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By Fabio
Date: 5/10/2003
Welcome to the DP's coverage of the opening stage of the 86th Giro d'Italia. The race starts with the "Salento Circuit", a 201-km ride on predominantly flat roads, finishing into the city of lecce (in the South-eastern region of Apulia). A stage that gives World Champion Mario Cipollini the chance to equal Alfredo Binda's record of stage victories in the "Corsa Rosa". Mr. Binda, the first "Campionissimo" in the history of Italian cycling, so strong that he got even paid not to take part in a Giro edition, won 41 stages in the 20s and 30s, while the "Lion King" has won "only" 40 times so far.

Fassa's Alessandro Petacchi, Lotto's Aussie Robbie McEwen and Alessio's youngster Angelo Furlan are the main suspects to deny "Super Mario" the satisfaction of equalling the record today.

The stage and the whole race kicked off at 12h23 local time. Alessio's Ruggero Marzoli, a podium finisher at Italy's second biggest stage race, the Tirreno-Adriatico, back in the last month of March, didn't take the start due to health problems he suffered last night. Bad news for a team and a rider that could have among the protagonists of the race.

The very very first part of the stage was marked just by the crash involving Mercatone Uno's Spaniard Daniel Clavero (who is not new to hitting the Italian ground, as he crashed more than once in past Giros). No serious consequences for him, also a top 10 GC finisher in the past.

The competition got underway in Lecce (for the second time in 32 years) under sunny skies, and was off to a not so fast start. Strangely enough, it was the white an green jersey of the Kelme guys that were seen up front setting the pace in the early part of the stage. The peloton covered 32.9 kilometres, in the first hour of racing. With other teams (including Panaria-Fiordo) and riders (among them Mercatone's Sylvester Szmyd) replacing Kelme at the front of the peloton, the average speed went up to 33.950 km/h after the second hour.

85 km. into the race, when the peloton hit the town of patú, it was "Gruppo Compatto" again. And things didn't change in the following kilometres, with the average speed being of 34.700 km/h, and still some 100 km. to go.

At the km. 107 mark, Gerolsteiner's Georg Totsching tasted the italian asphalt. But thankfully the Austrian rider didn't suffer any serious consequences and was immediately back on his bike.

1600 - With 75 km. to go, and a little more than 03h35' of racing, the peloton, riding in avery hot climate, is still regrouped.

Peace Race update: A few minutes ago, Frischkorn (Saturn) was on a solo break in the peace race - there are 45 km to go and he has 2'15'' on the peloton.

Back to the Giro:

1610 - Peloton regrouped again, and many riders taking turns at the front of the peloton.

1612 - The first sprint (Intergiro) of the race is nearing, and the teams are preparing their trains.

1615 - Mario Cipollini doesn't want to take any risk and remains in the first places of the bunch.

1616 - Despite crashing while training two days ago (and getting three stitches) Fassa's Matteo Tosatto did take the start. As for how fit he is, well, that's a whole different matter.

1619 - The skies over the peloton are cloudy now, but the temperature is well above 30°C.

1620 - First attack of the Giro!!! Courtesy of Elio Aggiano (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé).

1622 - Elio Aggiano, recent winner of a Giro del Trentino stage, is a local rider from the Apulia region. His whole family is at the finsihing line today.

1623 - Interviewed by italian Tv, Cipo's Team Manager Antono Salutini said he hopes for a clean spint, and obviously for Mario's victory.

1626 - Elio Aggiano was caught by peloton.

1632 - A crash in the peloton while taking a turn involved Mercatone's neopro Ivan Ravaioli and Lampre's veteran Jan Svorada.

1634 - Both Svorada (immediately) and Ravaioli (a while later) got back on their bikes after the crash.

1636 - Asked about the reasons why Ruggero Marzoli didn't take the start, Alessio's Team Manager Bruno Cenghialta said the rider was too tired and not competitive enough to take the start.

Naudusz, Picolli Gasparre in the Intergiro: 1, 2, 3.

1639 - A small breakaway group just formed, including British Champion Julian Winn.

1641 - Besides Ivan Ravaioli, who crashed a few minutes ago, another Italian rider has been dropped: Formaggi Pinzolo's Fortunato Baliani.

1642 - Baliani is now being helped by his teammates, whereas neo-pro Ravaioli is far behind.

