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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 14 Live Coverage
 
By Staff
Date: 5/26/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 14 Live Coverage
 

90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 14 Live Coverage
Milano is still far away in time, but not space, as today's leg runs entirely on Lombard soil and finishes into Bergamo. Will Ale Jet make it four, or a winning breakaway succeed in stealing the limelight?

Hello everyone, and benvenuti to our live coverage of stage 14 in the 90th Giro d'Italia. After two possibly crucial rides over the Alps, and with one more key stage set to come as the race hits the Dolomites tomorrow with the mountain top finish at Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the top overall contenders are allowed to take it (comparatively) easy today, in the 182 kilometre trip from Cantù town to Bergamo, running entirely in Lombardy territory.

On paper, it's one for the sprinters, but with just three-stage victor Alessandro Petacchi and very few other fast wheels left in the bunch, and two climbs early into the second half of the route as ideal launch pad for a winning breakaway, it's not going to be easy for their teams to keep the race together and/or chase attackers down.

The Passo di San Marco, which happens to be the longest climb in the Giro as it covers no less than 26 kilometres (altitude difference: 1733 metres; average gradient: 6,6%; maximum gradient: 12%) starts around the halfway point of the stage, and the La Trinità-Dossena difficulty (distance: 9,4 km; altitude difference: 600 metres; average gradient: 6,4%; maximum gradient: 12%) follows about 40 km from the finish; but there's another small uphill portion in the upper part of Bergamo - with the line just 3.4 km away - providing those who can't stand bunch sprints with another opportunity. Yes, the Milkmen of Milram could well have a tough day in the saddle today.


San Marco Pass profile.

The action got started a dozen minutes past noon local time (CEST). The stage got off to a fast start, with attacks going since the very early miles, and the Tinkoff breakaway machines back to their usual antics. No early moves came to fruition though, not even the one made by the Italians Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R Prevoyance) and Alessandro Cortinovis (Milram) as well as France's Hervé Duclos-Lasalle (Cofidis, son of the great winner of Paris-Roubaix both in 1992 and 1993) after 17 kilometres. The next attempt from Addy Engels (Hol - Quick Step-Innergetic), Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz - Astana), Franck Renier (Fra - Bouygues Telecom) and the young Dane Matti Breschel (Team CSC, what else?) didn't lead to a better outcome, such that the gruppo was still compatto about 30 km. into the stage.

Together, but without Brian Vandborg, as the Team CSC rider added his name to the list of DNFers at km. 26. The Russian Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff) beat him to it by not even showing up at the start line today, by the way.

The peloton, driven by Rabobank, Saunier Duval and Quick Step, kept the pace high also in the following miles, that saw Petacchi lose another teammate as Milram's Fabio Sabatini dropped out of the event at the km. 38 point. No less than 43,300 metres were covered by our men during their first hour in the saddle.

We've got a breakaway at last! Or so it seems. The Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi (Crédit Agricole) attacked first at km. 62. He was immediately swallowed up by the pack, but Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff, what else?) counter-attacked and fourteen more guys followed, resulting in a 15-strong lead group. Names and more details to come as soon as possible.

Uhm ... it looks like we spoke a bit too early. No need to name names any longer, for all fifteen guys were hauled back into the field by km. 68. The bunch regrouped again as they march all together towards the San Marco Pass.

Next in the spotlight were mister Jurgen Van de Walle and Enrico Gasparotto, neither of whom for pleasant reasons: the Quick Step-Innergetic Belgian just put end to his Giro 2007 experience (see ya at the Tour de France perhaps, dude) and the first Maglia Rosa wearer of the current race hit the tarmac a couple kilometres later. The Italian rapidly made his way back into the peloton however.


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The race is about to meet the opening slopes of the longest climb in the race (San Marco Pass). The pace stays high enough, and no breakaway attempts of any significance came in the last few miles.

Not unpredictably, the battle broke out as the peloton hit the mountain: it was the German Sven Krauss that started the fireworks as he broke away solo. Eight riders set off in pursuit first, just to be quickly chased down by the field, but the skirmishes behind the Gerolsteiner cyclist followed, until a group of eleven managed to distance themselves from the peloton and also join the escapee, resulting in the current twelve frontrunners.

The breakaway group is composed of: Paolo Bettini (Ita - Quick Step-Innergetic), Sylvester Szmyd (Pol - Lampre-Fondital), Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa - Caisse d'Epargne), Pietro Caucchioli (Ita - Crédit Agricole), José Luis "Chechu" Rubiera (Spa - Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team), Michael Rasmussen (Den - Rabobank), Iban Mayo (Spa - Saunier Duval-Prodir), Ivan Parra (Col - Cofidis), Fortunato Baliani (Ita - Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norvegia - Team CSC), Marco Pinotti (Ita - T-Mobile) and Sven Krauss (Ger - Gerolsteiner).

