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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 12 Live Coverage Part 2
By Fabio
Date: 5/24/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 12 Live Coverage Part 2

90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 12 Live Coverage Part 2
The live action continues after the descent of the Agnello and the last difficulty of the legendary Izoard rises in the distance. The long descent into Briançon for the survivors of the climb and last cobbled kilometer could decide the victor and the new race leader.

The Colle dell'Agnello profile.

 Picking up at after the descent of the dell'Agnello... from Stage 12 live coverage. 
The Riders are on the final climb of the legendary Izoard.

1607 CEST - 40 km to go, Oops, sorry folks,: also Emanuele Sella and Yaroslav Popovych are in between the Simoni group and the Rasmussen group. And the two guys could well catch Nibali quite soon, by the way! While Nibali's chances to join Danilo Di Luca are dropping big style. Ivan Parra the Colombian stays one minute behind the Simoni/Cunego seven-man gruppo. Nibali is some 25-30 secs further back. Charles Wegelius is with Sella and Popovych too.

35 km to go, Riccardo Riccó lost three minutes to the Simoni group. It looks like the boy from Modena is no longer a GC contender. And it's happening earlier than many expected. The Gruppo Maglia Rosa, containing also Savoldelli as Marco Pinotti, trails Gibo, Damiano and Danilo (and four more guys) by four minutes.

They are now on the first parts of the Izoard, 14 km to the top. Last year In the Dauphine Libere they had a similar stage on the Izoard and the citadel in Briancon. It was Turpin of Ag2r who won that stage ahead of Mancebo. Piepoli was 5th and the first rider in the G.C. who rides now in the Giro in the similar stage.

Ivan Parra continues in his pointless attempt to close down on the seven-man group all by himself. With Vincenzo Nibali just a few seconds adrift, it would make much more sense for the Colombian to wait for the Italian, that could be of help to him, but he's not doing it...

1615 CEST - Okay, so our top riders are on the Izoard already, with Yoann Le Boulanger still on the front. Whether the French will be ALSO lead at the summit of the climb or not is a truly different matter. Riblon is in between Le Boulanger and the Seven Wonders.

Riblon is about to get caught by the seven GC riders. Again, the "Seven Wonders" are: Gilberto Simoni, Leonardo "serial pace setter" Piepoli, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Eddy Mazzoleni, CSC's young sensation Andy Schleck and Stefano Garzelli.

It's EIGHT WONDERS now: Riblon is caught! But we tend to think they'll be back to their Seven Wonder status very, very soon.

Simoni attacks!! Piepoli attacked earlier, Schleck and Di Luca are following. The Flying Trullo cranked up the pace, Gibo followed and attacked, and Cunego was given a hard time. Cunego rejoined the group Simoni after the attack as well... Mazzoleni, Garzelli and Riblon dropped off. Mazzoleni rejoins while Garzelli tries do the same It was just Gibo's way to test the legs of his closest challengers, and at the same time thin his group down a little bit. Seems it worked anyway. Garzelli rejoins the group again.

1624 CEST - 30 km to go... Needless to say, Riblon was the only true victim of the Simoni move. The others are still with Gibo and Piepoli, who - strange, eh? - is currently riding tempo. But the "best" part of the Izoard is yet to come ... Le Boulanger has 3.00 minutes on the gruppo Simoni. Nibali (and Popovych) finally made contact with Ivan Ramiro Parra de Colombia, by the way. The group Parra is about 10 riders strong with also Vila, Bruseghin, Codol and a few others. Garzelli dropped off the back again, so 6 fabulous riders in the chase behind Le Boulanger. 

Riccardo Riccó also joined the Parra (Vila / Pellizotti /Sella etc.) group. Good for him. Ricco, Rasmussen, Van Huffel and Arroyo rejoined the group Parra/Sella/Codol/Nibali and others. The work of Piepoli is done and he drops off the back. The "Flying Trullo" did what he had to. Now it's up to his team leader to finish off the job. As they're about halfway through the Izoard.

Attack by Gibo the great. Cunego, Di Luca and Schleck catch Gilberto's wheel.. Mazzoleni falls off the back Cunego counters, and the others follow. Mazzoleni seems to be back again.  Gibo was on the moooooooove for the second time in a row. Simoni goes again, the 3rd time.  But the others rejoin again.  His attacks didn't make the gap, but they no doubt took toll on the legs of the four others. Le Boulanger still has 1.15 on the 5 chasers.