Peace Race: Frischkorn is caught by the peloton with 10 kilometres to go.

Giro: 1643 - two more guys distanced themselves from the peloton: Denmark's Frank Hoj (Team fakta) and Italy's Cristiano Frattini (Tenax).

1644 - Hoj and Frattini put some hundred meters into the peloton.

1645 - Top 5 Places for the Intergiro:
1. Andris Nauduzs (Lat - CCC-Polsat)
2. Mariano Piccoli (Ita - Lampre)
3. Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita - Mercatone Uno-Scanavino)
4. Biagio Conte (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé)
5. Moreno Di Biase (Ita - Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé)

1649 - 40 km. to go for the two leaders: Hoj and Frattini opened a 20" gap, while Ivan Ravaioli is now back into the peloton after his crash.

1654 - Cristiano Frattini has been a pro rider since 1996, but has never won a pro race. Not a relative of former pro Francesco Frattini (Giro stage winner in 1995).

1656 - And not a relative of young rider (and Baby Giro winner in 2001) Davide Frattini either, although all of them are from the Varese area of Lombardy.

Peace Race: Hondo continues his winning ways and takes the sprint ahead of Hasselbacher and Lewandowski!

1657 - Frank Hoj and Cristiano Frattini are now leading the peloton by 27".

Guest commentary from Anita: Hoj's big hero is Museeuw, he really really really likes cobblestones and his favourite race/team director so far is Alain Gallopin (now sort of unemployed with Coast...)

1659 - The gap between the leaders and the peloton went up to 36".

Pantani, when being asked by a French reporter about his favourite win: "That one still has to come!!!"

1701 - The peloton is now heading for the town of Calimera, one of the few hamlets in Italy were Greek language is officially spoken (KALIMERA = Good Morning in Greek).

McEwen has a good driving force to win today, his son Ewan today may blow out his first candle...

1702 - the gap has increased to more than 40".

McEwen has two main helpers in the Lotto-Domo team, Aart Vierhouten as a road captain and fellow Ozzie Nick Gates.

1708 - Both Cipo's and McEwen's teammates are now leading the chase, but the gap has gone up to 45".

Gates did ride one bad spring season, even had to let the bunch go when they all had to "p" (faire une pipi, nature call, whatever...). And Vierhouten is the one to bring McEwen as close to Cipo as can be in the last k.

1709 - The peloton left the town of Melendugno behind and is now closer to the "greek" hamlet of Cailmera, in the "Grecia Salentina" area of Apulia.

...and since Cipo and McEwen are such great friends after Zolder last year (if only looks could kill...) I bet they both will enjoy that.

1710 - Italian TV commentators said that some Fassa riders they talked to promised that the Domina Vacanze train will not be the only one seen up front in the very last part of today's stage.

In the years Cipo has been around in the Giro there have been 80 sprints (some of them when Cipo was not competing); Cipo won 40 of them, finished second 10 times and third 5 times...

1715 - Now the gap between Hoj and Frattini and the rest of the peloton is only 25". Their break looks doomed.

1717 - Hoj and Frattini lost a further second. Their lead over the chasing bunch is now reduced to 24", with less than 20k to go.

1718 - Also some Fassa riders moved up front to help the Lottos and Dominas doing the chasing work.

1719 - The gap is now down to 20".

1720 - 15k to go for the peloton, that is now 19" down to Fakta's Frank Hoj and Italy's Cristiano Frattini of Tenax.

1723 - the average speed is now of 37.547 km/h, while the peloton is 15" down to the leading pair, and Pantani is in the top places of the bunch.

1724 - Whereas good ol' Roberto Conti (38) keeps himself at the back of the peloton, as he always been used to...

1725 - After staying clear for 35 km. and opening a maximum gap of 45", Frank Hoj and Cristiano Frattini have been caught by the peloton.

1726 - So it's "gruppo compatto" again with only 10 kms. left.

Lotto-Domo nicely riding along the Domina Vacanze train...and so does Fakta.

1728 - 4 Men in Zebrato strips now leading the bunch, while Mercatone's Fontanelli just punctured.

Fakta has one fast guy amongst them with Kurt Asle Arvesen, former world champion U23 in San Sebastian.

1729 - Ivan Ravaioli is new helping Fontanelli to regain the bunch.

