Ladies and Gentlemen, here come the Dolomites!
Hello everyone, welcome to our live coverage of the 15th and
stage in the 90th Giro d'Italia. The Corsa Rosa finds back its best-known and
most terrible mountains in the 184 kilometre effort from Trento to Tre Cime di
Lavaredo, a helluva stage with a cumulative uphill effort of over 36
kilometres, and the mountain top finish
coming at the end of a tough
climb covering 7.2 km. (difference in elevation: 547 metres. Average Gradient:
7.6 %. Max. gradient: up to 18%).
But not before our men in the saddle meet the San Pellegrino
(distance: 11.8 km; difference in altitude: 753 metres, average gradient:
6.4%; max. gradient: 14%) at km. 93, the Giau
(distance: 9.83 km;
altitude difference: 922 metres; average gradient: 9.4%; e max. gradient:
14%), then down to the Cortina d’Ampezzo mountain resort, and on the final
ascent to the line. The first time the race made it to Cime, on a cold June
day back in 1967, the stage was ... nullified because of all riders had been
pushed by fans along the route! Commentators for today's race are Fabio in
Italy, Bart in the Netherlands and Andy in Great Britain.
But the peloton took redemption the following year, when the race returned
on that mountain monster and a certain Belgian rider whose first name was Eddy
stamped his authority also there, capturing the jersey that he was going to
keep all the way to the final podium. Josè Manuel Fuente "El Tarangu" waved
the Spanish flag on the Tre Cime 33 years ago, while Beat Breu made a hit for
Switzerland in the 1981 edition, the same day eventual overall winner
Battaglin stole the jersey from Silvano Contini's shoulders. But the last time
one Giro d'Italia stage climbed such ascent it tasted of Colombian café, with
the legendary Luis "Lucho" Herrera taking line honours.
1330 CEST - There are about twenty
riders (none of them being a GC threat of course) on a breakaway, two of whom
being Paolo Bettini and Totó Commesso, leading the bunch by about five minutes
as they are on the San Pellegrino slopes, in not pleasant but not even
horrible weather conditions. The guys attacked at km. 21 and opened up a
maximum advantage of close to seven minutes as they reached Moena town at the
foot of the San Pellegrino, then their margin started to drop.
The first 22 escapees were: Paolo Bettini (Ita), Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat),
David Cañada Gracia (Spa), Marco Marzano (Ita), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita), Lloyd
Mondory (Fra), Pierre Drancourt (Fra), Fortunato Baliani (Ita), Hervé
Duclos-Lasalle (Fra), Pietro Caucchioli (Ita), Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr), Aketza
Peña (Spa), Lilian Jegou (Fra), Sven Krauss (Ger), Josep Jufre Pou (Spa),
Stefano Zanini (Ita), Michael Rasmussen (Den), Christian Kness (Ger),
Salvatore Commesso (Ita), Daniele Contrini (Ita), Pavel Brutt (Rus) and Aaron
But Belohvosciks first, Mondory and Drancourt later, couldn't follow the
pace set by the other front runners, such that the breakaway was down to
1345 CEST - The big news of the moment
is that Saunier Duval are trying to make things hard for Danilo Di Luca since
the opening climb, with Leonardo Piepoli and Riccardo Riccó launching their
first attack halfway through the San Pellegrino. Pérez Cuapio and Colombia's
Ivan Parra followed the guys, and the quartet have already put about forty
seconds into the Gruppo Maglia Rosa.
1400 CEST - The breakaway's advantage
dropped exponentially on the San Pellegrino. Nonetheless the 19 fugitives
managed to make it to the summit first, with Baliani - a man on a green
mission - taking the points from Josep Jufre and the Tinkoff trio of Commesso,
Contrini and Pavel Brutt, as well as the rest of the leading group. The Parra/Piepoli/Pérez
Cuapio/Riccó quartet followed just a minute three seconds down, thus making
impressive gains on the main peloton that came in at 03'43" behind Baliani.
