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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 9 Live - Part 2
By Staff
Date: 5/18/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 9 Live - Part 2

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 9 Live Coverage - Part 2
Ag2r's Yuriy Krivtsov and Mickael Buffaz of Cofidis on the attack. Can the brave duo deny the sprinters teams in San Vincenzo?

Stage 9: Civitavecchia - San Vincenzo 218 km
1537 CEST - 74 km to go. The gap is now down to 8 minutes and falling, and the peloton has not even started riding in anger. The peloton is in a long line, though, so even though the riders are looking relaxed, they are moving along at a good pace. They're a bit lined out from a bit of a crosswind coming off the sea.

Earlier in the race Visconti stops with a teammate for a brief run into the trees.

As the pack go into a tunnel - sunglasses off boys! - after Roccomare, the gap is now 7'45". I wonder how much wind will be a factor nearer the finish ? Let's hope there is not too much wind, so that we can have some effective attacks. Milram would love a win today. What with parting company with Petacchi the other day and his bans, it hasn't been a good few months for the team... who were basically built around the man they split with.

Back in the peloton, Mark Cavendish moves up nearer the front. British fans will be hoping for a second Giro stage victory today. Cavendish may be hoping for a second stage victory, but he'll have to beat Robbie McEwen to get it. McEwen is still waiting for his first win, and one can only imagine how hungry he is. He doesn't have too many more chances. Even in his career he doesn't have too many more - McEwen will surely retire by 2010?

1555 CEST - 63km to go for Buffaz and Krivtsov, who have been in front for over 150 kilometres now. The Traguardo Volante sprint - the competition is led by Jeremy Roy - is here today. Many teams at the front now... LPR Brakes, Milram (Zabel), Liquigas(Bennati), Silence-Lotto (McEwen) and Quick-Step is lurking at the back.


It looked like Bennati just took third in that Traguardo Volante sprint. Buffaz led Krivtsov through it in front. The competition - it looks like "EPO" on the stage map - is promoting the Milano EXPO in 2015, which is effectively the World Fair.

After four hours in the saddle, the peloton are about 7'25" down on the escapees. Who is FdJeaux working for? I can only assume Jeremy Roy, the leader of the TV competition... Sprinter-wise, they have Jegou and Hutarovich on board, but they aren't exactly A-list. Ok... just wondered because they were up front there in the sprint with Bennati.  Anyway... the pursuit has now settled down to be a job by Silence-Lotto, Milram and Liqiugas, while Quick Step shepherds the pink jersey just behind the pace makers on the front.

At this rate the peloton will bring the outriders in too soon encouraging attacks. Alberto Contador rides by, his left arm bandaged after a fall yesterday. Indeed, it's already happening: the deficit has fallen to 6'48". Rumours that Riccardo Ricco fans stuck pins in their Contador voodoo doll to cause it are yet unfounded. (But it seems more than possible.)

1617 CEST - 50 kilometres to go for Mickael Buffaz and Yuriy Krivtsov. They've done well, but the pack is really going to eat into their advantage in the next hour. The forecast may have said rain, but at the moment it is sole, sole, sole in Toscana.

1622 CEST - Our two leaders are about to hit Venturina (45 km to go) and the start of the day's only GPM climb, up to the town of Campiglia Marittima. It's not too taxing - 4.5km long with an average of 4.2%.

Speaking of the favorites for the win today,  how many times this week have Bettini and Rebellin weighed in without a victory... podiums yes, but no top step for the veterans. At least Rebellin showed that he isn't past it in the Ardennes Classics. Ninth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege was effectively Bettini's best showing before the Giro, though he has endured some bad luck. The gap falls to 5:59 to the escape. Bennati, Cavendish, McEwen and Bettini are the bookmaker's favourites; no surprises there really.

Bettini ups the pace, Riccardo Ricco, Franco Pellizotti, Emmanuele Selle and Alberto Contador keep close.

1626 CEST - As Buffaz and Krivtsov hit the GPM climb, their gap is down to 5'58". As the pack motor up the ascent, it's going to take another serious hit. At the top of this Cat 3 climb, Campiglia Marittima, Yuriy Krivtsov leads Buffaz to take the points. The big question, though, is how much advantage they have left. Is Sella going to bother to score a point on this small climb?

