Stage17: Sondrio - Locarno 146 km
1641 CEST - Mikhail Ignatiev and
Francesco Gavazzi lead the pack by 01'55" at they wind through the small town of
Cadenazzo in the Magadino planes area. Ignatiev attacks!! The Russian made
the gap, as Franceso Gavazzi can't counter his move.
Ignatiev gets a gap and attacks.
He left the Lampre man like he was standing still; well Ignatiev isn't an
Olympics point race champ (2004) for nothing. Huguet the Frenchman was swallowed
by the merciless peloton at the end of the Monte Ceneri descent.
1644 CEST - 25k to go for Ignatiev as he
hits yet another small town in this little corner of the universe: Camorino.
Behind, three High Road men on the front with Cavendish tucked away behind them.
Mikhail Ignatiev is flying on a downhill section, and showing off all his skills
as TTist. Nonetheless the peloton further reduced the
gap to 01'20".
1650 CEST - After Huguet, also Gavazzi
was brought back into the field. So there's only one riders left on the front:
Mikhail Ignatiev. With the 10k-per-minute rule, the Russian doesn't have a hope
in hell. BUT WHAT KIND OF RIDING STYLE IS THAT? Ignatiev is in full time trial
mode bent over the bars with his eyes on the goal.
1654 CEST - 14.8 km to go, The gap didn't
change in the last thousand metres: still 01'20". Chances for the praiseworthy
Russian to make it to the finish stay very small however. The alliance between
Liquigas and High Road continues while Mikhail Ignatiev keeps showing his
peculiar riding style, he looks like a spider on his bike.
1700 CEST - 10 km to go. Ignatiev entered
the last 10 kilometres. The finishing line is closer, but so are chasers, just
45 seconds behind him at the most recent
check. And now it's 40 seconds, with 8K remaining.
1703 CEST - 30 seconds the gap. Ignatiev
is likely to be caught, but you gotta give him credit for mounting such a stiff
resistance against the whole peloton army. The sprinters teams are making an
effort to move towards the front... Milram coming up the left of the peloton.
Ignatiev continues to pound away at the front.
1704 CEST - Eichler is back into the
field. Kjell Calrstroem and former escapee Huguet are struggling to stay in the
peloton on a small uphill section. Jens Voigt puts in a solo attack. But he
can't go far. IGNATIEV CAUGHT
It's "gruppo compatto" now, about 4 km. from the finish. Veteran Andrea Noé
drives the peloton charge. Bettini, Bennati as well basically all main GC
contenders have rushed towards the front of the field. Brad Wiggins took over
the tempo-riding job. Bettini loses some places around a corner and is pushed up
to speed by a colleague. Brad is going like a motorbike. His fellow Brit
Mark Cavdiensh sits in fourth wheel.
Tony Martin pulls off as Greipel and Cavendish take over.
Will it be a case of first into that final corner wins the stage, like
Bennati did in the first week? Wiggins leaves room for High Road's next
leadoutman Tony Martin
Griepel, Cavendish, Bennati and Zabel in flight toward the finish.
1709 CEST - TWO TURNS TO GO Cavendish is
in good position. Bennati in fifth wheel straight behind him.
here is the sprint and ... and High Road rider wins!!
BUT IT AIN'T CAVEDINSH! IT'S ... GREIPEL!!!
2. Cavendish 3. Bennati 4. Zabel 5. Bazayev
Greipel and Cavendish celebrate as they cross the line.
Bettini had to pull the brake at the last turn not to hit the barriers. He
wasn't a factor in the sprint today. Cavendish just gauged things, making sure
Bennati was nowhere. Good, selfless teamwork. BOTH High Road guys raised their
arms in triumph across the line.
The first man round the last corner WAS the winner, but not quite who we
expected! And two riders celebrating at the end of a field sprint is not such a
1716 CEST - Of course no changes to the
top places overall at the end of today's sprinter's stage.
This is Greipel's first win since the Tour Down Under in late January. Andre
steps to the podium, sprays the crowd with champagne and takes his kisses from
the podium misses. Cavendish's selfless attitude could well win him the "fair
play prize" awarded by Gazzetta dello Sport at the end of the race.
Alberto Contador wears the Maglia Rosa on the podium, stealing the spotlight
for the first time today, after the Spaniard comfortably sat inside the bunch
all through the stage.
Official Stage 17 Top Ten
Sondrio - Locarno
146 km -3:27:05 - 42,301 km/h
1 GREIPEL André GER THR 3:27:05 0:00 20"
2 CAVENDISH Mark GBR THR 3:27:05 0:00 12"
3 BENNATI Daniele ITA LIQ 3:27:05 0:00 8"
4 ZABEL Erik GER MRM 3:27:05 0:00
5 BAZAYEV Assan KAZ AST 3:27:05 0:00
6 USOV Alexandre BLR ALM 3:27:05 0:00
7 GASPAROTTO Enrico ITA BAR 3:27:05 0:00
8 DE GROOT Bram NED RAB 3:27:05 0:00
9 SEROV Alexander RUS TCS 3:27:05 0:00
10 TRUSSOV Nikolai RUS TCS 3:27:05 0:00
Official G.C. after Stage 18
1 CONTADOR Alberto ESP AST 72:14:40 0:00
2 RICCO' Riccardo ITA SDV 72:15:21 0:41
3 SIMONI Gilberto ITA SDA 72:16:01 1:21
4 BRUSEGHIN Marzio ITA LAM 72:16:40 2:00
5 PELLIZOTTI Franco ITA LIQ 72:16:45 2:05
6 DI LUCA Danilo ITA LPR 72:16:58 2:18
7 MENCHOV Denis RUS RAB 72:17:27 2:47
8 SELLA Emanuele ITA CSF 72:19:05 4:25
9 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen BEL SIL 72:19:06 4:26
Thanks for joining us for the live coverage of today's stage.
Join us for tomorrow's stage which will favor the long break (and the duel between the break
with the sprinters teams for one last shot at glory). The riders will take on a
mostly up and down course of of 147 kilometers from Mendrisio to Varese with one
category 1 climb 57 km from the finish and two hilly finishing circuits of 17.4
km in Varese. Many of the riders will be looking for an easy stage to save their
legs for the final two torturous stages of climbing and the time trial into
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