Mario Cipollini’s bright yellow and black race bike won the sprint finish today in stage one of the Tour of Luxembourg. The bike was ridden by Giovanni Visconti of ISD-Neri who, while certainly talented, is nowhere near as famous or fast as the former Lion King.
Visconti took the mass sprint over tongue-twister Yauheni Hutarovich of Francaise des Jeux and Borut Bozic of Vacansoleil — or as we like to translate them, the Sunny Vacationers. Their bikes where nowhere near as cool as Super Mario’s machine and the two riders were psychologically beaten just looking at the stylish Cipollini bike.
An escape group of three animated much of the 179 kilometer race from Luxembourg to Hesperange. Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) attacked, then Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) and Morten Knudsen (CT Differdange) joined in the action. They got seven minutes up and within 20 k of the finish before Radio Shack ate them alive.
Assuring everyone that he is back on track after several “speed bumps” in his training, Lance Armstrong is now in third overall with Radio Shack teammate Gregory Rast slotting in at second place. The leader’s jersey is now in the hands — or should we say on the chest — of Cyril Lemoine of Saur-SojaSun.
Armstrong, who rides the Trek with the 1000 R logos, said yesterday “I wouldn’t say it’s quiet. But nobody needs to feel sorry for me, I’m fine.” He was referring to the noise surrounding the Floyd Landis doping allegations and not the fact that his bike wasn’t as cool as the Cipolini model.