Pesaro - Urbino 39.4 km ITT
Hello everyone, welcome to our live coverage of stage nine in the 2008 Giro
d'Italia. The Girini are back in the saddle after the rest day and, yes,
former Italian cycling star of the 1960s and 1970s Italo Zilioli made a point.
Today is the day of the first real overall battle in the race. The
39.4-kilometre challenge against the clock from Pesaro to Urbino is gonna tell
us much more about who's hot and who's not in the peloton than all previous
stages together (the "hilly" trip to Peschici included) could ever do.
The stage is predominantly flat in the first half, but the going gets hilly
after km, with some uphill and downhill portions that might give some
specialists against the clock, some pure flatlanders, a hard time. Lance
Armstrong's former team-mate, and himself a good TTist, Andrea Peron knows
enough what racing versus the clock is about, and described the stage with
few, but correct words: "This is a demanding ITT, not the usual flat effort.
There are though uphill pieces that require some good climbing legs. I think
Contador is the one that can do best amongst all GC contenders". Italian
journalist Giorgio Vibert echoed his thoughts about the Tour de France winner,
as much as his two of his teammates, having the potential to rock the clock
Graphic courtesy of Gazzetta Della Sport
In fact, this is the day Astana - better, their three presumed overall
contenders - have been looking forward to. Today's parcours is a call for
Andreas Kloeden and Levi Leipheimer, both good enough at hiding themselves
inside the field throughout the first week, but now asked to show their
current condition at last. And then there's a certain Alberto Contador, who
did give a display of some decent form on the way up to Peschici already, and
whom more than one pundit picked as stage winner - or top three finisher -
today. But the micro fracture in his elbow he suffered a couple days could be
enough of a problem to the talented Spaniard.
RAI's co-co-commentator (or something alike...) Gigi Sgarbozza made his own
pre-stage predictions, and named two names: Andreas Kloeden and, yes ... Paolo
Savoldelli! "I saw him (The Falcon) ride strong in the first stages. Plus, the
parcours suits is skills, with all those challenging uphill portions. But even
if Savoldelli won today, this wouldn't change a thing inside LPR-Ballan.
They're waiting for Saturday's mountain stage into Pampeago to decide who is
their man for the overall. Bruseghin? He can make the top five today, but I
don't think he's going to win, the stage is not that flat. Yeah, it's true
that he won at Oropa too, but the circumstances were different".
Miche-Silver Cross's pro rider Massimo Giunti may not be Italy's best ever
specialist of "races of the truth". Still, he's well-entitled to speak: the
stage kicks off in his hometown today. "And it would have been just great if I
had been at the start line today. But well, my team got a wild-card for Milan-Sanremo,
and that was a good thing; unfortunately we were not allowed to compete in the
Giro. Hope we can make it next year". Giunti is a former teammate of Danilo Di
Luca, and the guy would definitely be on cloud nine if the reigning champion
won today's challenge. But he's a realistic man, and knows well that the likes
of Kloeden and Contador are those most likely to make the headlines on the
course Giunti and Danilo have checked together.
Angelo Zomegnan also had something to tell about today's "race of truth".
The former Gazzetta dello Sport journalist turned Giro d'Italia boss spoke in
front of the RAI cameras this morning and expressed all of his hopes that
today's stage would make things much clearer on the overall standing side of
the matter "such that we can take on tomorrow's stage, which many seem to
underrate, with clearer ideas and tactics". Speaking of the fast-changing
weather ("it was sunny 10 minutes ago, now it looks like we're going to have
some rain soon...") also wished that everyone would race in (more or less)
similar weather conditions. Last and perhaps also least, Zomegnan admitted
that, despite not being used to make predictions, he would be glad if Giovanni
Visconti could keep the Maglia Rosa one more day.
In between running from one rider to another, Italian TV's unstoppable
"interview machine" Alessandra De Stefano found to the time to pick David
Millar as her stage winner instead.
Eros Capecchi, last on GC, was first at the start line at 1300 hours. The
gap between the start time of each rider is going to be one minute until 0330
PM then, with more serious stage contenders coming, it will be stretched to
The full start list, starting times included, can be found
here (pdf file).
