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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 20 Live Coverage
By Staff
Date: 5/31/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 20 Live Coverage

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 20 Live Coverage
The last mountain trip with the Gavia giant, the terrible Mortirolo and the stage finish into Aprica. Follow the action as it happens here.

Stage 20 Rovetta - Tirano 224 km

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 20th and penultimate stage of the 91st Giro d'Italia. The -kilometre leg from Paolo Savoldelli's hometown Rovetta, in the Bergamo area valleys, to the Aprica town in the Sondrio province is the last uphill effort in this year's event. But what an effort: names like the Gavia - Cima Coppi (highest mountain the race) - and the mighty Mortirolo (the one that never gives you leg a break) speak volumes, dont' they? And with the top three riders on GC (Alberto Contador, Riccardo Riccò, Danilo Di Luca) separated by 21 seconds, expect a helluva battle to come on today's slopes.

1330 CEST -We join the race in progress with the peloton together after close to 90 kilometres, and getting nearer to the foot of the Gavia Pass. The action got started at 1041 AM local time (CEST), as a wild bunch of 143 rolled off Savoldelli's own Rovetta. The battle got off to fast start, courtesy of the downhill nature of the route. The bunch averaged 38.7 kph in the opening hour. No attacks came in the first 60 minutes of the stage.

They took a lazy attitude later, bringing the average speed down to 33.6 kph. Until Gabriele Bosisio (Team LPR Brakes-Ballan) launched his solo attacks. But unlike yesterday, the Astanas had no intention to let a teammate of Danilo Di Luca's take too much of an advantage, and quickly organized the chase. Bosisio's advantage over the pack hovered between 10" and 25" for some time, until the Lombard rider was pulled back into the field on the way to Ponte di Legno. More attempts came, with High Road's Morris Possoni as one of the attackers, but Astana, keeping a frantic pace at this point in the stage, didn't let any of them go.

A further move comes, with Juanma Garate, Morris Possoni, Luis Felipe Laverde, Lilian Jegou, Simoni's teammate Daniele Nardello and Ricco's teammate Pablo Lastras. Astana immediately step up the chase. The race is about to make it to Ponte di Legno town, the Gavia is coming.

The Gavia Pass.

Evgueni Petrov (Rus - Tinkoff Credit Systems), Dmitry Kozuntchuk (Rus - Rabobank), Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel - Quick Step), Francis De Greef (Bel - Silence-Lotto), Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio (Mex - CSF-Navigare), José Rujano (Ven - Caisse d'Epargne) made the gap on the first slopes of the Gavia. They were joined by Alessandro Bertolini (Ita - Diquigiovanni-Androni) as they took their advantage over the Astana-led bunch to 40 seconds. Pèrez Cuapio launched a solo attack three kilometres into the climb, but is having a hard time building a solid advantage on the others.

Evgueni Petrov closes down on the Mexican: the two guys are leading the race in the first half of the climb. But the pairing on the front becomes a trio after about 95 kilometres, when Rujano the man from the Andes makes contact with Petrov and Pérez Cuapio. The thinned down peloton is trailing by some 50 seconds.

The lead group thinned as it hits the first slopes of the Gavia.

1405 CEST - Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio has got the best climbing legs in the front group: the Mexican attacks again and puts some time into José Rujano and Evgueni Petrov. He was leading the Venezuelan by 25 seconds at the latest check, with the pack trailing him by 01'48".

1415 CEST - Newest gap update: Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio leads José Rujano by 35 seconds at the summit of Passo Gavia. Evgueni Petrov, Fortunato Baliani and Contador's domestique Toni Colom are 48" back. Felix Cárdenas and Charles Wegelius follow at 01'15" and Seeldrayers, the youngest gun in the Giro peloton, sits 01'40" behind the Mexican solo leader. The peloton's deficit to Pérez Cuapio is 02 minutes, 16 seconds.

1420 CEST - Quickstep's Seeldrayers were hauled back into the peloton about three kilometres from the Cima Coppi summit.

Astana leads the group up the Gavia in the fog and snow lined roads.

