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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 14 Live Coverage Part 2
By Staff
Date: 5/24/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 14 Live Coverage Part 2

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 14 Live Coverage Part 2
On the Manghen slopes as the attacks split the break...

Stage 14 Verona - Alpe de Pampeago/Val di Fiemme 195 km
1553 CEST - Emmanuele Sella's gap on the bunch is down to 5.50 Will Sella's move bear fruit? The Manghen summits is still over 14 kilometres away. One more "The Salbaneo" showed that he just can't wait. Perhaps the other fugitives, who quickly lost a minute to the peloton, were going too slow for him.

Sella attacks and goes solo. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

He is riding a great rhythm though. The pack was beginning to gain time, so if he wants the mountain points, this was the time to go. Danilo Di Luca is losing some teammates on the Manghen slopes. The Astanas are having less problems than the LPR guys in following the tempo set by Gibo's royal lieutenants. Bertolini doing an impressive job in the pack today.

Overall leader Giovanni Visconti is not having a hard time either. Paolo Bettini is not around to help him today, but another classy riders such as Juanma "the Iron Man from Irun" is. Vincenzo Nibali follow the wheels of Liquigas' co-leader Franco Pellizotti. Sella has created a solid gap on the rest of the breakaway. Sella has 12 seconds on Golcer and 30 seconds on the others of the former break The pack is still about 60 riders strong so the pace isn't that high

The Visconti group. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

45 km to go - The Gruppeto is beginning to form, as Bennatti falls of, and fights back on. 13 degrees celsius (54 F) and 83% humidity on today's stage. Sella has 35 seconds on Golcer and Rodriguez, 50 seconds on the others, more than 1.00 on the World Champion Bettini and the bunch at more than 6.00

Alessandro Bertolini, stage winner a few days ago, Gabriele Missaglia and Venezuela's Juan Carlos Ochoa, all three guys working for Gibo, set the pace back in the peloton. Astana lost just one man so far on the Manghen: Vladimir Gusev. Just look at how the peloton is stretched out. Good job from Bertolini, who seems to have been at the front forever now, and having said that, now Bertolini finally drops off the front.

Riders are beginning to struggle now as the pressure finally starts to show. Maxim Iglinskiy was dropped by the "Rujano group". The Kazakh apparently sat down and kept waiting for the peloton with Contador, Kloeden and Leipheimer. He might well be of help to his three team leaders. Zabel and Bennatti dropped.

The peloton's gap to Sella stays around 07'20". The maglia rosa is currently third wheel in the bunch. Sella has now 7.23 on the bunch. But the Diquigiovanni tempo machine are steadily lifting the pace. Strong riding from Sella; he'll definitely pick up the points for the jersey today.

Andreas Kloeden looks in good shape as he keeps sitting in fourth wheel. Riccardo Riccò is some 20 places behind. The bunch is really getting thinner, the Maglia Rosa off the back, Giovanni Visconti struggles to stay with them. In the bunch it's Possoni who attacks!

1610 CEST -  Sella getting a lot of bottles from the team car. Seems unlikely he has drunk the last one, so perhaps he is getting worn out. Possoni, the young climbing prospect from Bergamo (and from the High Road team) was picked by many pundits as one of the most likely surprises of this year's Giro; and he's starting to show off in his favorite kind of battlefield.

Sella went under the 40k to go banner. The top of the climb is just half a dozen kilometres away. Ochoa the last of Simoni's helpers comes to the front. Who will be the first to open up the fireworks? Visconti has three helpers with him, as he tries to limit today's gap. It will be an extremely tough day. Visconti has Tonti, Garate and Seeldrayers accompanying him.

1615 CEST - The current GC leader is putting in a good defense of the Maglia Rosa. He has lost just half a minute to the 36-strong group with all main overall contenders. And the aforementioned domestiques are helping him make up for such deficit. Serpa has a mechanical. The Colombian, one of Gibo's strongest lieutenants, punctured.

1617 CEST - Sella has 8'15" to the favorites now; he looks like a good candidate for the win today; without accidents he should do it. It's incredible how invisible Simoni has managed to be so far in this race; even today when his team has been laying all the pressure. One is not surprised that the other riders are worrying about Simoni.

