everyone, welcome to the 90th Giro d'Italia's "D-Day". The day that, barring a
catastrophe in tomorrow's traditionally "ceremonial" stage into Milan, will be
determining the name of the winner of the Corsa Rosa's 2007 edition.
Today is June 2nd, which happens to be also Italy's national
holiday ("Festa della Republica" in the Italian language) and the tifosi
would no doubt be enthusiast to see an Italian rider definitively stamp his
authority on the race.
All eyes are obviously on Danilo Di Luca, the true dominator of the event
from the very early stages until yesterday. The Liquigas team leader has held
on to an excellent condition all through the three weeks of racing, but he
still has to take one last step on the way to victory. A step of 42
kilometres, which is no marathon, but just the distance to be covered in
Saturday's Individual TT from the Garda lakeside town of Bardolino to Verona.
The place that crowned Oscar Freire as Road World Champion back in the days of
2004 will be hosting a new decisive bike fight. Di Luca is clearly the main
suspect to smile atop the podium with a Maglia Rosa on his shoulders later
this afternoon, but a certain Andy Schleck might have a different opinion on
the issue. The Luxembourgian's 02'24" deficit to Danilo is a huge one, but the
Giro d'Italia 2007 revelation is possibly a better TTist than the Italian, and
hasn't given up his hopes to cause a major upset in the leaderboard.
The battle over the GC win seems to be a two-man affair, but more is up for
grabs in today's stage. Like the line honours, and we wouldn't be surprised if
David Zabriskie made a new addition to his tally in this sense. And like the
remaining place on the final podium, with Gilberto Simoni aiming at making the
final top three in his nation's top cycling event for the eight time (since he
hit it first at the end of the 1999 race, Gibo has missed the Milan podium
only when he was excluded from the race in the year 2002…).
But watch out for Damiano Cunego, who is aiming at the same target; the
Lampre leader has improved a lot against the clock lately, and is also running
on the home roads of his Verona province today. Even the strongman Eddy
Mazzoleni might have something to say on the way to Verona. Early season
revelation, and stage winner at the Cime di Lavaredo, Riccardo Riccó - who is
anything but an ITT specialist, is supposed to have a very tough time
defending his sixth place and fighting off attacks from another strong
youngster, Evgueni Petrov, that is likely hungry to seal Tinkoff's excellent
Giro d'Italia campaign with a good performance against the clock. The squad
let their legs do the talk over the past three weeks, and their legs proved
that the Giro organisers did the right thing in awarding Tinkoff Credit
Systems a wild-card.
1510 CEST We join the race in progress with plenty of riders able to
cross the line and finish their last "race of the truth" already. And with
another TTing talent from Tinkoff, Mikhail Ignatiev - three-time world
champion against the clock (twice as a junior, once as U23 in the 2005 season)
on the road - firmly in the lead after clocking a good 54'21" and leading
Raivis Belohvosciks of Latvia by 20", with Dario Andriotto 53" behind, and the
"best of the rest", opening Team TT winner and first overall leader Enrico
Gasparotto, down by no less than 01'40" !
The Discovery Channel duo of Jurgen Van Goolen and Steven Cummings
(provisionally) follows in fifth and sixth place respectively. The Belgian did
worse than Ignatiev by 01'46"; the Brit finished two minutes behind the young
TTing machine from Saint Petersburg in Russia. Mikahil Ignatiev, that made the
headlines also by getting into more than one breakaway over the past three
weeks, averaged a great 47.70 kph in his 42 kilometre effort.
1519 CEST We have got a new
(provisional) leader: Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun - Crédit Agricole) came in and
smashed them all, clocking a sensational 53'28". That's better than Ignatiev's
time by 53 seconds. Raivis Belohvosciks was thrown down to third, Dario
Andriotto fourth, Enrico Gasparotto fifth at 02'33". Another Tinkoff-man,
Daniele Contrini, finished in between Van Goolen (sixth) and Steven Cummings
(currently down to spot number eight).
