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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 13 Live Coverage
By Staff
Date: 5/23/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 13 Live Coverage

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 13 Live Coverage
One more stage as "hilly" as a pool table. One more opportunity for Bennati to rock, for Cavendish to beat him, for Bettini, McEwen, Zabel to open their respective Giro 2008 accounts. Perhaps the last one.

Stage 13 Modena - Cittadella 177 km

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage thirteen in the 2008 Giro d'Italia. Just like yesterday's, today is a pancake flat effort - which covers 177 kilometres from Modena to the town of Cittadella near Padua, in the Veneto area of northeastern Italy. Today is more than likely, to give the fastmen their last chance to make the news before the Mountain Men Festival that starts tomorrow; and maybe it represents the very last chance for some riders in this race, because it's gonna be hard for many of the worst climbers to win their own battle against the steepy slopes and time cuts in the next few days.

But Cittadella will notably provide the undisputed "King of Sprints", three-time stage winner Daniele Bennati, to improve his Giro tally. His fiercest rival Mark Cavendish is the other rider to watch out in case of a massive sprint. Oh well, not the only other rider: Paolo Bettini, Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen are still looking for their first victory in this edition of Italy's GT, so why not try and get it today, before too late? And will Euskaltel's appointed sprinter Koldo Fernandez prove able to pull off a surprise victory? We tend to think he won't, but never say never...

1430 CEST - The sun welcomed the Girini at the start line as the action got underway five minutes before 0100PM local time. Two riders made the gap early in the stage - after earlier attacks, from the likes of Danilo Di Luca and Raffaele Illiano, were quickly brought back - and they two are still ahead of the peloton. "Serial escapee" Mickael Buffaz (Fra - Cofidis) and his colleague and fellow attacker Josu Agirre Aseginolaza (Spa - Euskaltel-Euskadi), broke clear after about 35 kilometres and built a significant lead of 04'18" by km. 48. Their advantage had further ballooned to 04 minutes, 50 seconds at the km. 50 check. It went over five minutes a couple kms later and was further stretched to an impressive 06'15" at km. 56 (121 km to go). The advantage is going up as fast as it's expected to go down when the chase begins for real ...

1445 CEST - Mickael Buffaz and Josu Agirre held their maximum gap over the field (08'24") at km. 66. But the advantage kept going the other way around as the pack finally decided to put in some chasing efforts. Liquigas, High Road, Team Milram and Caisse d'Epargne took turns on the front and started dictating the pace.

Mickael Buffaz and Josu Agirre
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1500 CEST - Latest update: the bunch cut their gap to the two frontrunners down to 05'20" at San Vito (km. 87), near the halfway point of the stage.

1515 CEST - About one hundred kilometres into the stage, the peloton has to make up for a 5-minute deficit to France's Mickael Buffaz and Spain's Josu Agirre. Giovanni Visconti punctured, but the Maglia Rosa shouldn't have any problems in getting in touch with the gruppo again. With a little help from his friend Paolo Bettini, and all other Quick Step riders, of course ...

1525 CEST - The gap fell under five minutes as the race crossed the town of Noventa Vicentina in Veneto.

1537 CEST - gap 4:04 to Buffaz and Agirre, Tony Martin of High Road sets the pace of the peloton at the front, with Gerolsteiner's Rebellin followed by Liquigas, Silence/lotto riders. The peloton is well stretched out as the pace has picked up.

1544 CEST - Gap's down to 3'50", 58 km to This break should give Buffaz even more room at the top of the Trofeo Fuga Cervelo classification - the Cofidis attacker currently leads, but Baliani, his closest challenger, could threaten him in the mountains.

1550 CEST - The peloton go under the Traguardo Volante sprint in Vo; it may have been uncontested actually. Milram's Mirco Lorenzetto, one of them many riders from Veneto in the pack today, is well-determined to give it a shot at the sprint despite his current bruises, a gift from yesterday's fall.

USA Road Champion Levi Leipheimer rides in the peloton alongside of team mate Alberto Contador. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1553 CEST - 50 km to go, Buffaz and Agirre are making a determined effort, though it will almost certainly be futile. The peloton were trailing the two leaders by 03'50" at Vo town (km. 121 / 54k to go). The gap is coming down steadily, but still quite slowly. Chasers are not in a hurry, after all. Now Agirre (celebrating his 27th BIRTHDAY today) and Mickael "I just can't stay in the peloton" Buffaz go under the 50k to go banner.

Danilo Di Luca dropped off the back of the field, but just in order to ask something to those in the jury car. Perhaps if any decisions on neutralizing the stage (in the last few thousand metres) have been made already. It's raining at the finish line after all ... Mark Cavendish will want revenge on yesterday's result - close, but no cigar for the 23-year-old (he had his birthday yesterday).

1557 CEST -  Buffaz smiles to the cameras and gives the cameraman a big 'thumbs up'. He can be satisfied with his accomplishment so far in the stage. And it's far from over: the two escapees hold on to a lead of some four minutes.  The French and the Basque have been away over the last hundred kilometres, and are still taking advantage of the peloton's attitude: the gruppo are not hungry to catch them too early.

Besides Agirre and Buffaz, also a few fans of Emanuele Sella are getting some TV exposure, courtesy of the banner they displayed in support of the "Maglia Verde" (green jersey) holder.

"Attack!" Emmanuele Sella... or not...    Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1602 CEST - The two leaders are riding at 38 kph. They are faster than the bunch by just 1 kilometre. The "distance gap" between them is 2479 metres. 45 kilometres to go for Buffaz and Agirre. The pack has got everything under control anyway. They'll bring the two leaders back whenever they want to.

Indeed, this is the final "easy" day before the final week, starting with the stage to Alpe di Pampegeo. The first real opportunity to see who's going really well. And the last chance for Robbie McEwen: the Aussie is not going to meet the mountains this time either. But his team manager Valerio Piva is singing the praises of Mark Cavendish "Yesterday, in the sprint, that guy in High Road colors reminded me of young Robbie".

1609 CEST - Emanuele Sella broke away from the field!! But just in order to go meet his family and friend. "The Salbaneo" is one of the many guys riding on home roads today. Mission accomplished! The KOM classification leader is going to be back in the peloton soon. In the meantime, the advantage of Buffaz and Agirre fell to 02'40".

Emmanuele Sella visits with friends and family while the Giro camera Moto takes it in. The peloton motors along giving the rider some extra time to enjoy his visit.

1615 CEST - The French and the Spaniard duo are about 34.5 km. from the finish. The peloton may just pace the escapees for the next 20 km and time the catch for the final run into Cittadella. Harmony reigns in the peloton today with Quick Step following a a combination teams who are controlling the chase.

1619 CEST - Milram's team manager Anotonio Bevilacqua was interviewed "on the road" a few minutes ago. He said Zabel is fine today, and obviously vying for stage honours, even if the German just lost a precious leadoutman like Fabio Sabatini.

Cofidis's Mickael Buffaz and Euskaltel's Josu Agirre keep working well with each other, but even they have managed to stay clear for 110 kilometres thus far, their chances to make it to the finish (as successful escapees) are close to zero: the gap was just 02'30" at the 35-to-go check.

1626 CEST - 30 kilometres to race for the duo in front. Another good day for Euskaltel with Agirre up there, after Galparsoro's lone foray yesterday.

Our live coverage continues...
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 13 Live Coverage Part 2

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