1432 CEST - Solo frontrunner Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio (Mex - CSF Group-Navigare) and many other riders are coming down the Gavia. The peloton crested the Cima Coppi 04'54" behind the leader.

Pérez Cuapio is leading Baliani and Colom by about half a minute halfway through the Passo Gavia descent. The average speed four hours into the stage is 30.1 kph.

1445 CEST - Three riders ahead now: Fortunato Baliani (Ita - CSF Group-Navigare) and Toni Colom (Spa - Astana) just closed down on Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio at km. 128. Their nearest pursuer Evgueni Petrov (Rus - Tinkoff Credit Systems) is 48 seconds back. South Americans Felix Cárdenas and José Rujano come next at 02'05". Britain's Charlie Wegelius sits 25 further seconds back.

1455 CEST - Mallorca's own Toni Colom is not very cooperative in the lead trio. Still, their advantage on the Gruppo Maglia Rosa further rose to 05'15".

1500 CEST - Fortunato Baliani (Ita - CSF Group-Navigare) and Toni Colom (Spa - Astana) and Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio (Mex - CSF Group-Navigare) are about to make it to the end of the descent.

The two CSF guys and their breakaway mate come to Bormio, host town of today's "Milano Expo 2015" sprint 90 kilometres from the finish. Pérez Cuapio takes first place from Baliani and Colom. Evgueni Petrov is their closest chaser over two minutes back, but also Wegelius and Cárdenas (at 03'12") stay in between the three-strong breakaway group and the main Gruppo.

1509 CEST - The peloton's deficit to Baliani, Colom and Perez Cuapio increased to six minutes. They made further gains on the pack, driven by four Simoni's teammates, in the downhill portion. Alberto Contador, smart enough to get a teammate in the breakaway, can sit down and "enjoy" the work of Diguigiovanni-Androni.

Maglia Rosa gruppo starts the descent.

1512 CEST - Felix Cardenas, Charlie Wegelius and José Rujano caught Evgueni Petrov. The "chase quartet" is over three minutes back. Efforts from the Gibomen are bearing some fruit: the peloton's gap to the leaders was slightly reduced to 05 minutes, 30 seconds as they ride alongside the Adda river. Di Luca's LPR lads are also adding power to the effort of Gibo's squad.

1517 CEST - Cardenas, Wegelius José Rujano, Petrov trail lead trio Baliani, Colom and Perez Cuapio by about 03'50". The 40-strong Gruppo Maglia Rosa follows a further minute "adrift".

1521 CEST - Cardenas, Wegelius, Rujano and Petrov gave up the chase. They sat up and are waiting for the peloton to reel them in.  The three frontrunners are going fast, but the successful combination of Di Luca's Team LPR and Simoni's Diquigiovanni at the front of the peloton are faster.

1524 CEST - 75k to go for Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, Toni Colom and Fortunato Baliani.  Alberto Contador is saving his legs for the Mortirolo, coming in about a dozen kilometres. He's gonna need them badly when Riccò and/or Di Luca attack him on the climb. He'll need some help from his teammates too. But he apparently has only Maxim Iglinskiy alongside him.

Emanuele Sella is another rider expected to make a move on the upcoming ascent. Perez Cuapio and Baliani could be of help to him, even if the Mexican might well be aiming for personal glory. In a strange race like this year's Giro, you never know ...

LPR's Pietropolli and Diquigiovanni's Ivanov and Ochoa keep driving the field in the descent to the foot of mighty Mortirolo, and keep cutting down their gap on the lead trio. No signs of the "red bird" team (Saunier) on the front.

1536 CEST - Baliani, Perez Cuapio and Colom see their gap come down steadily. It was around 03'30" at the latest check. The trio rides through a section of ancient narrow cobbled streets. The lead trio reached Mazzo di Valtellina, a small town getting international exposure each time the Giro goes over the Mortirolo. It's at the foot of the climb. THE climb.

1539 CEST - Gavia efforts take toll on Pérez Cuapio. The Mexican loses contact to Baliani and Colom as soon as they hit the first slopes. Teammate Baliani keeps driving the Spaniard over what can turn out to be the race decider.

Our live coverage of Stage 20 continues in part 2.

Stage Profile  - Profile of the Mortirolo
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