That means the Fab Five (formerly Seven Wonders) gained some two minutes on the French solo leader in a short time. Without Saunier and Gibo it would be a boring stage today, Di Luca (who talked to Simoni just a while ago; Gibo smiled back at him ...) now leads the quintet. Cunego stays in third wheel with Mazzoleni and Schleck following. Garzelli trails them all by forty seconds.

1640 CEST - We're in a quiet (before the storm?) now. With Pace Setter Piepoli no longer around, The Fab Five take turns on the front. Andy Schleck kept riding tempo for a while, now it's Cunego. Garzelli keeps them all in sight, while Yaroslav Popovych keeps losing time: his gap to the Fab Five ballooned to four minutes at the most recent check.

4th attack of Simoni -  Di Luca joins him...

1641 CEST - Less than 5k to the top of the ascent for the Fab Five. Schleck and Mazzoleni rejoin after the attack. Damiano Cunego is off the back, Despite all four attempts by Simoni, Danilo di Luca never lost control of the situation. Looks like Cunego is losing control of things instead. Anyway Cunego rejoined again, he still is about 50 meters behind I see, Cunego that is.

Le Boulanger is reeled in by the 4 chasers, Bruseghin, Sella, Riccó, Pozzovivo, Patxi Vila and Arroyo are the six remainders of a bigger, second chase group. They're currently trailing Gibo and the four others by 02 minutes and 10 seconds. So now we have Gibo, Schleck, Di Luca and Mazzoleni in front. Le Boulanger of course off the back.

3 km to the top of the Izoard, Cunego is not doing too good, and looks to be suffering. Damiano proved unable to close down on the four frontrunners even in a (comparatively) flat section. That's not a good sign for the Lampre leader ...

1646 CEST - It's starting to rain on Giro roads. And rumors say of some light snow at the summit of the ascent.  The Fab Four (formerly Five) take on a brief downhill section, near the Fausto Coppi monument. Damiano Cunego follows, but the brave Le Boulanger is trying hard to stay as close to him as possible.

As much as the same Cunego tries hard to limit his losses to the Fab Four. He's succeeding in that; Damiano is only a dozen metres down on them, the Fab Five are together again as Cunego rejoins the lead, yesssss, Damiano is there again! The guy recovered from the difficult time he just went through.

 Di Luca attacks now 1 km from the summit. Simoni, Schleck and Mazzoleni in the chase, Cunego off the back again; but the gaps are minimal. Danilo is on the top of the Izouard now, into the descent. The others are following at 10 seconds. 

Di Luca is the best rider in the Giro peloton (now at least)! He fought off all challenges from Simoni, then took the initiative and showed all the others who's the boss. Garzelli is the 6th one on the top at 1.40 of Di Luca. The Fab Five will be together again soon, you know, but Danilo dealt a morale blow to his rivals. And could strike again in the small uphill section leading to the line.

The gruppo Ricco is on the top at 2.37, Bruseghin who is still in this group is still able to catch the Maglia Rosa. He is about 2.00 in front of Di Luca in the GC. Di Luca said it: according to his plans, the "attacking half" of his Giro should end with the Oropa ITT tomorrow, then it will be about the men trying to save his lead on the others. Di Luca is waiting on the others, the 5 are back together again.

Garzelli and the Ricco group are coming down the Izoard too. All of them coming down faaaaaaaast. Gibo Simoni in person took over the chase to Di Luca. Savoldelli passed the top of the Izouard at 5.45 of Di Luca, prolly that's the group with Noe.

15 km to go,  Popo also hit the top of the climb ... 06'38" behind the Fab Five.

1702 CEST - Panaria's Domenico Pozzovivo, arguably the "lightest" (45 kg) guy in the bunch, lost contact to the Riccó group in the descent. The same Riccardo Riccó is coming down well instead.  still on his escape...  All the guys are flying anyway. The speed has reached 100 km/h a couple times already.

The lead group just hit 10 kms to go. Stefano Garzelli was trailing the Fab Five by one minute and 35 seconds at the latest check. Le Boulanger was with him. would be great for Le Boulanger to gain a top 10 rank after more than 120 km in the attack.

