Legnano - Presolana-Monte Pora 228 km
1643 CEST -
Vasil Kiriyenka, Alexander
Efimkin, Nicki Sørensen and Steven Cummings hit the Presolana. Simoni's squad
also told their former man in the breakaway (Gabriele Missaglia) to stop and
wait his team leader.
1645 CEST - Kiriyenka on a solo
lead. The Belarusian took some time out of the three other fugitives as
the going got vertical again. Once done with his useful (the lead over
gruppo Contador grew to 01'30") job, Ermeti sat up. It's Nibali,
Savoldelli and Di Luca again. Russia's Efimikin seems to be the only one
now able to stay close to his "western neighbor" from Belarus.
Maglia Rosa group led by Astana's Tony Colom and Andreas Kloden.
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
1650 CEST - Andreas Kloden
drives the 15-strong Gruppo Maglia Rosa, that contains also: Alberto
Contador, Toni Colom, Marzio Bruseghin, Franco Pellizotti, Riccardo Riccò,
Domenico Pozzovivo, Emanuele Sella, Gilberto Simoni, Gabriele Missaglia,
Ruslan Ivanov, José Serpa, Felix Cárdenas, Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Denis
1651 CEST - Great efforts took toll
on Paolo Savoldelli's legs: the Falcon lost contact to Di Luca and Nibali
as soon as they hit the Passo Presolana. But it was worth the efforts: the
lead over the Contador group (now led by Toni Colom) went up to 01 minute,
45 seconds. Danilo is putting Contador's lead in jeopardy, but also
giving Nibali a difficult time.
The man in lime green lost a few dozen metres already. A new Di Luca
gap update coming: 01'53"
1654 CEST - 1,000 metres to the top
for Vasil Kiriyenka. And 12k to the finish. No more teammates for Gibo:
Ivanov, Serpa and Missaglia were dropped. And Simoni keeps himself off the
back of the Gruppo Maglia Rosa.
1658 CEST - The Belarusian rider,
based in the Tuscan seaside resort Marina di Massa, crested the ascent.
The Shark is a gutsy rider; Vincenzo Nibali is not giving up in his
attempt to get in touch with Di Luca. Danilo's advantage on the
Contador group - that now features also Paolo Savoldelli, but no longer
Toni Colom - hovers around 01'50". Cardenas struggles a lot to stay with
them, but Gilberto Simoni is not having an easy time either. Andreas
Kloeden keeps a solid and regular pace. Nobody has dared to attack the
1703 CEST - Sella and
Pozzovivo are with Contador, Riccò etc. Simoni lost some 20 metres in one
of the easiest portions of the Presolana. Noooooo good sign at all for
Gibo an his fans. Van den Broucke and Bruseghin stay with the other
top GC contenders instead. Not ALL GC guys are there though: there's a
certain Danilo Di Luca ahead. The man extended his advantage to 02'03"
Danilo continues his Maglia Rosa bid on the Presolana descent.
KOM sprint results: 1. Kiryienka 2. Efimkin at 01'13" 3. Cummings
at 01'45" 4. Sorensen 5. Sioutosu and... 6. Danilo Di Luca at
06'50". The Contador group came in at nine minutes. It means Di
Luca's stage advantage is up to 02'10". And his GC deficit to Contador
down to just EIGHT seconds.
Kiriyenka on the attack. Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
1708 CEST - 5k to go for solo
leader Vasil Kiriyenka (Blr - Tinkoff CS). Di Luca and ... Vincenzo Nibali
are 2.5 kilometres back. Yes, the Shark managed to close down on Danilo in
the Presolana descent. And the guys could well cooperate to each other's
advantage now. The race is going to be on the final climb soon. Last
gap update: 02'08".
Di Luca basically holds on to his lead in the four-kilometre descent.
The TV cameras are on Gilberto Simoni, seemingly one of biggest losers in
today's stage. Only eight riders left in the Contador group.
1712 CEST - Great news for Di Luca
and fans: the gap reached a new maximum: 02 minutes, 15 seconds over
Contador on the first slopes of the last climb. Nibali had been dropped at
the second attempt. But what really matters is that ... the Maglia
Rosa is only 3 seconds away. Simoni is about one minute behind Contador,
Ricco and the rest of the Gruppo. Di Luca grits his teeth.
Danilo Di Luca nears the finish. Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
And Contador attacks!! Finally the Maglia Rosa made a move. Ricco.
Pellizotti, Sella, Menchov, VDB countered. Bruseghin didn't follow the
move, but managed to regain the Gruppo as Contador slowed down. Now
it's Sella (counter) attacking. He can't make the gap either anyway. Sella
and Ricco lead the gruppo. But nobody has been able to make the difference
there - at the moment. Now it's Ricco's turn to make a move. Sella and
Contador try to follow his move.
