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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 7 Live Coverage
 
By Staff
Date: 5/19/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 7 Live Coverage
 

90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 7 Live
Sprinters Formula 1 Day at Autodromo di Mugello Circuit...

Courtesy Gazzetta dello Sport
Spoleto - Scarperia 254 km
the 7th stage in the Giro is 254 km long in distance from Spoleto to Scarperia. The first attack of the day was immediately the break of the day with Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval), Benat Albizuri (Euskaltel), Fabien Patanchon (La Francaise) and Elio Aggiano, and who else? yeah you guessed it right Tinkoff Credit Systems

Their maximum gap was 11.30 but with 75 km to go it's down to less than 6.00
The stage is should be suited for sprinters but they have to do a tough climb between 80 and 70 km before the finish. Elio Aggiano won the Trofeo Garibaldi today ahead of Bertogliati and Albizuri

Quick Step is leading the pace in the bunch, the 4 leaders attacked after 9 km and still have 2.00 on the bunch. They are still on the only climb of the day. 3 km to the top of the climb. The finish is on the formula 1 (or car) circuit of Mugello. The home base of Ferrari. The gap is down to 1.21

1520 CEST - The leaders are 1 km from the KOM with Patanchon setting the pace in the break. The circuit of Mugello has roads which are going up and down. It could be difficult for sprinter teams to control. So we have to watch for riders with a strong finish who might be able to jump in the final km

Rubens Bertogliati takes the KOM points ahead of Patancho, Albizuri and Aggiano. Aggiano dropped in the final 500 mt of the climb and sees the bunch coming when he looks over his shoulder. The peloton is over the top and is 1.00 down on the leaders, they are now going into the descent.

Race leader T-Mobile's Marco Pinotti looks comfortable in the company of his magenta wearing mates as they ride behind the Quickstep and Lampre boys that are leading the chase.

1535 CEST -The gap of the three leaders is down to 48 sec.  Aggiano was swallowed up by the bunch already.

42 km to go. The situation Bertogliati, Patanchon and Albizuri in front. The bunch led by the Bettini boys at about 40 seconds behind the escapees are in the descent, but there downhill capacities are not the best, gap at thirty seconds it won't be long before they are swept up. The peloton may just let them dangle and suffer for a bit more, it's a cruel sport.

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The riders are finished with the descent and are now in the valley. Now, a straight shot forward to the Autodromo di Mugello.

40 km to go,  the bunch is coming, the gap of the three is down to 10 sec. Bettini must be feeling better today to put his Quickstep boys on the front.  Patanchon, Bertogliati and Albizuri are caught. Gruppo Compatto. Quick Step is leading the bunch and the pace is high

It's easy for T-Mobile and race leader Marco Pinotti with Quick Step controlling the front. With the 5 remaining team mates of Pinotti they probably couldn't handle it themselves. Pinotti has 2 team mates next to him as they are riding behind Bettini. The two team mates are Lorenzo Bernucci and Axel Merckx. Third at the front is the green army of the killer, Danilo Di Luca is riding behind the maglia rosa. Liquigas may like their chances for a stage win with Gasparotto today.

Behind the peloton the scattered survivors of the climb are forming groups to chase back and rejoin the pelotons mad dash toward the finish. Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole) waits on Thor Hushovd to escort him back to the front. Hushovd has not had the best of seasons this year thus far, but the big rider is sure to find his form soon.

Probably Quick Step is working so hard to make it a bit easier for Bettini, to make sure that riders like Hushovd and maybe McEwen are not able to return in the bunch. But so far we don't know if McEwen dropped or not. Robbie and other sprinters like to ride the in the back of the bunch and then move up in the final kilometers.

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Caisse D'Epargne is moving up, they have a sprinter in there team with José Joaquin Rojas. Bettini patrols the front at 4th wheel, the world champ must be feeling much better today. Amazing performance to finish stage 5 suffering as he did.

1551 CEST - 30 km to go, Behind the peloton there are several groups of dropped riders who are attempting a return to the front... Quickstep still pushes the front. Robbie McEwen and Alessandro Petacchi did survive the climb and are in the bunch. So Il Grillo is warned.

Napolitano is in the group with Hushovd, no sign of Max Richeze. Bernucci, Merckx and Pinotti of T-Mobile are riding comfortably behind the Quick Step boys. T-Mobile's Olson, Henderson and Rabon seem to be missing in action; I haven't seen them, they may be part of a group dropped on that climb. Today's finish suits Henderson, so maybe we'll see the Kiwi weighing in if he can get back along with Thor.

20 km to go, Group Thor Hushvod is 18 seconds back and it looks like they will catch on shortly. CSC's  J.J. Haedo and Robert Forster are in the group.

1605 CEST - The group Hushovd, Forster, Haedo, Napolitano is back in the main bunch. In a few minutes the Maglia Rosa will get some more helpers, a few magenta jerseys were able to join the main pack with the gruppo Hushovd. Ah yes, three T-Mobile riders are moving through the peloton to the front. Maybe they are able to put Hendy in a good position for an eventual sprint as well.

Flat tire for Dave Zabriskie, bad timing for that. The sprinter teams are moving up to the front... here we go just about time for a rocket ride to the finish and an increase in speed to discourage late breaks.

15 km to go, While Quick Step is still working hard without getting help from the others. Zabriskie is back in the peloton with some help of a few team mates.

Matt White (Discovery) attacks while three T-Mobile riders are now going to help the Quick boys; ah no it's Robbie's Predictor crew who are leading the chase, not T-Mobile. T-Mobile is taking a back seat here protecting their leader. All they need to do is escort Marco to the finish safely at this point.

10 km to go, in the race the riders are now in Scarperia. In a few kilometers they will enter the formula 1 autodromo circuit.

6 km to go, As the blue jerseys of Quick Step dominate the front driving the peloton. The Milk boys of the Petacchi Alejet air force are moving up through the peloton. If the Milram boys have the engine of a Ferrari, then there will be nothing to do against Petacchi.

The riders are now entering the Autodromo di Mugello 5 km to go, the riders are flying single file at the front with others dropping off the back as the race for line honors is launched.

Milram at the front driving the pace, 4km to go.

3 km to go, Attack Commesso while Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ) bridges across Toto is going too fast for Veikkanen Coup de Tinkoff!!

2 km to go, Commesso has a few seconds on the bunch Veikkanen is reeled in.

Ultimo chilometro - Attack CSC, Milram shuts it down. Commesso is caught and passed. Milram is flying... Ongarato does his lead-out for Petacchi, gives up his effort with 200 meters to go.
Petacchi launches and he wins stage 7.
Hushvod and the Bettini  finish in that order - it was a close sprint

Petacchi gets kisses from his lovely wife Anna-Chiara and is celebrating the win "in the most perfect way" as they say in Italy.

Results (provisional)
1. Petacchi
2. Hushovd
3. Bettini
4. Napolitano
5. Rojas
6. Usov
7. Richeze
8. Gasparotto

Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile) can enjoy his second day in the maglia rosa tomorrow. No major changes to the General Classifications. Ale Jet Petacchi adds points to his overall sprints crown, and adds another Ciclamina jersey to his collection today.

Petacchi dedicates his win to his wife and of course his team mates. Ale Jet is back!

Official results and photos to follow.

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