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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 2 Live
 
By Staff
Date: 5/13/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 2 Live
 

90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 2 Live
A rolling course with the first day for the Climbers  and Sprinters Duels for the points and jerseys...

Today's stage takes the Giro peloton south-west, from the north tip of Sardinia at Tempo Pausania to the town of Bosa, over 205 kilometres. The course is a rolling course with the first opportunities for the sprinters and climbers to challenge each other for the early lead in the jersey competitions. Every fast man in the peloton will be looking to take the pressure off early and get that precious first stage win under their belt.

This Giro is showcasing a lot of sprint quality - in the top tier, there's Petacchi, McEwen, Hushovd and perhaps Bettini. But just below, pushing to prove themselves, include the likes of Forster, Napolitano, Grillo, Haedo, Brown and others. It should prove to be a memorable Giro sprint festival for the guys with the fast legs.

The first road stage of any Grand Tour is always a bit edgy, as riders need that extra bit of time to settle their nerves and get comfortable.

Stage 2 Tempio Pausania - Bosa 205 km

1512 CEST - We join today's sprinters (?) stage in progress with Gasparotto as first wearer of the Maglia Rosa (Danilo Di Luca "forgave" him for "stealing" the jersey to his team leader) , but five men in a breakaway: Mauro Facci (Ita - Quick Step-Innergetic), Simone Masciarelli (Ita - Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo), Arnaud Labbe (Fra - Bouygues Telecom), Frédéric Bessy (Fra - Cofidis) and the Russian Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) made the  gap no more than eight kilometres into the stage, and built up a maximum advantage of five and a half minutes as they rolled out off Porto Torres after about 70 km.

At the km. 119 check the gap fell under five minutes, and is now further down to 04 minutes and 40 seconds.

1513 CEST - Michael Barry of T-Mobile did not take the start line this morning, and the German Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner) pulled out of the race later. Ordowski was 197th, dead last, yesterday, so clearly had some problems. Barry was drafted in late-notice to replace Serguei Honchar. I believe Michael and wife Dede are expecting their second child.

New gap update update: Facci, Masciarelli, Labbe, Bessy and Brutt lead the peloton by 04'35" at km. 122. ut of the five escapees, Pavel Brutt has had the best season so far. The Tinkoff man, riding his first Grand Tour has a Tour of Langkawi stage win and the GP Chiasso to his name. He could be a surprise in the mountains.

1522 CEST - Interviewed before the stage kick-off, sprinters like Petacchi and McEwem sounded unusually prudent about the chances to have a bunch sprint today. It's the last climb, coming not far from the finish, that could put their first victory in the 90th Giro d'Italia in danger. AleJet even thinks that the finish might suit the likes of Paolo Bettini and Davide Rebellin more than the pure sprinters. Lampre's only fastman in the race Danilo Napolitano hopes that he won't be wasting the chance to compete for the win anyway.

1523 CEST - Arnaud Labbé has won the time bonus-awarding mid-stage sprint at Alghero. Liquigas are just tapping away on the front of the peloton, they don't look too fussed. The gap is already manageable, and there's still 75km to go. Intermediate Sprints go under the name of "Traguardi Garibaldi" this year. Giuseppe Garibaldi being one of the key figures in Italy's fight for independence back in the 19th century. Garibaldi's birthplace was Caprera, the island that hosted the Tour of Italy start yesterday.

1524 CEST - The Liquigas-led peloton made it to the seaside town of Alghero too. Their gap to the five-strong breakaway at the "Traguardo Garibaldi" hovered around four and a half minutes. The bunch made no gains on the frontrunners in the last few kms. But they have all the time to close down on the escapees.

 Both breakaway and peloton are on the first GPM climb of the 2007 Giro, up to Villanova Monteleone. At 18km, it's a long 'un, but the average gradient of 3.4% isn't too taxing.

In pre-race interviews Bettini promised that he'll not be wasting any chances he'll be given and have a go at nullifying the gap to the current top placed riders if possible. And also Davide Rebellin didn't rule out the chance to try and make something good in the last kilometres of today's stage.

Results at the Alghero Mid-stage sprint: 1. Labbe, 2. Masciarelli 3. Bessy 4. Brutt 5. Facci: Alessandro Spezialetti led the bunch across the line for sixth place.

The race just took on the slight uphill section leading up to Villanova Monteleone, with David Zabriskie at the bottom of the pack. The most recent update saw the peloton bring the gap down to 03 minutes and 46 seconds.  Pavel Brutt leads the breakaway, dancing on the pedals on his Colnago. What a bike...

