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Giro d' Italia - Stages 1- 7 Comments & Photos
 
By Staff
Date: 5/22/2007
Giro d' Italia - Stages 1- 7 Comments & Photos
 

Giro d' Italia - Stages 1- 7
Selected Team and Rider Comments and Photos from the first week of the 2007 Giro d'Italia.

Giro d'Italia Stage 7 Comments
19.05 Spoleto - Scarperia 254 km

Gilberto Simoni: "We had set just one goal for this transitional stage: to save energy for the following days. Today´s finale on the Mugello race track was original and striking. We just had to look at the fastmen in the sprint, and that's what we did."


Marco Pinotti  living the dream. Photo courtesy CSC Tim De Waele

Caisse d'Epargne
José Joaquín Rojas 5th in Longest stage in the Giro.

The young rider of the team Caisse d’Epargne, finished the sprint of the seventh stage of the Giro de Italia, Spoleto-Scarperia, in fifth position. This one was the longest stage of the Italian race, with a distance of 254 kilometres.

The Italian Alessandro Petacchi won his second stage after he defeated on the circuit of Thor Hushovd, Paolo Bettini, Danilo Napolitano and José Joaquín Rojas.

“The stage has been a very long one,” explained José Joaquín Rojas, “and the sprint was different compared with the former ones where everybody tried to sprint together with the real sprinters. Today you needed more strength to be there. And I preferred that. In the last kilometre I was enclosed behind and I came back bit by bit riding on the outside till I came back in Petacchi and company’s wheels. After that I just tried to remain with them till the line."
Rojas concluded with, "There are some nice stages left for the sprinters and particularly the one of tomorrow and Monday. I hope I will be lucky enough to win one of the both even if I know that it will be very difficult to beat Petacchi.”

Team CSC
Bold Attempt by Cancellara
With a powerful solo break just one kilometer before* the finish Fabian Cancellara attempted to outsmart the sprinters during the seventh and longest stage of Giro d'Italia. After almost 254 kilometers from Spoletto to Scarperia, just 200 meters before the finish line, Cancellara was caught by the Milram crew and Alessandro Petacchi took the victory.

Cancellara made the attempt because Juan José Haedo had suffered a flat shortly beforehand, and even though David Zabriskie managed to help the Argentinean rider back to the peloton, Haedo was not able to pick up the pace enough to make it all the way up front.

”Fabian made an attempt at the exact right moment and managed to create a sizeable gap. He's one of the few riders, who can actually pull a stunt like that after more than 250 kilometers, but the Milram crew was simply too organized and they reeled him in. But we grabbed the chance and will do so again of course,” said Alain Gallopin after the stage.

Giro d'Italia Stage 6 Comments


Luis Felipe Laverde & Pinotti Stage 6     Photo courtesy CSC Tim De Waele

Lampre/Fondital
Lampre-Fondital raced in a calm way the 6th stage of Giro d’Italia (Tivoli-Spoleto), stage won by Laverde (Pinotti new pink jersey). For blue-fucsia Marco Marzano tried to enter in the several breakaway attempt that characterized the beginning of the race, actions that didn’t had the right qualities to reach the arrival.
Lampre-Fondital cyclists finished the race in the main group.

Team CSC
Brilliant Performance by Andy Schleck

Andy Schleck delivered a brilliant effort on Wednesday, when the peloton hit the first big mountain in this year's Giro d'Italia. The young rider was fourth in the 158-kilometer fourth stage, which started in Salerno and finished on the 17-kilometer, 5% climb towards Montevergine Di Mercogliano.

Also Dave Zabriskie and Volodymir Gustov were in the two front groups of about 10 riders each. The stage was won by Danilo Di Luca, who as a result snatched the pink leader's jersey from Liquigas teammate Enrico Gasparotto, who dropped way back in the general classification. Schleck advanced to a top spot overall.

"It was a great start to the toughest part of the race for us. The entire team impressed and worked really hard to get Andy, Dave and Volodymir in position for a good finish," said sports director Alain Gallopin after the stage and continued regarding 21-year old Schleck:

"I'd said to Andy, that he should try and stick close to Di Luca, Ricco (Saunier Duval) and Cunego (Lampre) and they were exactly the riders, who finished before him, so it was very well done. But before we get ahead of ourselves here we have to keep in mind that this is a long race, and Andy needs to be given the space to grow and slowly get to know how things work in a race like this. He's never done a three-week race before and it does require a lot and anyway it's far from decided after one single mountain."

