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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 13 Live Coverage Part 2
By Staff
Date: 5/23/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 13 Live Coverage Part 2

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 13 Live Coverage Part 2
30 km to go, escapees Cofidis's Mickael Buffaz and Euskaltel's Josu Agirre soldier on with 2:30 gap.

Stage 13 Modena - Cittadella 177 km
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.

Josu Agirre leads Mickael Buffaz in the final kilometers of today's stage.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

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.

1625 CEST - Under 30 km remaining (for the duo up front). The gap hovers around two minutes. The good news is that it stopped raining at the line. The peloton's veteran Fabio Baldato rushed to the front of the peloton to play his part in the chase.

No birthday gifts for Aguirre: Mickael Buffaz doesn't waste a chance to beat the Basque at every intermediate sprint. You're sooooo mean, Mick.

1630 CEST - the gap falls to 1:44, Buffaz drives the pace at the front no sign of weakening. The sun made its way back over the race, as much as over the finishing line at Cittadella town. Two Silence-Lotto men are on the front for McEwen. It's his last chance to prove himself, and likely the same for Cavendish.

Regardless of the weather change, the jury resolved to neutralize the race times at three kilometres from the finish, just like they did yesterday.

1635 CEST - Did we say, "weather changes"? Yes indeed! It's raining again over the peloton. 

McEwen should try and win today also because, with Cadel Evans aiming for that yellow thingy and in need for a team built around him, Robbie's participation in the next Tour de France should not be taken for granted. Even though, according to Silence-Lotto's team manager Roberto Damiani, accomplished riders like Robbie are always of help to everyone in the team, Cadel included; so chances to see him at the Grande Boucle are about 80 percent.

The rain starts to fall as the riders approach Cittadella.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1543 CEST - Buffaz and Agirre have held something back for the anticipated cavalry charge behind. As they head towards the 15km-to-go banner, they are still in front. However, Quick Step are organising the pursuit behind.  Yep, as they shoot through San Giorgo in Bosco, the pack are going 9km/h faster than the tiring twosome in the lead.

Under the 15km-to-go banner, both Buffaz and Agirre are visibly hurting. Around this point, their legs will be screaming. Just 33 seconds to the bunch, so gruppo compatto soon.

Early in today's stage Paolo Bettini took a casual gap of a few hundred meters to ride alone ahead of the peloton in the sun. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Bettini's team manager Luca Guercilena just "confessed" that his Royal Guard on the front of the pack are there just to avoid risks for Visconti and Il Grillo, but with the QS armada riding tempo at 52 km/h it's gonna be hard for us to really believe him.

They DO want to play a crucial part in bringing back the brave duo still ahead. They will escort Visconti to the 3 km mark where the clock stops for the neutralized finish.

1647 CEST - Mickael Buffaz and Josu Agirre share a smile as the latter comes through for one of his last turns in front. 20 seconds now. And shake hands too. That sign can't be misunderstood. Buffaz and Agirre have given up the fight.  The peloton is together as one, heading towards the bunch sprint.

1649 CEST - Gruppo Compatto. Mickael Buffaz and Josu Agirre have been absorbed. The Oscar Gatto fan club is out in force. The Gerolsteiner man has a decent sprint, though has had some problems breaking through in the ProTour scene. He also finished the Giro in last place in 2007, though the "numero nero" was only reintroduced this time round. Italian version of the "red number" of Tour de France fame. By the way, Ermanno Capelli STILL "leads" that competition.

1653 CEST - 9 kilometres to go, and the speed is rising. Forster, Bennati, Hondo, Cavendish... the usual suspects have their teammates helping them up front. Young fastman Oscar Gatto is one of today's 45794526 "home riders", and we would not be surprised to see him give it a try in the sprint in front of his own tifosi.

Three-time stage winner Bennati will be the man to watch, but recent evidence suggests Cavendish has a faster acceleration, despite worse positioning. The race is on the outskirts of Cittadella. The line is only eight kilometres away. Two Slipstream men on the front; Sutton and Dean will also be gunning for a big result here.

 Well, in fact the line is under 1,000 metres away. Only, they'll have to cover a small final circuit after their first passage. Going through the finishing circuit, the motorbike commissaire waves the red flag like a matador after 20 coffees, and the peloton slow a bit for the tricky corner.

1656 CEST - Here they go: the crowd go wild.  as the bunch makes it to the line for the first time. Just over 5 kilometres to go, Liquigas and High Road share the best positions in the bunch. And this is no surprise. The peloton is strung-out. Two Ag2r-La Mondiale men have stretched out the front bit of the gruppo on this twisty part of the circuit. Can they make Use-of Usov? Any wannabe sprint contender not in the front places should make much of an effort at this point.

1659 CEST - High Road sets a frantic pace as the bunch splits in two ... with 4 km to go. Yes, the race times haven't been neutralized yet. Someone may suffer significant time losses perhaps. McEwen moves up late, piercing through the bunch like an arrow on to the shoulder of Bennati. From now on it's all about the sprinters and their leadout machines.

 1701 CEST - 3km to go. High Road manage to stop the Liquigas train derailing their one. Saunier's Pagliarini fights his way to the front of the field.

Cavendish gets the edge over Bennati... Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Millar makes a sprint to further lift the pace.Hondo and Bassayev are fighting for position too. David is done with his job, now it's Greipel leading Cavendish.

It's the last turn ... here comes the final rush to the line. Martin leading Cavendish out
Robbie isn't on the front
It's a TWO-MAN affair again.
And this time ....CAVENDISH WINS!!