1544 CEST - Petacchi is about mid-pack, with Alberto Ongarato on his shoulder. He looks mildly uncomfortable, but then again uphill isn't his favourite "direction". Zabriskie is right at the rear, but he's just sitting up and cooling himself down with water. Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom) is on his shoulder.

1545 CEST - The gap is now down to 3'33", despite Brutt's best efforts in the breakaway. The finishing line is about sixty kilometres away. World champion Bettini is comfortably protected from the wind in the third row of riders, barely breaking a sweat. The finishing line is about sixty kilometres away.

As Simone Masciarelli comes through on the front, their lead is 3'20". Back in the peloton, Liquigas are still doing most of the work, but two Orange Men have popped up near the front, a welcome surprise. Frenchmen Labbe and Bessy look like they're having a bit of difficulty in the escape. Meanwhile, Paolo Bettini drops back through the peloton, supping on a bidon. He had some kind of problem, but he's latched onto the back of the race again. He's on the wheel of Addy Engels, third to last in the paceline...

3'12" for the break - and Labbe's cracked. One down, four left. The Cricket also asked his team boss some more details about the last part of today's route. Masciarelli just accelerated on the front of the escape group, injecting some pace into things.

Milram's DS Gianluigi Stanga, interviewed "on the road" a few minutes ago, sounded more confident than his own team's appointed sprinter: "Our goal today is to get Petacchi into the best possible position for the sprint, and I think we'll a have a bunch sprint". The Italian team manager also thinks that the absence of Marco Velo and Erik Zabel is not going to affect their leadout machine that much. When it's all about setting things up for AleJet's sprint, those who are in the race can be as good as the Italian and the German used to be when it's all about setting up for AleJet's sprint, at least according to the Italian team manager and his own words.

1556 CEST - Labbe quickly lost 25 seconds to the Fab Four now in the front. The leaders are on a bit of descent before the final push up to the GPM point. Panaria leader Emmanuele Sella is taking on water at the back of the peloton.The peloton is racing in temperatures of some 30°C. So it's no surprise that they're drinking A LOT today.

1601 CEST - The pack cut the gap to Brutt, Facci, Bessy and Masciarelli down to three minutes and twenty seconds. No teams have taken over the chase for real at the moment, but you can be sure that we're not going to wait long for that. The KOM prime is just two kilometres away.

53km to go - Masciarelli and Brutt, riding for two wild-card teams, look most interested in the GPM jersey
Their lead has been cropped to 3'05" now. Pavel Brutt also looks like he wants to keep his "virtual race leader on the road" status as long as possible.

1603 CEST - The situation stays quiet in the peloton, with the "water carriers" currently doing the hardest part of the job. The four escapees have been away for close to 150 kilometres, but still have legs good enough to take regular turns. Bessy doesn't look so good - he's comfortably the oldest man in the break, all the others are 1980s births. They keep a three-minute advantage on the field, with the Gran Premio della Montagna under a thousand metres away.

BRUTT ATTACKS! The Russian is a man on a "green" mission. Masciarelli tries to counter, but later gives up. He's winding it up, Masciarelli and Facci try to respond but the Russian has the gap. Pavel Brutt made it to the top. Now it's just Facci trying to bridge the gap, but he won't do it. The Russian has won the KOM prime, with Facci in second and Masciarelli third. He was 5 seconds ahead of Facci and almost 15 ahead of Masciarelli. Impressive speed. Bessy is going to have a bit of a struggle getting back on, he may have been distanced altogether by that acceleration.

1610 CEST - The gap dropped again: Bessy, Brutt, Facci and Masciarelli are now leading the field by 02'40" as they are coming down the Villanova descent.  Arnaud Labbe was swallowed up by the field. Thor Hushovd got dropped in the previous slopes; the Norse apparently regained the bunch, but his condition is far from the top, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the last uphill portion in the stage affect negatively his performance today.

1618 CEST - Facci, Bessy and Brutt dumped Masciarelli, who rapidly lost half a minute to the trio currently in the lead. Bad news from the buch: there was a pile-up. Not very big; Adam Hansen (T-Mobile) and Ian McLeod (Francaise des Jeux) came off the worst. Several riders were involved, amongst them the Aussie Adam Hansen and one Discovery athlete, as well as neo-pro Oscar Gatto of Gerolsteiner. All the guys quickly regained the saddle however.

1620 CEST - A little over 40 kilometres to go for the leading trio, with Pavel Brutt in the driver's seat. Jerseys from several different squads are mixing up on the front of the field, that just pulled Masciarelli back. Mauro Facci now leads Pavel Brutt and Frederic Bessy as the three escapees are flying on a flat portion, while about to enter the Oristano province of Sardinia.

