Giro d'Italia - Stage 6 Live Coverage
The longest stage of this edition of the Giro...
Eleven riders away in the wind with a 14 minute gap... can they stay away for
Stage 6: Potenza - Peschici 265 km
The Giro gets back to Peschici after only two years, and when the race
finished there in 2006 stage winner was a certain Franco P. Yes, the current
Maglia Rosa wearer, who commented like this before the stage start today ."Yes,
it's great to be back to the town that provided me with one of biggest
satisfactions of my career, and with the Maglia Rosa on my shoulders. I'll see
if can try and make something good today too". Also Riccardo Riccó promised
that, if the stage finish is not too dangerous for him, he may he give it a go.
1510 CEST - But both guys must have to
postpone their rendez-vous with glory, or so it seems: We join the stage
in progress with an 11-man breakaway on the move: Maksim Igliniskiy (Kaz -
Astana), Alan Pérez Lezaun (Spa - Euskaltel-Euskadi), Matteo Priamo (Ita - CSF-Group),
Matthis Russ (Ger - Gerolsteiner), Francesco Gavazzi (Ita - Lampre), Giovanni
Visconti (Ita - Quick Step), Paul Martens (Hol -Rabobank), Daniele Nardello (Ita
- Diquigiovanni-Androni), Magnus Backstedt (Swe - Slipstream-Chipotle), Jason McCartney (USA - Team CSC) and Nikolay Trusov (Rus - Tinkoff)
attacked at km. 53, shortly after the Rionero in Vulture mountain prime.
René Mandri (Fra - AG2R-La Mondiale) was also amongst the escapees, but fell
soon later and all of his breakaway hopes evaporated. The guys worked so well
together that they built a sixteen-minute advantage (!) over the peloton. A kind
of chase got started some time ago, but the gap stayed around an impressive 14
minutes or so at the latest check. 35k to go for the escapees ... and 45k to go
for the peloton!
"Waterboy" Matthias Russ, 01'39" down on GC at the stage start, is the
brand new "virtual race leader on the road". But even in case the breakaway
makes it to the finish, don't take his rise to the top of the overall for
granted: Italy's National RR Champion Giovanni Visconti was only 13 seconds
behind him at the startline today, and made some time gains (half a dozen
seconds) at previous hot spot sprints, so the tricolore jersey owner is
on Russ' heels GC-wise.
After hitting the tarmac in BOTH bunch sprints he has "contested" so far,
Nikolay Trusov realized he'd better try his chance in some breakaways.
1530 CEST - A great white stone
stands in the bay - The "Monolito Pizzomunno" there's some kind of legenda about
it. Too bad I don't have the time to tell now... Gap update: the peloton is
still trailing by an impressive 13'18" as
the race hit the seaside town Vieste. Vieste is wonderful small town standing
out on a rocky promontory.
If you want to go for experience, look no further than Daniele Nardello. My
god, he's been around: three top-tens in the Tour de France (98, 99 and 00), the
Italian national championship, the GP Zurich and stages in the Vuelta and Tour
de France. All that's missing is one from his home race...
At the beginning of one of its splendid golden sand beaches, the one called
“del castello” (of the castle), stands out, majestic and solitary, an almost
twenty-meter-high very white monolith, called “Pizzomunno” (world corner), which
is the uncommon result of the sea wash and wind erosion. It is one of the
symbols which, together with its popular legend, have scattered the image of
Vieste all over the world. In fact, “Pizzomunno” is said to have been a young
fisherman turned into rock by jealous mermaids who could not bear his love for a
sweet local girl. Every one hundred years, on a full moon night, as if by magic,
the huge rock is transformed and takes human countenance again. Like this
“Pizzomunno” loves his beloved again, till dawn when the charm disappears.
1534 CEST - The 11-man breakaway, blessed
by the mighty southern Italian sun, goes under the 20k to go banner. Their
advantage over the field has been cut down (so to speak) to 12 minutes 35
seconds. Still a helluva gap. Liquigas are "leading" the peloton of
course. But Pellizotti and his teammates look - and ride - like they are
anything but annoyed by the perspective of losing the jersey.
The Giro crew are riding along the coastline of the magnificent Gargano
peninsula, in the southeastern corner of the nation. And in the region also
known as "the heel to Italy's boot ".
