92nd Giro d'Italia - Stage 9 Live Coverage Part 1
Welcome to the Milano Speed Festival
Stage 9 Milan – Milan 163 km
graphic © 2009 Gazzetta dello Sport
Welcome to our live coverage of stage 9... With the Giro
celebrating its 100th year this year the organisers had a bit of dilemma.
Clearly they wanted to design a race route that paid tribute to the inaugural
race but they also wanted to finish the three week battle in the country's
capital city Rome. Traditionally of course the race finishes in Milan and so, by
way of compensation to Milan, they have given the northern city its very own
city centre circuit race.
Stage Nine then is nine laps of a circuit around the city centre
of Milan. It is a technical circuit, twisting and turning through the streets of
the city but also completely flat and, at 163kms, it is not particularly long.
It is this race's version of the Tour's traditional finish on the Champs Elysee
and that makes this a prestigious win. A number of breakaways could form and
gain some time but ultimately they should be brought back by the team mates of
the peloton's best sprinters, who will be working hard to ensure this stage ends
in a bunch sprint.
As Rome is where the Giro will end - to replicate the
first running of the race in 1909 - the usual finishing city of Milan has been
utilised here, in what is surely going to be explosive. Once the action begins
that is - the race is currently neutralised, as several riders protested about
some of the conditions in which the event has been run. Horillo's fall was the
tipping point for many, including the little known American, Lance Armstrong.
graphic © 2009 Gazzetta dello Sport
Yesterday's stage provided drama on several levels - not least Pedro Horillo
Munoz's bad crash into a ravine. Munoz, who rides for Rabobank, crashed coming
off the Culmine di San Pietro and plummeted 60 metres down the hillside. He was
taken to hospital with several broken bones and a serious head injury.
Despite Danileo di Luca holding the Maglia Rosa for LPR it's
probably Columbia having the most successful Giro so far. They have three stage
wins, two individuals and the opening team time trial.
1549 CEST - Danilo Di Luca
is talking to race organisers as the race begins the circuit. It appears that we
are now racing, with LPR still leading the way up front. It's looking a bit of a
Cyclist Touring Club outing a the moment - lot's of chatting in the front.
We join the race in progress after 4 circuits with Nick Bull and
Mark Sharon calling the race from London. They've sped up a bit , with LPR
continuing to lead, though Di Luca is hanging around in the middle of the front
section as I think a lot of people who have visted Milan will envy the riders.
The city is notorious for it's one way system. Even Satellite Navigation
struggles through the one way streets. At least these guys have signs to follow that make sense.
Bruyneel's Twitter - "The riders decided to take no risks and the
organization agreed to have no time for GC. So there will be a winner of the
stage today but nobody will gain or lose time for the general classification.
Good decision!" It's a shame because conditions are perfect for some good racing
- dry and fine weather so far today.
1504 CEST - All quiet
on the Milan front..... I'm finding looking at the increasingly grey clouds is
more exciting than this stage thus far. We need some crazy rider to
attack......where's Jacky Durand?! They just want a rest day - any excuse. It's not as if they've got one soon!
Jens Voigt must be feeling frustrated, but "Breakaway
Jack" really has no equal After the dramatic mountains Milano is looking
bleak. Let's remind ourselves of the problem. The riders are basically
saying that the course overall is too dangerous, with narrow finishes and bad
descents; organisers have already been forced to amend a stage finish - number 6
won by Boasson Hagen.
Lampre have taken the front - taking turns at getting easy
publicity. On that basis Astana will be at the back all day.
1612 CEST - Fabian
Cancellara is in discussion with one of Race Organisers. Luckily the
peloton are on a fairly wide road, the complete opposite of some of those in the
final 5 km yesterday. Right, right they have just crossed the finish line to
start the fifth to last. Averaging about 34 km/h which equates to a 26 to 27
minute lap - yawn.
1618 CEST - 75km to go. So
it's currently Danilo Di Luca leading, followed by Tomas Lovkvist and Michael
Rogers, Columbia are now moving to the front to show off that hideous
kit......oh, and their sponsors. I interviewed the designer of said hideous
jersey earlier this year - nice chap. He explained he wanted to develop a super
hero look, with the mock six pack on the front.
