everyone, and welcome to our live coverage of stage nineteen in the 2007 Giro
d'Italia, going from Treviso to Terme di Comano in the Trentino region over
179 kilometres. Sandwiched in between the Sprinters Show at Riese and the
final battle for the overall in Saturday's ITT, and with Petacchi and the
other fast wheels left having the ceremonial stage into Milan at disposal
today's leg provides the breakaway men with one last chance for glory.
The stage kicks off in pure flat style, and stays easy throughout the first
80 kilometres. The road starts tilting upwards at Pian delle Fugazze, a first
category ascent of 11.4 km. (elevation gain: 820 metres. Average gradient: 7.2
%. Maximum gradient: 14%). That could be the ideal launch pad for wannabe solo
winner, of a small group of attackers to go clear.
But watch out for the long (36 km.9 descent into Rovereto, where the likes
of Savoldelli, Mazzoleni and – why not ? - Gilberto Simoni could try
something. And – why not ? – the same overall leader Danilo Di Luca could be
given some hard time in the saddle. The presumably wet roads (it was raining
over most of the parcours at the start time …) could make it even harder. And
as if it wasn't enough, there is one last climb a few kilometres from the
finish, the third category Passo del Ballino, that might prove to be
challenging enough to turn such potentially tricky stage into a potentially
Pian delle Fugazze climb profile.
1250 CEST The stage got underway in
rainy Treviso exactly 31 minutes past midday, as a group of 282 legs - 141
riders if you prefer - started challenging each other and the nasty weather.
The bunch stayed together over the first ten km. while winding through the
Interviewed a few minutes before the stage kick-off, Danilo Di Luca
sounded well aware of the potential risks posed by today's parcours "Yes, I'd
better be careful. The route is a tricky one, and the weather is not fine at
all. I think I'm going to have to struggle today too, but this would just make
my eventual victory in Milan even nicer. I'm confident anyway, as I have got a
strong team on my side. Our goal today is to let a breakaway group go clear
early into the stage, so that we can take it easier inside the bunch".
Gilberto Simoni also seems to know well that today's is no easy
ride: "It's going to be an intense stage. Nobody likes the rain, you know.
I'll try something it if it's not too cold. But my first goal will be staying
in the saddle. We'd better watch out for riders like Savoldelli and Mazzoleni,
I think they'll be giving a shot at animating the race. Cunego? Well, if he's
aiming for a podium spot, he should do something too (today)".
1310 CEST Yesterday's third place
getter Matti Breschel (Den - CSC) made the news by launching the first attack
of the day after about 18 kilometres. His move was rapidly covered by the
peloton, that kept a high pace all through the first portion of the leg.
1325 CEST Maybe we're speaking too
early, but it looks like we have got the "breakaway of the day": fourteen
riders, one of whom being Paolo Bettini (is it news?) attacked at km. 27 and
put up to 25" into the field in the space of just five kilometres.
The Fab Fourteen who made the gap are:
Paolo Bettini (Ita - Quick Step-Innergetic);
Mauro Facci (Ita - Quick Step-Innergetic);
Assan Bazayev (Kaz - Astana);
Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz - Astana);
Angel Gómez Gómez (Spa - Saunier Duval-Prodir);
Iban Mayo (Spa - Saunier Duval-Prodir);
Stefano Garzelli (Ita - Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo);
Branislau Samoilau (Blr - Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo);
Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg - Panaria-Navigare);
Pietro Caucchioli (Ita – Crédit Agricole);
Julian Dean (NZl - Crédit Agricole);
Volodymir Gustov (Ukr - Team CSC);
Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita - T-Mobile Team);
Axel Merckx (Bel - T-Mobile Team).
1335 CEST Oh wait ... nobody from the
Tinkoff team in the breakaway? The guys immediately made up for such miss: two
Tinkoffs rode clear of the field and got across to the leaders, resulting in a
sixteen-strong front group, with
Daniele Contrini (Ita - Tinkoff Credit Systems);
Pavel Brutt (Rus - Tinkoff Credit Systems
as the most recent additions.
1345 CEST Their advantage over the
chasing peloton, led by the Beneluxian alliance of Rabobank and
Predictor-Lotto, rose to 43" by km. 39. But the time gains stopped there,
maybe because a dangerous guy like Stefano Garzelli was in the breakaway, and maybe that's the
reason why the Bergamo stage winner just sat up and waited for the peloton to
catch him at km. 42, bringing the lead group down to fifteen men.
1350 CEST Perhaps Garzelli was just the
first one to realize the move was going nowhere: the chase didn't stop after
he was brought back, and Paolo Bettini and Iban Mayo were the next ones to be
swallowed up. Such that only thirteen riders were left on the front, but with
the gap down to a mere dozen seconds at km. 54.
Giro d'Italia Store
1355 CEST Six more former fugitives
have been reeled in. Only Mauro Facci, Assan Bazayev, Angel Gómez, Branislau
Samoilau, Axel Merckx and the Tinkoff pairing (Daniele Contrini and Pavel
Brutt) stay clear. But their attempt looks doomed anyway, with just 13 seconds
to hold on to at the km. 58 check.
1405 CEST Note to self: please NEVER
said "we have got the breakaway of the day" again, thanks. What was supposed
to be the winning move was completely nullified by km. 61, as also the seven
riders above had to surrender to the Peloton Power.
But skirmishes are far from over: next on the attack at km. 66 were the
Sicilians Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step-Innergetic) and Rinaldo Nocentini
(AG2R Prevoyance), but it took a very short time for the guys to realize their
efforts were just pointless. It was Gruppo Compatto again, and so it was after
Andy Schleck had a flat but quickly rode his way back into the field, that
maintained their fast pace as the town of Thiene – near Vicenza - welcomed the
Giro seventy kilometres into the stage.
As usual ... press the F5 key on your keyboard to refresh the
page for updates from this (initially at least) rainy stage.