1541 CEST - The line is only 15
kilometres away for Maksim Igliniskiy (Kaz - Astana), Alan Pérez Lezaun (Spa -
Euskaltel-Euskadi), Matteo Priamo (Ita - CSF-Group), Matthis Russ (Ger -
Gerolsteiner), Francesco Gavazzi (Ita - Lampre), Giovanni Visconti (Ita - Quick
Step), Paul Martens (Hol -Rabobank), Daniele Nardello (Ita -
Diquigiovanni-Androni), Magnus Backstedt (Swe - Slipstream-Chipotle), Jason McCartney (USA - Team CSC) and Nikolay Trusov (Rus - Tinkoff).
The bunch is 12'38" back.
Matteo Priamo may even not be one of the strongest and most successful guys
on the front. but he's in quite good shape, as proved by his recent
accomplishments at Tour of Turkey, where he won two stages. Both of which in
small bunch sprints. Kazakh campione Maxim Iglinskiy also has some good
condition, evidenced by his victory in the opening road stage of the Tour de
Romandie. With the finish on a small hill, Magnus Backstedt must be relishing
1548 CEST - Gap 12:15, Don't discount
Paul Martens either, a very handy rider poached by Rabobank from Skil-Shimano.
He's good on hill finishes too. The escapees are tackling a small ascent of
1,500 metres, it's the last difficulty BEFORE the final climb. The breakaways
could (almost) walk to the finish and still beat the peloton...
1652 CEST - Matteo Priamo attacks! The
CSF athlete tried to solo away but Gavazzi countered his move. Behind, the
escapees look at each other as if to say "I'm not chasing, you do it." The
fireworks are finally about to start for real in the breakaway. Euskaltel man
Alan Perez joins Priamo in front. Priamo managed to open a little gap, but
Alan Perez the Basque followed his wheel. And the two guys are taking turns.
Still, Alan Perez and Matteo Priamo have 15 seconds on the chasers, and a
further 12'08" on today's sluggish peloton.
1558 CEST - The Orange Man leads
Priamo down this short descent. They are committing to this. Their advantage
over the nine chasers is basically the same (around 15") with 6 kms remaining.
Magnus Backstedt managed to regain the wheels of the "first chase group". But
he's likely to get dropped again in the last climb.
1600 CEST - 5km to go, Their lead has
risen to 19 seconds now. We would say the peloton is chasing but that would be
too a big WORD and mean they were actually trying to catch the 11. Visconti asks
for help from the others. But the others know that he's the fastest guy on the
front, so they are not that willing to help him. And as a result of that, Priamo
and Perez Lezaun keep making gains.
4km to go - Stupid riding from the break,
are they going to blast up the final climb? Also Martens got upset at the
non-helping attitude of his breakaway mates. Now Magnus Backstedt goes off the
front! Might as well give himself some space to fall back on the climb. He's got
a decent gap.
Gap Update: Perez Lezaun and Priamo lead
Backstedt by 28 seconds, with the other 8 riders a further 10 seconds back, e.g.
trailing the front duo by 38". The two frontrunners hit the final climb to the
1500 metres to go - If things stay the
same, Matthias Russ will be a happy maglia rosa. The climb is 7-8% though, and
the Swedish champion is going to go backwards. And either Priamo or Perez a
well-earned stage winner. Under the flamme rouge for Perez and Priamo! Trussov
and Martens also tried to attack the chasing group... , but it is too late
As the gradient kicks in, Priamo leads Perez. Behind, Russ is content to mark
The two-man battle for line honours is starting ... Priamo attacks!! If his legs
are ok, you'd put money on Priamo winning the sprint... A powerful move. Perez
can't follow. PRIAMO WINS!!
MATTEEEEEEEEOOOOO PRIAMOOOOOOOO IS THE
Visconti dropped Russ by his wheels in the last hundred metres. Third for
Trussov at 26 seconds, then Martens, Iglinskiy, Nardello, Gavazzi, Visconti,
Backstedt... and Russ, a few seconds down.
The Sicilian made some time gains on the German. Enough for him to make up
for his 7-second deficit and capture the maglia? The Italian champion threw his
bike across the line as if it was a stage-winning sprint. He may have done just
enough, an anxious wait for Visconti. We'll get to know in a second. Stay
The gap across the line between the two guys was ... seven seconds! So ...
it's a DRAW! They' have to resort to the TTT results to determine the new GC
leader. It's a matter of hundredths of a second.
It's official now ... the NEW GC leader of the 91st Giro d'Italia is ...
is ... iiiiiiiiiiiis....
"Incredible..." he smiles breathlessly when the news comes through. "Maglia
rosa... This morning I said I would win the stage. Well, I didn't do that, but
the maglia rosa is just as good."
Meanwhile, 5 kilometres to go for the peloton...