More members of the sprinter's teams are rushing to the front of the pack to help the chase. The pace is going up now ... and that's no pleasant news for the three-man breakaway. Euskaltel are mixing it up on the front; clearly their sprinter Koldo Fernandez fancies a go today. He is by far their best shot at a stage win here.

1626 CEST - The gap has fallen to 02 minutes and 13 seconds as the field went under the 40k-to-go banner.  Hansen is chasing back through the race cavalcade, a memorable introduction to his first GT road stage no doubt. News from other stage races: the South-African Robert Hunter stamped his authority on a Clasica Alcobendas stage in Spain, while the Colombian Rafael Infantino Abreu clinched victory in the Tour of Friuli final leg, but the overall win in that contest went to the Russian Filippov. More news and results from both races to follow later today and/or tomorrow.

1635 CEST - The peloton rides at 60 kph as they go under the 30k-to-go sign on a downhill section. Their gap to the leading trio hovers around two minutes. There's a few more kilometres of uphill now before another descent. Mauro Facci apparently had some cramps or similar probs a few mins ago, but it looks like they're over now, and the Ialian is still proudly part of the front group.

 Facci is also working hard in the leading trio, and so is Brutt, while Bessy looks like he's struggling a lot. The French might be dropped once and for all in a short time (maybe). No need to wait for Thor Hushvod to be dumped again. The Norse lost contact to the peloton again, and quickly lost 200-205 metres to the gruppo. His domestique Kern rides alongside him, trying to help the Scandinavian limit his losses.

1644 CEST - The gap is just 1'30 now, as Astana and Saunier Duval workhorses move to the front.  Facci (who just had some chain problems and made a further effort to regain the lead), Bessy and Brutt have been away for 170 kilometres, but their adventure will no doubt come to end before they can make it to the finish.

1645 CEST - Oops, another pile-up in the field. Some 30 riders caught up. Aketza Pena (Euskaltel) literally walks in the middle of the road, off his bike, as the rest of the pack scramble to avoid him. Mathieu Heijboer (Cofidis) was also caught up in it. Don't know what Pena was doing there, it looked bloody weird. guess he couldnt do much... The orange-clad guy from Euskaltel suffered the worst consequences ... to his bike, resulting in several seconds lost for the poor Basque. Ah, Pena crashed - and a large amount of lycra has been torn from his right buttock. The TV camera is unfortunately positioned, suffice to say.

Peña is finally back on his bike! Facci and Bessy lose the wheel of Brutt! And now he sees the gap and attacks! Yeah, the Russian is on the move again: and it looks like it's the good one this time. The gap is one minute between the break and the peloton.

1650 CEST - Pavel Brutt of Tinkoff soloed away on the penultimate uphill piece in today's menu. And put close to twenty seconds on Facci and Bessy in the twinkling of an eye. Now he's powering downhill in the drops, looking to hold on to every second he can. His lead is 15 seconds over Facci and Bessy. And with still some 20 km to be covered, a gap of one minute is bad news for the Russian.  Bettini and maglia rosa Gasparotto are right up there, about fifth wheel.

1700 CEST - 15km to go - 18 seconds to Facci and Bessy, 33 seconds to the peloton. Pavel Brutt is clinging on to his slender advantage.  The Russian and the rest of the Giro crew alike are moving on the way to the possible stage decider, the last uphill portion. McEwen's teammate Dario David Cioni is now driving the chase.  Facci and Bessy look ready to give up their chase, after about 180 metres out in front.

The stretched peloton crossed a bridge on a local river as they made it into Bosa town.

1703 CEST - Some skirmishes in the field. Apparently Sella and one Quick Step rider attacked. As the Quick Step man tires, Sella goes for it. Bessy (that also fell) and Facci were pulled back into the field. Bettini, Gasparotto and Di Luca are right at the head of the chasing group. Panaria's Emanuele Sella dumped Bettini's teammate Giovanni Visconti. Visconti is dubbed as "the next Bettini" - give it a few more years and and he'll be keeping up with the best.

Rebellin, Nibali, Garzelli, Cunego, Savoldelli are also very attentive at the front of the field. Brutt looks back and sees he has company in the form of Emanuele Sella. Sella caught Brutt. And tries to drop him.But the Russian is a tough guy and follows his wheels.
8:06 AM [andy]

The peloton is right there anyway. Now up comes a Caisse d'Epargne rider and accelerates past them! It's Pablo Lastras. The Spaniard won a Giro stage back in the days of 2001, and is having a go at doing it again.But his gap over the pack is a bit too small. It's all strung out, I applaud any sprinter who keeps up with this.