1528 CEST We're back with a new member
of the "Top Five Club": Andrei Kunitski of Belarus clocked 54'49" at the
finish and threw his Acqua & Sapone teammate Dario Andriotto down to fifth
place. Gasparotto, Van Goolen, Contrini, Cummings and Joachim follow in
the second half of the current Top 10. Matthew White is sitting in 17th place,
03'56" down on provisional leader Bodrogi.
1543 CEST - More updates from the city
of Romeo and Juliet as more riders crossed the line: Giovanni Visconti of
Italy stormed into third place, 01'10" behind Laszlo Bodrogi, but three
seconds clear of Raivis Belohvosciks.
Damiano Cunego gave his comments about the time trial after the race
time trial should be covered in the best way. I know well the parcours and I
think it’s suitable not only for rouleurs, but also for riders like Di Luca and
1553 CEST Here comes Z-Man!
David Zabriskie made it to the finish and
- surprise surpise - he set the best time: 52 minutes 58 seconds, that's 30
seconds better than Bodrogi's. 52:58 the
time to beat. The U.S TTing machine got off to a flying start, gaining close
to a minute on the Hungarian by the halfway point. He had his lead cut to half
a minute in the last portion of the stage, maybe also due to modified weather
conditions. It's raining again (sigh) on the road, by the way.
The USA time trial champion is clearly aiming for victory today, he saved
his legs for this last ITT effort. Maybe saved his legs ... even a bit
too much; such that reportedly Andy Schleck, in need for more team support,
wasn't too happy at his attitude.
1559 CEST Markel Irizar and Yuri
Krivtsov rode to a (provisional) top ten result, but well over two minutes
behind current leader Dave Zabriskie. Z-Man leads Bodrogi by 30", while
Ignatiev (at 01'23"), Visconti (at 01'40") an that Latvian rider with a
complicated last name (at 01'43") follow in the other top five spots.
1603 CEST Fortunato Baliani started his
challenge against the clock (and the rain) about 7 minutes ago. But the
Panaria man is not easily going to be a factor in today's stage. The city of
Verona hosted a key ITT also in the 1984 edition, when Francesco Moser got his
legendary Giro d'Italia overall victory over tough French challenger Laurent
1610 CEST Paolo Savoldelli is off the
blocks. The Falcon is looking for some redemption, and promised that he'll be
giving it everything today. Five years ago, the "Saturday afternoon ITT" saw
him battle for the overall win with Tyler Hamilton. The Italian won that
battle, but it's a whole different story today. With different
protagonists, like Marzio Bruseghin, who won the Oropa uphill ITT, and smiled
while saying "let 's see if I can do it again" a few minutes ago.
1615 CEST - Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio
did fine at Oropa, but the parcours is different enough today, and it's no
surprise that the Mexican was already losing four minutes to the top riders at
the mid-stage time check.
1620 CEST Waiting for the Maglia Rosa
to kickoff his final battle, we have another Liqui-guy on the road: it's the
Dolphin, Franco "Il Delfino" Pellizotti. David Arroyo, sitting in eight place
overall, starts his challenge. He's having a top overall result, but honestly
he didn't make the headlines that much throughout the race. An American fan
affectionately refers to Il Delfino to "Flipper"... another nick is born.
Speaking in an interview on cycling.tv Charly Wigelius commented, that he
has known Danilo for a few years now, and that he always had a unique
self-confidence. But this season he has used tactics and calculated actions
more now than before, and perhaps that was what was missing in previous years.
The stage in Briancon was the turning point, that illustrated that Danilo
could win the Giro. Charly also said, Briancon and the team time trial was the
two highlights for him personally this Giro.
1628 CEST Paolo Savoldelli set the BEST
time at the km. 10.3 check!. He did fine enough in the first, most difficult
portion of the stage. 14'54" was his first time. Riccardo Riccó is about to
start his defense of the sixth place, he have been struggling for all thru the
Giro. Paolo Bettini comes to the line:
59'31" is his time. He finished 06'33" behind
Eddy Mazzoleni just started his last battle over third place instead.