1. Matteo Priamo (CSF Gruppo-Navigare) 5h 24m 49s
2. Alan Perez Lezaun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 8 seconds
3. Nikolai Trussov (Tinkoff Credit Systems) 27"
4. Paul Martens (Rabobank) 31"
5. Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) 32"
Oh yes, caught in between all the fuss about stage victory and notably the
new holder of the Maglia Rosa, we forgot there's still a peloton in the race.
The question is now, will the peloton's deficit still be in double figures?
"UNA GIOIA INCREDIBILE" were the first after-race words from Matteo
Priamo. And we don't even think a translation is needed ...
The pack is lined out as they hit the climb, but it's going to be at least 10
minutes deficit. 700 metres from the finish, Serpa and a few others have
to grind to a halt in the middle of the pack as a police motorbike blocks the
side of the road. Inconvenient... Pellizotti is second wheel, with Bennati
behind him; both recognizable in their jerseys.
Bennati "wins" the sprint for twelfth ahead of Alberto Contador (hmm!),
Cherel, Pellizotti and Bettini were also up there. They were 11'33" back.
Contador showed up at the front of the field, with the first significant stage
(GC-wise) coming tomorrow. The Spaniard is sending his rivals some
message, isn't he?
1615 CEST - Paolo Bettini in front of the
cameras "See how things change? Everyone was criticizing us (Quick Step)
yesterday, and now we've got the jersey". Yes Paolo, you totally had this
planned. You masterminded this. In fact, why don't you have the trophy?'
Franco Pellizotti: "I said goodbye to the jersey, but we came here in order
to win the Giro, so I hope that I can have it back. My plans are not going to
change anyway. Sure my teammates are going to recover a bit in the next days".
Then New General Classification, has been reorganized at the top: The
champagne and good times flow on the podium: another success for the small CSF
Gruppo (formerly Panaria) team - this is only Priamo's third year as a pro, but
he's making it count. Visconti also takes the Maglia Bianca as the top under 23
rider in the Giro.
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita - Quick Step)
2. Matthias Russ (Ger - Gerolsteiner) - s.t.
3. Daniele Nardello (Ita - Diquigiovanni-Androni) - at 01'22"
4. Alan Pérez Lezaun (Spa - Euskaltel-Euskadi) - at 04'22"
5. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita - Lampre) - at 05'34"
7. Franco Pellizotti (Ita - Liquigas) - at 09'08"
8. Danilo Di Luca (Ita - Team LPR) - at 09'15"
9. Morris Possoni (Ita - Team High Road) - at 09'16"
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita - Liquigas) - at 09'16"
12. Nicki Sörensen(Den - Team CSC) - at 09'25"
13. Kanstantsin Sioutsou (Blr - Team High Road) - at 09'26"
14. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita - Team LPR) - at 09'29"
Matteo Priamo even thought of dropping out of the race after he fell a
couple days ago. Thankfully (for him) he didn't. And got his first ever Giro
d'Italia stage victory in his first ever time in the Corsa Rosa. He admitted he
din't expect such an "early" win. "It is my first time at the Giro, and I really didn't think I could win a stage. Everyone was running out of steam late in the stage. Perhaps I was more daring than the others. I knew that if I was going to open a gap, it was going to be hard for the others to catch me, so I attacked".
CSF-Navigare got off to the worst
possible start in this Giro, with the team down to eight riders from the
beginning after news that Maximilian Richeze had tested positive at Circuit de
la Sarthe came through. But they took their redemption on the road, and team
boss Bruno Reverberi was logically all smiles after the stage: "I think we
fulfill our objectives, with Priamo winning the stage and Sella in green. We can
be truly satisfied with our accomplishments so far, but are also determined to
hold on to the KOM jersey".
Some words from new overall leader Giovanni Visconti,
so happy at claiming the jersey that he even ... hit himself with a bottle cork
during the ceremony on the podium!
"I attacked today because I was very upset at not being able to do well
in front of my fans on home roads, back in Sicily. But that's the way cycling
is, you know: when you long for something, you often don't get it" and "I know
that I'm going to surrender the jersey sooner or later, but I'll try and keep it
as long as possible, hopefully also doing a good ITT. And even if I lose the
Maglia Rosa, there are still two other jerseys, and I want to keep them ...
until the Italian Nationals".
Thanks for joining us for our live coverage of stage 6. Thanks also to
Andy McGrath and Fabio our tickerers. Join us tomorrow for Stage 7, a 180 km
test as we go into the mountains from Vasto to Pescocostanzo with 3 classified
climbs with a mountain top finish that favors young Gerolsteiner climber
Matthias Russ who may switch the blue jersey of his team for pink of race
Complete Official results and photos from Stefano Sirotti to come...
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