The first chasers on Sella are 2.00 down, meanwhile, Sella is 3 km from the KOM. Unlike Gibo, Emanuele Sella is being anything but invisible today: "Il Salbaneo", away over the last 140 kilometres, extended his advantage over the "main peloton" to over eight minutes. The pace has really dropped off in the front group. Dropped off being an understatement, of course; only about thirty riders left. 

The "Visconti Group" trails them by just 50 seconds. The group with all best ones is 08'10" behind Sella. Visconti is doing well; if he doesn't crash and burn on the final mountain, he will defend the jersey for yet another day. Pfannberger looks as if he is toast, and drops off the favorite group.

The favorites group on the Manghen Vandenbrouke leads.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1625 CEST - Gap update: Sella leads his closest chasers by 02'06". The group with all top GC men stays 08'40" behind at the latest check. And the Gruppo Maglia Rosa is a further 40" back. The Maglia Rosa is 9.40 down on Sella. 1.00 behind the gruppo with favorites

35 km to go - 1 km to the top of the Passo Manghen. Dog on the road in front of Sella. Some spectators are just idiots. The group is no more as stretched as it used to be a few minutes ago. A clear sign of their lower speed. Another sign is the new gap update: 09'30". Sella is on top of the Manghen and takes more points for the KOM jersey. He is also on his way to make his day more sunnier with a stage win.

1632 CEST - The question then, is how much of himself did he leave on the slopes of Manghen. If the big riders start moving on the final mountain, he could have trouble. We expected more race action or are they saving energy for tomorrows queens stage and the ITT to the Plan de Corones.

Sella is doing some epic riding, isn't he? It's not over until it's over, we know, but his chances to make it to the finish are growing exponentially. Surely, Simoni must move today, given how hard his team is working. Visconti is doing fine too. He lost just a further 15 seconds to the Contador/Simoni/Ricco group over the past few miles, taking his deficit up to only 01'05".

Steve Chainel won the 4th stage in the Circuit de Lorraine. Jonathan Hivert of Credit Agricole remains in the lead. Stay tuned on Daily peloton for a round-up of that race this weekend.

Kiryienka and Rodriguez are the nearest chasers on Sella at 2.40. Nasty, narrow descent today. So thankful that there is no rain today. Di Luca is really watching the Astana duo Kloden and the Accountant.

1647 CEST - José Rujano came in fourth at 03'00", over the summit, with Jure Golcer in fifth place 03'40" behind the solo leader. Ochoa has fallen off, and Vandenbroeck is now leading the "peloton". Vandenbroeck has had a great Giro thus far. The same Golcer fell in the first part of the descent, apparently with no serious consequences thankfully.

Less than 30K for Sella. Over 35k for the "Gruppo". It wasn't Jason McCartney but Slipstream's Jonathan Patrick Mc Carty who abandoned earlier in the stage. Savoldelli is preparing himself for the descent and has put on his vest. Will El Falco strike on the dangerous descent? The group of favorites is led by a horned streaker with only his underwear on as he jogs ahead of the riders and the snow covered slopes.

The Peloton descends the Manghen.           Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

It's an advantage for Visconti that the favorites didn't attack on the Manghen; the bunch is on top of the climb at about 11.00 down on Sella. Definitely. Visconti is on another good day, it looks like. The gruppo Visconti is on top at 12.45 from Sella. That's about 1.45 behind the Ricco/Di Luca/Simoni/Contador group. Sella's lead ballooned in an impressive way.Barring a catastrophe, Emanuele Sella is going to win today...

1647 CEST - 20 km to go, Sella has 10 minutes on the favorites and 2'30" on the chasers; it's difficult to see how such an experienced rider could mess this one up. In 12 km Sella starts the final climb up to Alpe di Pampeago. Sella's gap on Kiryienka and Rodriguez is down to 1.55. Two LPR riders in front... looks like Bosisio in first place.

In Olympia Tour the penultimate stage was won by Lars Boom. He also extends his lead in the GC. Tomorrow the queens stage through the hills here in the netherlands.

15 km to go - Sella is still riding hard in the front. Impressive. 2'32" between Contador and the pink jersey. Visconti will need to battle for his jersey if he is to keep it. Bosisio is also in with a good chance. The rest of the break that was with Sella are about 2 minutes back from Sella.

Our live coverage continues... Stage 14 Live Part 3

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