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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 3 Live Coverage Part 2
By Staff
Date: 5/12/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 3 Live Coverage Part 2

91rst Giro d'Italia - Stage 3 Live Coverage Part 2
40 km to go as the peloton led by Liquigas are slowly closing the gap to the six escapees...

1646 CEST - 40k to go for the breakaway. Paolo Bettini rides as cool as you like alongside Andrea Tonti at the back of the pack. Piano, piano.  Now the pack goes under that 40k banner, the gap has gone out slightly to 1'45".

As some of you may recall, Cofidis' Mickael Buffaz, one of the guys on the move today, put in his "show" last year  in the "hot" stage into Pinerolo. When on he went on a solo attack, gained a lot on the field, then all of a sudden stopped, and didn't want to continue any longer and such ... Then he got back in the saddle and finished his stage. Still, he provided some further drama to a stage marred by the heat on a Italian late spring day. Nothing similar is going to happen today.

Buffaz played his part in the breakaway and he's likely going to be reeled in together with the other escapees. One of whom (Jurco) is the son of a former professional rider that happened to be a teammate of RAI's current (legendary) commentator Davide Cassani. Those were the days of the Supermercati Brianzoli team, back in the mid-80s. One minute for the escape as the gap slowly comes down.

1700 CEST - Barloworld's DS Valerio Piva also talked to the RAI journalist Pancani about Cavendish and Greipel. The former just needed a wheel change to his bike, and will give it a try at the sprint if possible; the latter injured his left hand and knows that he can't be a factor late in the stage. That's why the German is giving it everything in order to help his teammates right now.

1703 CEST - The peloton is regrouping ... all together.  The adventure of Jérémy Roy, Mickael Buffaz, Riccardo Chiarini, Matei Jurco, Pavel Brutt and Kevin Seeldrayers is over. Still, kudos to them. And also a big "thank you" for providing us tickerers with something to write about in a stage like this ...

1710 CEST - Strangely enough, a woman welcomed the regrouped peloton into Spatafora town by waving a flag of Sicily's "rival island" Sardinia. Much less strange is the fact no teams have taken matters into their hands after the breakaway men were brought back.

1713 CEST - Oh here we go .... another pile-up!  Many riders were caught in. Amongst them Brad McGee. A Tinkoff rider (Kiryenka) fell first, perhaps after mistaking one turn. Graeme Brown and Magnus Backstedt also went down. McGee is in a great deal of pain. And other guys fell after the Belarusian. McGee was run over by a Lampre rider.

Backstedt was used as a leaning post by a Saunier Duval man too - as in, he came to a stop on top of him.Bad cornering by Kiryienka, he was right at the front of the pack but went too wide, onto dirt and his back wheel slid out. His legs were just sticking out onto the road from some shrubbery, and that's how it happened. Surprising Kiryenka should know how to corner, he is a track rider... Kiryenka did something wrong, but the impact of his mistake was made much bigger by the sand on the asphalt, always a danger to watch for when you ride along the beach. Tinkoff will be short one rider to lead out Loddo.

Sadly enough, McGee could have broken his collarbone. Rotten luck for the Aussie, who has won the Giro prologue before - he was coming back to form after a few years on the fritz.

1725 CEST - After the second pile-up of the day, Team LPR joined, and perhps even replaced Liquigas on the front. Di Luca's teammates are now outnumbering's Pellizotti's in the first places. Paolo Bettini also made his way to the front places. No way the Cricket is going to stay off the back of the gruppo today any longer.

Some red jerseys of Barloworld are also seen on the front. Gasparotto leads them, possibly in order to keep Soler as far from problems as possible. The Colombian needs anything but another fall today. Davide Rebellin was also involved in the pile-up but he was paced back into the field by 2 teammates of this.  Also Backestedt has regained the peloton.

A Tinkoff man leads the peloton and corners gingerly. I'm not at all surprised after the Kiryienka incident... Andrea Tonti (Quick Step) almost unwillingly took some time of out the field. He didn't even realized that. But when he did he thought "why not giving it a try"? and tried to continue on a solo lead. Perhaps to soften up the group for Bettini  If Tonti wanted to have the peloton waste some energies into a chase, he may have hit the target. The field embarked on a pursuit and reeled him in.

9km to go - An Astana rider pops off the front. Antonio Colom? Yep, it's Toni Colom of Spain...  But NIBALI counters his move. The SHARK on the attack!!

 SHARK ATTACK!! And the crowd at Milazzo go wild! The home rider knew that he had no chances in a sprint, so he decided to give it a go by breaking away solo, Plus, he's forcing other teams to chase, and Bennati and the other Liqui-guys can take it easier and save their legs for a possible sprint. LPR and High Road are driving the pursuit. Only six seconds for this local hero. A brave effort though from Nibali.

6km to go - High Road are visible up there for Mark Cavendish, with Liquigas also going great guns for Bennati. The shark is reeled in. Still, he managed to get some exposure in his first time in front of his home crowd (in such a top race)

1734 CEST - 4K to go now. The pace his much higher. VANDENBROEK attacks. The mighty "rouleur" from Belgium was next on the move. It was short-lived though, he's been reeled in.The attack from the Silence-Lotto was nullified fast. The peloton are tackling today's last uphill portion.

Just 3km to go, Milram have a strong presence up front too. Erik Zabel's time to shine? It's official now: Brad McGee broke his collarbone. His Giro d'Italia 2008 is over, unfortunately.