They were leading the Liquigas-led pack by 52 seconds at the km. 92 check, but went down to eleven men as Sven Krauss paid for his previous efforts and fell off the pace set by the others, quickly losing twenty seconds to the breakaway.

Sven Krauss was pulled back into the field about halfway through the climb, but the eleven fugitives keep making gains over the peloton, extending their advantage up to 02 minutes 12 seconds by km. 97.

Marco Pinotti said about this stage and the remaining stages to come "Tomorrow the stage in Bergamo: the legs are good and the morale is there. I need some luck and have to be smart to be in the right break away, because many riders think about this stage. We'll see. I still expect a good last week with another surprise." more info on http://www.cyclingfx.nl/MarcoPinotti

Acqua & Sapone is leading the pace in the peloton. Liquigas is not going to worry about this break with the tough stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo to come on Sunday. Acqua & Sapone is still leading the pace of the bunch.

3 km to the KOM, the gap is down to 1.43  Bettini and Arvesen with problems in the leading group; Losada with problems as well as they approach the summit.  Rasmussen and Pinotti seems to be the strongest riders in the break, they are leading the pace towards the top of the San Marco.

Attack of Garzelli in the bunch, That's why the Acqua riders worked in the chase.

2 km to the top of the San Marco. Liquigas is riding in the bunch now, the peloton has split into several parts scattered across the climb. Mayo and Pinotti with problems in the break too as they approach the summit.

Caucchioli is the first one of the original break who is reeled in by the bunch. 1 km to the top of the San Marco. Emanuele Sella off the back in the bunch with Di Luca; Garzelli got the company of Andy Schleck.  Liquigas is chasing now and the group is back with Garzelli and Schleck. Charly Wegelius is leading the pace in the bunch with Pellizotti moving up

1524 CEST - We don't know how effective such move from Garzelli (and Schleck) will prove in the end, but at least they are giving Danilo Di Luca some hard time: the overall leader is left with just a couple teammates around now. Balaini (Panaria) takes the KOM points on the San Marco from Rasmussen and Szmyd, Pinotti follows a few second behind.  The break has started  the descent while Di Luca fights to stay minimize the gap of  the attack.

Rubiera and "Proffesso" Pinotti (who's riding on his home roads of the Bergamo prince) follow. Michael Rasmussen has won a couple Tour de France stages after getting into early breakaway attempts, so they'd better be careful.

1526 CEST - The bunch led by the Liquigas boys is on the top of the San Marco and are 2.00 down on the leaders. The Astana pair of Mazzoleni and Savoldelli, both from Bergamo too, and both knowing this long and difficult ascent very well, move to the top of the group.

The Falcon seems to have recovered from Wednesday's accident and the ordeal he went through the past two days. We wouldn't be surprised to see him on the attack soon.

While the TV cameras show banners exposed by the fans of Massimo Codol, yet another pro cyclist based in the areas of Lombardy this stage is passing through. Pinotti, Mayo, and Bettini who dropped off the back in the final km of the San Marco are back in the lead group. One Liqui-guy slipped while taking one turn , and he's Vladimr Miholjevic the Croat. One Credit Agricole rider also fell.

Mazzoleni and Savoldelli attacked on the descent! The Credit Agricole rider is seriously heart. They are aiming for some glory as the finishing line gets back to Bergamo town for the first time since 1983 (the last winner there was Giuseppe Saronni, btw).

Paolo Bettini is coming down fast: the Cricket made up for the 40-second deficit he had at the summit of the San Marco pass and quickly regained the front group. Danilo Di Luca is taking it much easier, and not taking excessive risks at all. Its hard to tell what the situation is right now. The skies over Lombardy are darn grey today, but thankfully it is not raining over the peloton.

1540 CEST - Szmyd, Baliani, Parra, Pinotti, Rasmussen, Bettini are for sure riders in front. Rubiera is the 7th rider. The gap between the front group and the Garzelli/Savoldelli/Mazzoleni group was down to 01'38" at the most recent time check.  Paolo Bettini is on the attack, trying to ride away from the front group. The Cricket took some advantage on the other fugitives and is on a solo lead now.

