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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 5 Live
By Staff
Date: 5/17/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 5 Live

90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 5 Live
A day for the sprinters or a day for the opportunist break if they can make it over the final climbing test  La Macere, before the sprinters teams capture them?

Teano - Frascati km 173km
Stage 5 in the Corsa Rosa is 173 km long in distance from Teano to Friscati. On paper it's a stage for sprinters but there are some climbing parts in the final. The first break of the day was immediately the right one. Mickael Buffaz (Cofidis) and Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff) are in the lead now with 3.50 on the bunch. There maximum advantage was 5.30 after 37 km of race.

Di Luca has started the day in the pink jersey after his repeat win yesterday on the Motenvergine de Mercogliano. The Maglia Rosa is at the head of the affairs with his Liquigas mates of which lead the first 4 places in the general classification. 

15:13 CEST - The gap of the 2 leaders is up to 4.30. Predictor-Lotto, Milram and Saunier Duval are leading the pace in the bunch. Liquigas is not working because Di Luca said that it's not necessary to let the team work if he still needs them in the second and third week. the two leaders attacked after 15 km.

Milram and Predictor-Lotto working in the bunch. Saunier Duval is not working as we said before.If we look to the two leaders we see two riders who attacked in the stage before the first rest day. They are working well together and they seem to battle for the Vespa (an Italian scooter). The rider with the most km in a break wins this prize; so far Ignatiev and his teammate Brutt are leading this ranking

In the final of this stage the riders will get the climb of La Macere. The top of this climb is 16 km before the finish. We might see some attacks of strong finishers here. But I guess some sprinters like Petacchi and McEwen can survive as well. So it will be very interesting if we will get a bunch sprint or not.

Joan Horrach (Caisse D'Epargne) did not start today. He was one of the victims in the mass crash yesterday. He had a big bruise on his leg it was so big like a melon. Horrach was treated by the team doctor and he limped to the stage end to finish. Team made David Arroyo was the eighth at seven seconds from Di Luca and best Spanish rider at the top of Montevergine, a first category hill.
The rider from Talavera de la Reina was satisfied by his performance: “I came to the Giro really motivated and I feel very well since the beginning. I think that the Giro will be a very hard one, with a lot of mountains and I hope to get the opportunity to win a stage before we reach Milan.”

15:26 CEST - The gap to the leaders is again up to about 5 minutes. The gap drops to 4.10, Fabio Sabatini (Milram) comes to the front to let the Predictor-Lotto who are driving the chase konow they are riding a bit too fast. Milram wants to reel the two leaders in as late as possible for final catch and sprint for Ale Jet.

The red birds of Saunier Duval/Prodir´s climbed some steps in the GC yesterday (Riccò is 18th, Simoni is 23rd, Piepoli is 24th, and Mayo is 26th). Y0ung Gun Ricco had a great performance finishing second in the stage to Di Luca who was perfectly launched by his team to the stage victory. A few after race comments from the Simoni and Riccò.
Riccò: "I remained a little closed when Di Luca broke away and left me a little bit behind. I tried hard, but catching such a rider´s wheel is no easy task. Overall, the climb went well for me. Second place is good for me and it shows what a good shape I'm in. From here it will get better. I'm sure I'll be able to assist Simoni on the mountains."
Simoni: "I´m really tired. It was a tough day, but it was the first important stage and there's a long way to go. Riccò did well with second but Di Luca was just amazing today and his team did an excellent job."

Today will be a day for some of the climbers to hide in the protection of the peloton and perhaps save their legs for the Cat. 3 La Macere.

T-Mobiles Marco Pinotti after the race comments on his website "I can tell you I am doing well after 4 stages, in the TTT we waited for Barry who was sick and started slowly. The other 2 stages I was out of the trouble and felt OK. Today I tried to stay with the main group and I did that until 2 kms to go, when the switch backs strung the group in a long row and I lost some meters that became 1 minute at the end, but definitely I am happy. So far so good. Later I'll ride for a stage win."

Marco had a good ride in the Tour de Romandie animating stage 3 by driving the break of three only to finish third for line honors that day and missing the yellow jersey by two seconds. You can follow Marco's Giro updates on his website.

15:48 CEST - The gap is down to 3.25 while Liquigas is at the head of affairs leading the not so eager pace with
the two leaders Buffaz and Ignatiev working well together.