1730 - Now it's 4 of McEwen's teammates leading the chase.

1731 - With 7k to go, even the Caldirolas are preparing their train, for sprinter Gabriel Balducci.

5 km to go.

With three k to go, Scirea takes over the lead of the bunch to set the pace even higher.

1735 - Another crash, this time for Croatia's Miholjevic (Alessio); no serious consequences for him either.

1736 - 2k to go, and everyone preparing for the sprint.

1737 - Cipo is on third place now.

1738 - 1 to go Scirea and Lombardi now leading the train. time for the sprint !!! Brown is sticking to Cipos wheel.

For the first time at the Giro, Alessandro Petacchi edges out Mario Cipollini!

1. Petacchi
2. Cipollini
3. Furlan
4. Galvez
5. McEwen
6. Brown
7. Casper
8. Pieri

And in Petacchi's own words today was "the best day of his career"!!!!

Just in: 4th stage in Dunkerque - Wimereux-Boulogne sur Mer: Christophe Moreau wins and is new leader (takes jersey from Frederic Finot).

Thanks for joining us for Stage One of the Giro d'Italia. More news later, and be sure to join us tomorrow for Stage 2!

Official Results
1  PETACCHI Alessandro  ITA  FAS  5:16:03  38158Km/h
2  CIPOLLINI Mario  ITA  DVE  s.t. 
3  FURLAN Angelo  ITA  ALS  s.t. 
4  GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac  ESP  KEL  s.t. 
5  MC EWEN Robbie  AUS  LOT  s.t. 
6  BROWN Graeme Allen  AUS  PAN  s.t. 
7  CASPER Jimmy  FRA  FDJ  s.t. 
8  PIERI Dario  ITA  SAE  s.t. 
9  SVORADA Jan  CZE  LAM  s.t. 
10  GASPARRE Graziano  ITA  DNC  s.t. 
11  BONGIORNO Guillermo  ARG  PAN  s.t. 
12  RIEBENBAUER Werner  AUT  FAK  s.t. 
13  DI BIASE Moreno  ITA  FPF  s.t. 
14  PICCOLI Mariano  ITA  LAM  s.t. 
15  CARRARA Matteo  ITA  DNC  s.t. 
16  SACCHI Fabio  ITA  SAE  s.t. 
17  FORSTER Robert  GER  GST  s.t. 
18  NAUDUSZ Andris  LAT  CCC  s.t. 
19  BALDUCCI Gabriele  ITA  VIN  s.t. 
20  TRENTI Guido  USA  FAS  s.t. 
21  CONTE Biagio  ITA  FPF  s.t. 
22  BERNUCCI Lorenzo  ITA  LAN  s.t. 
23  LOMBARDI Giovanni  ITA  DVE  s.t. 
24  KHALILOV Mykhaylo  UKR  CLM  s.t. 
25  LUNGHI Denis  ITA  ALS  s.t. 
26  GOBBI Michele  ITA  DNC  s.t. 
27  HONCHAR Serhiy  UKR  DNC  s.t. 
28  BACKSTEDT Magnus  SWE  FAK  s.t. 
29  SIMONI Gilberto  ITA  SAE  s.t. 
30  PELLIZOTTI Franco  ITA  ALS  s.t. 
31  VELO Marco  ITA  FAS  s.t. 
32  ZABALLA GUTIEREZ Constan  ESP  KEL  s.t. 
34  ARVESEN Kurt Asle  NOR  FAK  s.t. 
35  VERBRUGGHE Rik  BEL  LOT  s.t. 
36  BALDATO Fabio  ITA  ALS  s.t. 
37  SABALIAUSKAS Marius  LTU  SAE  s.t. 
38  FRIGO Dario  ITA  FAS  5:16:10 