1450 CEST We join the stage in progress
with over 40 riders crossing the line already, and Tony Martin (Ger - High
Road) having the best time to the finish.
The top ten spots thus far are as follows:
1. MARTIN Tony GER THR 58:54 0:00
2. IGNATIEV Mikhail RUS TCS 1:00:09 1:15
3. MONIER Damien FRA COF 1:00:13 1:19
4. MANGEL Laurent FRA ALM 1:00:38 1:44
5. PATE Danny USA TSL 1:01:08 2:14
6. HANSEN Adam AUS THR 1:01:13 2:19
7. THOMAS Geraint GBR BAR 1:01:23 2:29
8. CUMMINGS Steven GBR BAR 1:01:56 3:02
9. SCHWAB Hubert SUI QST 1:01:58 3:04
10. ROY Jérémy FRA FDJ 1:02:33 3:39
1530 CEST -
Jason MacCartney of CSC TT'ed his way up to spot number two, 19 seconds
behind the currently undisputed leader, the young Tony Martin.
Here's the new top twenty places:
1. MARTIN Tony GER THR 58:54 0:00
2. MCCARTNEY Jason USA CSC 59:13 0:19
3. KRIVTSOV Yuriy UKR ALM 59:54 1:00
4. IGNATIEV Mikhail RUS TCS 1:00:09 1:15
5. MONIER Damien FRA COF 1:00:13 1:19
6. MANGEL Laurent FRA ALM 1:00:38 1:44
7. MARTENS Paul GER RAB 1:00:39 1:45
8. VANOTTI Alessandro ITA LIQ 1:01:03 2:09
9. LASTRAS GARCIA Pablo ESP GCE 1:01:07 2:13
10. PATE Danny USA TSL 1:01:08 2:14
11. HANSEN Adam AUS THR 1:01:13 2:19
12. THOMAS Geraint GBR BAR 1:01:23 2:29
13. USOV Alexandre BLR ALM 1:01:55 3:01
14. CUMMINGS Steven GBR BAR 1:01:56 3:02
15. SCHWAB Hubert SUI QST 1:01:58 3:04
16. TRUSSOV Nikolai RUS TCS 1:01:59 3:05
17. LANDALUZE Inigo ESP EUS 1:02:04 3:10
18. HONDO Danilo GER SDA 1:02:07 3:13
19. BERTOLINI Alessandro ITA SDA 1:02:17 3:23
20. RABON Frantisek CZE THR 1:02:19 3:25
Tony Martin has been the only rider thus far able to average over 40 km/ph. Jason
McCartney was still harbouring hopes to beat the German as he was just about ten
seconds down with under 10k to go. But the gap increased in the final few miles.
Paolo Bettini, for one NOT wearing the rainbow jersey (when it comes to ITTs,
it's on the shoulders of Fabian Cancellara, currently busy racing the Volta a
Catalunya) is in the saddle too. And so is Belarus' Vasil Kiriyenka, ten seconds
down to Martin at the intermediate check. The Russian Mikhail Ignatiev set the
best time at the first time check, after 10 kilometers, but lost all of his
hopes in the hilly portion of the route.
David Millar had a very bad day in the saddle, and lost about five minutes.
Marco Pinotti is doing fine instead. The Italian ITT Champion scored the best
time thus far at the opening check. Daniele Bennati scored 01h01'10" at the
line. The Italian sprinter lost 02'16"to Tony Martin.
In Ireland, Chris Newton wins the third
stage of the FBD Insurance Ras, outsprinting David McCann in a two-up sprint.
Looks like the lead will go to Mark Cassidy, son of former winner Phillip.
After-stage comments from David Millar: "when I checked the route for the first
time, a couple weeks ago, I thought the course was appropriate for me. But when
I did it again with Vandevelde yesterday, I realized it was not. I realized that
I have to be at 100 percent to do fine today; but I'm not ..."
1546 CEST - Vasil Kiriyenka scored the BEST
time at km. 32. The Tinkoff man was better than Tony Martin by three seconds
with 7.4 km to go. Still, it's a close race... In the meantime the rain has made
its way back onto Giro d'Italia roads, unfortunately. Bad weather is torturing
Denis Menchov in particular, whilst both Gusev and Pinotti are riding in better
Kiryienka is about to make it to the line. 100m to go.. it's a close battle...
nope, Kiryienka couldn't make it. The Belarusian set a finish time of 59'04".
