Hello and benvenuti
to our live coverage of the second stage in the
2007 "Race of the Two Seas". The Tirreno-Adriatico resumes with a
comparatively easy effort of 202 km. from the Rome area town of to
Civitavecchia to the Umbrian hamlet of Marsciano, and with Australia's Robbie
McEwen, great winner of yesterday's sprint - courtesy of the smart move he put
in with 350m to go - wearing the yellow/red mantle of the overall leader.
You can also follow our live coverage of the Paris-Nice Stage 4
Stage 2 (Civitavecchia to Marsciano, 202 km.)
15:23 cet We join the race in progress
with about 20k to go, and four riders away leading the bunch by slightly under
4 minutes: Italy's Fortunato Baliani (Panaria), a local rider from the
Umbria region, Germany's Sven Krauss of Gerolsteiner, the other Italian
Daniele Contrini (Tinkoff) and Acqua & Sapone's Russian Alexander
Arekeev broke clear in the very first km. of the race, along with the
Basque Iban Mayoz of Euskaltel, but the Spaniard lost contact at km. 135, on
the San Terenziano climb; they opened up a maximum advantage of 13'30" halfway
through the parcours, but the peloton reacted. Even if the quartet are still
keeping high chances to make it to the line.
Peloton Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
15:27 cet The finish is just 15 km.
away as the Fab Four on the front keep working well to each other's advantage.
The chasing peloton brought the gap down to three minutes, but still that's a
high margin. The pack should gain 12 seconds per km. on them if they want to
bring'em back. Not an easy task. The race is about to reach a small uphill
portion, that could prove crucial for the stage outcome.
15:35 cet And crucial it proved, or so
it seems: Alexander Arekeev, a fellow townsman of Pavel Tonkov (both are from
the town of Izhevsk in the Udmurtia Republic of Russia, even if both are based
in Italy), attacked the breakaway at the going got hillier again, and went
clear on his own. He's on the way to get his first victory as a professional
rider. In the meantime also the main group partially broke into pieces, with
Matthias Kessler and Belgium's Bart Schielrinckx, as well as the young
Sicilian Giovanni Visconti and a few others, on the move.
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
15:38 cet Less than 8 kilometres to go
for the red-clad Russian in the lead. The peloton chased down Kessler and all
other recent attackers, but is still trailing Alex Arekeev by about two
minutes. Contrini, Baliani and Krauss stand in between, about 40-45 seconds
down on the solo escapee and more then likely winner of the stage and new
overall leader of the T-A.
15:43 cet Alex Arekeev lost a few
seconds on the chasers, the gap is down to thirty seconds, but the downhill
section coming next could well play into his hands and help the Russian get to
the finish at Marsciano. Only 5 km. to go. The peloton is riding hard now, but
it's a bit too late for them.
15:45 cet Alexander Arekeev continues his
winning march to the line and gets to the end of the descent. 1.5 km to go for
the 24-year-old Russian, third place finisher at the Peace Race last year (and
that should be his best career result in the professional ranks thus far ...).
The peloton could well make some gains in the last, slightly uphill kilometre,
but the gap is still a bit too big.
15:46 cet Arekeev goes under the last
km. red pennant. His margin over the closest chasers still around 30 seconds.
He's done it!
Victory Arekeev! Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
15:47 cet 200m to go for Arekeev, 100
... 50... here it is!
ALEXANDER AREKEEV HAS WON THE STAGE!!
He clocked a winning time of 04h52'11"
Italy's Daniele Contrini won the small bunch sprint for second place at
about 30", with Krauss in third and Baliani unable to hit today's podium as
fourth place finisher. The pack came in at about 55" and was led home by
T-Mobile's Austrian Eisel (5th), who even raised his arms across the line;
perhaps he didn't realize there were four riders ahead of him. Sure he
celebrated like he was the stage winner, no doubt about it.
But the other news coming from the stage are very unpleasant: several
riders were caught in two different pile-ups, the last one with about 300m
from the line. And some of them are still on the tarmac; Spain's Ivan
Gutiérrez of Caisse d'Epargne that unfortunately seems to have broken his
collarbone. Other riders involved were Geoffrey Lequatre of Cofidis, Tinkoff's
Ricardo Serrano and the Mexican Adalpe Chávez of Panaria. All of them seem to
have suffered some severe injuries, Adalpe Chávez in particular.
16:00 cet Young Alex Arekeev had a hard
time finding the right words to express his happiness after he opened his
account in the professional ranks: "I'm very, very happy at getting this
victory. It's my first one as a pro, and it's very good for confidence. And I
want to thank my team, that have always believed in me".
The Russian Alexander Areekev got his first win with the pros in style,
courtesy of a sensational breakaway effort. He went clear with four more
riders straight after the flag was dropped, and stayed away until the line,
dropping his breakaway companions on a small hill about 13km from the finish.
The other news of the day is much more unpleasant: two pile-ups involved
several riders in the final km. of the stage, the last one with about 200m to
go; and the Spaniards Ricardo Serrano and Ivan Gutiérrez, as well as
Panaria-Navigare's Mexican Adalpe Chávez and France's Lequatre, suffered
severe injuries. At least two of them (Chávez and Gutiérrez) seemingly had a
broken collarbone. Plus, this incident comes after the one taking Nicholas
Rache and Vladimir Efimkin out of contention yesterday. With such "war
bulletins" produced in just two days, this race is having an awful impact on
the peloton ...
Well, at least we can smile at Bernhard Eisel's "after-win" celebrations.
Similarly to Tom Boonen at Paris-Nice yesterday, and perhaps even more
theatrically, the Austrian looked on cloud (nine hundreds ninety) nine as he
raised his fists as he won the bunch sprint at Marsciano. We're just glad that
we were not in the shoes of the one who had to tell him that ... sorry, but
someone else crossed the line before. And that in the end he just got
fifth place in the stage, like he did the day before.
Alexander Celebrates Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
Tirreno - Adriatico Stage 2 Results - Top 5 Places
1. Alexander Arekeev (Rus - Acqua & Sapone) - 04h52'11"
2. Daniele Contrini (Ita - Tinkoff)
3. Sven Krauss (Ger - Gerolsteiner)
4. Fortunato Baliani (Ita - Panaria)
5. Bernhard Eisel (Aut - T Mobile)
Tirreno - Adriatico GC after Stage 2
1. Alexander Arekeev (Rus - Acqua & Sapone)
Complete Stage Results (pdf file)
Full GC after Stage 2 (pdf file)
Points: Standings after Stage 2 (pdf file)
Mountains: Standings after Stage 2 (pdf file)
Teams: GC after Stage 2 (pdf file)