Marzio Bruseghin's time at the km. 10.3
check: 15'02". He did worse than Il Falco by 08", but better than both
Ignatiev and Zabriskie by 2 seconds. The Italian National ITT champion is
putting in another gutsy performance.
Cioni sets 56'12" at the
finish. That's the 14th best time so far. Cunego off the blocks. Just three
riders to go now. Damiano won the world title (in the road race ...) at Verona
back in the days of 1999, and wore the Squadra Azzurra jersey also at the 2004
Worlds in these same places too.
Gilberto Simoni, dressed like if he was racing in Alaska in mid-January
(well, more or less...) comes next. His final bid for his eighth career podium
in a Grand Tour (aka eighth career podium at the Giro) has just begun,.
1639 CEST Paolo Savoldelli hold onto a
nine-second lead on Zabriskie at the km. 20 time check. He lost only one
second to the American in the last 10 kilometres.
1642 CEST Petrov has a comparatively poor time (15'22") at the
first check. He arguably paid for both the tough parcours (in the first
kilometres) and yesterday's breakaway efforts.
One more gone, one to go. Andy Schleck is off and running too.
ONLY DI LUCA IS LEFT!
Leonardo Piepoli is far from his dear mountains, and
we see it: he is losing 3 minutes to savldelli.
Marzio Bruseghin update: 26'48" at the second time check (km 20):
25 seconds down on the Falcon, and 16 down on Zabriskie.
1646 CEST - DANILO DI LUCA IS OFF AND RUNNING TOO!
like Piepoli, Riccardo Riccó is not doing fine today, he lost enough time at
the first check too. And Paolo Savoldelli extended his lead over Zabriskie up
to 27 seconds at the next check! Pietro Caucchioli's
time at the finish: 57'57". Mazzoleni is
doing quite fine in his podium place bid: he was only 16 seconds down on
Savoldelli at the first check.
1651 CEST - Cunego is at the first
check (km. 10.3) and his time is even better than Mazzoleni's by two seconds:
15'08" v. 15'10" Damiano benefited from the first, harder part of the
parcours. We'll see how he fares in the rest of the stage.
1652 CEST Good time for
Vincenzo Nibali at the finish: 54'04".
The Liquigas youngster set the third best time at the finish thus far. "I did
my best today, for I really wanted to do well in this ITT, even making the
podium. It was a tough ride anyway. I think I've done fine in this Giro, I've
learned a lot from Danilo and the others. But I have to improve again" The
Shark said after crossing the line.
1655 CEST -
Simoni losing 26 seconds TO CUNEGO after 10.3 km. Not a good start. He
still keeps a 35-lead overall on his former "pupil". Bruseghin was 46
seconds down on Savoldelli, and 19 seconds down on Zabriskie, at the Bussoleno
time check. Franco "Dolphin / Flipper/ Etc. Etc." Pellizotti had the
fourth best time after 10,300 metres, half a minute down on Il Falco.
SCHLECK'S TIME AT KM. 10.3: he's 19 SECONDS down on Savoldelli. But what
really matters is his gap to Di Luca (or vice versa).Eddy Mazzoleni - 3rd time
at the halfway stage check: 26'37".
DI LUCA AT THE FIRST CHECK ...
Riccó sets time #18 at the halfway point, 01'34" down on Savoldelli. And
the Falcon is about to cross the line ... Only a few hundred metres to go for
him ... Here comes Paolo Savoldelli and
... TAKES THE LEAD! 52'20"
HE JUST DEMOLISHED OPPOSITION! Il Falco averged over 49 kph on wet roads, and
beat Zabriskie by 38 seconds. Laszlo Bodrogi was kicked down to third.
"I think I've gone fast, I hope it stays the best time until the end, for
this victory would be good for my Giro. Time gaps do not matter, I just want
my time to be the best one!" Il Falco commented straight after the stage end.
d'Italia - Stage 20 ITT Live Coverage Part 2
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