90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 4 Live
The first mountain test for the peloton starts today in 'Naples' own region
Campania, with a large stage getting underway in Salerno featuring a "hectic"
early part in the Sorrento area, and finishing up to the Santuario di
Montevergine di Mercogliano - that is not new to hosting Giro stage finishes, by
the way, as previous stage winners here Danilo Di Luca (2001) and Damiano Cunego
(2004) are well aware of.
Salerno - Motenvergine de Mercogliano 153 km
sees the first summit finish of the 2007 Giro, up to Montevergine di Mercogliano
It's 17km at 5% average - in recent years, it hasn't created too many gaps on
the GC but should give it a post-TTT shakeup. This is the first test of the legs
for any riders that harbour ambitions for the maglia rosa.
The last time up it was in 2004 when Damiano Cunego won in the prison-striped
Saeco jersey (remember the Save My Cannondale campaign?), with eleven riders in
the same time.
After a sedate first hour (29km covered), three riders attacked and got away:
Yuri Krivstsov (Ag2r Prevoyance), Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and
mountains leader Pavel "The" Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems). After reaching a
lead of seven minutes, it's now down to 5'15" with just over 50km to go
16:23 CEST - 40km to go, It's been a
nervy day in the bunch, with a few crashes including the likes of Petacchi,
Bettini, Gasparotto, Furlan and Pozzovivo. 50 riders were involved in a series
of crashes on very wet roads, with Bettini one of the casualties. Paolo Bettini
has been paced back to the bunch by his teammates, but he doesn't look so steady
as he grips his right side.
Nocentini, Nibali, Di Luca (winner here in 2001), Rebellin and Bettini are
being touted by the tifosi as favourites for the stage. Under the 40km to go
banner, the bunch is led by Saunier Duval, 4'30" down. Angel Gomez is on the
front at the moment.
16:25 CEST - The rain has made the
bunch nervous, but the sun is now out, as the three escapees start going uphill.
Oleg Tinkov must be delighted, getting riders in the first three breakaways.
Ignatiev and this man Brutt have bright futures ahead of them... the latter
might need to see a good barber though. Never get style tips from Viatcheslav
Ekimov. Brutt, 31st at 1'04" behind Gasparotto, again finds himself as virtual
leader, though the gap is heading towards the 4 minute mark.
1630 CEST - 35km to go, the gap is 4'07".
Saunier Duval have six men on the front, just keeping up the tempo. Panaria are
also up there, with Luca Mazzanti, another man who could do well today.
Joan Horrach has a massive bump on his upper thigh - a stage winner last
year, the Spaniard is getting it checked out by the race doctor. Ouch. Another
crash victim. It's being bandaged up - more painful for the viewer is perhaps
Horrach's awful cyclist's tan. The scourge of cyclists' girlfriends/wives
Acqua & Sapone also have a big presence at the head of the bunch, protecting
Stefano Garzelli. Domenico Pozzovivo, involved in one of the crashes, passes
veteran Stefano Zanini at the back of the bunch.
News is that Bettini has not fractured anything in his crash, but it doesn't
look like he'll be playing a big part in the finish today.
1639 CEST - Brutt is cranking it out on
the front, but Krivstov, a decent time-trialist and sprinter, still looks smooth
in his wheel. The young Russian should be the best climber out of the three, but
Irizar is Basque - ascending mountains quickly is something which courses
through their blood Their gap is now down to 3'40".
Angelo Furlan (Credit Agricole) and Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom) are
at the back of the bunch, "biting their stems" in the paceline. Gorazd Stangelj,
one of Lampre's best domestiques, goes backwards, getting water for his leader.
Gasparotto's maglia rosa is blackened with road dirt from his fall, but the
youngster is still riding strongly. There's no way he'll hold onto it today, but
it's still been a dream start for the former Italian champion.
Gilberto Simoni looks focused, just chewing on an energy bar in fifth wheel.
25km to go for the breakaway, which holds a lead of 3 minutes over the bunch.
CSC move up to the front, with David Zabriskie visible, and youngster Andy
Schleck on his wheel.
1647 CEST - Still Saunier Duval-led, the
bunch goes under the 25km to go banner,
3'08" in arrears. Gilberto Simoni, or maybe even Ricco, must be fancying his
chances today because his team is putting in a lot of work today. Irizar, Brutt
and Krivstov are now in Avellino, a Roman town. If anyone's seen The Sopranos,
this is where that fictional family has its origins...
