Stage 5 (Scandiano to Sassuolo 178.5 km
and Damiano Cunego
shared the glory in the fifth and
final day of this five-stage race named after Italy's two greatest ever bike
racers, Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali (sorry Girardengo, sorry Binda, sorry
Pantani). The Australian crossed the line in first place at the end of the
178.5-kilometer undulating leg from Scandiano to Sassuolo, near Modena; the
Italian barely lost in the tight small bunch sprint today's journey came down
to, but firmly held on to the race leadership to win the GC for the second
time - the first one was three years ago. Cadel Evans and Massimo Giunti stood
alongside him on the eventual podium. Another Australian, Team Columbia's Adam
Hansen, burst into spotlight in a much more unpleasant way as he fell and
unfortunately got a suspected broken clavicle.
The peloton on the start of climb of Monte Gibbio. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Sprinters Danilo Napolitano (Ita - Team Katusha), and Greg Henderson (NZl -
Silence Lotto) maybe didn't see the point of wasting energy in a stage they
had zero chances to win, and resolved not to take the start line; neither did
Carlo Scognamiglio (Ita - Barloworld), Alessandro Proni (Ita - ISD), Steffen
Radochla (Ger - Elk Haus) and Alessio Signego (Ita - Adria Mobil).
Smyd and Froome lead the break. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Three other English-speakers and five more fellow racers took part in
today's leg for a reason instead:
Craig Lewis (USA - Team Columbia Highroad),
Michael Rogers (Aus - Team Columbia Highroad), Christopher Froome (GBR -
Barloworld), Johan Van Summeren (Bel - Silence-Lotto), Fortunato Baliani (Ita
- CSF Group-Navigare), Sylvester Szmyd (Pol - Liquigas), Edwin Carvajal Jarami
(Col - Miche-Silver Cross-Selle Italia) and Pasquale Muto (Ita - Miche-Silver
Cross-Selle Italia) set up a multinational breakaway group after 37
kilometers. Their maximum advantage was two minutes and twenty seconds, they
reached it about 65 km. into the stage. But just Szmyd and Froome remained up
front as the Monte Gibbio climb split the front group: Van Summeren, Lewis,
Michael Rogers and Carvajal were captured first, Baliani and Muto fell next.
The Kenyan-British escapee and his Polish colleague were still ahead by some
40 secs at their second passage of the line instead, but had to give up at km.
139, with 39k to go.
Savini and McCartney on the attack. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
As soon as they were brought back a new pairing went on the move: America's
Jason McCartney (Team Saxo Bank) and Italy's Filippo Savini (CSF Group-Navigare)
rapidly built a 30-second advantage. McCartney's climbing legs were not good
enough anyway, and the boy was hauled back by the gruppo as the race
hit Monte Gibbio again; Enrico Rossi (Ita - Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce)
replaced him on the front at the start of the final circuit's third and last
lap, but neither such duo was given green light, no matter how cooperative
toward each other they were.
(Most of) the bunch, driven mainly by Team Columbia- High Road, was
together again with 10 kilometers yet to be covered, when the Monte Gibbio
"wall" and its gradients going up to 16-18 percent showed up for the third
time, and Damiano Cunego showed off: the Lampre-NGC rider put in a strong
attack after Austria's star rider Christian Pfannberger (Team Katusha) had
forced the pace during much of the climb.