Savoldelli, Mazzoleni and Pellizotti are still in the chase. Charles Wegelius stays at the bottom of the Gruppo Maglia Rosa, that is composed of about 20 riders. I think it's Nibali in front of Di Luca with Wegelius somewhere behind that group Di Luca has to chase because Mazzoleni and Simoni rode escaped from Danilo on the descent.

1543 CEST - Paolo Savoldelli and Eddy Mazzoleni and keep making time gains on the front group, whereas Stefano Garzelli couldn't follow the Astana pairing in the decent for at first. Bettini has finished the descent and is in the valley where he is caught by his breakmates. Mayo is back in front, Bettini and the other frontrunners now lead Savoldelli and Mazzoleni by 01'25" Di Luca is a further 35" behind.  Between the gruppo Mazzoleni and the Maglia Rosa gruppo Di Luca, Codol, Garzelli and Simoni are chasing to join the escapees.

1548 CEST - Should the two trios merge soon, they could make things even harder for Danilo Di Luca. The gap to the Di Luca  group is growing. Bellotti is the Credit Agricole rider who crashed and has to abandon the race. Also Aleksander Arekeev fell a few minutes ago. Lampre is helping Liquigas in the chase.

1553 CEST - gap update: 1.00 Mazzoleni, Savoldelli and Pellizotti, 1.10 on Codol, Simoni and Garzelli and 1.52 on gruppo Di Luca. The two chasing groups merged, 6 chasers now; Mazzoleni, Savoldelli, Pellizotti, Simoni, Codol and Garzelli.

Marco Pinotti wins the Garibaldi sprint from Baliani. They lead the di Luca/Cunego/Bruseghin group by 43". What a stage! And we said earlier the overall contenders were going to take a break today ... tsk tsk ... Arvesen and Losada are back in the break again. The 10 leaders have a gap of 46 sec on the 6 chasers with Simoni. Mayo dropped off the back in order to help Simoni in the chase and join the front runners.

1555 CEST - The gruppo Di Luca is riding 1.34 down on the lead. Mayo is reeled in by the 6 chasers and is going to lead the chase together with the 2 riders of Astana and the 2 of Acqua & Sapone; this group contains now 3 team duo's.. it's a very interesting stage so far, hardly what we might have expected.

1600 CEST - 47.9 km to go, 10 leaders, 1 chasing group with Simoni/Savoldelli/Mazzoleni and then the Di Luca gruppo, the peloton in scattered groups behind. The 6 chasers are gaining on the 10 leaders. 16 leaders now as Simoni, Savoldelli and Mazzoleni make the catch.

 The lead 16: Simoni, Savoldelli, Mazzoleni, Pellizotti, Codol, Mayo, Garzelli, Szmyd, Bettini, Pinotti, Baliani, Rasmussen, Parra and 3 others. The 16 in front have 1 minute on the Di Luca Maglia Rosa group. Arvesen, Losada and Rubiera are the 3 others in front.

The leaders are now on the next climb, 9km to the KOM of the La Trinitia, Mayo is leading the pace. Losada drops off the back of the break. The gruppo Di Luca is about 15 riders strong at this point;one minute behind. The gap of the leaders falls to 45 sec... Gibo Simoni is leading the pace now with Mazzoleni sharing the effort pushing the pace up the Trinitia. .

1611 CEST - Mayo and Pinotti dropped off the back in front just as Arvesen and Rubiera.  Szmyd off the back as well, Mayo is coming back in front. Bettini lags at the back of the break... the effort is working as the gap goes up to a minute. The group is back together and continue to work well, Liquigas' Pelizotti is the only rider not taking a turn. Behind Lampre and Liquigas lead the chase.

3 km to the top of the La Trinita, Szmyd drops back, waiting on the gruppo Di Luca, there he can work for Cunego, Simoni on the front of the escape upping the pace. Liquigas and Lampre are leading the chase as Rubiera reeled in by the Di Luca gruppo. 10 leaders - it's an awesome battle between the 10 in front and the gruppo Di Luca. Mayo off the back, his work is done, Simoni has to handle it alone now, Codol off the back as well.

1617 CEST - Szmyd who is reeled in is already working again at the front of the chase. The gruppo Di Luca is now 18 riders strong. Pinotti is in there as well now. Savoldelli, Mazzoleni, Simoni, Parra, Baliani, Bettini, Pellizotti and Garzelli are the 8 leaders in front in full flight up the Trestinia.

Pellizotti has to wait on the gruppo Di Luca and drops himself off the back as well. 7 leaders. Pellizotti got orders from team director Stefano Zanatta to wait on the Maglia Rosa. Di Luca is isolated and has no helpers anymore in front off the bunch. Lampre is leading the pace in Damiano Cunegos behalf.

