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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Live Coverage Part 2
By Staff
Date: 5/25/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Live Coverage Part 2

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Live Coverage Part 2
45 km to go... the attack continues... tres amigos build their gap as a brave duo attempts to bridge to the leaders

Stage 15 Arabba - Passo Fedaia/Marmolada 153 km
1527 CEST - Alberto Contador may not have the best legs, but he's a smart guy. He knew that the top of the climb was not far, and avoided riding his legs off in the chase. He let Perez Cuapio and others do much of the job, and had his own task of getting back in touch with Gibo, Di Luca, Riccò, Menchov etc. accomplished. It's raining over the race ALSO on the Giau descent. The Kloeden group is about two minutes behind the other top riders.

Fortunato Baliani, Emanuele Sella and Joaquin Rodriguez lead the "Contador group" by 01'56". Gabriele Bosisio and his own small bunch trail the stage leaders by 04'45".  About 45 km to go for the lead trio.  Contador conserved his strength well, but Di Luca, Ricco, and Pellizotti certainly got the answer they wanted. The Dolomites do not suit the Spaniard, and its only a matter of time (and the next ascent) before he is attacked again.

1533 CEST - About 17-18 riders - Petrov, Nibali and Miholjevic included - are inside the Di Luca/Ricco/Contador/Simoni/Pellizotti/Menchov/Bruseghin group while Emanuele Sella celebrates his 300th "breakaway kilometre" in the space of just two days. The race is about to hit the Falzarego. More teammates (Golcer included) have joined Di Luca, who looks better in the saddle than late yesterday. The condition of the Giro 2007 winner may not be as good as it was the past year, but his "grinta" is the same. Or even got bigger.

1538 CEST - Baliani, Sella and Rodriguez hold on to a lead of over 02'15". Matthew Lloyd leads Alessandro Spezlaletti and Jurgen Van den broeck. The trio has got to make up for a 30-second deficit to the Di Luca group. 

The peloton hit the Falzarego and Nibali attacks! Perez Cuapio, looking GREAT today, follows. Falzarego is definitely easier than Passo Giau, and Nibali, the same guy having quite a hard time on the previous ascent, now can give it a go at breaking away. The Sicilian and the Mexican put some 200 metres on the group with Di Luca, Simoni, Riccò ... and now also Danilo's loyal domestique Spezialetti.

Szymd the Pole drives the "peloton" on an easy piece of the Falzarego climb. The Lampreman is riding tempo ... did Marzio Bruseghin plan some move? Even a CSC rider has gotten back... Voigt who has managed to hang on?

1543 CEST - No sign of surrender from Emanuele Sella, Fortunato Baliani and Joaquin Rodriguez.The Spaniard is not cooperative to say the least, and the two Italians are getting quite upset at him. Nibali and Perez are flying. They cut the gap to the lead trio to 01 minute, 20 seconds.  The Contador group is about 40 seconds behind them. The lead group is waiting for the steep parts of this climb before the next set of attacks are set off.

1549 CEST -  Vincenzo "The Shark" Nibali gained about 40 seconds on the three front runners in just a couple kilometres. With two teammates of his on the front, Perez Cuapio is obviously doing nothing else but follow the wheels of the Liqui-guy. Menchov sits in the middle of the favorite group, looking impassive. I think the Russian machine will do some damage to the other favorites again today. Is Nibali going for some personal glory or - as it's more likely - for his team leader Franco Pellizotti. who might launch another attack later in the stage?

Should Nibali and Perez Cuapio close down on the three leaders, we would have a five-strong breakaway with THREE riders from the same team. Or better still.. you reckon Nibali is out to reclaim the white jersey from Ricco? Perhaps, but I don't think Nibali has any chances to finish the Giro ahead of Ricco. And I am not that sure about the stage either.

1554 CEST - Nibali (and Perez Cuapio) stopped making gains on the leaders over the last few kilometres. Fortunato Baliani keeps driving the front trio. He seems to have the best legs (in the breakaway) today. But maybe Sella could have enough energies left in the last part of the stage, and give it a shot at winning again!