Belohvosciks, Mondory and Drancourt were hauled back into the field by the
1411 CEST - Josep Jufre Pou (Spa -
Predictor-Lotto) attacked the breakaway on the descent into Falcade, with
Paolo Bettini (Quick Step-Innergetic) and fellow Italian Marco Marzano
(Lampre-Fondital) trying to cover such move.
1418 CEST - The situation is very fluid
as the descent split both the lead group and chasing peloton(s). Paolo Bettini
and Marco Marzano are still amongst those on the front anyway. And Lilian
Jegou, David Canada Gracia and Daniele Contrini are with them.
Leonardo Piepoli and Riccardo Riccó were trailing the leaders by a mere 56
seconds at the latest check, while the Gruppo Maglia Rosa with Di Luca, Simoni,
Cunego, Bruseghin, Schleck, Grzelli etc. was a good four minutes adrift at
Alleghe (km. 102).
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1430 CEST - Paolo Bettini, Marco
Marzano, Lilian Jegou, David Canada Gracia (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Daniele
Contrini were caught by all their previous breakaway companions plus two more
guys (Riccó and Piepoli), so that we've got a 21-strong bunch on the front at
the moment. Their margin on the main field grew to 04 minutes 27 seconds. But
Française Des Jeux's Jegou and Gerolsteiner's Sven Krauss, as well as Hervé
Duclos-Lassalle of Cofidis, are struggling to stay with the other escapees.
1430 CEST - Two fresh additions to the
"Frontrunners Club": the Latin-American pairing of Ivan Ramiro Parra Pinto
(Col - Cofidis) and Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio (Mex - Panaria-Navigare) gained
the breakaway, as much as the "red bird" duo of Leo Piepoli and Riccardo Riccó
had done earlier.
Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz - Astana) and Rubens Bertogliati (Swi - Saunier
Duval-Prodir) were the freshest addition to the list of Giro d'Italia DNFers,
both of them pulling out of the race today.
1440 CEST - New Gap update: 19 riders
on the lead, Aaron Olson still one of them, as the race went on the Santa
Lucia climb. Sven Krauss got dropped and is 45" down on the nineteen leaders,
while Lilian Jegou also gave up and is currently trailing them by 01'34". The
Di Luca group, with the whole Liquigas team around the GC leader follows at
Di Luca and his teammates should better put in some kind of chase soon, as
Riccardo Riccó is making plenty of gains on the overall side of the matter;
the man from Formigine near Modena was close to seven minutes down on Di Luca
at the stage start, and he has more than halved the gap.
1446 CEST - It looks like the gruppo
have finally started to chase, as Di Luca & Co. cut the gap down to about
04'20" by the most recent time check.
Samuel Sanchez won the final stage in the Volta a Catalunya,
Vladimir Karpets is the final winner.
1500 CEST - David Canada (Saunier
Duval) is setting the pace in the break. Ricco and Piepoli are ready to jump
on the Giau in a few km. the gap of the break is down to 3.50 while Alicia's
green lime Liquigas lads are setting the pace. The Saunier Duval trio in
the front group is pushing hard, towing the breakaway, but the chase set up by
Liquigas is starting to bear some fruit. Still, many are waiting for a move
from Gibo on the Giau.
David Canada will be sitting down and dropping himself off the back of the
breakaway on that tough climb to come, but just once he'll be done with his
extraordinary work. Herve Duclos-Lasalle, Sven Krauss and Pavel Brutt
are reeled in by the bunch.
1505 CEST - 48.6 km to go, At the
moment Canada Gracia gives no signs of stopping his pace-setting job. But they
just hit the ascent, so we'll see.
1506 CEST - Yes, Canada stopped working
and left the tempo-setting pleasure to green-jerseyed Leo Piepoli as the first
slopes of the Giau came. The first slopes are very, very tough by the way.
