everyone and welcome to our live coverage of Friday's thirteen stage in the 2007
Tour of Italy, an uphill ITT from Biella to the nearby sanctuary of Oropa over
The altitude difference is a good 734 metres, resulting in 5.8 % as average
gradient, but also 13% as maximum gradient.
The first rider to take the start, at 0145 PM local time, was the American
Aaron Olson (T-Mobile Team), while his compatriot - and one of the main suspects
to take line honours today - David Zabriskie will be underway two hours later,
at 15:45. The main overall contenders are set to kickoff their challenge against
the clock, and against each other, well after four PM.
Gibo Simoni is scheduled to start at 16:24, CSC's young sensation Andy
Schleck eight minutes later. 0436 PM will be Marzio Bruseghin's start time,
while Maglia Rosa holder Danilo Di Luca, who hopes to make some further time
gains on his rivals today, is going to come next at 0438 PM.
Yaroslav Popovych will not take the start instead; perhaps still suffering
from the consequences of his fall across the line Wednesday, the Ukrainian
decided to pack his bags and drop out of the race. We'll se him back into action
at the next Tour de France come July anyway.
Jersey leaders after Stage 12:
Maglia Rosa of race leader and climbers competition, Danilo Di Luca,
Maglia Ciclamino - Alessandro Pettachi, and Giro sensation Young Gun in the Best
Young riders Maglia Bianca Any Schleck of CSC.
We join today's "race of the truth" in progress with Giovanni Visconti having
the best time at the finish: the Liquigas Sicilian covered the route in 31
minutes and 12 seconds. France's Christophe Kern (Credit Agricole) follows no
less than 29 seconds behind, with Alessandro Vanotti (at 43"), the Russian Ivan
Rovnyi (Tinkoff, at 47") and the Lampreman from Slovenia Gorazd Stangelj (at
49") in the other top five places. Julian Dean has the tenth best time, 01'47" behind Visconti. Steven Cummings is
currently 20th, and Aaron Olson 32nd at 02'42".
Giro d'Italia Store
1530 CEST - Some more guys crossed the
line, and amongst them the Belarusian Andrei Kunitski
(Acqua & Sapone), who
recorded the second best time as he clocked a good 31'20", only eight seconds
worse than Visconti's time. As soon as new additions to the list of stage
finishers were made, Julian Dean was kicked down to place number seventeen,
Cummings was down to 29th, and Aaron Olson is currently sitting in spot number
43, but they will be dislodged in a short time...
1535 CEST - Fabian Cancellara is not
going for a further addition to his palmares today, as the Swissman pulled out
of the Giro yesterday. Pablo Lastras is still in the bunch instead: the Caisse
d'Epargne Spaniard just got his race started. Next at the start line is Britain's
Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio is doing fine today; the Mexican started his ITT
one minute after Mauro Facci, but it took just about fifteen minutes for him to
pick up - and drop - the Italian.
Merckx comes across the line!! It's Axel
Merckx of course, and he sets the sixteenth best time: 32'36", one minute and
twenty-four seconds behind Giovanni Visconti.
Pavel Brutt cannot better his time: the
Russian records 32'46" (that's the 19th time thus far).
1544 CEST - Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio
is flyyiingggg: he bettered Giovanni Visconti's time by 01'13" at the km. 9.4
check! And the first part of the stage was the "easiest" and flattest one, that
doesn't suit his skills that much.
The Tour de Life, by Saul Raisin, with Dave Shields is available for
pre-purchase at this time due to special arrangements with the publisher. Click
on the image of the book above for more information.
1545 CEST - David Zabriskie is off the
blocks too! Alessandro Spezialetti is across
the line already. Danilo Di Luca's #1 domestique set the twelfth best time at
the finish. Watch out for Christophe Riblon:
the French co-protagonist of yesterday's "breakaway of the day" made it to the
line and set the fourth best time: 31'40"; 28 seconds down on Visconti. He threw
his compatriot Kern down to fifth.
1550 CEST - But watch out for
Perez Cuapio too. He's about to finish his
race today. He caught and dropped Aketza Peña of Spain, who started two minutes
earlier than him. Well, he did not really catch the Spaniard, just got
very close to. But so what? The Mexican had a helluva performance. And set a
great time at the finish: 29'38". It means he bettered Visconti's record time by
one minute and thirty-four seconds! 6:54 AM. Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio has
taken over the stage leadership, and we think not many riders will be able to
improve his time.