Sella Attacks! Photo 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Indeed... Sella goes for it. Yep, Sella accelerates to make sure, but nobody else was really challenging. The gap over the top to our breakaways, who went under the 40km-to-go banner a few minutes ago, is 4'44". Word is coming through that Pavel Brutt has been dropped; apparently he is having some problems with his right leg after a crash the other day. How quickly things can change; a few days ago, Brutt was raising his arms in victory. Brutt was last yesterday at the finish after the brutal climb at the finish, so he was having problems... Tinkoff also lost their sprinter Loddo after a crash on the third stage; it won't help if they lose Brutt.

The peloton is timing the chase carefully; they don't want to give anyone the chance to counterattack on the two breakaway riders by bringing them back too early. McEwen and his key lieutenant Gates have a word in the peloton; the Aussie will want to be perfectly-placed for the last 250 metres. Easier said than done, of course.

1648 CEST - As the pack head through Innesto and under the 35km-to-go banner, they are on the finishing circuit and 4'22" behind Buffaz and Krivtsov. Buffaz goes to the front as the duo up the pace.

1650 CEST - Gerolsteiner and High Road are visible nearer the front now, working for their sprinters Forster and Cavendish. Crash! The cameras have focused on a Navigare rider is down it's Savini in a roadside ditch. The CSF Gruppo man looks dazed and is holding his fingers gingerly; not sure how it happened really. Looks like he just got squeezed off the road on a tight corner. The ambulance is coming, it's race over for Savini. He looks to have hit a piece of concrete by the roadside and gone into the ditch.

30km to go - The gap is down to 3'18", as the bunch start to wind the chase up. Savini doesn't look as if he has broken anything, but he is not in a hurry to get back on the bike. No, the ambulance men support him as he hobbles into the vehicle and out of the race.

1657 CEST - Krivstov and Buffaz have been out in front for almost 200 kilometres; this ride could put the Frenchman in the lead of the Trofeo Fuga Cervelo. Yes. Looking at how he was lying, though, he is probably lucky not to have injured a lot more. No, Savini is trying to ride. He hasn't gotten into an ambulance as expected. Very Brave. The two leaders, meanwhile, go through the finish line at San Vincenzo to the cheers of the large crowds.

Paolo Bettini - Are you still following me.

23 kilometres to go. Filippo Savini starts riding, he's clearly in pain. Great courage from the Giro virgin; it will be a lonely 30km ride to the finish if he makes it. The Tifosi will love him for this. Meanwhile Liquigas' Dario Cataldo powers the peloton. Savini has given up the ghost and entered the ambulance. He rode about a kilometre before realising it was impossible. Meanwhile, as the bunch tears across the finish line, their deficit is now only 2'05".

The squad of Danilo Hondo look confident in him today.. taking to the front. There's a rise up to San Carlo (158m), topping out at 16 kilometres to go. It should prove the breakaway's undoing, as well as providing an interesting launchpad for any attacks. It seems to me that the chancers don't have a hope though, as many teams fancy a bunch gallop today. Bettini is lurking in 7th position, though. Will he attack, as he has promised?

Gilberto Simoni leads the pack; Sella is also up there menacingly. 1'31" from the breakaway to the bunch. There is a section of 10+% in this climb, so we'll see how the sprinters do. Cavendish's climbing is still weak, but he should be able to handle this.

Quick Step leads the peloton into the final circuit.

Quick Step sprint up the grade to break things up behind; Andrea Tonti is doing good work for his capo Bettini. Di Luca, Contador, Ricco, Simoni.... all are up front. They know that there may be fireworks. Bettini is second wheel, then Ricco, Pellizotti and Di Luca.

In front, Krivtsov leads Buffaz over the top. 16km left, and it means the pair have been in front for 200 kilometres. Bravo. Bettini is gone. Ricco, Bettini, and Sella have a small gap

Four men behind them. The deficit to the breakaway is now only 30 seconds. Have the sprinters kept the pace?

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 9 Live Coverage - Part 3

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