Hi everyone, welcome to our live coverage of stage twelve in the first Grand
Tour of the season ... and congratulations to Manchester United on their
Champions League victory! Speaking of cycling, today's stage is a pan-cake
flat thingy of 172 kilometres running inside the Emilia Romagna region
territory from Forlí (Romagna) to Carpi, a town near Modena (Emilia). The
races makes it into Riccardo Riccò's "homeland" - albeit Il Cobra, who's from
a nearby place called Formigine, currently lives and trains elsewhere, not far
from the border between Italy and the San Marino Republic.
But it's also the area of the legendary Enzo Ferrari, former car racer and
notably founder of the "Scuderia", of one of the world's best-known motor
racing teams and sports car manufacturers. Mr. Ferrari is not the only
"sporting legend" from this part of Italy however: marathon racer Dorando
Pietri made Carpi's name known nationwide and even internationally through is
far-from-ordinary performance at the 1908 London Olympics (go to Dorando
Pietri's wikipedia page
if you want to know more ...). The fact Carpi celebrates the 100th anniversary
of his Olympic accomplishment is certainly no stranger to the fact this Giro
d'Italia stage is dedicated to Mr. Petri himself.
With the Mountain Men festival over in the Alps and Dolomites looming,
today's and tomorrow's stages are meant to give many sprinters their last
chances to improve their Giro tally: it's not going to be easy for several
fast wheels, but slow climbers, to make it to the finish line at Milano. So
who are the main suspects to raise their arms in triumph at Carpi's Piazza
dei Martiri (Square of the Martyrs) today? But the "usual suspects", of
course: Daniele Bennati, Mark Cavendish, Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen etc. Even
though a certain Paolo Bettini, who is neither a pure sprinter nor someone
used to give up his Tour of Italy adventure so easily, might well aim for some
stage glory, and write his name below Laurent Roux, winner at Carpi as the
race made it into town last (and first) ten years ago. In case of stage
victory, it would be the Cricket's "first time" in the Corsa Rosa since the
year 2006. The top overall contenders are expected to recover from the
Apennine bikefights (and notably yesterday's stage, when much of the peloton
hit the tarmac in several separate accidents, but nothing changed on the GC
side of the matter...) as much as save their legs for the climbing shows to
1405 CEST - Things got kick-started
after 0100 PM local time, with Juan Mauricio Soler no longer in the peloton.
The best climber's jersey's winner at the past Tour de France, who suffered a
wrist injury following a crash on the opening stage in Sicily, he hung tough
as long as possible and stayed in the race for a week, but had to surrender to
pain yesterday. Dionisio Galparsoro Martínez (Spa - Euskaltel-Euskadi) is
still part of the gruppo instead, and proved the point by launching a
solo attack in the very early kilometres. The Basque, definitely not an
overall threat, benefited from the field's attitude and opened up a gap of 02
minutes, 51 seconds by km. 10.
1410 CEST - The "Dionisio Galparsoro
Show" goes on: the Spaniard extended his advantage on the "lazy" pack to an
impressive eight minutes by the km. 30 check.
1430 CEST - It didn't take long for
Galparsoro to take his advantage up to over ten minutes: the 29-year-old
Basque, winner of a Tour of Asturias stage three years ago, was leading the
non-chasing peloton by 10'20" with only 47 kilometres covered.
1440 CEST - Galparsoro keeps making
gains. His (so far) maximum advantage amounted to FOURTEEN minutes at the
latest check. But the finish line is still 125 kilometres away, and the
peloton has all the time in the world to step up a serious chase and bring him
back. Provided they put in some reaction soon.
1455 CEST The chase has begun at last,
and it is starting to bear some fruits: Dionisio Galparsoro's advantage
suffered a first time loss and was cut down to 12 minutes 40 seconds with
about 106k to go.
1500 CEST New gap update: with
Bennati's Liquigas and the Milram chase machine lifting the peloton's pace a
bit, Galparsoro's advantage dropped to 11'50" at km.
69. The solo frontrunner has averaged about 41.7 km/h.
1510 CEST The man in orange has covered
75 kilometres, but bad news for him is coming: the gap fell under ten minutes.
Despite keeping a "distance lead" of over six km, Galparsoro lost some four
minutes in the space of 25 kilometres. Both the escapee and the peloton are
currently riding on the Bologna province soil. They're about to step into the
1525 CEST We are around the halfway
point of the stage, and Galparsoro's vantaggio/ has been almost halved to
1530 CEST - The big news of the day is
that shoe stolen to Franco Pellizotti has been found! The thief was an
18-year-old from Calabria who wanted to get his own "souvenir" of the race.
But he later "realized" what he had done and e-mailed Liquigas ... even
apologizing to the team. Of course the shoe has been given back to its
The Giro crew are about to make it to Castelfranco Emilia, hometown of the
aptly named Alfonsina Morini Strada ("strada": Italian for "road"), the only
woman ever to participate in the Giro d'Italia alongside the men.
It happened in the 1924 edition of the event. The girl from Castelfranco
managed to finish the race in 31st place, in front of two male riders … and of
all those who had dropped out earlier. But this wasn't Mrs. Strada's only
accomplishment on the bike, as the girl recorded some 30 victories against
male contenders throughout her career.
