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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 6 Live Coverage
 
By Staff
Date: 5/18/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 6 Live Coverage
 

90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 6
The first portion of the Giro mountain goats festival continues on the road to Spoleto with the torturous Monte Terminillo.


                        Courtesy Gazzetta dello Sport
Stage 6 Tivoli - Spoleto 177 km
The riders launched on the sixth stage from Tivoli on to the via Quintilio Varo early this afternoon. It is a climbers stage with the main test for the mountain goats the gruelling Terminillo a climb coming 70 kilometers into the stage after some smaller climbing contests on the way to the main event. The Monte Terminillo is a climb of 21 kilometers with an average grade of 6.6% and sections of up to 12%. This will be the stiffest gravity test of the peloton in the Giro and should shake the general classification by the end of the day. Graphics

The climbing festival doesn't end after the summit of the Terminillo at 100 kms, but has two lesser climbs the Forca Capistrello at 120 kms, a 11.2 km challenge with an average grade of 3. 8% and sections that torture tired legs of 14%. The next up on the climbers menu is the Forca di Cerro at159 kms a 10.1 km climb averaging 4.9%, with max 17% with the summit only 20 kms to the finish.

If the riders can take any consolation in the stage it is that over 50 kms of the 177 kms are downhill which may give some respite and some opportunities to the descent experts. We should also see the change of ownership of the climber maglia verde with perhaps young Riccardo Ricco or an early escapee collecting the points on the road to Spoleto.

A few early attacks were reeled back into the fold of the but with 116 kms to go Daniele Contrini of Tinkoff attacked with Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile), Christophe Kern of Credit Agricole, Panaria's Luis Laverde and Quicksteps Hubert Schwab joining the escape. They quickly built a lead of over 2 minutes in the following 20 kilometers. At the summit of Monte Terminillo Luis Laverde took the GPM points with Schwab and the magenta jersey of Pinotti, the quartet were 7 minutes ahead of the not too concerned peloton.

By the feed zone the quintet of escapees had 75 kilometers to go and maintained a gap of seven minutes on Marco Pinotti is the virtual maglia rosa on the road only three minutes down on the race leader Di Luca. Today may be the day Liquigas releases its virtual grip on the top 4 spots on the general classification and can gain some rest from the responsibilities of protecting the lead until our second and more torturous half of the Giro.

As the escape starts the climb of Forca Capistrello at 120 kms Christophe Kern leads the group of five who are working well together with little sign of weakening as the gap is 6:42 over the summit Columbian Laverde again takes the maximum G.P.M. points with Schwab and Pinotti following. Kern and Contrini follow. Contrini appears to be struggling in the final ride over the summit.

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The sound of the TV helicopter roars as the escapees fly down the descent as the peloton climbs behind them,  Liquigas leads the ascent of the Capistrello with Lampre riders in attendance behind them. The gap at the summit as Liquigas leads is 6:40 as they come a bit closer to the to the escapees working the flats with 30 km to go approaching the final 10.1 climb of Forca di Cerro at159 kms. I looks good for the break if they can if they can evade the fireworks sure to happen on the Cerro.

Marco Pinotti leads the climb with Schwab following first. Schwab and Pinotti look the stronger of the quintet with Contrini hanging on to Kern's wheel on the ascent. Meanwhile the peloton goes under the 30 km flag and strings out in a ribbon of color as the speed is upped at the front of the chase led by our current young guns leader Vincenzo Nibali and Liquigas lead the chase.

The break is currently 4km ahead of the chase as they pass under the 25 km to go flag, only 8 kms to the summit and then the descent and and the final 17 kms to the finish. Liquigas gets no help as they lead the chase

Pinotti and Laverde have 30 seconds on their former companions, Miholjevic cranking it out for Liquigas leading the chase, still no help for Di Luca's crew.

Kern is doing his best Moreau impression with tongue out, leading Schwab. Over the top, they're 30 seconds down.The Frenchman is all over the bike, gutsy. Pinotti, 3'11" behind Di Luca, is poised to slip into rosa.
The first rider to show weakness, Tinkoff's Contrini comes over the top 1'46" down from his fellow escapees.

17:10 CEST - On the descent, Laverde has 30m on Pinotti...Liquigas continue to tap out the rhythm on the climb, all the main favourites are there. The T-Mobile man is descending riskily when he really doesn't need to...  Lots of Fortunato Baliani fans out there; he was born just down the road.

Baliani goes over the top 6'45" down, delighting his local fans. 10km to go for Laverde and Pinotti and the peloton is 7'15" behind them!

The little Colombian leads on the descent; he won a Giro stage last year from a breakaway too. Schwab and Kern are only 32 seconds in arrears... "stringi, stringi, stringi Marco" cry the commentators as Pinotti pushes it wide again.. It will be a popular victory for the popular Italian rider if Marco slips into pink this afternoon in Spoleta! Which looks to be a certainty at this point

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 8km to go, Pinotti is on the front. Through the tunnel they go now... Baliani is still in no man's land, enjoying the opportunity to stretch his legs.

Marco Pinotti is about to swap the magenta of T-Mobile for the rosa of Giro d'Italia leadership. T-Mobile's Piva is following through with his stage hunting plan with a pleasant surprise of having a rider in a new shade of pink.

Five kilometres for the leading duo.  Now Schwab and Kern go under the banner, still riding hard, but 38 seconds down now. They're not relaxing - Laverde is in the drops, keeping the pace high.

3km to go, and Pinotti and Laverde have increased their lead to 50 seconds. They are working well trading off the lead. Meanwhile, the pack descends towards Spoleto, 7'23" down. Barring Act of God/huge crash, the maglia rosa is Pinotti's. Every time the road bends round, Laverde is gapping Pinotti slightly.

ONE KILOMETRE to go for Luis Laverde Jimenez and Marco Pinotti!
Are we going to see a straight sprint? Pinotti will know the race lead is his, he's on the front now, going past the 700m sign.
400m to go... Laverde is waiting... It's an uphill finish

They go side-by-side and Pinotti pats Laverde on the back! Two men sit up celebrating as they cross the line!
The stage is Laverde's. The maglia rosa is Pinotti's.
"I'm happy, I knew that Liquigas didn't want to keep the maglia rosa," says Pinott

17: 27 CEST - Here come Schwab and Kern... and the Frenchman powers to third, 1'31" down.

In for fifth, it's Daniele Contrini - another day, another Tinkoff man in the break. He crosses the line 3'45 down. Baliani follows for sixth. Alessandro Petacchi takes the field sprint as the peloton arrives in Spoleto

Let me be the first to congratulate Bart Hazen, Marco Pinotti's webmaster and Marco Pinotti for moving into pink today.

A smiling Marco Pinotti slips into the Maglia Rosa on the podium. Leading Danilo Di Luca by four minutes on the general classification. Schwab in second at 3:34.
Watch for Marco's diary later today at http://cyclingfx.nl/MarcoPinotti/

Stage 6 top ten Results (Provional)|
1. Luis Laverde (Panaria/Navigare)
2. Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile)
3. Christophe Kern (Crédit Agricole) 1'31"
4. Hubert Schwab (Quickstep/Innergetic)
5. Daniele Contrini (Tinkoff ) 3'45"
6. Fortunato Baliani (Panaria/Navigare)
7 Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) 7:30
8 Alexandre Usov (Ag2r)
Official results and photos to follow.

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