40 km to go, The lead of the 7 is up to 1.02 - Tiralongo, Szmyd, Bruseghin and Vila working for Cunego in the bunch, Pellizotti is reeled in and joins the effort at the front of the bunch for team leader, Di Luca. Franco Pellizotti drives the pace... but too fast, the Lampres are not able to follow.

1524 CEST - 500 mt to the KOM of the 7 leaders. Savoldelli takes the KOM points ahead of Mazzoleni and Baliani. The 7 start the descent now. Baliani sprinted for it, he might have been second if not first.  The guppo Di Luca is on top at 1.04 after the 7 escapees. The rosa group contains about 15 riders. Codol goes round the corner... then the gruppo di Luca. The gap hasn't changed at all. Pinotti still hanging in there, well done Marco.

Pozzovivo and Ricco are there in the Maglia Rosa group too, the group has grown to about 20 riders. Crash Andy Schleck as he tangles with another rider, Andy is up and can continue. Petrov crashed as well and has some mechanical problems

35km to go - Schleck was grimacing but got back on right away. Arroyo was also inconvenienced by it, but only Schleck really came down. Codol is reeled in by the bunch as well; Lampre are giving it 100% on this descent... behind, Schleck is on his own having changed his bike, it will be a hard chase if no team mates are around. Could be a bad day for Schleck as he could lose his 3rd position in the GC.

The gap is down to 53 seconds between the two groups. The 7 leaders have 53 sec on the group Di Luca who are coming closer. Andy Schleck, Maglia Bianca Best Young rider doesn't look comfortable, but he's digging in.  Patxi Vila is catching the TV motorbike in the corners! They are BOMBING this descent. Parra is off the back on the descent of the Trinita as well, Parra is struggling to match the pace set by - no surprise - Savoldelli and Mazzoleni.

Schleck's lost about 20 seconds, and isn't going as hard as he could. Perhaps a bit shaken up by the crash. In front of him is Evgeni Petrov, also stopped by the crash. Schleck now joined by Pozzovivo.

30 km to go,  Savoldelli looks so cool and composed.  Pellizotti leads the Lampre train in the descent. The gap at the 30 km mark of the leaders is up to 1.08 Schleck is about 20 seconds behind. The young gun is trying to get some sort of mechanical problem fixed, leaning on the CSC car. Be careful mate, do you want to crash again Andy? Behind the Di Luca group. Parra is back in the break, so again 7 leaders.

1631 CEST - Andy Schleck is back in the Di Luca bunch after getting some help at the team car. The seven escapees are more-or-less together, Savoldelli leads Simoni. The gruppo Maglia Rosa is 14 riders strong, having lost some in the climb, they are in the valley now. By the way, Patxi Vila went off the back due to a puncture and Schleck has now caught him. The 7 leaders are working well together in order to hold there gap on the finish line.

  25 km to go, The gap is down to 1.02. Quite a group we have, just to remind you - world champion Paolo Bettini, Giro winners Savoldelli, Garzelli and Simoni, domestique de luxe Savoldelli and mountain goats Baliani and Parra.

1644 CEST - The group di Luca is now about 20 riders strong. A guy like Sella and also Petrov came back. They're all strung out though. Di Luca is asking Pinotti to help in the chase as well. But Pinotti says nada. Pinotti is happy to just be still hanging in there after his effort in the break. Exactly that group is 19 riders strong. I imagine something along the lines of "where were you when I needed help? You were putting the hammer down, Danilo"

 20 km to go, Savoldelli - il Falco Bergamasco - wants this win so bad in home territory; but Il Falco is working for Mazzoleni, another Bergamasco, the gap is down to 1.00. Schleck gets an energy gel from the team car. We may well hear more of the ramifications of his crash post-stage and tomorrow. Dupont, Samoilau and Wegelius are also among those we haven't mentioned in the 20-man maglia rosa group when they rejoined. The riders are on a small bump in the road, Paolo Bettini comes to the front to help with the pace making. Bettini is the favorite for the stage win, a win he deserves after the bad luck in the past days, but not one his break mates will be handing him without a fight.

1652 CEST - 15 km to go, Branislau Samoilau's ride has gone largely under the radar. But the 22 year old Belarussian has done amazingly for a neo-pro, supporting Garzelli and lies currently 31st overall. Speaking of the finish, Garzelli doesn't have a bad sprint but it's nothing compared to Bettini's. The gap is above a minute again. Evgeni Petrov gets some support from the Tinkoff team car, and words of encouragement from D.S. Orlando Maini.