The peloton has bunched up a bit, with some Katusha riders
emerging, and I was wrong, the Astana boys have come to the fore. I liked both
of last year's kits - sure the High Road white top may be considered dull by
some, nonetheless I liked it. (And if any of you readers want lessons on
sartorial elegance, feel free to contact me...)
There is the vague hope that someone is going to take pity on
the crowd and make a race of it. While this stage may be a write off, there is
plenty of spectacular stuff to come, including a mountain top finish on Mt
Versuvius... And more of Rai's English captions, such as 'BUNCH PACKED.
The riders have just negotiated a section of the old cobbles,
part of the old tram network, never a nice thing to ride on; the lads going over
rail work on Corso Buenos Aires, now back on tarmac. They have a couple of tight turns at Piazzale Loreto then head
back down Corso Buenos Aires, Then into Corso Venezia alongside the Giardini
Pubblico, and up into via Moscova.
1631 CEST - The Riders reach
the feed zone. No need to slow down to take the musettes....
1633 CEST - 64 km to go.
The crowds are still looking quite good, and apparently race speed is increasing
- they must be pedaling with both legs occasionally. The last time the Giro held a
sprint finish in Milan, it was Alessandro Pettachi - then at Milram - who won.
He later got stripped of this victory for doing some naughty practices taking
too many pulls on his asthma inhaler, handing the stage win to Maximiliano
Richeze. That's some ironic name! The Argentinean rider was also credited with
Stage 18 of the race, but also found himself in trouble with the Doping
Authorities - he was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.
The average speed for the stage so far is around 35 km/h -
a race between trams on the aforementioned tramways may have been faster than
that! The last lap was done in a shade over 22 minutes. The peloton is passing Castello Storzesco at a leisurely pace. The sun has come out. Just as well.
1647 CEST - 55 km to go. We
just got a view of a mechanic adjusting a brake block, leaning over the riders
to the other side of the bike - wizard stuff. Knowing me, I would drop the hex
bolt in wheel and crash the rider. The pace is now 37 km/h.
1700 CEST - I am betting
that the last two laps will be raced. Speeds are touching 60 km/h at times -
Three laps to go as the speed starts to creep up.
It looks as though tomorrow's rest day will be include meetings
to discuss the Giro's course this year with the teams and riders weighing in on
what they consider some dangerous sections, including having a criterium during
the stage race. Though we would point to the typical finishes in Milan and Paris
as not terribly different than today's stage in Milan. As it is this is going to
be a soft pedal until the final circuit with a sprint finish as seemingly
agreed to by the riders. Watch for the riders not involved in the sprint to back
off in the final lap and take a leisurely ride to the line. Race radio has asked for lead vehicles to speed up.
1707 CEST - The bunch is
still together, the pace increasing and the sun shining a little more. Still,
this cannot make up for the events surrounding the stage. The peloton is riding
like a bus - spread out across the road - though a fast bus at 51 km/h.
1710 CEST - 37km to go.
They've just passed the old Milan arena. Marco Pinotti has had a puncture,
but I don't think he'll struggle to catch up. Pinotti of course won the final
time trial and stage of last year's Giro and is currently Italian TT champion.
As we speak Marco has reached the back of the Peloton. Barloworld, Lampre and
Acqua & Sapone riders lead the peloton stretching it out a bit.
1618CEST Two laps to go -
Adding to today's course controversy and debate is cars parked on the streets
being used in the circuit; very odd can't say I remember seeing that in a pro
race of this level. I think the grievances from previous stages were
exacerbated by yesterday's incident.
Columbia moving up to the front, they'll want to be setting this
up for Cavendish... at least we are likely to see another duel of Petacchi,
Cavendish and the other sprinters today. Quite a few punctures in the last
several kilometers, bad timing; rider had to swerve to miss a car parked on the
course. Team Columbia are starting to stretch the peloton a bit with
Michael Barry on the front, Boasson Hagen some fifteen back, Cav will be there
too. "The fastest man in the world" will want to be up there just in case
there is any split in the peloton.
1728 CEST - 22 km to go.
We can say now that there will be no change in the G.C. today as the stage
result is essentially neutralized other than sprint points and the stage win. We
can hear it now, Are we there yet Dad? "Not for another 40 minutes, son"
OK "Oh, it seems like we've been going for hours!".... Are we there yet
Th peloton is one long line now, averaging 51 km/h, the pace
rises again to 53 km/h... here we go folks.