39  PANTANI Marco  ITA  MER  5:16:10 
40  CASAGRANDE Francesco  ITA  LAM  5:16:10 
41  KIRCHEN Kim  LUX  FAS  s.t. 
42  FARESIN Gianni  ITA  GST  s.t. 
43  BRUSEGHIN Marzio  ITA  FAS  s.t. 
44  CAUCCHIOLI Pietro  ITA  ALS  s.t. 
45  MORENI Cristian  ITA  ALS  s.t. 
46  NOE' Andrea  ITA  ALS  s.t. 
47  TOTSCHNIG Georg  AUT  GST  s.t. 
48  MANZONI Mario  ITA  MER  s.t. 
49  DEREPAS David  FRA  FDJ  s.t. 
50  TONTI Andrea  ITA  SAE  s.t. 
51  MARIN Ruber Alverio  COL  CLM  s.t. 
52  HAMBURGER Bo  DEN  FPF  s.t. 
53  GONZALEZ CUAPIO Fredy  COL  CLM  s.t. 
54  BERTAGNOLLI Leonardo  ITA  SAE  s.t. 
55  SUNDERLAND Scott  AUS  FAK  s.t. 
56  RUMSAS Raimondas  LTU  LAM  s.t. 
57  CASTELBLANCO Joaquim  COL  CLM  s.t. 
58  LAVERDE JIMENEZ Luis F.  COL  FPF  s.t. 
59  AGGIANO Elio  ITA  FPF  s.t. 
60  SCIREA Mario  ITA  DVE  s.t. 
61  CIONI Dario David  ITA  FAS  s.t. 
62  BARBERO Sergio  ITA  LAM  s.t. 
63  EISEL Bernhard  AUT  FDJ  s.t. 
64  FONTANELLI Fabiano  ITA  MER  s.t. 
65  CODOL Massimo  ITA  MER  s.t. 
66  DUMA Vladimir  UKR  LAN  s.t. 
68  RODRIGUEZ Alexis  ESP  KEL  s.t. 
69  STREMERSCH Tom  BEL  LAN  s.t. 
70  VIERHOUTEN Aart  NED  LOT  s.t. 
71  BAK Lars Ytting  DEN  FAK  s.t. 
72  PALUMBO Giuseppe  ITA  DNC  s.t. 
73  BENNATI Daniele  ITA  DVE  s.t. 
74  VILA ERRANDONEA Franc  ESP  LAM  s.t. 
75  CUNEGO Damiano  ITA  SAE  s.t. 
76  GIORDANI Leonardo  ITA  DNC  s.t. 
77  BALIANI Fortunato  ITA  FPF  s.t. 
78  DACRUZ Carlos  FRA  FDJ  s.t. 
79  BARANOWSKI Dariusz  POL  CCC  s.t. 
80  BERTOLETTI Simone  ITA  LAM  s.t. 
81  TONKOV Pavel  RUS  CCC  s.t. 
82  ZANOTTI Leonardo  ITA  DNC  s.t. 
83  GARCIA QUESADA Carlos  ESP  KEL  s.t. 
84  MOERENHOUT Koos  NED  LOT  s.t. 
85  DE ANGELI Luca  ITA  CLM  s.t. 
86  USANO MARTINEZ Julian  ESP  KEL  s.t. 
87  TOSATTO Matteo  ITA  FAS  s.t. 
88  FIGUERAS Giuliano  ITA  PAN  s.t. 
89  ADYEYEV Sergiy  UKR  LAN  s.t. 
90  LELEKIN Sergei  RUS  TEN  s.t. 
91  SPEZIALETTI Alessandro  ITA  SAE  s.t. 
92  LHUILLIER Regis  FRA  FDJ  s.t. 
93  WEIGOLD Steffen  GER  GST  s.t. 
94  ROMANIK Radoslaw  POL  CCC  s.t. 
95  CASAR Sandy  FRA  FDJ  s.t. 
96  PEREZ CUAPIO Julio A.  MEX  PAN  s.t. 
97  COLOMBO Gabriele  ITA  DVE  s.t. 
98  MAZZANTI Luca  ITA  PAN  s.t. 
99  FORNACIARI Paolo  ITA  SAE  s.t. 
100  PIETROPOLLI Daniele  ITA  TEN  s.t. 
101  CHMIELEWSKI Piotr  POL  CCC  s.t. 
102  GUESDON Frederic  FRA  FDJ  s.t. 
103  NOCENTINI Rinaldo  ITA  FPF  s.t. 
104  TIRALONGO Paolo  ITA  PAN  s.t. 
