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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 2 Live Part 2
By Staff
Date: 5/11/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 2 Live Part 2

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 2 Live  Part 2
The break has been caught... 48 km to go

1627 CEST - 50 km to go, Austrian champion Pfannberger, also involved in that crash, gets some assistance from the medical car. Loosli and Roy are about to be caught. All that's missing is their "I'm rubber, you're glue, your words bounce off me and stick to you" confrontation.

OK the leaders are caught. Gruppo compatto. due to their arguments the duo lost about 6.00 in 10 km, what a shame!!

1630 CEST - This very premature catch probably isn't ideal for Slipstream, who now have to set the pace for the next hour and chase down other attacks. Time to make pasta. I've had a very Italian week in the lead-up to this race - my preparation: I've had macchiato coffees, pizza and pasta, I've even been generally inappropriate and naughty in my attitude towards girls. I think my Italian-ness is peaking just in time for week 3. Bravissimo...

Julian Dean also went down in the crash, he has a nasty cut on his leg.

1644 CEST - 40 km to go, Slipstream still in control at the front with the pace rising a bit a compact peloton with a few riders in the cars picking up bottles. Apparently, Contador was also caught up in the crash. But no problems, back up and riding.

Gilberto Simoni works his way back to the bunch after falling back for water.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1647 CEST - The riders are past the five-hour mark; it's going to be a long ol' day in the saddle. We don't expect much action until we reach the finishing circuit with the teams launching their riders for the final climb. 35km to go in this opening road stage of the 2008 Giro. The peloton stretches out on a long fast descent with Slipstream are STILL on the front, though they will be feeling the loss of Zabriskie, especially if the maglia rosa is retained.

1700 CEST - 30 km to go, Danny Pate, riding his first Grand Tour (and about time too), leads the Giro peloton up a climb; it has to be a dream come true for the American rider.

Breaking news: Thor Hushovd wins the final stage in Dunkerque, Stephane Auge is the final winner.

Big Maggy Backstedt on the front with his teammates leading  the peloton.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1704 CEST - 25 km to go, Backstedt takes to the front with Pate to drum out the pace, the peloton follows behind in a compact formation. Paolo Bettini is moving up towards the front of the peloton very quickly as Slipstream leads with our maglia rosa Christian Vandevelde in 5th wheel.

1705 CEST - It's raining a bit more heavily, as the peloton descend through the town of Villagio Mosé. Not a good portent for the finish which looks barely 2 lanes wide. 19 km to go and almost on the ascent of the first climb up to Agrigento.

Bingen Fernandez of Cofidis and a teammate move to the front of the peloton on Slipstreams wheels. Contador is visible near the front of the peloton, as the favourites begin to move up. Di Luca moves up the peloton, Bettini follows in the wheels of Slipstream. Riders on the final climb up to Agrigento now. But no finish but a 13 km passage of the finish line first. Vandevelde only has Millar as a helper.

1715 CEST - Bettini is sat fifth wheel, with Tonti helping him; the first riders drops off the back already. The gruppetto has already formed. The gradient is 5-6%, perfect for the Ardennes Classic specialists. Millar still leads Vandevelde, but the favourites are massing behind, waiting to pounce. LPR have five men up near the front, with Matthew Lloyd also noticeable.

1716 CEST - Baliani and Soler hang menacingly on Millar's shoulder; they're all waiting. Astana start to move up, with Contador and Kloeden. Rebellin and Bettini at the front with Vandevelde.

Di Luca's LPR team takes control of the peloton with Bettini and Ricco near the front. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

13km to go - Ricco rides just behind Bettini, biding his time. LPR have taken over the pace-setting on the climb, clearly last year's winner Danilo di Luca fancies his chances. Crossing the finish line now, 1 local lap to go on the same course as the world championships in 1994. 5:30 in the saddle and LPR driving the pace to with Savoldelli at the front... Bettini and Rebellin in attendance.

1725 CEST - 10 km to go, The whole LPR team is on the front as the riders cross on a bridge over a ravine, Visconti and Capecchi ride alongside each other, near the front. All the big names are at the front now. Still two LPR riders on front, as they absolutely blitz this short descent.

LPR drives the front dwon to three riders with Di Luca and the favorites split the peloton on the climb. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

7 km to go, fast pace towards the climb now - Liquigas have men up there, Nibali, Wegelius, Pellizotti... is that Bennati too? Apparently the Astana men up front are Colom and Contador... Visconti is at the back talking to a Milram man; he's not contesting the finish. A group of 50 riders barrel towards the final climb. Visconti is back up front now, two trains now. one on the left and one on the right with Diquigiovanni and LPR.

6 km to go - It's a race to the foot of this climb, as other trains try to overhaul the LPR one. Astana now with a train in the middle, now back together.

4 km to go, on the climb now - Gibo Simoni is up there with Nardello. Nibali and Sella are on the wheel of Bettini, who himself is perched on Di Luca's wheel. Joaquin Rodriguez is also up there, with Lastras supporting him. Now Rebellin comes to the front, helped by a team-mate; they're all around now.

1733 CEST - 2 km to go, LPR still have three on the front, keeping the pace toasty. Contador, Rodriguez, Rebellin, Benitez, Gasparotto and Sella are best-placed along with Di Luca. Visconti and Nuyens off the back. Contador looks poised for an attack... he's level with Di Luca. Now Leonardo Piepoli moves up.  Pellizotti, Ricco, Bosisio and Veikkanen... they're near the front too.

1km to go, Piepoli comes with Ricco - Rodriguez attacks - he has 5 seconds. Rodriguez attacked under the flamme rouge on the right... can he hold it? They are on the top...

400 mt... Rodriguez  won on the Montolupone in Tirreno-Adriatico and... Bettini dropped... Rodriguez is going to win, unless the others starts the sprint now

150 mt - Rodriguez caught - Who will take the maglia rosa? Ricco wins

Vittoria Riccardo Ricco!!               Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The winner of the stage is RICCARDO RICCO!!!

Ricco, Di Luca, Pellizotti and Rebellin is the order! All ard on Rodriguez, as they shot past him in the final 70 uphill metres.

Results Stage 2 (provisonal)
1. Ricco
2. Di Luca
3. Rebellin
4. Pellizotti
5. Savoldelli
6. Rodriguez
7. Veikkanen

Pellizotti is the new overall leader with a one second advantage on Vandevelde (provisional), Great ride by Veikkanen, the surprise package today.

Is Ricco starting as he means to go on during the Giro? For Ricco it's his first season win. Disappoitment for  Bettini, he looked a bit miffed as he was dropped.

A smiling Riccardo Ricco arrives on the podium to take a drink of champagne and then his kisses from the misses. as the gruppetto rides past the stage. He returns again to take the Maglia Ciclamina for points leader.

Pellizotti is confirmed as the race leader and takes his Maglia Rosa. Followed on the stage by CSC's Sorensen who slips the Maglia Blanca as the top young gun in the U23 crowd.

Thanks to our commentators today Bart Hazen and Andy McGrath; and thanks for joining us today. Join us tomorrow as the riders Stage 3 from Catania - Milazzo a 208 km test Tappe pianeggianti day for the sprinters to battle for the Ciclamina jersey that is after they climb around the 1017 meters on volcanic slopes of the Mount Aetna at 53 kilometers. The rest of the stage is a long march to Milazzo along the coast where winds may make it harder for any early breaks to evade capture.
Click on the images below for larger graphics.

Graphics courtesy gazzetta della sport

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