The leading three are about to hit the final climb (17km long). Crash!! Axel
Merckx and Benoit Joachim are down, the maglia rosa was affected. Second fall
for Axel today.. A lot of riders have had to slow down. Merckx (T-Mobile), in
his last season, is now going again, Joachim is a bit slower to his feet.
Nicolas Roche was also involved.
20km to go - The bunch is coming up to
the first slopes of the final climb, 2'49" down.
Gilberto Simoni looks like he's on a Sunday club ride, protected by Leonardo
Piepoli. They're old hands at this though. Savoldelli has a teammate moving him
up! Nocentini is also up there, no sign of Lampre really yet though...
So is Luca Mazzanti (Panaria), as Manuele Mori moves to the front. Now here
comes Lampre, towards the front, alongside Saunier Duval, with Gorazd Stangelj.
Meanwhile, Vanotti is looking after maglia rosa Enrico Gasparotto. The
gap is down to 2'15" as Irizar works on the
Montevergine is 17.1km long, 5% average with a max of 10%. The last four
kilometres are a bit steeper than the rest, about 6%, but nothing too crazy.
Yet... Acqua & Sapone have come to the front with five riders, they're going for
Garzelli! The 2000 Giro winner looks calm. Brutt has opened up a gap on Irizar
and Krivstov without accelerating, but the Euskaltel man quickly closes it.
Gasparotto is suffering, slipping off the back.
1701 CEST - Perez Cuapio is near the
front, good to see! Pavel Brutt ATTACKS!
Krivstov is chasing, with Irizar 40m behind.
Massimo Codol is on the front for Garzelli. Hold onto your hats folks, this
is the first mountain action of the Giro.Brutt is down in the drops, powering
away solo. Bettini is on the wheel of Garzelli - Marzano is helping Cunego,
while Liquigas is now on the front; Perez Cuapio is also near the front of the
pack. Pellizotti and Nibali are protecting Di Luca, as Wegelius taps out the
The front group is thinning out. 1'30" gap for Brutt
- Liquigas are bringing this back. Savoldelli has two men with him,
just behind Garzelli, Cunego and Di Luca.
Simoni is there too, just slightly further back. All the big names are here.
With Spezialetti, Wegelius, Miholjevic and then Nibali and Pellizotti, Liquigas
have a strong team for the mountains of this Giro. They're definitely showing it
now... Brutt is starting to suffer, out of the saddle, grinding, as he
tries to preserve his lead.
1708 CEST - 12km to go; Yaroslav Popovych
is also just behind the favourites. There's still a fair few riders in the front
group, about fifty. Krivstov and Irizar are together as they go under the
10km to go banner - they've caught Brutt. Miholjevic and Brit Wegelius lead
under the banner, no more than 50 seconds behind. Paolo Bettini has moved up to
the wheel of Di Luca and the Liquigas train.
Attack! Frantisek Rabon of T-Mobile. And
Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio chases him down and flies past him! "Lucky" Perez had
his best year in 2002 with two stages wins. Irizar goes off the back of
the lead group. The tiny Mexican has 30 seconds to make up to catch the leading
duo, with the pack biting as his heels ten seconds down. Behind Liquigas and Di
Luca, there's Garzelli, Bettini, Sella, Popovych...
8km to go - The lime team still has five
men on the front. Perez Cuapio is going to catch the leaders - Irizar regained
them. Behind, Steve Zampieri (Cofidis) is chasing Perez! Lampre have four riders
near the front, moving up Cunego - Bruseghin, Tiralongo and Marzano are working
for the Piccolo Principe.
Zampieri now passes the breakaway... Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) attacks
and Marzano of Lampre latches onto his back wheel. Dario Cioni has attacked onto
the wheel of Zampieri, and they are behind Perez Cuapio, who has 10 seconds on
1718 CEST - The Predictor man is
powering, and Zampieri is digging deep to hold his wheel. They've been caught by
Visconti, Marzano and a Euskaltel and Caisse d'Epargne rider. Sella is up with
them! Seven men just in front of the pack; Sella is ratcheting up the pace on
the front. Piepoli is now on the front of the pack; the Sella group has been
reprised. Andrea Noč is on his wheel, then a Euskaltel man.
