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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 16 Live Coverage
By Staff
Date: 5/29/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 16 Live Coverage

90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 16 Live Coverage
The Bad weather is back to the Giro as the race crosses the border into Austria with the finishing line at Lienz. Will rain and a tricky parcours have some impact on the overall?

Courtesy Gazzeta della Sport
Stage 16: Agordo - Lienz (Austria) 189 km

The stage takes place in cold weather conditions (even some light snow made a quick appearance over the night on the first ascent on the menu, the Campolongo pass). Once leaving the Campolongo behind, riders descend into the trilingual (Italian, German and a local language called Ladin spoken) Badia Valley of South-Tyrol then make their way into the Austrian side of Tyrol. The last seven kilometres are predominantly flat ... BUT watch out for the uphill portion coming at 7 km. from the finish in the second half of today's final circuit of seventeen kilometres.

1315 CEST The action got started at noon, with Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) wearing the overall leader's mantle, and the surprising Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana) as his nearest challenger at 01'51". The man from Abruzzo is one step closer to becoming the first ever Italian Giro winner from south of Tuscany, - and the fact he joked about that while testing the Oropa climb a few days ago is a sign that he is confident in himself - but he'd better be careful, also in today's stage.

The peloton stayed together under the rain thru the first ten miles, while racing (at slow pace: 25.1 km. covered in the first hour) over dangerously slippery roads. Hopefully we're not going to have yet another "Pile-up Festival" today: we've had enough bunch of riders hitting the tarmac in this Giro already. No attacks came in the next few kilometres either: it's still gruppo compatto after 30 km. Thanks for joining us for the live ticker today, Fabio is making the calls of the race action today.

1328 CEST Nothing new as the race winds through the mountain village of Pieve di Livinallongo (km. 34): the bunch was packed like sardines. Period. No signs of anything similar to an attack thus far into the stage. Thing stayed the same until they got to the town of Arabba (km. 41.5), at the foot of the Campolongo climb, which the riders are just about to take on the first gravity challenge. Hopefully we're going to get some action there at least...

1348 CEST Some action on the Campolongo we said? No way! At least in the first couple kilometres of this climb. The whole peloton is still together as a unit. We'll have to wait longer for the first fireworks to start.

1400 CEST It's easy to be a live tickerer in stages like this: all you have to do just pick one amongst "the bunch is packed again" or "the peloton are still together" or the much more Italian-sounding "Gruppo Compatto", with "peloton agrupado" if you really want to give the ticker some Spanish flavour. Yes, folks, as you may have guessed already, nothing worthy of particular mention happened in the last portion of the Campolongo pass either. Panaria's Fortunato Baliani added a new KOM Prime victory to his Giro d'Italia tally as he came first across the top of such second category ascent, with Leonardo Piepoli taking the runner-up spot and France's Yoann Le Boulanger straight behind "the Flying Trullo" as the other top three place getter.

1435 CEST No breakaway attempts were made in the Campolongo descent either (and with the road a bit too wet, there, such prudent attitude didn't come as a surprise ...). Once the pack was done with coming down such climb, they crossed the South Tyrol hamlets of Corvara in Val Badia and La Villa (Stern in German) as well as Pedraces (Pedratsches in the Ladin language). Needless to say, all our men in the saddle were together with 125 kilometres to go.

1445 CEST The race hit the town of Longega/Zwischenwasser (km. 74) and ... das Peloton ist derzeit noch geschlossen. Okay, I chose the "German (sort of) way" this time, but things do not change: they're all together.

1500 CEST No way for our men to delight us with an early attack or anything remotely looking like that. Not even after spending 82 kilometres in the saddle. The skies are grey both over the peloton and at the Lienz finishing line.

Interviewed before the stage, Danilo Di Luca confessed that in his opinion this one could be a dangerous stage for him, good for any wannabe attackers and riders trying to topple him. And Leonardo Piepoli confirmed that the GC contenders might have something to say on the way to Lienz. The peloton's attitude on the road is proving them wrong anyway.

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1508 CEST The pack challenges the cold weather as they pass through Brunico town. The finish line stays a good hundred kilometres away. Their pace stays slow. Three hours and ten minutes into the stage at this point. The combination of past (their efforts on the Alps and Dolomites), present (the darn cold weather) and future (the terrible Zoncolan tomorrow) factors prompted riders to stay safe and sane inside the bunch today.