What a win! The Brit dominated the sprint today, and claimed the stage by a two-bike lengths or so. Cavendish lost some places in the last kilometre, but was delivered onto Bennati's wheel in the final 500 metres by a teammate and unleashed a fine sprint from the right barriers into the middle of the road. Sweet revenge for yesterday's near miss.

and Celebrates his win.  Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1705 CEST - Hugs all round, and a late birthday present. If anyone doubted Cavendish's ability before the Giro, he has to be taken seriously after this year's corsa rosa...

 2. Daniele Bennati 3. Koldo Fernandez 4. Erik Zabel 5. Julian Dean 6. Mirko Lorenzetto... and 9. Robbie McEwen. Mark Cavendish's winning time was 04h11'07".

Stage 13 Results
 Modena - Cittadella
177 km - 4:11:07 - 42,291 km/h

1 CAVENDISH Mark GBR THR 4:11:07 0:00 20"
2 BENNATI Daniele ITA LIQ 4:11:07 0:00 14"
3 FERNANDEZ Koldo ESP EUS 4:11:07 0:00 8"

4 ZABEL Erik GER MRM 4:11:07 0:00
5 DEAN Julian NZL TSL 4:11:07 0:00
6 LORENZETTO Mirco ITA LAM 4:11:07 0:00
7 USOV Alexandre BLR ALM 4:11:07 0:00
8 TRUSSOV Nikolai RUS TCS 4:11:07 0:00
9 MCEWEN Robbie AUS SIL 4:11:07 0:00
10 BROWN Graeme AUS RAB 4:11:07 0:00

Good sportsmanship from Bennati - when the sprint started, the maglia ciclamino was on the right barriers and could easily have held his line and stopped Cav from coming through. However, he moved to the left and gave the Briton the space to pass.

Koldo Fernandez is having a great Giro, making more of a name for himself. His positioning in the final kilometres has really impressed me; today, he was the man on Bennati's wheel coming into the last 800m. McEwen will pack his bags without bringing anything home. Even without his traditional rivals Cipollini and Petacchi, the Aussie couldn't do much this year. Bennati and Cavendish completely stole the show from him.

The crowds merge into the roads for the podium ceremonies directly across from the medieval walls of Cittadella. Giovanni Visconti collects perhaps his last maglia rosa after a good run on the top of the rankings. The jerseys will not change until tomorrow, with perhaps only Bennati safe in his purple shirt of sprinter with a large lead in points. Sella of course will defend his climbers jersey.

A very happy Mark Cavendish  Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Mark Cavendish, all smiles in front of the Italian TV cameras (who can blame him for that?), thanked Daniele Bennati for his sportmanship, called the Italian "a gentleman" and honestly admitted, with yet another smile, that, had he been in Bennati's shoes, he would have probably behaved differently. Cav finished off his comments saying, "I owe him one."

Davide Rebellin said he regrets making the decision... but he's pulling out of the race too! After racing hard all through the past few months, he realized that it's time for him to take some (well-earned) time off.

Daniele Bennati got quite upset as, in the usual after-race talk show, he was implicitly "accused" of being too kind in the sprint by some journalist, and replied,

"I'm starting to have enough of having my attitude in the sprints questioned. I want to lose because my rivals were better than me, and I want to win because I was better then them. I am a fair sprinter".

This small polemic aside, today's stage runner-up added that, "The finish today was more appropriate to Cavendish as he is more of a pure explosive sprinter than me. I regret losing the stage today, but I want to congratulate Cavendish. And I'm also happy that I could contest the sprint: I was unsure about it until the last few kilometres, because of some calf pain I had at some point in the stage.".

As if the "sportmanship" thing wasn't enough, someone teased Bennati about the lack of true leadout machine in his squad, but the sprinter downplayed the polemics: "I know that we at Liquigas do not have the best possible leadoutmen. I've always known that. But so what? We have won three stages anyway, and I'm satisfied. My teammates give it everything they can (to help me) and even if their (leadout) job is not tailor-made for them, they are happy to do it".

1731 CEST - Watch out, watch out! Here comes an important news GC-wise: as we told you in the ticker, the peloton split in two about 4 km from the finish, before the "overall time neutralization" and news came through that Maglia Rosa holder Giovanni Visconti as well Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Marzio Bruseghin, Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli lost some time to the other top overall contenders.

Earlier rumours said the gap was no less than 01'13", but it seems that was wrong, and the world-class guys mentioned above suffered a much less dangerous time loss of just 13 seconds. Apparently enough to put Andreas Kloeden in spot number three overall. Looking at the final G.C. Kloden missed the 3 km split along with most of the favorites except Gilberto Simoni, Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti along with High Roads climber Marco Pinotti who well may find the 13 seconds of grace some comfort in the mountain stages and a chance to improve their G.C. rankings

General Classification after Stage 13 (top ten)
1 VISCONTI Giovanni ITA QST 57:17:06 0:00
2 BOSISIO Gabriele ITA LPR 57:22:56 5:50
3 CONTADOR Alberto ESP AST 57:24:05 6:59

4 KLODEN Andreas GER AST 57:24:47 7:41
5 NIBALI Vincenzo ITA LIQ 57:24:57 7:51
6 BRUSEGHIN Marzio ITA LAM 57:24:58 7:52
7 SAVOLDELLI Paolo ITA LPR 57:25:02 7:56
8 DI LUCA Danilo ITA LPR 57:25:26 8:20
9 LARSSON Gustav Erik SWE CSC 57:25:37 8:31
10 RICCO' Riccardo ITA SDV 57:25:38 8:32

Thanks for joining us for the live coverage of stage 13. Join us tomorrow for the first stage of the Mountain Man festival as the climbers take center stage and the favorites test each other legs for weakness over 195 kilometers from Verona to the mountain top finish at Alpe de Pampeago/Val di Fiemme. Enjoy the day and have a great ride out there.

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