1708 CEST -  7.5km to the finish! Lastras took on a potentially dangerous turn in a perfect way. Lastras careens downhill, almost overshooting a corner. Pablo Lastras is burying himself, but the gruppo has caught him.

1709 CEST - 5km to go, Pablo Lastras was literally swallowed up by the flying peloton with 5k left. Now it's the sprinters team that really steal the show. Liquigas try to restore some order to affairs. George Hincapie is also seen in the top spots. Lampre are there for Napolitano, now Milram move up... it's all happening. Nibali in the maglia bianca is doing the work on the front.

 Tinkoff man goes off the front - Ignatiev? But the peloton just split into two halves, with 90 guys on the front and about as many getting dropped, amongst them possibly some sprinters too!

1712 CEST - The Milram leadout machine came into action at last! But McEwen is ALREADY staying on Petacchi's wheels! 6 Milrams on the front, they absolutely tore past the errant Tinkoff and Panaria pair. (It was Evgeni Petrov and Sella, by the way.)

3K to go, Muller the German now leads the peloton charge. McEwen sits behind AleJet, and Bettini sits behind Rockin' Robbie. Bettini's on McEwen, then a Liquigas man... looks like Grillo and an Acqua & Sapone (Balducci) are fighting for Bettini's wheel! OOPS MORE RIDERS FALLING

1714 CEST - 1km to go! Milram lead out the sprint Only 50 riders in the front group Last turn .. Petacchi is in 2nd wheel Petacchi starts the sprint

BUT MCEWEN WINS!!
1. ROBIE MCEWEN
2. PAOLO BETTINI
3. ALESSANDRO PETACCHI.

There were about 25 riders behind McEwen, and then a big gap. Tim Klinger (Gerolsteiner) is nursing some injuries; a lot of crashes today. Andrea Tonti (Quick Step) has also come down hard. Looks like also Charlie Wegelius and Quick Step's Andrea Tonti were caught up in the pile-up.

AleJet started the sprint early, but not only McEwen, but also Paolo Bettini came around him in the last few metres. Positioning was crucial in that sprint, but Petacchi was still passed by two.

 Positioning was crucial in that sprint, but Petacchi was still passed by two. AleJet got an excellent lead-out by Ongarato, but he just didn't have the legs to win today. No, McEwen passed him with relative ease.Looks like Assan Bazayev (Astana) was fourth - great ride by him.

The last, and most dramatic pile-up happened as Andrea Tonti hit the barriers with about 1,300 metres to go. Andrea Tonti just got into an ambulance, his Giro is over unfortunately.

1720 CEST - The latest news say that Danilo Di Luca has captured the Maglia Rosa. We'll let you know more as soon as possible.

Stage 2 Results - Provisional
1. Robbie McEwen
2. Paolo Bettini
3 Alessandro Petacchi

4 Bazayev
5 Max Richeze
6 Usov
7 Rojas
8 Garzelli

1727 CEST - Okay, it's official now. DANILO DI LUCA has taken the leaders jersey, thanks to his better finishing places. The Liquigas team "capitano" is also wearing the overall leader's mantle on the podium already.

Stage  Summary
So, today's stage was perhaps more dramatic than expected. First those five guys - later down to four, later three, later to Pavel Brutt only - madeg the news with their courageous attempt.

While many good riders were hitting the tarmac once and twice, the escapees managed to stay clear for most of the stage, with the Russian - who showed a lot of "grinta", giving up last; but the peloton regrouped with a kilometres to go. And stayed together until the last 1,500 metres, when a terrible pile-up involving several riders split the field. And took Andrea Tonti out of contention: the Acqua &  Sapone cyclist hit the barriers and ended up into an ambulance.

Milram gave Alessandro Petacchi a good lead-out, one really cannot complain about AleJet's teammates, but the Italian is still far from finding again his ancient form and "explosiveness", no matter what some German race hat-tricks can tell, sorry. And Robbie McEwen certainly is not too upset about this: the smart Aussie got past him with ease and comfortably took his umpteenth stage stage victory on Giro d'Italia roads.

Paolo Bettini could be satisfied too: the Cricket also passed Petacchi and sprinted to a solid second place finish. Put also Danilo Di Luca in the "all smiles" club: Danilo captured the overall leadership he missed twenty-four hour before. He's now leading Gasparotto, Nibali, Wegelius (credited with the same time as the others despite being caught up in the late-stage accident) Noè and Pellizotti in the overall standings.

Thanks for joining us for the live report. Official results and photos will follow when available.

 
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90th Giro d'Italia - Start List
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 1 Live
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 1 Results & Photos

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