1514 CEST With nothing in particular occurring today, we can spend some of our time talking about Riccardo Riccó's future. As fully predictable, his early season performances won the young gun from the Modena area of Italy plenty of attention from tifosi and journalists alike, but also from other teams. The guy is currently a proud wearer of Saunier Duval's yellow jersey, but also today, in pre-stage talks with RAI Alessandra's De Stefano, Riccó did not rule out the chances of moving to another team, better if an Italian one. And even better if it's a team he can be leader of ...

Okay, we know that a guy like Riccó could switch to a different jersey. ONLY if he was sure of being their "capitano". Rumors said Milram would not be that unpleased to have the guy in their roster. They've got the money, they've got the need to have one overall contender in top stage races, so we'll see ...

1525 CEST The peloton tackles a slight uphill portion as they make it to the halfway point in the stage. Enrico Gasparotto and the other Liqui-guys keep riding tempo and leading the "procession". The average speed was 28.9 km/h after three hours, even though the Liquigas guys on the front picked up the pace a very little bit in the few minutes. 

Danilo Di Luca and Paolo Bettini are chatting while staying comfortably inside the bunch. Then the latter drops off the back of the field and keeps talking with someone in the organizer's car.

1540 CEST Some good news at least. It stopped raining over the field, and the roads are getting better and better.  Most of the peloton are taking off their "Mantellina" (jackets) as they string out on the center of the road trying to stay in the drier sections. Six Liquigas riders set the pace at the front, with Quickstep and Paolo Bettini following.

The Italian TV cameras are often on Riccardo Riccó. Basically playing the same games they did with Cunego a couple years ago, the Italian media and journalists, still desperately in need for some "big name", are putting the hype on him, maybe a little more than the actual accomplishments by the talented wonder boy would suggest, and keep trying to portrait him as a possible GC threat this year.

But we  tend to agree with Danilo Di Luca when the overall leader says that Riccó is a helluva rider with all the time to win the Giro and other top races, but doesn't consider him a danger to his current Maglia Rosa, also because the last ITT coming Saturday is not going to help Riccó's "overall bid". The likes of Simoni, Schleck and Mazzoleni are currently much more dangerous to him, in Di Luca's own words.

More important to Saunier Duval may be the second battle between young guns Ricco and Schleck for the young guns Maglia Bianca. Only 43 seconds separate the two riders in the race to Milano and the honor of the white jersey as "Top Gun" in the Young Gun classification.

1552 CEST - Under 75K to go as the peloton - now winding through Dobbiaco (Toblach town) - made it to the feeding zone. And ... guess what: the race is still 100% together. No signs of attacks yet. Over a hundred kilometres without any moves today. If  we are not going to enter the Guinness Book of Records today, we are getting close to ...

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1558 CEST Toblach and the feeding zone are left behind. (Most of) The next 25 kilometres are slightly downhill.  Maybe we'll see some moves there (yeah, maybe ...) The peloton makes it to San Candido - Innichen for the German-speakers - at the end of the Pusteria Valley. And Andrea Noé is "having lunch" in the saddle.

1602 CEST OH WAIT ... AN ATTACK! UNBELIEVABALE BUT TRUE. TWO GUYS MADE A MOVE AT LAST! An Astana and AG2r rider, another five riders attempt to bridge up as the duo opens a 300 mete gap. Astana's man from Luxembourg Benoit Joachim and Laurent Mangel (Fra) of AG2R Prevoyance looked after giving us something to write about. Merci, monsieurs. Thank you, guys.

Liquigas let them go, and the pair quickly gained about half a minute.  But a group of counter-attackers tried and joined them. So four hours and ten minutes into the stage, the battle finally broke out. The race got twice as fast as it was before. Better late than never...

Lorenzo Bernucci, back into limelight after a long time, is one of the counter-attackers. Sven Krauss catches and then passes Bernucci, gets a gap at the front and thinks better of chasing alone and looks back and waits for company to chase the duo ahead. they form a group of seven or eight chasing the escapees with the peloton chasing (or not?) behind at about 400 metres.

