Hi everyone, welcome/benvenuti to our last live coverage of
the 91st Giro d'Italia. Yes, it's the last day of school at least. The usual
ride into Milano. Usual? Well, not much like that this time. No ceremonial
stage this year, but an Individual challenge against the clock of 28.5
kilometres from Borromeo square at Cesano Maderno, a town just to the north of
Milano, all the way to Corso Venezia in what is Italy's second biggest city,
but finishing town of the Corsa Rosa most of the time.
And with just four seconds in between current GC leader Alberto Contador
and his closest overall challenger, the white jersey holder Riccardo Riccò,
the final stage is going to be even more decisive. The race is still wide open
... on paper at least, for it's a fact that the man from Madrid has got
far better TTing abilities - notably in easy courses like today's - than the
one from Formigine town. Riccò needs some more than epic riding in order to
stand atop the podium later this afternoon.
At the end of yesterday's stage, the Saunier Duval team capitano
said that "If I had a team as good as Astana I would have the Maglia Rosa now.
I can't blame myself for anything" but also added that "my role in this stage
has been far from good, and this showed. The Giro ends tomorrow and as I said,
we're men, not robots, so anyone can have a bad day. It's obvious that
Contador has better chances than I do in the ITT, but I won't give up. It's
not over till it's over, so I'll put up a nice fight and won't stop until I
reach the finish line. Let the best man win. Beyond results, I'm satisfied
with what I've done in this Giro. I've done my best and it's been a great
race. I've made my contribution to the show. If I can't win tomorrow, I'll
come back for the pink jersey next year." Later in day, Riccò stated that
"it's possible that the overall winner may not be the best man in the race
this year", and we tend to think the "possible winner" he was referring to was
not himself ...
Race "revelation" Marzio Bruseghin is usually a stronger TTist than Riccò, and
can even aim for stage victory today, but his 01'56" gap to the Italian his
hard to nullify, not to mention the two-minute deficit to Contador. Funnily
enough, he will be challenging the other ITT winner so far in this race,
Franco Pellizotti, over both line honours and a spot on the eventual podium.
"Goldilocks" currently sits in fourth place overall just five seconds behind
1510 CEST - We join the stage in
progress with High Road's Tony Martin in the lead at the finish. His time is
better than Mikhail Ignatiev's by 03", with Britain's Brad Wiggins six seconds
1540 CEST - Jens Voigt is at the first
time check (11 kilometres), but his record is far from the top: 13'45", that's
26 seconds behind Ignatiev. Marco Pinotti has covered 20 kilometres already.
And it's a close battle: the Italian has the same time as Tony Martin, two
seconds down on Mikhail Ignatiev. Three-stage winner Daniele Bennati puts end
to his Giro 2008 efforts by clocking a decent 33'09", which puts him in fifth
place thus far, tied with Dany Pate's
1546 CEST - High Road's Marco Pinotti to the finish: 32'45" (av. speed:
52.213 kph). That is the best time so far. He bettered his teammate's record
by seven seconds.
So the current situation is:
1. PINOTTI Marco 32'45"
2. MARTIN Tony - at 07"
3. IGNATIEV Mikhail - at 10"
4. WIGGINS Bradley - at 13"
5. PATE Danny - at 24"
5. BENNATI Daniele - at 24"
5. CUMMINGS Steven - at 24"
8. THOMAS Geraint - at 39"
9. MILLAR David - at 42"
10. SEROV Alexander - at 50"
This situation is obviously subject to frequent changes.
1551 CEST - Denmark's Michael Blaudzun
misses the current top 10 by a whisker. He takes 11th place at the finish.
Switzerland's David Loosli (Lampre) will be next to the finish. But won't make
it in the top 60 places either.
1600 CEST - Jens Voigt comes around
Rinaldo Nocentini and crosses the line setting 33'18". That's the 8th time to
the finish so far, 33 secs down on Marco Pinotti. The German kicked David
Millar down to tenth place.
1601 CEST - Paolo Bettini starts his
last effort in a race that saw him unable to stamp his authority this year.
His Quick Step colleagues had better results at Tour of Belgium: Tom Boonen
won Sunday's last stage, and Stijn Devolder claimed the overall title. More
details to follow later today.
Christian Vandevelde started the Giro with a winning peformance against the
clock in the Palermo ITT. But couldn't seal his Tour of Italy campaign with an
equally successful performance: the Slipstream athlete set 33'07"at the
finish. The 5th best time. His compatriot Levi Leipheimer just began his "race
of truth" challenge.
1607 CEST - The Russian ITT champion
Vladimir Gusev couldn't beat his Italian counterpart Marco Pinotti: Gusev
clocked 33'16" at the finish. That was the 9th time, worse than Pinotti's by
31 seconds. Tiny climber José Rujano has a far worse time of course: 35'48".
He can't make the top 60 places either.
1614 CEST - The Falcon is at the
startline. Paolo Savoldelli is about to begin his last challenge. His teammate
- and yet another Giro 2008 revelation - Gabriele Bosisio is doing fine also
today: he was down on Pinotti and Ignatiev by just a mere second at the
Cormano time check (km. 11).
Morris Possoni had a "easy ride" in the saddle today: 35'16". Paolo Bettini
covered the first part of the route in 14 munutes, 04 seconds. He didn't make
the top 20 spots. Andrea Noé coming to the line.
1622 CEST - Levi Leipehimer is hardly
going to be a factor in today's ITT: the US National Champion against the
clock was having a "poor" 13'43" at the Cormano check, losing 24 seconds to
Marco Pinotti and Mikhail Ignatiev already.
Vasil Kiryienka had the 13th best time to the finish. Basically the same as
David Millar. Paolo Savoldelli is marching towards the first time check.
1625 CEST - Vincenzo 'Shark' Nibali
arrives at the start gate... 130th of the 141 competitors/survivors of the
Evgueni Petrov's finishing time: 33'49". Vincenzo Nibali at the startline.
Gabriele Bosisio drops to spot number eight at the second time check. He lost
some 20 seconds between Cormano and the second check. Basically the same thing
occurred to Kiryienka earlier.
Our live coverage of the final stage continues...
Live Part 2
ITT Start Order
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