1657 CEST - I imagine DiLuca group will only try to manage the gap and keep it small and save some energy for tomorrow? With this situation Simoni and Mazzoleni are doing the best things for the GC. And with a relative easy day for the Saunier boys. We can expect some fireworks again tomorrow to Tre Cime. Today Liquigas and Lampre have worked hard and that could be dangerous for tomorrow. We will see just how wise this skirmish was for the likes of Simoni, Savoldelli and Garzelli.

10 km to go, the gap is down to 52 sec.  If they have anything left, the attacks could go. Chancers like Parra and Baliani aren't going to want to give Bettini a free ride to the finish. Garzelli has a good chance to win the stage as well. The break continues to work well together trading off the lead, looking more like a team time trial than a break;  Savodelli at the front now.

7 km to go, 58 seconds is the gap. The gap is down again as the cars behind the break pull off.

5km to go, There is a small climb of the Boccola, just outside Bergamo that could decide the result.  They are entering Bergamo and are almost on the Citadel of Bergamo, the Boccola. The break is on the Boccola climb now.

Attack Simoni! Savoldelli makes the gap and takes the lead, they're stretched out but together. The duo go through an arch and it the road steepens, Simoni leads...the others can't follow at first... Simoni for stage win and the 20 bonus seconds? Garzelli and Bettini are chasing... Garzelli is coming back with Simoni now. 2 leaders

Simoni attacks again, Garzelli trying to come back; Di Luca attacks in the bunch as he reaches the Boccolo.; Schleck, Cunego and some others are following the Killer. Bettini is trying his best to get up to the leading pair...

Di Luca attacks again, he's just 46 seconds behind. Simoni has 2 seconds on Garzelli and 5 seconds on Bettini.

2.5 km to go, Di Luca at 40 sec. Savoldelli and Mazzoleni are 8 seconds down, with Baliani and Parra. Di Luca and Ricco together. Di Lucca leads Ricco and Bruseghin who have joined him.

2km to go! Bruseghin dropped by Di Luca and Ricco it seems. Full gas on the front from the maglia rosa. Bruseghin is back...  Garzelli is 4 seconds down on Simoni and closing... 38 seconds now the gap between the two groups...

1km to go, Garzelli only leads the rest of the break by about 2 seconds. Garzelli is coming close on Gibo. Simoni looks back and sees Garzelli then the two Astana's in the chase behind him! what a thriller!

400m to go! Garzelli TRIES.. Stefano Garzelli wins!!!!

Simoni and Bettini follow... Garzelli negotiated around a moto, then drew level and passes Simoni inside the last 50m! Bravo Stefano! Di Luca comes in at 38 sec.

Simoni got 50 seconds on Di Luca at the finish. Pinotti and Dupont trail in, about 1'05" down our winner today Garzelli.

1 Garzelli, 2 Simoni, 3 Bettini, 4 Baliani, 5 Mazzoleni, 6 Savoldelli 7 Parra, 8 Pinotti, 9 Dupont, 10 Piepoli comes in at 2.34
Phew... what a stage. Simoni passed with 50m to go, ouch. Garzelli looked remarkably composed, able to smile and kiss his hands in victory salute.  Nibali comes in and having lost 8 minutes, sure to be some shake up of the top 20 in the G.C. this afternoon, the stage was a real thriller.

T-Mobile rider Mark Cavendish wins the penultimate stage in the Volta a Catalunya. He has an exciting future ahead of him - that's five wins this season. Wow.

A gruppo comes in after the podium celebrations... 17:14 down, the laughing gruop follows twenty minutes down.

Official Result Stage 14
Cantu - Bergamo
192 km - 38.584 km/h

1 GARZELLI Stefano ITA ASA 4:58:34 0:00 20"
2 SIMONI Gilberto ITA SDV 4:58:34 0:00 12"
3 BETTINI Paolo ITA QSI 4:58:34 0:00 10"

4 BALIANI Fortunato ITA PAN 4:58:34 0:00 4"
5 MAZZOLENI Eddy ITA AST 4:58:34 0:00
6 SAVOLDELLI Paolo ITA AST 4:58:37 0:03
7 PARRA PINTO Ivan Ramiro COL COF 4:58:37 0:03
8 DI LUCA Danilo ITA LIQ 4:59:12 0:38 Maglia Rosa
9 RICCO' Riccardo ITA SDV 4:59:12 0:38
10 BRUSEGHIN Marzio ITA LAM 4:59:12 0:38

Thanks for joining us for the live coverage see you tomorrow.
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