1607 CEST The two groups have joined to form one of ten riders before they approach the Trofeo Garibaldi with Mangel taking the max points and Joachim and Muller following. Liquigas is leading the peloton but not apparently concerned with the riders away;Caucchioli, Sven Krauss, Astana's Basaybez, Pablo Lastras, Rubiera, Muller, Bono, Bernucci, Joachim et al... quickly get a gap of 1:18.

1611 CEST We're in Austria, jawhol (yes). Lance Armstrong's former domestique Benoit Joachim and the tall French rouleur Laurnet Mangel stay in the lead, with plenty of riders trying hard to close down on them,. But it might no be as easy as expected, for the two guys are riding fast now. Mangel wins the Traguardo Garibaldi ahead of the Astana guy. Paolo Bettini is seen at the bottom of the field, while Marco Pinotti just had a flat. The next uphill section is coming quite soon anyway.

1618 CEST Eleven guys succeeded in making contact with the two leaders, resulting in a much larger breakaway group with Mangel and Joachim as well as Pavel Brutt, Matteo Bono, Franck Renier, Pietro Caucchioli, Lorenzo Bernucci, Chechu Rubiera, Sven Krauss and the fast Assan Bazayev (the only real Kazakh in the Astana team), as well as Spain's Serrano. But a first chase group with Pablo Lastras, Salvatore Commesso, Matteo Tosatto, Julian Dean, Steven Cummings, Felipe Laverde, Lloyd Mondory and the Italian neopro Oscar Gatto formed. The two groups might well merge soon as the combination of downhill roads and current tailwinds playing at their backs are good for the fugitives.

1624 CEST The gap over the Di Luca group increased to a minute twenty seconds as the breakaway hit the next uphill section. Garzelli attacked the field as soon as the going got vertical. It was Saunier that took over the chase to Saturday's stage winner.

1630 CEST It looks like the peloton needed some Austrian landscape for the action to start. Now we've e got half a dozen guys in the lead: Lastras, Serrano, Rubiera, Bazayev, Bernucci, Mondory. Joachim. The next group trails by 25 seconds.

1633 CEST Riccardo Serrano gave it a go breaking away solo as the going got downhill, but Laurent Mangel and Pietro Caucchioli followed his move, whilst Stefano Garzelli keeps making gains on the leaders and peloton alike. He's just 40 seconds down on the leading trio. Paolo Bettini had a mechanical at the worst time possible and was forced to stop and change his bike. The Cricket is still confident however: he's trying hard to regain the Gruppo Maglia Rosa. He just caught and dropped Ale Jet Petacchi.

Paolo Bettini succeeded in making his way back to the Gruppo. He looks very determined. Petacchi was back into the 80-strong peloton too. And the going gets vertical again, with Pablo Lastras trying to regain the front of the race.

1639 CEST Garzelli and a couple more guys sail somewhere in between the leaders and the gruppo. The Acqua Sapone leader was trailing Serrano, Mangel and Caucchioli by half a minute at the latest check. While cutting the gap further down to twenty seconds Stefano Garzelli caught both Julian Dean and Bernucci.

1642 CEST Serrano, Caucchioli, Mangel, AND CHECHU RUBIERA (newest addition to the front group) increased their advantage over the Gruppo Maglia Rosa to 02'19". But the previous gap update about Stefano Garzelli was not correct, sorry. In fact the Italian was trailing Benoit Joachim, and not the leaders, by 20 seconds. His gap to Serrano, Rubiera and the two others was a more solid 50 seconds instead.

1645 CEST About 40 km to go as the four guys ahead left the toughest part of the climb behind. But the best is yet to come... It is true this time: Stefano Garzelli (with a not so little help from Pablo Lastras and a few others) DID cut the gap down to a mere 24 seconds. In the meantime Charles Wegelius had some mechanical problems while Quickstep's Sicilian Giovanni Visconti, who missed the right breakaway, attacked the field. A bit too late perhaps ...