Paolo Bettini seems not to go that well today. He was one of the victims in the mass crash yesterday. He suffered an injury to his breastbone and courageously fought back to the peloton nursing his injury after the big crash that laid out more than fifty riders across the asphalt.  It was proof of his determination to finish the Giro and collect a stage win or two along the way.

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16:01 CEST - 60 km to go, The riders are now on some tougher parts of the stage. The gap of our two friends in front is down to 2.50. I think they will catch the two leaders before the climb with the top on 16 km before the finish. Milram and Predictor-Lotto are still working in the lead pressing the chase. Mikhail Ignatiev drops Mickael Buffaz on a climb

World Champion Bettini struggles on the back of the group on the hill as Ignatiev continues solo up the climb.  Ignatiev has now 30 sec on Mickael Buffaz and 2.40 on the bunch that is strung out with their effort.

16:15 CEST -The riders are on the descent with Mikhail continuing his solo effort. Paolo Bettini is still tailgunner position in the peloton, sometimes his favorite position in a race until the final kilometers. The stage with the slight uphill finish and 16 kms to go after La Macere favors strong finishers like Bettini and Davide Rebellin.

Mikhail Ignatiev is a 21 year old rider from Russia. He is schooled as a track rider and is multiple world champion and european champion in several disciplines. He Started his career with the Russian Lokomotiv team and is now riding for Tinkoff. In 2007 he won already the 3rd stage in the Tour of Mediteranneen and the Trofeo Laigueglia. He even had the leaders jersey in the european continental tour which now belongs to Martijn Maaskant (Rabobank Continental Team)

16:25 CEST - 40 km to go, Buffaz has been scooped up by the Milram led peloton as Ignatiev continues his solo escape with a 2:50 gap on the peloton. Tinkoff is really doing well so far for a wild card team. They did well in the TTT with a 7th place and in every other stage so far they had a rider in the break; two times Ignatiev and two times Brutt. Brutt even had the KOM jersey for a few days.

Yesterday in the mountaintop finish they did well with there GC rider former Lampre/Fondital rider Evgeni Petrov. He lost 32 seconds just like Savoldelli but is still doing well in the GC. He is 22th at 1.58 of Di Luca. Ignatiev still has 2.00 on the bunch led by the Airforce company of Alejet. The blue milk boys are setting a high pace while Predictor-Lotto comes too the front again as well.

Two Predictor/Lotto riders take the lead ahead of the Jurgen van den Broeck and Mario Aerts together with almost the whole Milram team keeping vigil at the front. The peloton is strung out with 20 riders of the sprinters teams and then the gruppo following.

16:32 CEST -35 km to go to Frescati with the strong Ignatiev, on his pedals stamping, Russian still in the lead. He is still going strong and shows no signs of weakening on his solo pursuit for victory. McEwen in the ciclamino jersey of the sprint points leader has made his way to the front with and escort of his pink clad mates as the gruppo, best to be in position for the climb.

Gap to Ignatiev the locomotive is 1.40. I think the GC riders will take it easy on the climb to come, because tomorrow the riders will get a very tough mountain stage with three climbs, one of the 1st, one of the 2nd and one of the 3rd category. The final climb has it's KOM at 18 km before the finish.

30 km to go, The gap is again down to 1.24 to Ignatiev.

16:42 CEST - with 30 km to go the gap is down to 1.00. In about 9 km they will get that climb with the KOM at 16 km before the finish, probably the catch of Ignatiev will be before the climb. Bettini still at the tail of the main gruppo but looking more at ease. Earlier we mentioned that Ignatiev is 21 years old of age but he became 22, 10 days ago, so a belated birthday to the impressive young rider.

25 km to go, Predictor/Lotto setting pace a little less passionately with Lampre/Fondital coming to the front as the teams begin to position themselves for the climb.

16:48 CEST - Ignatiev has a gap of 48 seconds on the bunch. He will be reeled in before the climb. Paolo Savoldelli and a few Astana join the front. Saunier Duval has come to the front as well, probably they want to make the race hard on that climb, in about 1 km they will start that climb. The gap to Ignatiev 15 seconds.