Ten seconds behind Martin. He lost about 13" to the German in the last
Denis Menchov scored a good 11'35" at the first time check. He lost just three
seconds to Marco Pinotti, despite racing in much worse weather. Levi made it to
the first check too. He didn't get off to a flying start in the first, flat
Denis Menchov Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Next to the startline: Andreas Kloeden. Here we go: the German started his
challenge to the clock. And to the rest of the field. Gusev rocks! The Russian
came to the km. 23 check and just demolished Martin's time: it's 33'52", as
opposed to Tony's 34'27". Marzio Bruseghin's time after nine kilometres: 11'52".
He's losing 20 seconds to Marco Pinotti already. His fans as much as his 23
donkeys are not going to be that happy.
1554 CEST - Il Falco is at the start line.
3...2...1... and Savoldelli is off and running! Despite what Gigi Sgarbozza said
this morning, Paolo was not much confident about his chances in such a course.
Yesterday, at least.
Simoni update: Gibo is losing half a minute to his former teammate Pinotti at
the opening time check. Savoldelli's best known "compagno di squadra"
Danilo Di Luca tested the route both yesterday and early this morning.
Marco Pinotti has got the best time at the km. 23 check too: he scored 33'17".
That's 35 second sbetter than Kiryienka's, and 01'10" better than Tony Martin's
time. Davide Rebellin was losing an impressive 48 seconds to Pinotti after nine
kilometres. José Rujano is making it to the line: 01h00'18". He's far from being
a factor today.
Gustav Larrson - CSC Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
1600 CEST - KLODEN at the first check:
11'38". The German lost only half a dozen seconds to Pinotti. Not that bad
anyway. Sweden's Gustav Larsson, also a skilled TTist, is making it to the
first time check. His "tempo interemedio" is quite decent: 11'41". Tied with
1603 CEST - AARGH! What a BAD start for
Alberto Contador. His wheels slipped at the very beginning of the race,
resulting in a (small) time loss. 2-3 seconds, we would say ...He's been
diagnosed with a fractured arm, by the way. Let's see how that affects his ride.
The cameras are on Leipheimer, now finally tackling the uphill part of the
Paolo Savoldelli goes under the 30k to go banner. Some think The Falcon will be
one of he few riders that are going to change bike late in the stage, as he hits
the .. er ... "climbs". Piepoli is losing about 10 secs per km to Pinotti.
Ten seconds were also Savoldelli's cumulative loss to the current stage leader
at km. 9. Il Falco scored a decent 11'42".
Levi Leipheimer in action. Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Levi is about to make it to the top of the ascent in the medieval town of
Corbordolo. Il Cobra has just left the start house. It's no longer raining over
the race. 33'43" for Levi at km. 23 - 33'45" for Petrov. But a great 33'19"
for Denis Menchov. He is only two seconds behind Marco Pinotti. Danilo Di Luca
has just left the starthouse, and he took a fast start straight away.
GIBOOO! Simoni is doing better than Leiphiemer. He scored a good 33 minutes, 40
seconds by km. 23. And the next portion of the course is almost tailor made for
Vladimir Gusev is making it to the finish. 58'46".
HE HAS THE BEST TIME!!
It took long, but someone toppled Tony Martin. Bruseghin comes atop the
Colbortolo ascent. WITH-THE-BEST-TIME: 33'09".
Fans and donkeys, rejoice! Marzio did better than Marco by 8 seconds! Bruseghin
made up for the 20-second deficit after 9 nine kilomtres
Good news for Contador fans: he's got the fifth best time after 9 kms. Even
better news for Nibali's fans: the Sicilian has got the SECOND best time at the
opening check. Contador checked the route this morning along Astana's DS Alain
Kloeden is about to get to the second time check. Riccò had a decent performance
in the first, flat part of the route. He lost "only" 38 seconds to Pinotti. But
Gibo Simoni did better than him in this section. We'll see what Riccò will do
when the things get vertical.
Our live coverage continues... in
d'Italia - Stage 10 ITT Live Part 2
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