1649 CEST Stefano Garzelli accomplished his mission. The Italian is about to close down on the leaders. Wegelius almost regained the field after his past problems. And so did Petacchi. The Gruppo Maglia Rosa was back to some 80-90 riders. They're trailing the front group with Garzelli by some 02'40", with a first chase group (containing, amongst others, Lorenzo Bernucci, Tosatto and Commesso as well as Mondory and Laverde) in between, and Giovanni Visconti riding hard to catch them.

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1655 CEST - gap 2:20, Not just Garzelli: some more riders regained the wheels of the leaders, resulting in am newly-former eight-strong breakaway, whose members are: Benoit Joachim, Stefano Garzelli, Laurant Mangel, Pablo Lastras, Pietro Caucchioli, Julian Dean, Chechu Rubiera and Ricardo Serrano.

BUT GARZELLI ATTACKED IN THE DESCENT! Sven Krauss follows all by himself about one minute down on the eight-man group above. Then there's the "Commesso/Laverde group", with Giovanni Visconti swimming in between them and the main peloton.

1700 CEST Stefano Garzelli made the gap with his attack on the descent. And now is on a solo lead on the Banneberg ascent, the toughest difficulty of the day. What an impressive ride he's having today. He's not a factor in the GC, but his Giro d'Italia 2007 already features one stage victory, and one more could be coming.  Still, the line is a good 30k away. He's just 3 kilometres from the Banneberg summit instead.

Mission (partially) accomplished for Giovanni Visconti too: the Sicilian nullified his gap to the "Tosatto/Bernucci" group and is currently giving it a shot at dumping them. But Tosatto doesn't seem to agree. Six Liquigas on the front setting pace

1km to the summit of the final 3rd Category climb for Garzelli, he is flying up the climb...

1704 CEST The first chase group - with a fast rider like Julian Dean inside - has not given up the chances to catch Garzelli. But the Aqua & Sapone boy stays half a minute clear of them at the last time check, one km from the top of the Banneberg. It means the finish is 28 km away for Garzelli.

The main bunch is 2 kilometres (that is to say five minutes) adrift. His Sunday stage deficit (17'29") took the man out of contention for the overall, but helped him make the gap today. The main bunch has no intention on the day before the Zoncolan, to waste their legs in the chase.

1710 CEST Julian Dean and Benoit Joachim have lost contact to Garzelli's other closest pursuers. The pairing currently trails the Y2K Giro winner by one and a half minutes. That's a bit too much for them, we think.

1711 CEST 5:40 the gap to the Maglia Rosa group for Stefano Garzelli as keeps flying on the descent into Lienz. Rubiera, Lastras, Mangel, Caucchioli and Serrano are 44" down, whilst the "Visconti group" suffered further time losses to him, the latest gap being 02'40". The Sicilian is certainly regretting missing the right move of the day.

Danilo Di Luca is not regretting anything instead. His Lime Green Guard is still driving the peloton charge, but just in order to keep the guy away from any problems. The fact their gap, as much as that of the whole peloton, rose to six minutes as they crested the Banneberg, is not a problem to him.

1716 CEST The likes of Chechu Rubiera and Marcos Serrano look much more determined to nullify their gap to Garzelli instead. But their efforts on the Banneberg descent bore small fruits as the gap stayed a good 40 second at the bottom of the descent. The "Visconti" group slightly cut the gap down to 02'20".

1719 CEST Solo fugitive Stefano Garzelli made it to Lienz's Tiroler Strasse. He's now taking on the final circuit of 17 kilometres. His margin over his five closest chasers at the first passage over the line was a still consistent: 44 seconds. The bell is ringing for the Visconti/Tosatto/Bernucci group too. And Garzelli got back to his time-gaining ways on those guys: 02 minutes and 30 seconds was his most recent margin over them.

1722 CEST Laurent Mangel (Fra), Pietro Caucchioli (Ita), José Luis "Chechu" Rubiera (Spa), Ricardo Serrano (Spa) and Pablo Lastras (Spa) take turns in their attempt to keep Stefano Garzelli from his first ever solo victory at the Giro. But their task is not easy. The Italian gives no signs of stopping. And his margin over his five main chasers hovers around 40 seconds with about a dozen kilometres yet to be covered.

1725 CEST The bell is ringing for the main peloton too. 16km to go for them. The gap ballooned to over seven minutes, but so what? The group is led by Liquigas, with Lampre and Saunier riders in tow.

