Wednesday was the day of the second stage in the "Coppi & Bartali Week" in
Italy, going from Castel San Pietro Terme to Faenza over 175 km.
Panaria's sprinter Paride Grillo, recently back in the saddle after some
hematocrit problems, won the first two Hot Spot Sprints at km. 10 and 20
respectively. The peloton veteran Ivan De Nobile (Team Universal
Caffé-Ecopetrol) followed into limelight with a solo move that didn't go too
far. Next on the attack as the race hit the Casale climb (where Gilberto
Simoni started his Giro d'Italia 2003 Show with a solo breakaway that earned
him the first Maglia Rosa that year...) was Dutch Stefan Cohnen (Aurum
Hotels), that managed to stay clear for a short time only.
Gilberto Simoni leads the quartet in the break. c. Fotoreporter
The former U23 World Road Champion Kanstantin Sioutsou (Belarus - Team
Barloworld) put in a much more serious move later, but Morris Possoni (Ita -
Lampre), Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) and nobody else but Gibo Simoni joined him
to set up a four-man lead group. More guys regained the front, amongst whom
were Cadel Evans, Italy's Cristian Gasperoni (Ceramica Flaminia) and Valerio
Agnoli (Aurum Hotels), Michele Scarponi (Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo),
Massimo Giunti (Miche), Luca Mazzanti (Panaria) and notably early season
revelation - and one of the main suspects to win the overall in this race -
Riccardo Riccó. Pavel Brutt gave up his hopes to keep the leader's jersey on
his shoulder, such that his Tinkoff teammate Evgueny Petrov was allowed to get
across to the frontrunners.
Rogers, Bertolini, Scarponi and Ricco. c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
As the front group was getting bigger on the following descent into
Modigliana, Morris Possoni and Kanstantin Sioutsou attacked and made the gap
again. After failed attempts from yesterday's opening half-stage winner
Alessandro Bertolini (Serramenti Pvc-Diquigiovanni Selle Italia) and Agnoli,
it was Riccó (once more showcasing his great climbing legs), Scarponi, Giunti
and Rogers that took some advantage over the field on the tough Monte Trebbio
and caught the duo up front.
The resulting six-man breakaway was leading the "Brutt group" by 01'35" at
the Monte Trebbio mountain prime (Scarponi won the points from Riccò and
Possoni), with plenty of riders - amongst them Luca Pierfelici (Aurum Hotels),
one of the three escapees in the opening half-stage yesterday, thus
surprisingly aiming for the GC leadership, Cadel Evans, Paolo Bettini, Gibo
Simoni and Danilo Di Luca - in between.
Michele Scarponi victory stage 2. c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
The half dozen held their chasers at bay on the way to Faenza and made it
to the line, with a few skirmishes in the last thousand metres, and Michele
Scarponi making a smart and timely move with 1500m to go. Nobody would
really follow the Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo rider, who benefited from the
"you go chase him-no you go-no it's up to you-no you" attitude of the other
fugitives and held onto a slim advantage to take the honours from Riccardo
Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir), with Michael Rogers (T-Mobile Team) in the
remaining top three spot, followed by Possoni (4th), Giunti (5th) and Sioutsou
(6th). But the stage winner missed the double by a whisker: the peloton came
in at 38" and underdog Luca Pierfelici maintained a two-second margin
on Scarponi in the GC and moved atop the overall standings.
Luca Pierfelici, Michele Scarponi, Riccardo Riccó and the Aussies Rogers
and Evans may have had a great day in the saddle, but on the other side of the
coin Alessandro Petacchi is going through difficult times: after losing
contact to his own team-mates in yesterday's Team TT, he had another hard day
... until km. 75, when he got off his bike, on his team car, and went home,
where he's supposed to take one (well-needed) week off in order to recover.
Stage 2 (Castel S.Pietro Terme to Faenza, 175 km): Top 10 Places
1. Michele Scarponi (Ita - Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo) - 04h28'11"
2. Riccardo Riccò (Ita - Saunier Duval-Prodir) - at 06"
3. Michael Rogers (Aus - T-Mobile Team) - at 06"
4. Morris Possoni (Ita - Lampre-Fondital) - at 06"
5. Masimo Giunti (Ita - Miche) - at 06"
6. Kanstantin Sioutsou (Blr - Team Barloworld) - at 06"
7. Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita - Team Milram) - at 38"
8. Luca Mazzanti (Ita - Panaria) - at 38"
9. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita - Tenax) - at 38"
10. Raffaele Ferrara (Ita - Team LPR) - at 38"
Podium Stage 2 G.C. leader Luca Pierfelici c. Fotoreporter
GC after Stage 2: Top 10 Places
1. Luca Pierfelici (Ita - Aurum Hotels) - 06h39'26"
2. Michele Scarponi (Ita - Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo) - at 02"
3. Michael Rogers (Aus - T-Mobile Team) - at 09"
4. Riccardo Riccò (Ita - Saunier Duval-Prodir) - at 20"
5. Morris Possoni (Ita - Lampre-Fondital) - at 31"
6. Josep Jufre Pou (Spa - Predictor-Lotto) - at 36"
7. Johan Van Summeren (Bel - Predictor-Lotto) - at 36"
8. Cadel Evans (Aus - Predictor-Lotto) - at 36"
9. Massimo Giunti (Ita - Miche) - at 39"
10. Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita - Team Milram) - at 42"
Ciclistica Coppi & Bartali - Stage One