1555 CEST - Felipe Laverde, stage winner
at Spoleto, is now underway. His teammate and fellow Latin-American Perez
Cuapio had an outstanding performance. We'll see if Zabriskie can do better than
him. The U.S. TTing sensation and the Mexican basically had the same time at the
first check, but the opening, flatter kms were supposed to favour the former,
the USA time trial champion.
Another Panaria man has made it to the finish, but with a worse result:
Fortunato Baliani fell out of the (provisional)
top ten spots, as he clocked 31'50", finishing 02 minutes a dozen seconds behind
Perez Cuapio. Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre) is the next rider in the saddle today.
1601 CEST - Proudly wearing the jersey of
US National ITT Champion, David Zabriskie is taking on the steepest part of the
Oropa ascent. We'll give you some more time updates about him and the others as
soon as possible.
1605 CEST - "I gave it everything I could
today. I hope I can keep the best time, even if I don't think I will, as all
best riders have yet to come" were Perez Cuapio's first words after the race in
the front of the Italian TV cameras.
Marco Marzano (Lampre) comes to the line
and sets the second best time: 30'26"; that's 51 seconds down on the Mexican.
Surprisingly enough, "Zman" Zabriskie pushed the accelerator in the steepest
section of the stage, and gained up to sixteen seconds on Perez Cuapio. Not
surprisingly at all, the man has the best time at the second check.
Paolo Bettini is done with his ITT
efforts: his finishing time was 31'25" (the seventh best time so far). His gap
to Perez Cuapio was 01 minute and 47 seconds. He didn't play the tourist on the
slopes leading up to Oropa. Paolo Savoldelli started his ITT.
Poland's Szmyd finished the stage with
the third best time thus far: 31'08". He did worse than Perez Cuapio by 90
seconds, but his time was a few seconds better than Visconti's, and he kicked
the Sicilian down to fourth place.
1612 CEST - Watch out, watch out, the
Z-man is coming to town: David Zabriskie is
about to get to the finishing line. His lead over Perez Cuapio is clear now. He
made some gains also in the last part of the stage. Just a few more metres to go
in the last, cobbled portion and ... here he is. Z-MAN'S TIME : 29 mins 14 secs.
Z-MAN'S PLACE: 1st of course. Z-MAN'S
advantage on Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio: 24 seconds.
1616 CEST - Riccardo Riccó is off
the blocks. He's anything but a TTist, but today's course could be of help to
him. Leonardo Piepoli established the best time at the very first check: he
bettered Zabriskie's by 4 seconds! Marco Pinotti, Italy's former
national ITT champion, is not having his best day in the saddle: the man from
Bergamo and former GC leader lost 20 seconds to Piepoli at the first check.
1620 CEST - Green-jerseyed (but the KOM
leader is Danilo Di Luca) Leo Piepoli is
about to finish his stage. And about to better Zabriskie's time. 300m to go for
the Flying Trullo. He takes in the last cobbled section, one last sprint and...
there he goes. 28 MINUTES AND 56 SECONDS! P-Man set the best time. Eighteen
seconds better than Z-Man's!
1623 CEST - Stefano Garzelli got off to a
fast start, as he had the fourth best time at the opening check. 10 seconds down
on Piepoli. Savoldelli follows in fifth. And Gibo Simoni is off and
running. Emanuele Sella is next at the start line. Piepoli had the
best time at the SECOND time check - and the finish of course - but NOT the
first anyway ...
Zabriskie and Perez Cuapio still keep the best time at the opening check (km.
5), but Riccardo Riccó lost just 15 seconds or so to them, his time being better
than Piepoli's at that point. And Riccó being a good climber ... why shouldn't
he aim for victory in the "Saunier Duval ITT champs"? (which is what this one
stage might come down to ... even though a certain Danilo Di Luca might not
agree with that)
Both Garzelli and Riccó are tackling the ascent, whilst also Eddy Mazzoleni
set a good time at km. 5: seven seconds worse than Zabriskie's and Perez
Cuapio's time, but one second better than Garzelli's, and 03" better than Franco
1631 CEST - Another ITT specialist is
doing great: Evgueny Petrov (Rus - Tinkoff) established the bestestest time
after five kilometres, throwing both Z-man and Perez Cuapio down to second at
that point. Piepoli still keeps the best time at the km. 9.4 check instead,
Paolo Salvodelli did worse than him by almost one minute.
Coverage of Stage 13 continues here in Part 2...
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