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101rst Giro di Lombardia Live Report
 
By Fabio
Date: 10/20/2007
101rst Giro di Lombardia Live Report
 

101rst Giro di Lombardia Live Report


Photo c. La Gazzetta dello Sport

1606 CET - We join the race in progress with Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step) on a solo breakaway. The Italian first got into a seven-strong breakaway and later attacked in his own while climbing the Ghisallo. But we have a strong group of some 40-45 riders (all main suspects to win the race included) chasing hard.

1611 CET -  Paolo Bettini got dropped while taking on the main climb of the race, but later regained the first group. Team CSC has got no les than six guys in the chase machine, driving the chase and working for today's team later Franck Schleck. The guys in the first chase group are now winding through Albese con Cassano, the small hometown of poor Fabio Casartelli.

A little over 20k to go. Matteo Tosatto still on a solo lead, whilst Paolo Bettini is chatting with his domestique Andrea Tonti in the middle of the (first) pack. The Cricket's teammate (aka Matteo Tosatto) keeps a lead of 44 seconds at the latest time check.

Now we have four-five riders attacking the chase group, and amongst them is the Russian Alexander Kolobnev. Two attacking mates of his were Daniele Nardello and Saunier's Emanuele Mori. Karsten Kroon of Team CSC is on the move too (just like he was on the last climb of the Paris-Tours race the past weekend). But solo leader Matteo Tosatto gives no sign of giving up.

The last gap check told us that Tosatto is leading Kroon by 20 seconds, with Mori, Marzano, Kolobnev, Nardello some 15 seconds further back. And the other "main chasers" not far from them.

1618 CET - Kroon caught Tosatto as the going got hilly and tough again. And easily passed him. So we have got the flying Dutchboy on a solo lead now. Kroon caught Tosatto as the going got hilly and tough again. And easily passed him. So we have got the flying Dutchboy on a solo lead now.

The situation is now fluid enough as moves and counter-moves broke the first group apart. Kroon was caught, but his CSC teammate Franck Schleck forced the pace. And Riccardo Ricco' countered his attack. Cadel Evans is there too. Schleck gives it a go again, but just cannot make the gap on the penultimate climb of the day.

1623 CET - Four guys took a small advantage on the others as the race made it to the top of the ascent: Evans (the new Pro Tour leader), Riccò, Schleck and ... Lampre's Damiano Cunego.

The lead quartet is tackling the descent, with Cunego flying and putting a dozen seconds into Kolobnev and Riccò. Cadel Evans is now further behind, with Sanchez and Gusev coming. The Spaniard and the Russian caught the Aussie.

1629 CET - Damiano Cunego got to the end of the descent, and is about to enter the city of Como. Cunego and his first chasers are now winding through the streets of Como.

Franck Schleck fell! And so did Vladimir Gusev!  Schleck looks ok, though his chances of catching his other escapees on this fast run in look small. The Luxemburgian turned back to see if anyone was was coming,. and didn't realize his wheel was hitting Gusev's  In the meatime, Damiano Cunego was caught by the first chase group.

1633 CET - So we have a small front group with some 8 kilometres to go.

No good news for the CSC crew at all: after Franck Schleck's misfortunes, it was Alex Kolobnev that just had a mechanical and lost contact. The leaders are on the San Fermo climb now; will this provide the springboard for the win today ? Igor Anton of Euskaltel, working for team leader Sam Sanchez, now leads the front group, but watch out for Thomas Dekker, who's comfortably following the Spaniard's wheels.

1636 CET - The first km. of the San fermo sees Ricco and Cunego in the spotlight again.Dekker's style suits this run in, though Cunego is the most active so far. The former gave it a go at attacking, the latter immediately followed. Both young Italians are having a good day in the saddle.

 Now it's Cunego's turn to force the pace, and Ricco's to counter the move. And now it's Ricco again: the man in yellow counter-attacks. Cunego follows, Cadel Evans doesn't : the Aussie is some 25-30 metres behind. Both Riccardo and Damiano succeeded in opening a small gap on the others.

1639 CET - Is this move the good one? Both guys are going fast enough in the steep part near the top of the last climb. Dekker and Wegmann are trying to hold on desperately. Cunego and Riccò lead the first chasers by about 50 metres as they make it to the top of the ascent.

Sadly, the gap seems to be increasing. I think this could be the decisive move. But watch out for Sam Sanchez too. The Spanish athlete is no Savoldelli perhaps, but he sure knows what taking on a descent is about. Dekker, Evans lead the chase. 5K TO GO!

Watch out for Sam Sanchez too. The Spanish athlete is no Savoldelli perhaps, but he sure knows what taking on a descent is about. Okay, so Riccardo Riccò and Damiano Cunego are on the way to downtown Como. They kept a decent margin over the chasers.

Three Kilometres left for the two frontrunners. The two guys are working well together, the gap is eight seconds.

1645 CET - 1.5K left for the leaders. Their advantage over the Sanchez-led chase group went down to a mere half a dozen seconds.

ONE TO GO! RICCO and CUNEGO are going fast. The gap up to 09". But the two guys slowed the pace a little bit. 500m to go. Thomas Dekker came out of the chase group.

 But the Dutch couldn't catch them. the race is a two-man affair.

Here comes the sprint and ....

DAMIANOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUNEGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO wins.

The Lampre rider easily pipped the Saunier youngester at the line, and scored  his second ever victory in the season-ending Classic. The man from Verona put in a superb sprint, his victory never looked in danger in the last few metres.

Samuel Sanchez filled in the other top three spot. Ricco, remember, has had a great season - I am sure he is a future winner of this race. His performance in Milan San Remo was one of gutsy, strong riding.

In his first after-win words, Cunego thanked his teammates, even calling it a "team victory". And dedicated his success to ... all those who kept saying that he was no longer able to win!

Riccardo Riccò had a helluva race too, but couldn't help sounding disappointed in his first after-race interview.  The young gun in yellow admitted that, as we already "slightly" suspected, he was going for the win today, and not just for an excellent result.

Team CSC had a good team performance too, but unfortunately (for them) they didn't get their efforts rewarded.

So, again here's the names of the three guys the will fill the podium under the Lombard sun.
1. DAMIANO CUNEGO (ITA - LAMPRE) 5H 52'49"
2. RICCARDO RICCO' (ITA - SAUNIER DUVAL) at 01"
3. SAMUEL SANCHEZ GONZALEZ (SPA - EUSKALTEL) 09"

Vitacost.com

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