Cunego Attacks! Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Despite his two previous stage victories, the Italian looked like he was
still eager to put a victory in the bag, but so was Cadel Evans, vying for his
"first time" in this year's race, and so was José Serpa Pérez. Both the man
from OZ and the Colombian managed to get across to the Italian at the top the
ascent - where Serpa secured the KOM title by snatching third place there -
and Giovanni Visconti made to most out of his descending skills to join the
The newly formed group turned into a ten-man entity as aforementioned
Christian Pfannberger plus Morris Possoni (Ita - Team Columbia-High Road),
Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita - CSF Group-Navigare), best young rider Robert
Kiserlovski (Cro - Amica Chips-Knauf), Giampaolo Caruso (Ita - Ceramica
Flaminia-Bossini Docce) and Massimo Giunti (Ita - Miche-Silver Cross-Selle
Italia) cut the gap down in the last few miles. But no "newcomer" could
eventually keep Evans and Cunego from starring in a new one- a clash for
line honors. And this time, finally, the Aussie was successful. Visconti
launched the sprint first, but a bit too early, and both Cadel and Damiano
Cunego, Evans and Visconti approach the finish line. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Cadel enjoys his first winners podium of 2009. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Comments from both of today's "main characters", to start with top player
Cadel Evans of course: "This is my own first victory of the season, and
my team's too. It's a pity that we had to wait until late March, but when you
keep working, work pays off sooner or later. Cunego's early season form has
never looked as good to me as it has now. He came back from the Spanish
altitude training in great shape, looks well-trained and goes fast in the
sprint, on the climbs, everywhere. Lampre had poor lck with the weather in the
Team TT, but he has been on the front almost all the time in this race, I
think he's one the world's best riders now. I finished very close to him in
the mountain stage the other day, maybe my legs weren't good enough, perhaps I
made some tactical mistakes too. I come here every season in order to prepare
for the April challenges, and I'm always pleased when I get some good results
here. Every year, my first goal is the Tour de France, but just like Damiano I
enjoy giving it a shot at the Ardennes Classics. The Worlds? Well, the route
is just five kilometers far from my "home" in Europe; and it is challenging,
with some climbing inside, so what can I say ... I'll be there!"
On with the race winner. Damiano Cunego said that: "To be honest I
didn't even aim at contesting the sprint, but happened to be in front with a
few others, so I did. What really mattered to me was to make it to the finish
and maintain the race leadership. The sprint even turned out to be dangerous
because I saw all the photographers in front of me and realized that I could
end up against them, it would have taken just a second, so I had to pull the
brake. The most important thing is that I didn't fall".
And again "I came to this race with the intention to see how good I am at
this point, the first two days were very useful to me, also because the stages
suited my skills, so I managed to do fine. Success came a bit unexpected, but
this bolsters my morale a lot for the next races. We've done a good job thus
far, but it's not over, we have to continue like that and build something
important for the future instead of dwelling on the victories I got. The Giro?
Everyone keeps asking me about it, but I'm mainly focused on the Classics,
those are my main objectives, the Giro will come later, and with other riders
as big favorites, not me".
Stage 5 Podium: Damiano Cunego, Cadel Evans and Giovanni Visconti
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Stage 5 (Scandiano to Sassuolo, 178.5 km): Top 10 Places
1. Cadel Evans (Aus - Silence-Lotto) - 04h19'41" (10")
2. Damiano Cunego (Ita - Lampre-NGC) - s.t. (06")
3. Giovanni Visconti (Ita - ISD) - s.t. (04")
4. Christian Pfannberger (Aut - Team Katusha) - s.t.
5. Massimo Giunti (Ita - Miche-Silver Cross-Selle Italia) - s.t.
6. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro - Amica Chips-Knauf) - s.t.
7. José Serpa Pérez (Col - Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) - at 04"
8. Morris Possoni (Ita - Team Columbia-High Road) - at 09"
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita - CSF Group-Navigare) - at 09"
10. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita - Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce) - at 09"
* Complete stage results
HERE (pdf file).
Columbia's Adam Hansen receiving help after his crash. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Coppi & Bartali Week - Final GC: Top 10 Places
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita - Lampre-NGC) - 18h48'10"
2. Cadel Evans (Aus - Silence-Lotto) - at 24"
3. Massimo Giunti (Ita - Miche-Silver Cross) - at 38"
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro - Amica Chips-Knauf) - at 40"
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita - ISD) - at 01'01""
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita - CSF Group-Navigare) - at 01'17"
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol - Miche-Silver Cross) - at 01'29"
7. Morris Possoni (Ita - Team Columbia-High Road) - at 01'20"
9. Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez (Col - Barloworld) - at 01'41"
10. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita - Flaminia-Bossini Docce) - at 01'43"
* Full final standings
HERE (pdf file).
Settimana Internazionale di Coppi & Bartali -
1999 - Romans Vainsteins (Lat)
2000 - Paolo Bettini (Ita)
2001 - Ruslan Ivanov (Mol)
2002 - Francesco Casagrande (Ita)
2003 - Mirko Celestino (Ita)
2004 - Giuliano Figueras (Ita)
2005 - Franco Pellizotti (Ita)
2006 - Damiano Cunego (Ita)
2007 - Michele Scarponi (Ita)
2008 - Cadel Evans (Aus)
2009 - Damiano Cunego (Ita)
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