The climb begins and it is the red birds of Saunier Duval at the front. Fireworks set to begin soon. Ignatiev his break is over, the bunch reeled him in Frantisek Rabon (T-Mobile) attacks now; he did the same yesterday to the montvergine di mercogliano

20 km to go, with still 4 km of climbing to the summit. Frantisek is away and riding like a banshee, behind the Peloton is spitting riders out the back. Aaron Olson with problems in the bunch, Bettini still in the back of the bunch.

Rabon is reeled in by  three riders. The three are Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Carl Naibo (Ag2r) and Olivier Bonnaire of Bouygues Telecom. But the bunch is there too are on their heels.

Riccardo Serrano (Tinkoff) and Emanuele Sella (Panaria) in the Attack. Liquigas takes over the lead in the bunch

17:00 CEST - The two leaders have now a gap of 13 sec on the bunch 1 km to the KOM. We have three leaders now while Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues) bridged across. The gap shrinks and the escapees are neutralized as another attack goes. Sella goes on while Bernucci bridged across to the little Italian of Panaria Sella takes the max KOM points ahead of Bernucci 16 km to go.

15 km to go, The duo Bernucci and Sella are working well together on a plateau of about 2 km. The gap of the two is 10 seconds on the bunch led by the Green army boys of Danilo di Luca. Sella and Bernucci are caught by the bunch. Gruppo Compatto

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17:07 CEST -Predictor/Lotto, Milram and Quick Step now in the lead of the bunch... here we go folks the Sprinters teams are in control get on the train for the sprint finish in Frascati.

The sprinters McEwen and Petacchi are still in the bunch, they didn't drop on that climb.

Attack! Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff) attacks while Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues) and Matt White (Disco) bridges across. Tinkoff is riding a very good stage with the long break of Ignatiev and attacks of Serrano and Commesso in the final kilometers.

The bunch are in no mood for an escape and they drag the trio back; they are reeled in again while Acqua & Sapone leads the bunch. The finish is uphill so it will be a sprint between the pure sprinters and riders like Ricco, Di Luca, Cunego, Garzelli and other finishers on more difficult roads

10 km to go, In the meantime Aaron Olson is back in the bunch... Gruppo Compatto as the speed jumps in the Peloton to discourage escapes. It's really going fast now in the descend of the climb, it's a real battle to stay in front to begin the difficult final km in front of the bunch

17:15 CEST - 5 km to go, Milram in the lead of the bunch, Credit Agricole joins them, George Hincapie present near the front. CSC's Juan Jose Haedo joins George and the sprinters as they position themselves for the final.

4 km to go, it's a dangerous final with lots of turns Tinkoff again in the attack now with Elio Aggiano

Aggiano has 5 seconds on the bunch, he's driving it hard... will his escape pay off? Apparently not as Milram catches him and Ale Jet positions himself.

final km Credit Agricole in the lead of the bunch for mighty Thor Hushvod... through the tight corners of the finish... Thor and Robert Förster side by side launch for the line...

Robert Förster Wins!!!!

The bunch sprint is won by Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner). It was a close battle between him and Hushovd, Petacchi finished 3rd, Förster started the sprint in 8th position, Napolitano finished 4th. Förster found an opening between his two rivals, Hushvod and Petacchi and powered by both in the final 5 meters to win by wheel at the finish line. A stellar performance by the Gerolsteiner lad.

Results (provisional)
1 Robert Förster
2 Thor Hushvod
3 Alessandro Petacchi
4 Daniele Napolitano
5 Robbie McEwen
6 Usov
7 Maximilian Richeze
8 Pichot
9 J.J. Haedo
10 Gatto

Danilo Diluca, pretty in pink after stage 4. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Wrapping up: Danilo Di Luca continues in the Maglia Rosa and the Maglia Verde, climbers jersey.

Petacchi steps into the Maglia Ciclamino as Sprint Point leader for his effort on today's stage.

Maglia Bianca - Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)

Ignatiev picked up the Garibaldi Trophy and the Fuga Gilera - Escapee trophy for his days efforts, and Tinkoff Credit Systems again achieved maximum television coverage animating the days race in the breaks.

Liquigas continues as top team in both team classifications.

Thanks for joining us today. Tune in tomorrow for stage 6 from Tivoli to Spoleta with 3 mountains. one of the first, one of the second and one of the third category. It will not be a stage in which the GC will change a lot but tough enough for riders with climber capacities to win the stage.
Official results and photos to follow...

Thanks for joining us for the Stage 5 live report.
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