilliant sprint stages. Gave the tour some early excitement before the mountain stages and time trials called the race. The 99, he won four stages in a row, which was the first time since 1930. Always a thrill to see Mario back in the pack picking his lead out man to ride the express train home wondering if it would derail this time! Roughness on the line -he would not back down -gave back what he got. Always in hot water with the tour refusing to wear the uniform of the day when it suited him. Drives fast cars. Made the North-Wave shoe ad in Cycle Sport with the naked babe (she got covered up in the US copy [ have the Euro copy!]). Hay, give 'em a red Lotto jersey and help out mah man Andrei!

Pantaini - that bald headed Pirate. At least to his credit, he rode both the Giro and le Tour. Mebee he's on downers now-a-days trying to control his hemocrit level. Always a factor in the mountains; One of the greatest.

If these teams were US ball teams we would call le Tour's decisions pure Bush League tactics. On with le Tour. What the Hell. The one-month-only "fans" are just looking for a Wiener. Who's gonna knock the ball out of the park ...bases loaded, is their fare. The rest of US will watch it play-by-play and cuss-discuss every play, every move, and still come way feeling our sport is King of the Mountain again.

they should do the race anywayishmael
May 2, 2001 2:28 PM
they should slip in really quickly at the start of every stage and then win the whole thing..they wouldnt get to stand on the podium but everyone would know...that would be ambition..then id really like'm..ive concidered doing it myself but im not quite ready