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19th Women's Giro d'Italia: Stage 7
 
By Fabio
Date: 7/12/2008
19th Women's Giro d'Italia: Stage 7
 

If some doubts about Fabiana Luperini's condition and her chances to get back to victory in a top race like the Giro arose after Friday's stage, the girl herself took care of pushing all of them away Saturday. The Tuscan was more than up the to challenge in the short (83.8 km) but crucial stage from Macherio near Milan to Montevecchia in the north of Lombardy, featuring the last mountain top finish and a good three more categorized climbs: she powered to a great solo victory that put the damsel soooooo close to the overall title, besides giving her back the "Queen of the Mountains" status.

The only rider somehow able to match Luperini's climbing talent today was the excellent Amber Neben. The Californian was "silver medallist" in the stage, "only" 34 seconds behind the undisputed leader, and stormed her way into the top three spots on GC. Barring a catastrophe, she's going to be on the eventual podium alongside Luperini at Desio tomorrow afternoon. "I'm truly happy. All of us were confident today, and I gave it everything for me and the whole team. I want to thank all those who have stayed beside me these days", the stage winner told the press after making her triumphal ride complete.

Neben took first at the Colle Brianza mountain sprint after 50 kilometres, with Luperini (Menikini-Selle Italia-Master Colors) and Tatiana Guderzo (GS Gauss-RDZ-Ormu) coming in next. When the road kept tilting upwards again, on the Giovenzana ascent, Luperini rode everyone, Neben included, off of her wheels and remained alone on the front by km. 58. She was leading her closest chaser by half a minute at the summit, with Guderzo a further thirty seconds adrift.

The American didn't give up and joined the Italian at the end of the descent with 20k left. Luperini attacked again on the Lissolo slopes and gained a dozen seconds, but the pairing got back together with 11k to go. Neben had to surrender to Luperini's climbing skills when they hit the final climb to the finish: Fabiana sped off on her own and put more than half a minute into her rival in the space of just about 2,500 meters. Best of the rest was Tatiana Guderzo, able to lose "only" a hundred seconds to the Maglia Rosa holder today, while Marta Bastianelli rode to an excellent fourth place result.

Nicole Braendli paid for the efforts she sustained yesterday and didn't make the stage top ten either, dramatically slipping down three places into fifth overall. Giro revelations Claudia Hausler and Ana Sanchis Chafer had some hard time but nevertheless the former managed to stay in the podium spots, saving a thirteen-second advantage on Guderzo. The best young rider's white jersey is still firmly on her shoulders too, as much as Ina Teutenberg is on the way to winning the points classification and wear ciclamino on the eventual podium.

The 19th Women's Tour of Italy comes to end Sunday with a trip of 118 kilometres around Desio. The early portion of the stage consists of a ride of 27 km. through places like Seregno, Carate Brianza, Briosco and Agliate; then the peloton is expected to reach the streets of the finishing town and tackle seven laps of a urban circuit of about 13 kilometres.

Stage 7 (Macherio to Montevecchia, 83.8 km): Top 10 Places
1. LUPERINI, Fabiana (Ita - MENIKINI-SELLE ITALIA) - 02h21'04" (10")
2. NEBEN Amber (USA - TEAM FLEXPOINT) - 02h21'38" (06")
3. GUDERZO, Tatiana (Ita - GS GAUSS RDZ ORMU) - 02h22'44" (04")
4. BASTIANELLI, Marta (Ita - TEAM CMAX DILA) - 02h22'58"
5. HAUSLER, Claudia (Ger - NURNBERGER VERSICHERUNG) - 02h23'01"
6. PUCINSKAITE, Edita (Lit - NURNBERGER VERSICHERUNG) - 02h23'08"
7. SANCHIS CHAFER, Ana (Spa - SPANISH NT) - 02h23'10"
8. LJUNGSKOG, Susanne (Swe - TEAM FLEXPOINT) - 02h23'14"
9 POLIKEVICIUTE, Jolanta (Lit - CHIRIO FORNO D'ASOLO) - 02h23'20"
10 TREIER, Grete (Est - GS GAUSS RDZ-ORMU) - 02h23'23"
... 12. BRAENDLI, Nicole (Swi - BIGLA CYCLING TEAM) - 02h23'25"

19th Women's Tour of Italy - GC after Stage 7: Top 10 Places
1. LUPERINI, Fabiana (Ita - MENIKINI-SELLE ITALIA) - 18h33'43"
2. NEBEN, Amber (USA - TEAM FLEXPOINT) - at 02'46"
3. HAUSLER, Claudia (Ger - NURNBERGER VERSICHERUNG) - at 02'49"
4. GUDERZO, Tatiana (Ita - GS GAUSS RDZ ORMU) - at 03'02"
5. BRAENDLI, Nicole (Swi - BIGLA CYCLING TEAM) - at 03'21"
6. PUCINSKAITE, Edita (Lit - NURNBERGER VERSICHERUNG) - at 05'07"
7. SANCHIS CHAFER, Ana (Spa - SPANISH NT) - at 06'37"
8. POLIKEVICIUTE, Jolanta (Lit - CHIRIO-FORNO D'ASOLO) - at 08'23"
9. BASTIANELLI, Marta (Ita - TEAM CMAX DILA) - at 09'15"
10. ARNDT, Judith (Ger - COLUMBIA WOMEN) - at 10'11"

* Complete Stage Results and Overall Standings here (pdf file)

Points - Standings after Stage 7: Top 5 Places
1. TEUTENBERG, Ina Yoko (Ger - COLUMBIA WOMEN) - 45 p.
2. LUPERINI, Fabiana (Ita - MENIKINI-SELLE ITALIA) - 36 p.
3. NEBEN, Amber (USA TEAM FLEXPOINT) - 35 p.
4. WILD, Kirsten (Hol - AA-DRINK CYCLING TEAM) - 35 p.
5. HAUSLER, Claudia (Ger - NURNBERGER VERSICHERUNG) - 29 p.

Mountains - Standings after Stage 7: Top 5 Places
1. LUPERINI, Fabiana (Ita - MENIKINI-SELLE ITALIA) - 67 p.
2. NEBEN, Amber (USA TEAM FLEXPOINT) - 58 p.
3. HAUSLER, Claudia (Ger - NURNBERGER VERSICHERUNG) - 48 p.
4. GUDERZO, Tatiana (Ita - GS GAUSS RDZ-ORMU) - 40 p.
5. BASTIANELLI, Marta (Ita - TEAM CMAX DILA) - 21 p.

Young Riders - Standings after Stage 7
1. HAUSLER, Claudia (Ger - NURNBERGER VERSICHERUNG) - 18h36'32"
2. SANCHIS CHAFER, Ana (Spa - SPANISH NT) - at 03'48"
3. BASTIANELLI, Marta (Ita - TEAM CMAX DILA) - at 06'26"

* 19th Women's Giro d'Italia: Prologue, Stage 1 & 2
* 19th Women's Giro d'Italia: Stage 3
* 19th Women's Giro d'Italia: Stage 4
* 19th Women's Giro d'Italia: Stage 5
* 19th Women's Giro d'Italia: Stage 6


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