Giro d'Italia Stage 5 Comments
17.05 Teano -  Frascati, 172km


Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster wins. Photo courtesy CSC Tim De Waele

Team CSC
J.J. Haedo Tenth

Team CSC's Argentinean sprinter, Juan José Haedo, took a tenth place in a tricky finish to the fifth stage of Giro d'Italia. The 173-kilometer route from Teano to Frascati ended in a bunch sprint as expected, where Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster managed to squeeze himself in front of the favorites to victory.

”It wasn't an easy finish and there were quite a few turns to maneuver through. JJ did his best to get ahead towards the end, but he never quite made it. He's definitely got what it takes to make it up front in the sprints, but he also needs to get the hang of finishing at this level. I think it's just a matter of time,” said Alain Gallopin after the stage.

Team CSC
Brilliant Performance by Andy Schleck

Andy Schleck delivered a brilliant effort on Wednesday, when the peloton hit the first big mountain in this year's Giro d'Italia. The young rider was fourth in the 158-kilometer fourth stage, which started in Salerno and finished on the 17-kilometer, 5% climb towards Montevergine Di Mercogliano.

Also Dave Zabriskie and Volodymir Gustov were in the two front groups of about 10 riders each. The stage was won by Danilo Di Luca, who as a result snatched the pink leader's jersey from Liquigas teammate Enrico Gasparotto, who dropped way back in the general classification. Schleck advanced to a top spot overall.

"It was a great start to the toughest part of the race for us. The entire team impressed and worked really hard to get Andy, Dave and Volodymir in position for a good finish," said sports director Alain Gallopin after the stage and continued regarding 21-year old Schleck:

"I'd said to Andy, that he should try and stick close to Di Luca, Ricco (Saunier Duval) and Cunego (Lampre) and they were exactly the riders, who finished before him, so it was very well done. But before we get ahead of ourselves here we have to keep in mind that this is a long race, and Andy needs to be given the space to grow and slowly get to know how things work in a race like this. He's never done a three-week race before and it does require a lot and anyway it's far from decided after one single mountain."

Saunier Duval/Prodir
Iban Mayo and Pietro Algeri sound confident and optimistic.
PIETRO ALGERI: “Favourable outcome in first five days”
Following the first challenging summit finish up to the Montevergine di Mercogliano and waiting for the stage ending in Spoleto, Pietro Algeri takes stock of the first legs of the Corsa Rosa: "The most important thing," Saunier Duval/Prodir´s Sports Director explains, "is that we haven´t met serious setbacks. Except for Mori, who has recovered quickly anyways, our men weren´t really involved in any serious fall.

Considering what has happened to other teams, I must say we've been lucky. The Montevergine stage showed what we expected: Riccò is performing brilliantly; Simoni isn't yet at his best possible level but is about to reach it; Piepoli is as generous as always, and he can still surprise us; Mori can rub shoulders with the big guns, as he did in this stage too; and Mayo is proving he´s getting better all the time. The classification after Mercogliano, with many red birds in the top spots, is evidence that beyond individual results, our riders are ready to fight for success as a team."

IBAN MAYO: “Simoni or Riccò? As long as one of them wins...…”
Iban Mayo hasn´t become a big Giro star yet, but he´s certainly one of the riders with stamina and charisma we can see at the 90th Giro d´Italia. The Spaniard of SAUNIER DUVAL-PRODIR is a professional who´s always at the service of his teammates, aiding Simoni and wisely advising young Riccò: "It´s a natural role to me. As I´m not in my best shape, it´s fair enough that I serve the team, helping the riders with chances to win. The first legs weren´t that easy for Simoni, but he´s always there when the third week comes. From the Tre Cime di Lavaredo onwards, he´ll be fighting among the best. As for Riccò, he´s proving all those who praise him right. He´s a natural born rider, and in the near future he could become an indisputable leader. But there´s also Piepoli, who showed in Montevergine that he can leave his mark on this year´s Italian tour. In my case, I´m getting better but I´m still far from being in full shape. However, I´ll try to make the headlines before we reach Milan."