Riccardo Ricco Attacks! Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Ricco' made the gap. his advantage to Contador: a good 20 seconds. The
Spaniard is having a difficult time. Vasil Kiryienka looks exhausted, but
the finishing line is closer. Di Luca caught and dropped both Sorensen and
3k to go for Riccò. 600m to go for
1724 CEST - Vasil Kiriyenka makes it to
the finish. And gets a stage victory at last!!
VASIL KIRYIENKAAAAAAAAAAAAAA is the winner.
Vittoria Vasil Kiryienka!! Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Wannabe GC winners Di Luca and Riccò are getting close to the finish too.
1,200 metres left for Danilo.
Di Luca was leading the flying Ricco by 01'20" and Contador by 01'55" with 2
kilometres left. Di Luca chased down Efimkin, he's going to finish the stage in
... 100m to go. here he is. 04'38" down on Kiriyenka. 12 bonus seconds for
him too. The Russian Alexander Efimkin comes in next for third.
Danilo Di Luca finishes after a grand performance. Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Cummings takes a great fourth place. Ricco is 5th, 01'07" down on Di Luca.
BUT CONTADOR SAVES THE JERSEY BY 4 SECONDS!! And the cameras give a
priceless image of Ricco's anger at missing the jersey by such a narrow
margin. Di Luca climbs up into third place on GC, and his gap to Contador is
just about 20 seconds. Marzio Bruseghin (at 02'00"), Franco Pellizotti (02'05")
and Denis Menchov (02'47") follow in 4th, 5th and 6th place overall
1 KIRYIENKA Vasil BLR TCS 6:37:32 0:00 24"
2 DI LUCA Danilo ITA LPR 6:42:08 4:36
3 EFIMKIN Alexander RUS QST 6:42:15 4:43 14"
4 CUMMINGS Steven GBR BAR 6:42:57 5:25
5 RICCO' Riccardo ITA SDV 6:43:16 5:44 Maglia Bianca
6 SELLA Emanuele ITA CSF 6:43:53 6:21
7 PELLIZOTTI Franco ITA LIQ 6:43:53 6:21
8 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen BEL SIL 6:43:53 6:21
9 BRUSEGHIN Marzio ITA LAM 6:43:53 6:21
10 MENCHOV Denis RUS RAB 6:43:53 6:21
11 POZZOVIVO Domenico ITA CSF 6:43:53 6:21
12 CONTADOR Alberto ESP AST 6:43:53 6:21 Maglia Rosa
13 SIUTSOU Kanstantsin BLR THR 6:44:25 6:53 2"
Simoni lost several minutes, and many places in the GC. Also Vincenzo Nibali
bonked late in the stage.
General Classification After Stage 19 (top ten)
1 CONTADOR Alberto ESP AST 82:29:10
2 RICCO' Riccardo ITA SDV 82:29:14 0:04
3 DI LUCA Danilo ITA LPR 82:29:31 0:21
4 BRUSEGHIN Marzio ITA LAM 82:31:10
5 PELLIZOTTI Franco ITA LIQ 82:31:15 2:05
6 MENCHOV Denis RUS RAB 82:31:57 2:47
7 SELLA Emanuele ITA CSF 82:33:35
8 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen BEL SIL 82:33:36 4:26
9 POZZOVIVO Domenico ITA CSF 82:34:35 5:25
10 SIMONI Gilberto ITA SDA 82:36:28 7:18
The podium ceremonies are underway with Contador, Sella, Ricco
receiving their maglias. Ricco's manner is almost defiant in his
acceptance of the maglia bianca; knowing it wasn't the jersey he wished to
slip over his shoulders after the stage. The young gun will get one more
chance in tomorrow's stage to challenge Contador and Di Luca for the
After Stage Interviews:
Tinkoff Credit Systems Sports Director Orlando
Maini said of the stage, "today
Vasil has earned a great victory. Until yesterday, we weren't sure if he
would have another opportunity for a stage win, but I encouraged him to
try, and when he was alone on the Presolana, I told him that this should
be his win and no one else's." Kiryienka
stated, "after my second place finish at Alpe di Pampeago, I
remained focused on a win. This victory I dedicate to our team President,
Oleg Tinkov, and to the managers and sports directors as well. Without
their direction, this win would not have been possible."
Vasil Kiryienka celebrates his
stage victory in "Soviet style": he took a sober attitude, less
emotionally demonstrative than one might expect after the victory, and
even less talkative (but his legs are usually darn eloquent). The
Belarusian also refrained from making bold statements, but couldn't hide
it, no matter how hard he tried: he just was on cloud nine after attaining
his long-time objective.