1732 CEST - 19km to go -
Past the McDonalds again.... 2 km left on this penultimate lap of Milano.
1737 -CEST Last lap the bell is rung -
Misery almost over, Pettachi is currently in the first third of the Peloton, Di
Luca is a long way back. He can do that; remember this stage does not count
towards the GC. Columbia turning up the heat. Saxo Bank are contributing too.
Lance Armstrong will be back there with him.
Hey Jens Voigt attacks! I've hardly seen him on the
coverage today - makes a change. Will he be a hero to the crowd today and make
soemthing of it They've had enough time to familiarize themselves with the
Felippe Pozzato has been spotted way off the back - though
he could be a puncture victim, or waiting for one of his team mates who
1741 CEST - The Peloton are
now traveling at 53 km/h. Saxo bank's man for the win will be Olympic Champion
Fabian Cancellara. Astana appear to be riding off the back of the Peloton; at
least four of the team are there. Cavendish is up with the front men alongside
1743 CEST - 10 km to go.
A Bbox Bouygues Telecom rider has attacked. It's Voeckler. Surprise Suprise! He
only has a gap of around 5 seconds. It's not even his birthday...
1744 CEST - 9 km to go.
He's just being a hare to the hounds Or just his normal crazy self!
Looking after the sponsor, he is. Pettachi is sitting in Cavendish's wheel.
Katusha now pulling. Garmin now come to the front, Wiggins is doing a turn.
1748 CEST - 6 km to go.
Wiggin's is in great form... "On fire" He's been climbing superbly. Thank
god he has better form than his hair If only he'd stop trying to copy Paul
Weller's style! Faster now than ever
Garmin Slipstream is continuing to pull the train, Cav
still has four men up with him, one is Luvkvist, another the beast- Edvald
Boasson Hagen. Ivan Basso and another moped haired man, ole' Frankie
Pellizotti, are content to roll to to the finish. The pelton has split It now
has a 15" split in it as non sprinters pull back to let the fastmen have their
1750 CEST - 3km to go. With
Di Luca content to be in the back group Team Columbia has taken the lead
Garmin still have two men upfront one is Tyler Farrar. same too for Saxo Bank.
We have two Columbia, Slipstream, Saxo then he two more Columbia.
The front group has just passed the opposite way to
the rest of the peloton. No obvious structure, but up front positioning is
everything as the sprinters teams fight to set up their man and control the
1753 CEST - Final kilometre
in Milano. We have Lampre, Liquigas on the front... Now it's Saxo Bank
pulling. Boassen Hagen is leading for Cavendish, Cav is in his
wheel. It's Boassen Hagen's birthday.
500 meters, Cav is going.. Here he comes, Cavendish
is at the front... No-one can get him....
Maaarrrkkk Cavvvennnddisshhhh Wins!!!
It looked like Cancellara was slowly closing in on him, but to
no avail. Boasson made the right decision. The Brit is congratulating his
team-mates who got the lead out spot on. Cavendish looks done in and exhausted.
Meanwhile the second group is being led in by three more
Columbia riders. Di Luca is in that group too. They're over 90 seconds down, but
Race time 4 hours16 minutes and 13seconds the second
group trail in 2:15 later.
Mark Cavendish's win will go in the history books of the Giro
(winning the most boring stage in the tour of Italy's history) and his stage
wins. Cavendish looks knackered after the race, he needs the rest day no doubt.
Stage 9 Results
1. Mark Cavendish
2. Allan Davis
3. Tyler Farrar
4. Matt Goss
5. Alessandro Pettachi
Full results to follow... Though there will be no changes on the
general classification. The next chance of that comes after Monday's rest day on
Thanks for joining us for today's live coverage. We'll see you
on Tuesday for stage 10. Sorry for the outage yesterday, couldn't be helped as
we had a few key computer failures, alls handled now, well as well as we can
predict. Stage 10 takes the riders from Sulmona to the Benevento over 182
kilometers, an up and down day with three challenging climbs on the menu. A day
for adventurers and breakaway specialist on the hunt for climbing points and the
leaders to check the condition of their rivals legs afte 9 days of racing.
Stay tuned to the daily peloton today for a preview of next
weeks racing and a history of the Giro from Giles Belbin.
Stage 10 graphic © 2009 Gazzetta dello Sport
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