Giro d'Italia Stage 4 Comments
16.05 Salerno -  Montevergine Di Mercogliano 158km


Di Luca Wins!     Photo courtesy CSC Tim De Waele

Caisse d'Epargne
David Arroyo Eighth - Best Spanish Rider

The fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia, Salerno-Montevergine di Mercogliano (153 kilometres) has been characterized by the wet roads and the many crashes that occured during the entire day.

The rider of the Team Caisse d’Epargne, Joan Horrach crashed together with many other ones at 83 kilometres from the finish. The doctor of the Giro attended him during the race so that he was able to finish the stage.

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.”

Saunier Duval/Prodir
Near Miss for Riccardo Riccò in Giro

Riccardo Riccò was close to opening his Italian Tour account today, crossing the mountaintop finish line on cat-1 Montevergine di Mercogliano in the 2nd place in stage 4 of the 90th Giro d´Italia.

The young Italian of Saunier Duval/Prodir was held off by compatriot Danilo di Luca (Liquigas), whose team propelled him to the win and, at the same time, into the leader´s "Maglia Rosa." Di Luca and Riccò were part of the 20-men bunch of favorites that got split in the final metres, which also included Leonardo Piepoli -who launched several attacks in the final climb- and Gilberto Simoni. These two red birds lost 15 seconds to Di Luca and Riccò, while Iban Mayo (whose first contact with the Italian mountains resulted in a remarkable performance) belonged to the second bunch crossing the line, 34 seconds after the winner.

About one hour into the race, Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r-Prévoyance), and Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems) attacked and got away, staying in the lead for most of the race, and reeled in thanks to Saunier Duval/Prodir´s efforts to crank up the pace as the road gradient rose. With today's good performance the yellow-clad men have climbed some steps in the GC (Riccò is 18th, Simoni is 23rd, Piepoli is 24th, and Mayo is 26th). Stage 5 (to unfold tomorrow) is a 173-kilometre leg from Teano to Frascati, featuring a cat-3 climbing challenge at Le Macere, 15 kilometres before the finish line.

Comments:
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."

Giro d'Italia Stage 3 Comments
14.05 Barumni - Caglari, 195km


Petacchi Wins stage 3. Photo courtesy CSC Tim De Waele

AleJet, who apparently had enough of critics (especially in the Italian press) casting doubts over his abilities to find back his ancient form, and silenced them all with his performance on the Cagliari seafront today:
"Before the Giro I said that a stage victory in the race would have been like my first ever victory. After last year's injury I had to start from zero again. And I worked a lot. Today I sprinted for 350 metres on cobbled roads; I think I found again much of my "explosiveness", didn't I? I want to dedicate this victory to all those who stood beside me in this difficult period".

Danilo Di Luca didn't sound upset at all about Gasparotto contesting the sprint and stealing the jersey from his shoulders (somehow stealing it ... again): "Gasparotto gave it a go at the sprint, but that was part of the team's plans for the stage. He's a fast rider, and doing the sprints is what he's at the Giro for, after all ..."

Giovanni Visconti had his hopes of victory shattered with just few kilometres left, but promised that he'll give it a go again in this Giro "I've got the grinta. And I've got a strong team besides. So why not trying again?".

Team CSC
Haedo Stopped by Crash

Milram's Alessandro Petacchi took the 20th stage win of his career in Giro d'Italia, when he proved himself fastest in the 195-kilometer third stage from Barumni to Cagliari.

Team CSC's Juan José Haedo did not make it up front in the hectic finish, where a crash claimed several victims in the middle of the peloton.

”Towards the end we tried to catch two riders, who'd escaped earlier and then it was all about getting Haedo in position. Unfortunately he was right behind the riders, who crashed, so he had to break hard in order to avoid crashing himself. It was too bad because he felt strong and ready today and eager to have a go at the victory,” said sports director Alain Gallopin, who will be going to Sardinia tomorrow along with the rest of the team for a day of rest South of Naples.

Caisse d'Epargne
José Joaquín Rojas, who finished the ninth
best classified rider of the team Caisse d’Epargne.
"Today I was not in such a good position as I was yesterday”, regretted the rider of Caisse d’Epargne. “To win, I have to stay in Petacchi or McEwen’s wheel, and today I was not able to be there. The sprint was a very moved one and complicated because of the crashes that occurred. Climbers like Cunego and Garzelli tried to sprint and that is what causes the crashes. There are still some stages left for the sprinters and I hope to win one of them because that is my ambition in this Giro d’Italia. I feel well, very motivated and physically all right. I took the start of my first major Tour with the desire to do well. I know have a lot to learn in such an important race, but I think that when you are motivated you can realize great things, most of all if you are lucky.”

