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
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.
Giro d'Italia Store
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
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
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
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
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
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...
STEFANOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GARZELLIIIIIIIIII is the
A great solo win for the Lombard rider. Bravissimo
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
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
d'Italia - 2007 Race Program & Index
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