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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 20 Live Coverage Part 3
 
By Staff
Date: 5/31/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 20 Live Coverage Part 3
 

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 20 Live Coverage Part 3
The last climb o
f the Aprica... Attacks in the favorites group as Sella attacks and Simoni chases

Stage 20 Rovetta - Tirano 224 km
1657 CEST - New gap: Gibo is just 13 seconds back. But the gruppos deficit to Sella went up to 54 seconds.  Needless to say, Contador isn't riding his legs off in the chase to Sella and Simoni: a top place from the man in green and Gibo would be truly welcomed, as it would keep Ricco from getting bonus seconds.


In the crowds the rosa group nears the summit. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1701 CEST - Simoni is not giving up in his attempt to close down on Sella.  But it's gonna be a hard task. The gap is 35 seconds now. In the meantime, all the worst climbers reached the top of the mighty Mortirolo ... about half an hour after Colom. The current riding is all to the advantage of Sella, Contador and Di Luca. Joaquim Rodriguez is back into the Maglia Rosa group.

1704 CEST - Despite the "easy" attitude of the Bruseghin/Contador group, Danilo Di Luca keeps losing time. Am I anticipating developments too much in saying that the battle for the Maglia Rosa is about done?  Ricco can of course take bonus seconds, but it seems unlikely that he can defeat Contador in an ITT. The road kept tilting upwards again, and Danilo and Karpet's gap kept going up again: 01'40".

The latest gaps are as follow: Sella leads Simoni by JUST 44 seconds. The Gruppo is 01'14" back. Di Luca is 02'43" adrift. Sella leads with 54 seconds and is flying up the climb. The fat woman is singing a requiem for Ricco's hopes of victory, unless he somehow miraculously manages to drop Contador on this relatively easy mountain.

1708 CEST - 16.6 km to go Legendary team manager Gianni "the Prince" Savio is yelling at Simoni from the Diquigiovanni team car. But Gibo has got more grinta than legs at the moment. At least if compared to Sella! Il Salbaneo is coming to the last kilometre of the "gentle" Aprica.  CSF's manager Roberto Reverberi looks serene in the team car. Who wouldn't in a situation like this?

1712 CEST - Sella makes it to the Aprica KOM sprint (cat. 2, km 207.3), His advantage on Simoni is over the minute. Sella is clearly enroute to his third stage victory. And Di Luca is gone, gone, gone... The KOM leader classification leader (and winner, barring a catastrophe) let his legs give the best possible response to the harsh comments Riccardo Ricco' made on him yesterday. The white jersey holder has kept his legs silent today instead.

The KOM leader classification leader (and winner, barring a catastrophe) let his legs give the best possible response to the harsh comments Riccardo Ricco' made on him yesterday. The white jersey holder have kept his legs silent today instead. Ricco traded a few words with Pellizotti a few seconds ago, but what they said goes behind our knowledge. Di Luca is now 4'15" behind Sella, and he will drop like a stone on the GC tonight.


Sella on the attack for the finish. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1717 CEST - Gibo stays in nowhere land, 26 seconds clear of the Gruppo, but far behind to solo leader. Bruseghin is riding hard in the current downhill section of the route. The Lampreman is on a podium mission. With the Aprica gone, Ricco's aim for the stage is to try and get in on second or third. So at least he will have a chance to touch the pink jersey for a night. Ricco is fast in such small groups, so he stands a good chance. Of course, if he takes second, he will have to hope that Contador does not take third.

Ricco should be careful though: Joaquim Rodriguez attacked the Gruppo in the descent and took 15 seconds out of them already. In this case Ricco wouldn't take any bonus even if he won the small bunch sprint. It seems Ricco will muff that opportunity too. 

1722 CEST - 10k to go for Emanuele Sella. Gibo is 58 seconds back. Rodriguez follows at 01'15" And the Gruppo Maglia Rosa at about 01'35". A move from Bruseghin and Valjavec put Riccardo Ricco under pressure: Contador followed them while the best young rider couldn't and the gruppo split in two halves for some them. But all of them were quickly together again.


Gibo chases Sella. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1725 CEST - Both Sella and Simoni take some risks on the final descent to the line. The Gruppo Maglia Rosa is far distant: the gap is 01'53". Salbaneo is doing some great things also on the GC side of the matter.

1728 CEST - 5 km to go Kinda "Swan's Song" for Gibo, possibly at his last Giro d'Italia. His chances for stage victory are over, and also his second place result is in jeopardy: Joaquim Rodriguez is coming.

THREE TO GO FOR SELLA, and the tailwind is playing into his hands.  Ricco asked for help from Van den Broeck, but he isn't getting any. Gotta say that his usual "holier than thou" attitude is not helping the Italian climber either.

1732 CEST - But today's stage is not about Ricco at all. It's about the upcoming stage winner: EMANUELE SELLA! Only a few metres to go for the man in green. Here he comes, his arms raised, and sets the winning time 06h52'45"

EMANUELEEEEEEE  SELLAAAAAAAA IS THE WINNER!


Vittoria Emmanuele Sella!!! Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Tough Gibo keeps the Spaniard at bay and takes second about one minute behind.  Rodriguez comes in third And Ricco gets a useless victory in the sprint for fourth place. The Gruppo Maglia Rosa came in at 01'30" .  Di Luca coming way behind. Karpets is pacing him to the line, over 5 minutes behind Sella. Vandenbroeck and Pozzovivo fell during the sprint. But came across the line nonetheless. They were credited with the same time as all others in the Gruppo.


Ricco starts to sprint as Vandenbroeck and Pozzovivo go down behind them.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

As a result of today's battle, Alberto Contador keeps the jersey with a 4-second margin on  Riccardo Ricco. Marzio Bruseghin climbed his way to the podium places, some two minutes down on GC. Franco Pellizotti follows at 02'05", with Sella now up to fifth at 02'35".Menchov still in the top six. The biggest loser of the day was Danilo Di Luca, who slipped four places into seventh.

Sella on the podium giving showers to the audience and podium girls as he celebrates his 3rd win. Alberto Contador follows, once again having defended his race lead and accepts his maglia rosa; only tomorrows 28.5 kilometer time trial and 4 seconds stand between him and victory in Milano. Riccardo Ricco accepts his maglia bianca jersey with an insurmountable gap in the U24 young guns competition. Emmanuele Sella, Riccardo Ricco, and Daniele Bennati are the certain winners of their respective maglias in Milan having large gaps over their rivals in the competitions.

First after-race words from Emanuele Sella: "I'm speechless. I accomplished something great. I want to thank my teammates - Pérez Cuapio, Baliani, Dall'Antonia, Pozzovivo ... all of them - for this victory. I think I made history today".

Thanks for joining us for the stage 20 live coverage. Join us for the final stage of the 91rst Giro d'Italia where the time trial will decide the final outcome of 21 days of racing. The stage runs from Cesano Maderno to Mailand over 28.5 kilometers of a slightly down hill course. The times should be fast with the final duel between Alberto Contador and Riccardo Ricco separated by only 4 seconds. Another battle will be on as Marzio Bruseghin will defend the final step on the podium. Bruseghin started out this year looking to better his previous best of 7th, he looks certain to achieve that goal; but finishing on the podium will be his target.

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