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
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
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
1420 CEST - Quickstep's Seeldrayers
were hauled back into the peloton about three kilometres from the Cima Coppi
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
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
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
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.
coverage of Stage 20 continues in part 2.
Stage Profile -
Profile of the Mortirolo
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