5km to go for Perez Cuapio - he has 20
seconds lead! Liquigas take over on front again, they won't be overly worried
about the Mexican, who is 2 minutes down overall. Leonardo Piepoli tries again,
with Sella on his wheel! 24 seconds for Perez Cuapio! Alexander Arekeev, a
Tirreno-Adriatico stage winner, gives it a go on the front now for Acqua &
Sapone. Liquigas have him in their crosshairs though, and he's being brought
Advertise on the
1725 CEST -Still 30-35 riders in the
bunch, as they round a hairpin. Perez Cuapio's lead is down to 14 seconds.
Arekeev is caught, Nibali, Pellizotti and Di Luca are perched menacingly behind
Saunier Duval have three riders near the front, must be Piepoli, Ricco and
Simoni. Just 3km to the finish for Perez Cuapio, he STILL holds 14 seconds.
Bettini has blown and is slowing down, out the back. Probably from his crash.
Looks like he's in pain. Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio hasn't won a Giro stage
since Stage 16 of 2002 when he also took another stage and the mountains win.
But he now has 18 seconds!
Piepoli AGAIN goes to the front, forcing the pace, Sella, Nibali, Pellizotti,
Di Luca, Garzelli and Cunego are right behind him. Perez has 16 seconds, this is
going down to the wire. Vincenzo Nibali comes to the front. They want the
Mexican back! The Panaria man is dancing on the pedals, getting all the speed
that he can.
2km to go! The crowd is willing on Perez Cuapio, he looks behind and the
Liquigas train rounds the corner! It's all strung out!!! Still 15 seconds for
Perez Cuapio, again he gets out of the saddle. Davide Rebellin is in difficulty!
The tiny Mexican grimaces but again pushes hard. Suddenly only about a dozen
left in the front group under Liquigas's pressure. Perez Cuapio is going to be
He's passed with 800m left. Two Liquigas on the front, then Simoni and Cunego
right behind. And Ricco!
Sella is there - 600m to go - Pellizotti
leads it out for Di Luca...
350m to go! Now Di Luca goes gives it the
gas, the Liquigas!
DANILO DI LUCAAAAAAA WINS!!!!
Andy Schleck was FOURTH. 2 Ricco 3 Cunego 4 A. Schleck. Simoni is dropped. He
comes in now 35 seconds down!!!! Savoldelli is also gone, Danilo di Luca had a
great lead-out, and he held off Ricco comfortably enough. That's the best way to
get back into rosa...
Danilo di Luca had a great lead-out, and he held off Ricco comfortably
enough. That's the best way to get back into rosa...But the big news, Paolo
Savoldelli and Gilberto Simoni both lost over 30 seconds on an innocuous ascent,
compared to the beasts of the last week. Garzelli was fifth on Schleck's wheel.
What a ride by Andy Schleck - he could be the revelation of the race.
1736 CEST - Bettini is about to finish;
Gasparotto in rosa is still riding up. Arroyo of Caisse d'Epargne and Sella were
also high up. Frank Schleck has said that his younger brother has an even
bigger engine than him... is the 2007 Giro where we first see his talents on a
The question is inevitable: who is Saunier Duval's leader? Ricco is unproven
in the mountains of the Giro but he looked at ease there, just beaten by Di Luca
after following his wheel all the way inside the last 1000m.
Cruel luck for Perez Cuapio, reprised just inside the last kilometre. He'll
be back to attack another day though...
Amazing show of determination for Bettini today...showing the grinta
that made him world and Olympic champion. Bettini is talking to RAI now: 'It
happened in a second' he says.'It was a massive crash, taking out about 45
riders like skittles... It blocked the road for about 60 others behind too.
Stage 3 Result (Provisional)
1 Danilo Di Luca
2 Riccardo Ricco
3 Damiano Cunego
4 Andy Schleck.
Schleck and Garzelli at 3 seconds; Pellizotti and Mazzanti at 6
Di Luca, Pellizotti, Noe and Nibali are still the top four of GC. What a team
performance...Di Luca comes out onto the stage, and the crowd cheers like mad!
Danilo 'The Killer' Di Luca needs some help opening the champagne... In tenth
place people DAVID ZABRISKIE Quite a day for CSC, two in the top ten.
Danilo di Luca takes the Maglia Rosa and the 'kisses from the miss's' and
Danilo adds the Maglia Verde of the climbers classification for his effort today
and more 'kisses from the miss's' Although Di Luca also has the Mountains
competition lead, it will be Ricco wearing that jersey tomorrow. Robbie McEwen
steps to the podium to receive the Ciclamino jersey as Sprints leader.
Thanks for joining us for the Stage 4 live report.
See you tomorrow.
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