1558 CEST - 5k to go for the leaders. 35k to go for their closest chasers too. Nibali, Perez Cuapio trail by about 01'15". Piepoli,. Noe and Savoldelli have attacked the Gruppo Maglia Rosa. Their deficit to Baliani, Sella, Rodriguez was 04'15" at the last check. Bosisio follows at 04'50".

Sella takes the points on the mountain, and pretty much secures himself the green jersey. The Gruppo Contador makes it to the summit of Falzarego, some two minutes behind the leaders.  And they take a wet descent.... let's hope everyone gets down safely. Vincenzo Nibali and Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio ride exactly in between, one minute behind the leaders, one minute ahead the top GC contenders. The riders snake down a very steep descent with large drop offs to the left -  time for caution.

1610 CEST -  The descent is long and slippery. Riders should watch out and be careful there. Looks as if Nibali is dropping Perez Cuapio on the descent. The current downhill portion had a first impact indeed: the Sicilian attacked the Mexican and is continuing his chase of the leaders all by himself. Baliani drives the front group also in this descent. Sella sits in second wheel and Joaquin Rodriguez maintains his "wheelsucking" attitude (with two riders from the same team on the breakaway together with the Spaniard, you just can't blame him that much).

Gabriele Bosisio crested the Falzarego. His gap at the summit was 05'30". Bettini, Noé, Savoldelli, Piepoli and Garate came over the top some 40 second ahead of him.

1612 CEST - Nibali is succeding in his chasing bid. He's about to join the leaders. Mission accomplished. We have got FOUR men on the front. Impressive riding by the rider considered by many to be the biggest young talent in Italy.  Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio is also trying to get across to the leaders, and he does. ... three ... four ... FIVE! It's a five-strong breakaway now, with three Navigares, and with the peloton slightly under 2 minutes back.

1618 CEST - 20 kilometres to go, and seven kilometres to the end of the current descent, for Fortunato Baliani, Emanuele Sella and Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio (CSF Group-Navigare) as well as Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Joaquim Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne).

Jure Golcer of Team LPR-Ballan drives the field at 65 kph. They slightly cut the gap down to 01 minutes and 40 seconds. The Contador Di Luca group contains 21 riders. Contador has one teammate only (Iglinskiy), Di Luca has two (Speizaletti, Golcer), while neither  Ricco nor Simoni have got any. The same goes for Menchov. There are no less than THREE Lotto guys in this same group instead. CSF-Navigare's climbing army has got one guy in the "overall contenders" group too: the tiny Domenico Pozzovivo.

1624 CEST - Less than 15 kilometres left for the five escapees. The road is getting less dangerous has it stopped raining.  But "Radio Giro" tells us bad news about Leonardo Piepoli: the Saunier climber, definitely not having one of his best days in the saddle, hit the tarmac. With no Saunier team cars around, he's being assisted by the Quick Step guys.

The going gets vertical again and ... Emanuele Sella forces the pace up front! And comfortably makes the gap. The Green jersey holder, trying for a second stage win today, is all by himself on the front!! 

1634 CEST -No attacks in the favorite group yet, while Sella powered up and away. Il Salbaneo gained about 50 seconds over his former fellow escapees in the space of just one mile. 10k to go for Emanuele. His lead to the peloton stays well over 2 minutes, in fact it's 02'35".

Piepoli update: he is getting some assistance inside an ambulance, but his chances to stay in the race are not 100 percent over. We'll see ...

Bosisio update: the (now former) Maglia Rosa hit the final climb too. But all by himself, and 06'26" behind the solo leader.

Nibali, Baliani, Rodriguez and Perez Cuapio are likely going to be hauled back into the peloton. It seems to be a matter of Sella, now increasing his lead to over 02'40", and the (other?) overall contenders with 7k to go. The race is winding through wonderful landscapes; too bad that no-one in the peloton has the chance to stop and contemplate them.

Our live coverage continues in Stage 15 Live coverage Part 3

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