Her career tally is definitely better than Dionisio Galparsoro's eheh...
And the Basque is unlikely to improve his "palmares" today: the gap further
dropped to 07'15" at San Giovanni
Persiceto town. It's gonna take some time ... but the bunch is coming!
1545 CEST - Liquigas, Milram, and High
Road each have a rider leading the chase with Gerolsteiner's Davide
Rebellin fourth wheel; Quick Step team in attendance behind the quartet.
Galparsoro passes through the feed zone and starts to recharge his motor for
the miles ahead.
Interviewed "on the road", CSF-Navigare's boss Bruno Reverberi said that
Emanuele "what the heck should I do to stay in the saddle" Sella has pain in
his knee, and an inflamed tendon, courtesy of the zillion times he fell in the
past few stages, but overall it's not that bad: the guy is recovering, and
Reverberi is confident that the green jersey holder can do fine on the climbs
the next days.
Piepoli's DS Pietro Algeri sounded a bit more worried: "Leonardo is not in
a good state, he injured his hand and superciliary ridge, but what really
worries us is the pain on his side and ribs, courtesy of a rider that fell
over him yesterday. Hope he may recover these two days".
1555 CEST - The gap fell to just 05'10"
around the feed zone. In the meantime a fan of Marzio Bruseghin showed his
support by displaying a banner stating "Marzio, Gli asini sono con te" (Marzio,
the donkeys are with you").
Yesterday's falls had an impact on Giovanni Visconti too. Thankfully
there's room for the Maglia Rosa wearer to recover.
1600 CEST - Dionisio Galparsoro leads
the peloton by five minutes as the race winds through the "homeland" of one
the most appreciated (to yours truly at least) kind of pasta: the tasty
tortellini. Rebellin leads the chase. The TV cameras move from the peloton to
the Basque "gregario" (domestique) currently enjoying his time in the sun, and
back to the pack again, showing images of Bettini, Rebellin etc.
Robbie McEwen also fell badly on a descent yesterday, and hit one of his
legs, but the Aussie and his team are determined not to waste the opportunity
to stamp their authority on this year's race. Rebellin picks up the pace in
the chase, the lead six hasn't changed at the front with Visconti in escort of
the Quick Step after the lead sextet setting the pace.
1611 CEST - News came through that,
arguably due to the difficult, tricky turns in the last kilometre of the day,
the race times will be neutralized three kilometres from the finish today. The
"stage neutralization" three kms from the finish means that GC contenders and
all those not strictly vying for stage victory could even take it easy, stay
out of the fuss and cross the line minutes behind the winner without their
overall time and placing being affected. It sounds like a common-sensed
decision to me, especially after the "falls festival" yesterday.
Paolo Bossoni, one of today's few "home riders", is threading his way
through the team cars, doing his best to get back into the field. In the
meantime Galparsoro's lead came down to four minutes at the most recent check.
And to just 03'15" at the newest check.
Di Luca is waving for the team car again. The reasons of Danilo's bike
change and current difficulties are currently beyond our knowledge. We'll let
you know more as soon as we can ... Perhaps it has something to do with the
recent weather change? The sun that welcomed the Giro today has quickly
changed to dark, cloudy skies. And rumours came through that it's raining at
Maranello, the next "target" of the Girini.Maranello happens to the the true
"hometown" of Ferrari, by the way.
1626 CEST - 45k to go for Galparosoro,
whose advantage amounts to a mere three minutes. It's raining over the line at
A few more details on the guy whose "exposure time" is coming to an end
soon(er or later); Dionisio Galparsoro Martinez is from the province of
Guipuzkoa in the Basque Country of Spain, became a pro rider in the year 2003.
He has gotten two wins since, and this is the man's second participation in
the Tour of Italy. His breakaway attempt is doomed to failure, but he can take
some solace in winning today's "Milano Expo 2005" sprint.
Here he comes: Dionisio came first across the former Intergiro line in
Ferrariland (aka Maranello town) under the now pouring rain.
1632 CEST - "Pelizotti's shoe" update:
in fact the 18-years-old boy that mailed Liquigas didn't admit stealing the
shoe himself, but wrote that he found it at some square. Whether he was
telling the truth or not, what really matters is that "Goldilocks" has his
shoe back. Btw, Bennati just drove the field across the Milan Expo sprint at
Maranello, 02'15" behind the frontrunner.
The rain, and a huge crowd, welcomed the Giro into Riccardo Riccò's
According to the Team LPR-Ballan DS Giovanni Fidanza, also interviewed a
few minutes ago, the reason behind Danilo's bike change is nothing else but
his desire to ride on a low-profile wheeled bike, after he started the stage
with high-profile wheels.
1646 CEST - Gap update: Dionisio
Galparsoro's advantage was down to some 100 seconds with some 30k remaining.
He has been away for 145 kilometres, but still has legs good enough to keep
riding at 41 km/ph. Too bad that the bunch is flying at about 48 kph!! "
Our live coverage of Stage 12 continues:
Part 2 Live
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