At the end of the day, the whole caravan of the Giro will move to Italy. Tuesday will be the first rest day. Many people will have to travel by boat but the riders will fly. The Team Caisse d’Epargne will go with the second of the two planes the Organization puts at the riders’ disposal. It will take off at 11.25 AM from the airport of Cagliari and land in Naples about one hour later.

 Cunego Ok after Stage 3 Crash
No problem for Damiano Cunego, involved in a slide in the last kilometre of the 3rd stage of Giro d’Italia (Barumini-Cagliari). After a contact, Lampre-Fondital’s captain lost the control of the bike, but he didn’t suffered any consequence in the side on the ground.

Giro d'Italia Stage 2 Comments
13.05 Tempio Pausania - Bosa, 203 km


Rock'in Robbie McEwen takes first blood in the Sprinter Duel of the 90th Giro d'Italia. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Lampre/Fondital
“Sun, concentration and calm”, with these three words Damiano Cunego described the 2nd stage of the Giro d’Italia (from Tempio Pausania to Bosa), stage won by McEwen on Bettini.“Hot sun on our heads all along the parcour, so we sweat a lot: it has been important to drink constantly. Concentration: I ran with great attention in every moment, in order to avoid every trouble. I passed the day in a calm way, I feel calm because I know I’m in a good fit and I have great team mates”. Cunego finished the stage in 16th position and he’s now 17th in the overall standing at 42” from the leader Di Luca.

Team CSC
Robbie McEwen won the first sprint in this year's edition of Giro d'Italia, when the Australian crossed the finish line after 203 kilometers from Tempio Pausania to Bosa. The Liquigas captain Danilo Di Luca took the leader's jersey ahead of teammate Enrico Gasparotto.

A crash during the final kilometer resulted in momentary confusion in the peloton, but a bunch sprint was inevitable and McEwen won ahead of Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and Alessandro Petacchi (Milram).

”At the end we only had seven guys in the front group, when Matti Breschel and Haedo had to let go on the climb. In my opinion the stage tomorrow is much better for Haedo, and once he got left behind today he was told not to use up all his strength in order to get back up there. The Giro has only just started and he'll get his chance to go for a stage win at some point I'm sure,” said sports director Alain Gallopin after the stage.

Giro d'Italia Stage 1 Comments
Stage 1 12.04Caprera - La Maddalena, 24km TTT


CSC's number one and two in the World's Time Trial Championships Dave "Z-Man" Zabriskie and Fabian Cancellara making time on stage 1. Photo courtesy CSC Tim De Waele

Team CSC
Opened with a Third Place

Team CSC had a good start to this year's edition of Giro d'Italia with a third place in a hilly and difficult 24-kilometer team time trial. The Danish team finished half a minute behind the stage winners from Liquigas, who had Enrico Gasparotto in the pink leader's jersey.

"We were off to a good start in this race. It was a tricky route for our riders, but the team stuck to the plan and the five riders, which we'd agreed beforehand should cross the line together, did so. Well done by Andy Schleck that he managed to keep up the way he did, even though time trials are not exactly his specialty," said sports director Alain Gallopin after the stage and continued:

"I think we showed that we're among the strongest teams in this race, and now we'll have to wait and see if we can get JJ Haedo in position for a stage win tomorrow."

Lampre/Fondital
"The Giro has begun, and I think it has begun in a good way"
“A good result, due to a perfect team work”. Damiano Cunego’s first comment after the team time trial of Giro d’Italia is for his team mates: blue-fucsia team realized a good performance and Cunego thanked his team for the 4th place obtained.

Blue-fucsia team pedaled on Wilier Cento with a regular pace on the 25.6 kms of La Maddalena parcour, finishing behind Liquigas (winner team), Astana and CSC.
“We’re satisfied by the 4th place – Cunego commented – We’ve run united, with regular changes all over the parcour. The race was hard because of the wind. The Giro has begun, and I think it has begun in a good way”.
 

 
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