Bileka, Commesso and Knees off the back as well. it's not Commesso but another
Tinkoff rider leading now. The Giro meets the Giau for the fourth time. Fuente
came first across the top in 1973, Cardenas in 1989 and Cornier a couple years
1507 CEST - Liquigas is doing fine...
the Di Luca group (with some 60 riders now) gained over a minute on the
breakaway in the section leading to the foot of the Giau climb. The going got
vertical for them too.
1509 CEST - The tempo set by Leo
Piepoli thinned the front group down to ten men. The Flying Trullo talks to
his teammate Riccó, then keeps cranking up the pace again. With his much
younger teammate still following his wheels. Both guys look on top form today.
Josep Jufre (Predictor-Lotto) and Pietro Caucchioli (Credit Agricole) off the
back in the break. No attacks in the Gruppo Maglia Rosa, but more and
more riders are getting dropped. Some 35-40 guys stay with Di Luca.
One of them is Paolo Savoldelli, once more working as a domestique for Eddy
Mazzoleni's. Il Falco is forcing the pace back in the group. Is he
setting things up for a move from Mazzoleni? Savolldelli is setting the pace
as Bruseghin and Vila dropping off the back just as some others. Still about
15 riders left in that gruppo Di Luca.
In the front group, Piepoli (is giving it everything on the Giau) and Riccó
never give up the top two spots, while Perez Cuapio and Rasmussen come next.
Baliani is struggling instead. Garzelli off the back too. 10 riders in the
chasing group Di Luca... Three less for Danilo as Spezialetti, Wegelius,
Nibali were dropped too. But Cunego is left without teammates around ... and
Di Luca too!
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1518 CEST Danilo keeps control of the
situation (now) however, as he follows the tempo-riding pair of Astana.
Arroyo, Gibo and Schleck come next. Sella and Pozzovivo in the gruppo Di Luca
too. Both guys with the Panaria outfit. Perez Cuapio, Parra, Ricco and Piepoli
are left in front; Rasmussen drops.
Baliani has lost contact to the front group also, as the Giau summit is
five kilometres away. Petrov still hanging in there with Di Luca
too.Bileka is caught by the Di Luca group. Riccó replaced Piepoli on the
front. Riccó replaced Piepoli on the front. Parra and Perez Cupio do not
lose his wheel (and Piepoli's either) anyway. The leading quartet hold on to a
three minute ten second margin on the Di Luca group at the most recent check.
1523 CEST - Acqua & Sapone's Samoilau
is trying to help Garzelli limit his losses to the Di Luca group, but it's no
easy task at all. The man may be paying for yesterday's stage-winning efforts
in such steep (gradient over 10%) portion of the Giau. Bettini, Olson and
Contrini were also swallowed up by the Di Luca/Simoni/Cunego/Savoldelli/Mazzoleni
It's quite uncommon to see a two-time Giro winner play the part of perfect
domestique like that, but Paolo Savoldelli is just doing the right thing in
helping his teammate Mazzoleni. Especially after Bruseghin and Patxi Vila lost
contact; and they are about to lose some positions on GC at the end of the
stage. Bruseghin, Pellizotti and Vila are not far behind as they can see the
Mavic car behind the gruppo Maglia Rosa.
1525 CEST - 3.5 km to the KOM of the Giau,
One more Saunier is displaying a very fighting attitude, but their efforts
could prove pointless as long as Danilo Di Luca keeps control of the situation
and Simoni makes no attempt to drop him. Danilo is following the wheels of the
Astana duo of Savoldelli and Mazzoleni without any problem. Or so it seems at
Hmmm wait, Di Luca slipped down to ninth place in his group. But maybe he
did it on purpose, just to move behind Simoni, so that an attack from Gibo
wouldn't take him by surprise! Cuapio is joking with the devil. He takes his
long fork or trident and waved it at el Diablo; and gave it back to him; he is
joking while Ricco and Piepoli are setting the pace
1530 CEST - Another (slightly) bad news
for Di Luca: the lead quartet got back to their time-gaining antics, as the
gap rises again to 03'28" at the latest check. The snowcapped peaks of the
Dolomites rise in the distance over the riders shoulders.