 7 km to go, 10km to go for the Bruseghin / Riccó Group. Matteo Priamo (Panaria) wins the 2nd stage in the Circuit de Lorraine.  Marzio Bruseghin was leading Di Luca by 1'50" at the stage start, but is now 02'44" down on him. And we don't think the Lampreman will gain a minute on Danilo in the last ten kilometres ... The jersey will jut keep going from one Liquigas man to another. Albeit, Di Luca's shoulder might well be the good ones.

It will be a great mountain TT tomorrow with these fab 5. One thing is for sure: Andrea Noé will not be wearing the Maglia at the end of the stage. He was a good eight minutes or so adrift at the last check.

1711 CEST - The leading quintet is still together as they are about to make it into Briancon town. Garzelli's gap to them further grew to two minutes. 1500 mt to go, The last time the race finished here, Paolo Lanfranchi launched a surprise attack on the descent and soloed in for the win. They are on the Citadel now, Lanfranchi won in the Y2K Giro. Four years earlier, it was Pascal Richard of Switzerland who took line honors in town.

1 km to go, Di Luca attacks again. The Fab Five take on the last uphill section, keeping an eye on each other as they go under the red pennant. Schleck and Simoni are trying to follow the others dropped off. Schleck is with Di Luca now. Simoni back too.

1.5 km for Garzelli and Le Boulanger, the Ricco group follows.  Simoni is playing yoyo, Di Luca, Schleck and the other frontrunners hit the cobbled section inside the citadel. Schleck drops off...  Simoni and Di Luca together, Di Luca goes on, Simoni off.

Di Luca, Schleck and the other frontrunners hit the cobbled section inside the citadel. Schleck drops off, Simoni and Di Luca together. Di Luca goes on, Simoni off... Simoni back again... Danilo keeps a slight lead with 200m to go. Sclheck in third. But its a two-man affair

Di Luca wins ahead of Simoni!!!
Simoni doesn't lose time, for second.
Schleck 3rd
Mazzoleni 4th
Cunego 5th
Schleck lost 07", the two others some more time.

Stefano Garzelli is coming next (without Le Boulanger). The group Ricco is not far behind Garzelli. The man from Varese takes on the last, uphill cobbled portion.1.50 is gone so Di Luca will be the new leader.

Garzelli comes in as 6th at 2.17.
Le Boulanger could be caught by the Riccardo Riccó group, but he holds them off..
Le Boulanger 7, Bruseghin 8, Ricco 9, Pellizotti 10. Petrov comes in at 3.38,,, Riccardo Riccó and Marzio Bruseghin lost two and a half minutes to Danilo Di Luca. Bruseghin remains 2nd in the GC I think, Riccó showed he has got the grinta of a true champion.

The new overall classification sees Danilo Di Luca in the lead, Marzio Bruseghin holding on to his second place, the not much talked about Spaniard Arroyo in third, and Andy Schleck very close to the podium too.

Riblon is in at about 5.30,  Savodelli loses 5.52, Popovych is in at about 6.40.The group Noe is now 500 mt before the finish and already 8.15 down on Di Luca

1730 CEST - More G.C. updates: Cunego is now sitting in sixth place, 02 minutes 10 seconds behind Di Luca; Gilberto Simoni made some gains of course, but he's just eighth, trailing the new overall leader by 02'34". A gap he's not going to nullify easily, we think.

Pinotti is in at 9.33 and finished before the Noe group. Noe/Bettini and some others are in at 9.45

Di Luca is the new leader with 1.03 on Bruseghin, 1.16 on Arroyo. Schleck and Vila completed the top 5 with 1.25 and 1.39 down on Di Luca. Piepoli is now in at 13.21

1731 CEST - Danilo Di Luca sounded satisfied (how could it be otherwise?) in his first after-race statements "I'm happy. "I think I handled myself well during the stage. When I attacked late on the Izoard it wasn't because I wanted to win the KOM prime there, but as I wanted to start the descent in first place, so that I wouldn't run any risks on a descent I didn't know well. I didn't take risks there, then the others rejoined me again (and we went to the line together). I know that I'll be struggling in the final week, so I want to make as many gains as possible now".

More interviews to come shortly in another article... Thanks for joining us for the live coverage. This concludes our live coverage of stage 12 be here tomorrow for the up hill time trial, another chance for tired legs to move up the general classifications and get closer to our G.C. leader Danilo Di Luca of Team Liquigas.

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