Stage 15 Arabba - Passo Fedaia/Marmolada 153 km
1527 CEST -
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
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
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
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
Live coverage Part 3
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