Lilien Jegou (FDJ) is the next one trying to break away from the field. Come on, man. You're not going anywhere! The peloton has no intention to let him take any advantage. With the speed the peloton is traveling, he barely had 20 seconds out in front.

1739 CEST - ULTIMO CHILOMETRO! Yes, it's flambe rouge time. And it's gonna be sprinting time soon ...

 400m to go.. Hondo is fighting with Forster and a CSF man - well, pushing. Bennati is second place .. Zabel follows Bennati attacks. Zabel follows's a 2-man thing. and the winner is ....  DANIELE BENNATI


Zabel takes second. Bennati celebrated his comeback to the Giro after 4 years with a great and easy win over Zabel Hondo Fothen and Loddo. McEwen didn't make it into the top 20 either.  Both Trussov and Brown hit the barriers and crashed during the sprint.

Top ten results (official)
1 BENNATI Daniele ITA LIQ 5:37:01 0:00 20"
2 ZABEL Erik GER MRM 5:37:01 0:00 12"
3 HONDO Danilo GER SDA 5:37:01 0:00 8"
4 FOTHEN Thomas GER GST 5:37:01 0:00
5 LODDO Alberto ITA TCS 5:37:01 0:00
6 FERNANDEZ Koldo ESP EUS 5:37:01 0:00
7 DALL'ANTONIA Tiziano ITA CSF 5:37:01 0:00
8 PEREZ ARANGO Marlon A. COL GCE 5:37:01 0:00
9 CAVENDISH Mark GBR THR 5:37:01 0:00
10 GATTO Oscar ITA GST 5:37:01 0:00
The G.C. is largely unchanged for the top ten. Full results and photo to come.

After Race Rider Comments
In his first comments right after crossing the line, Daniele Bennati was darn happy at his first ever Giro victory, and did nothing to hide it. "It's just great. Wonderful. I benefited from the job done by Milram. That was the only thing I could do".

Riccardo Riccò, on the other hand was darn upset instead, and did nothing to hide it. "I'd better not speak, or I would say some unpleasant things". Still, he spent some words to criticize the race organizers because, in his opinion, today's parcours was too dangerous.

Franco 'Goldilocks' Pellizotti comes to the podium to collect his second maglia rosa, its a Liquigas day with Bennati taking the stage; and the lead of the race albeit an unchanged G.C. the Liquiguy's on top.  Vandevelde still in second place only a second back. Liquigas also add the maglia ciclamino jersey to their treasures with Bennati taking the points jersey.

Next in front of the microphones was Enrico Gasparotto, one of the leaders of the Barloworld legion. He shared Ricco's criticisms of the parcours ("Us riders have been on strike in order to get safer courses, but apparently it was pointless") and also used some colorful expressions to praise his teammates Soler ("Mauricio proved how gutsy he is. Few ones would have been able to finish such a hard stage like today's in his own conditions".

Even without directly mentioning race organizers or naming names, Gilberto Simoni was not much more indulgent: "If a few raindrops proved enough for us to see the bunch (fall) on the tarmac, we must be thankful that it didn't start raining seriously.

More comments from stage champion Daniele Bennati and his strong Tuscan accent: "I'm a very happy man today. I couldn't ask for more. I've won stages at Tour de France and La Vuelta in the past, but a Giro stage success is always something extraordinary to an Italian. I've also finished Tours and Vueltas, so this year, as I got back to the Giro after a long time, I want to honour the race, hopefully winning the cyclamen jersey".

And again: "I'm happy for the team too. They've been working hard throughout the stage, and still they were there, in front, to help me also at the end. I tried to take advantage of Milram's leadout work, threading my way between Velo and Zabel, but without running too many risks. I don't like taking excessive risks. Then I started my sprint about 250m from the line. And everything went fine".

Bennati admitted that he didn't need teammates leading him out to win, but also said (perhaps half-jokingly, we think ...), that he would not be unpleased if (Liquigas team manager) Roberto Amodio would provide him with a good leadout machine.

Last, but not least, speaking of today's "tricky" parcours and its "impact", Bennati said that "the first stages of a Grand Tour are usually quite dangerous. But today's was in fact dangerous enough, especially the last kilometres. I was in the front places, but I think those at the back of the field must have had some very hard time in such narrow roads. I've been following many Giros, you know, and I've heard the same complaints all the time. Every year is the same story, unfortunately ...".

Franco Pellizzotti joined the Liquigas celebrations ("We got a nice stage win and held on to the jersey ... I think the team was great today") with the Maglia Rosa still on his shoulders. He kept the overall leader's mantle another day and joked about it ("I'm starting to get accustomed to this jersey"). Sure he thinks that he can surrender the jersey in the next stages, whose course is more appropriate to the likes of Riccó and Di Luca than to the "Dolphin from Bibione", but still aims at having it back (in case of really losing it) when harder stages come.

Liqui-DS Roberto Amodio echoed his words and didn't rule out the chance of losing the race leadership soon, but also warned any other wannabe Maglia Rosa holder: Pellizotti and Liquigas are not going to give up the jersey that easily; if the Di Lucas and Riccos of the peloton want to get it, they will have to earn it.

Thanks for joining us today for the live ticker of the third stage of the Giro. Special thanks to our commentators Fabio in Italy and Andy McGrath in London. Join us tomorrow for the fourth stage as we return to the mainland of Italy for stage 4: Pizzo Calabro - Catanzaro-Lungomare 183 km

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