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
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
Mickael Buffaz and Josu Agirre
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
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
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
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...
d'Italia - Stage 13 Live Coverage Part 2
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