Attack of Di Luca! Schleck is
following, all of the above at 2.7 km from the top of the climb. Cunego,
Mazzoleni and Simoni are following too. Di Luca's move resulted in his group
being down to five guys only. And Paolo Savodelli isn't one of them, looks
like a panic attack. The same holder of the overall leader's mantle replaced
the Falcon as pace-setter in his group.
1535 CEST - Di Luca prolly thinks "if I
go myself than I'm not off the back at the top of the Giau as the others go
on". Riccó and Piepoli ride neck-to-neck in the last thousand metres of
the Giau mountain monster. The finishing line is under
40 kilometres away. Parra struggles to stay
with the, Perez Cuapio's legs look much better. But Di Luca's move also helped
him and other four guys cut the gap down to 02'45" to the front quartet.
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1536 CEST - Di Luca might have aimed at
putting some time into Savoldelli in order to avoid a dangerous move from the
Falcon on the descent. A move Simoni would have followed easier while Danilo,
who's a worse descender than Gibo, could have had a hard time staying with
them. But that's no longer the case anyway.
1537 CEST - Riccó (class of 1983) and
Piepoli (class of 1971) are about to crest. Perez Cuapio (easily) and Parra
(not easily at all) still follows them. Piepoli takes the KOM points on the
Giau and is the new leader in the KOM ranking. Ivan Parra had some chain
problems at the start of the descent; everything has been fixed, but still
he's a poor descender, and expected to lose contact to the others while coming
down the Giau.
1540 CEST - 300m to the summit,
for the chasing quintet with Di Luca still driving them. 50m ... 10 ... here
they are. The gap is down to 2.25. And that's good news for the Liquigas team
(as well as GC) leader. Savoldelli came in next at 50" from the Di Luca group.
Petrov and Pozzovivo are with him.
1543 CEST - As predictable - and
predicted - Ivan Parra the Colombian has lost some time to Riccó, Piepoli and
Perez Cuapio in the early part of the descent. Perez is no Savoldelli, okay,
but he improved his downhill skills a lot lately.
1546 CEST - Perez Cuapio is not
Savoldelli we said ... and not even Riccó or Piepoli: the Mexican was dropped
by the Red Bird duo too. Stefano Garzelli reportedly bonked big style, as his
gap to the Gruppo Maglia Rosa growing exponentially to five (f-i-v-e-)
A belated Happy Birthday to "Young Lens" Daily Peloton photographer Deore
Lily Atalanta Trevisanut who celebrated her 20th birthday yesterday. BUON
1549 CEST - 30 km to go, Marzio
Bruseghin was two minutes down on Di Luca, Gibo, Cunego, Schleck and Mazzoleni
at the Giau summit instead, with Il Falco in between. Savoldelli is back in
the gruppo Di Luca; what an awesome descent by Il Falco. He gained 50 seconds
in the space of six kilometres only! Spain's Jufre and Arroyo have also
regained the wheels of the Di Luca group, now up to eight men.
Di Luca, Cunego, Mazzoleni - that drove the bunch for most of the descent-
Schleck and Simoni made some significant losses also to the frontrunners, as
the gap to Riccó and Piepoli rose to three minutes as the lead duo is about to
make it to Cortina town. Sorry, lead TRIO. Perez re-joined the Saunier pair!
The finish is 23.4 kilometres away for
them, and 15 of them are climbing ones.
Di Luca took a smart attitude on the downhill section, not taking any
unnecessary risks. The descent is over for his eight-strong group too.
Savoldelli is towing the group, with Mazzoleni following and the others some
15-20 metres behind.
Live coverage of stage 15 continues: Part 2
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