Garzelli goes under the 10-km-to-go banner. He turns back a lot. But his nearest chasers are still quite far; they gained only five seconds in the last three kilometres. The man is faster than all of his first pursuers, such that he might have something to say also in case he was caught.

7.9 km to go for Garzelli! 32 seconds to the chase group.  BUT his past efforts might take toll on his legs in a six-man sprint. Plus, should Garzelli be brought back, perhaps another rider would immediately put in some counter-attack, which the Italian would have a hard time following. That's why Garzelli is trying hard to keep chasers at bay.  Successfully? Maybe. The gap is half a minute with under seven kilometres left. With some good signs coming from the same first chase group, no longer working together the way they used to until a few minutes ago.

1733 CEST - 5 km to go,  It looks like the quintet are also suffering from the efforts they've sustained thus far. Cooperation in the chasing quintet is over! Pablo Lastras attacked and dropped the others. Tinkoff's Serrano tries to follow his move. Garzelli gained a few seconds on them all in the last 2-3 kilometres.

"Garzo" can still boast a 34-second lead with less than five kilometres to go. - 3.5 km to go... Pablo Lastras was reeled in by the other chasers.

1735 CEST 3K to go for Garzelli, now closer and closer to his first ever solo win at the Giro. The Visconti group gained something on him, cutting the gap down to Garzellito 02'18". That's waaaaaay too much however with so few thousand metres left.

1737 CEST "FORTY SECONDS!!". That's what someone on a motorbike following the solo leader yells at Garzelli. As we think Stefano quickly realized he was referring to his gap.

One km to go. Garzo on his way to victory. Lastras attacks the first gruppo again. It's never too late for Paolo Bettini to have his misfortunes! The Cricket puncture with 7 km to go. Just a new addition to his misfortune tally.

1740 CEST - 200m to go.. 150 ... 100 ... 50 metres.. here he is ... he lifts his arms in celebration...


A great solo win for the Lombard rider. Bravissimo Stefano!!

Mangel denied Pablo Lastras the runner-up spot. It's the French rider that took second.Ricardo Serrano was 3rd, Chechu Rubiera 4th, Pietro Caucchioli 5th, and Pablo Lastras only sixth, despite his late efforts.  Or maybe he was just "punished" for repeatedly attacking his fellow chasers. Commesso won the next group sprint for seventh place instead

Official Top Ten Results Stage 16
Stage 16: Agordo - Lienz (Austria)
189 km - 33.940 km/h

1 GARZELLI Stefano ITA ASA 5:34:07 0:00 20"
2 MANGEL Laurent FRA A2R 5:35:08 1:01 18"
3 SERRANO GONZALEZ Ricardo ESP TCS 5:35:08 1:01 8"

4 RUBIERA VIGIL José Luis ESP DSC 5:35:08 1:01
5 CAUCCHIOLI Pietro ITA C.A 5:35:08 1:01
6 LASTRAS GARCIA Pablo ESP GCE 5:35:08 1:01
7 COMMESSO Salvatore ITA TCS 5:36:36 2:29
8 VISCONTI Giovanni ITA QSI 5:36:36 2:29
9 BAZAYEV Assan KAZ AST 5:36:36 2:29
10 BERNUCCI Lorenzo ITA TMO 5:36:36 2:29

The Gruppo is coming to town. Comfortably in at... They cross the line no less than eight minutes ten seconds behind Garzelli. No points for the Cyclamen jersey were up for grabs any more, as a result, there was no kind of sprint at all. And even a guy like Laszlo Bodrogi, not exactly the fastest ever sprinter, could have the honour of driving the pack across the line.

A broad smile lights up the face of Stefano Garzelli as he receives his well deserved champagne, flowers and kisses from the misses on the podium.

Next to step to the podium is Danilo Di Luca to celebrate another day in the rosa shirt of race leader. His toughest challenge lays ahead tomorrow on the Zoncolan climb.

Thanks for joining us for the Live coverage of Stage 16, this concludes our live coverage. Join us tomorrow for a what should be an epic and definitive race to the summit of Zoncolan.
To catch up on any stages, team profiles go to the 90th Giro d'Italia - 2007 Race Program & Index
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