His main after-stage comments were as follows: "Prior to the race I
told my team managers that I was going to try and win a stage three times.
I took second twice, and I finally got the win at my third attempt. I'm
very happy, and thankful to my team and the directors who have been
standing beside me all through the Giro. I'm happy for our sponsor too: he
was expecting great thing from us, and I hope he's satisfied now".
Riccardo Riccò celebrated his
"nearly Maglia Rosa" performance and time gains on all other top GC
contenders in ... pure "Riccardo Riccò Style". Rejoicing as he proved
himself the best climber in the stage? Of course not! Smiling at the
perspective of putting plenty of time into Contador in tomorrow's
hill-packed journey? No way! The White Jersey's (first) after-race moments
were all about anger and blame. Anger at falling short of the top spot by
such a narrow gap, and blame on his chain and ... the Navigare mountain
"I'm angry for two reasons. the first one is that I couldn't push my 53
front ring in the last two kilometres. It wasn't working, so I had to use
the 39 and it cost me some seconds. And the other reason is that ... well,
I want to ask Sella and Pozzovivo if they were thinking that they could
win the Giro when they paced Contador like that on the last climb.
Or maybe their team director told 'em to do so. They should have stayed on
Contador's wheel and taken advantage of his efforts!". More "cool talk"
came from Ricco's mouth as he spoke like "I want to remind all those who
said that Contador was a better climber than me that I've dropped him in
each hilly stage of this race".
It didn't take long for Emanuele Sella
to strike back: "Riccò is disappointing me. He shouldn't have talked like
that. I was just looking after my own race. I saw that riders like
Simoni weren't having a good day and I made some efforts to improve my
overall position. I think I can do that, even if I know that I cannot win
the Giro. I raced for myself and for the team, not for Contador. I even
tried and attacked him. So what 'bout Pellizotti then? Should he also get
the blame for helping Contador? He was pulling in our group too. Riccò is
Alberto Contador also liked to play
the Blame Game: in fact he blamed the fact today's stage was longer than
it looked in the Giro handbooks by 10 kilometres. On paper, it was 228
kilometres; on Friday, May 30th 2008 ... it was 238 km. And he said he
didn't understand how such things could happen. These complaints aside,
the jersey's wearer admitted that today was a hard day in the saddle for
him, and thanked his teammates for the help they gave him all through the
stage: "they should be given maximum credit for what they have done".
Danilo Di Luca
reacted to today's stage ... in "Danilo Di Luca style". With
lots of pride and grinta. "I think we have proved that our team
knows how to race well, even if in my opinion we have done fine
throughout the Giro. I have to say a big thank you to Il Falco:
Savoldelli did something extraordinary today. Ermeti was of huge help too,
the whole team did a great job. I had said that the Giro was going to
finish in Milano (and not earlier). Tomorrow there's another tappone,
then we'll see what happens in the final ITT. I was exhausted at the end
of the stage, but that was a normal thing to happen after I was on a
breakaway like that for 30 kilometres. I showed those mistrusting Di Luca
than Di Luca can still kick. I may lose the Giro, but at least I tried. I
wasn't aiming for the maglia rosa today, I made my move only to keep the
race wide open".
... and some quotes from IL FALCO!
Danilo's "chief domestique" Paolo Savoldelli: "He (Di Luca) wanted
to attack even earlier, but I told him to stay on my wheel a little
longer. We also told Ermeti to stop and help us. After he took a couple
turns, so that I could recover a bit, I paced him all the way to the foot
of the Presolana. We basically helped him gain as much time as he had lost
in the ITTs".
Thanks for joining us for today's live coverage. Be here for the penultimate
stage of the Giro stage 20 from Rovetta to Tirano over 224 kilometers. Another
day (and the last for the climbers) to challenge Alberto Contador before the
final time trial into Milano.
Tomorrow' profile says it all, with the climbs of the 16.5 km
2,618 meter Cima Coppi - Gavia coming at 38
kilometers (average gradient of 8.7% - max 16%) followed by the 1,854 meter
of the Mortirolo with a leg breaking average gradient at 10% with max
sections of 18%.
If this was not enough of a selection, the final climb of the day starts at
191 km; the 1,173 meter 15.4 km climb of the Aprica, though not as torturous as
the Gavia and Mortirolo the climb of the Aprica (average 3% - max 9%) after the
two previous monsters will be a selective climb for weary legs. Over the summit
the leaders will have 16.7 kilometers to the finish to hold any gap gained by
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