105  SCARPONI Michele  ITA  DVE  s.t. 
106  PETERSEN Jorgen Bo  DEN  FAK  s.t. 
107  QUINZIATO Manuel  ITA  LAM  s.t. 
108  LANCASTER Brett  AUS  PAN  s.t. 
109  LANFRANCHI Paolo  ITA  PAN  s.t. 
110  VERBRUGGHE Ief  BEL  LOT  s.t. 
111  AUG Andrus  EST  DNC  s.t. 
112  MARINI Mirko  ITA  TEN  s.t. 
113  KOHUT Seweryn  POL  CCC  s.t. 
114  BONDARIEW Bogdan  UKR  CCC  s.t. 
115  GARCIA John Freddy  COL  CLM  s.t. 
116  GASPERONI Cristian  ITA  MER  s.t. 
117  WIGGINS Bradley  GBR  FDJ  s.t. 
118  DAVIS Scott  AUS  PAN  s.t. 
119  CONTRINI Daniele  ITA  GST  s.t. 
120  SCHOLZ Ronny  GER  GST  s.t. 
121  MUNOZ Hernan D.  COL  CLM  s.t. 
122  ZANETTI Mauro  ITA  TEN  s.t. 
123  APOLLONIO Massimo  ITA  VIN  s.t. 
124  MURAGLIA Giuseppe  RUS  FPF  s.t. 
125  HARDTER Uwe  GER  GST  s.t. 
126  BROZYNA Thomas  POL  CCC  s.t. 
127  MAZZOLENI Eddy  ITA  VIN  s.t. 
128  BELLI Wladimir  ITA  LAM  s.t. 
129  TONETTI Gianluca  ITA  TEN  s.t. 
130  MASSI Rodolfo  ITA  CLM  s.t. 
131  ZAMPIERI Steve  SUI  VIN  s.t. 
132  WEGELIUS Charles  GBR  DNC  s.t. 
133  SCAMARDELLA Salvatore  ITA  LAN  s.t. 
134  GARZELLI Stefano  ITA  VIN  s.t. 
135  JOERGENSEN Rene'  DEN  FAK  s.t. 
136  HVASTIJA Martin  SLO  TEN  s.t. 
137  GARCIA QUESADA Adolfo  ESP  KEL  s.t. 
138  CHEULA Gian Paolo  ITA  VIN  s.t. 
139  FRITSCH Nicolas  FRA  FDJ  s.t. 
140  BILEKA Volodimir  UKR  LAN  s.t. 
141  POZZI Oscar  ITA  TEN  s.t. 
142  SZMYD Sylvester  POL  MER  s.t. 
143  RIERA VALLS Jordi  ESP  KEL  s.t. 
144  PRZYDZIAL Piotr  POL  CCC  s.t. 
145  CLAVERO Daniel  ESP  MER  s.t. 
146  CONTI Roberto  ITA  MER  s.t. 
147  MESA MESA Hector O.  COL  FPF  s.t. 
148  STRAUSS Marcel  SUI  GST  s.t. 
149  VERSTREPEN Johan  BEL  LAN  s.t. 
150  MASON Oscar  ITA  VIN  s.t. 
151  GEROSA Mauro  ITA  VIN  5:16:32 
152  ANDRIOTTO Dario  ITA  VIN  5:16:03 
153  GRYSCHENKO Ruslan  UKR  LAN  5:17:01 
154  GATES Nick  AUS  LOT  5:17:01 
155  FRATTINI Cristiano  ITA  TEN  5:17:01 
156  D'AMORE Crescenzo  ITA  TEN  5:17:07 
157  WINN Juilian  GBR  FAK  5:17:11 
158  TRAMPUSCH Gerhard  AUT  GST  5:16:03 
159  ILLIANO Raffaele  ITA  CLM  5:17:19 
160  RAVAIOLI Ivan  ITA  MER  5:17:22 
161  MIHOLIEVIC Vladimir  CRO  ALS  5:17:24 
162  SECCHIARI Francesco  ITA  DVE  5:17:24 
163  MONDINI Gianpaolo  ITA  DVE  5:17:26 
164  ONGARATO Alberto  ITA  DVE  5:17:26 
165  VAN IMPE Kevin  BEL  LOT  5:17:26 
166  STEEGMANS Gert  BEL  LOT  5:18:07 
167  POPOVYCH Yaroslav  UKR  LAN  5:16:03 
168  MARICHAL Thierry  BEL  LOT  5:18:10 
169  HOJ Frank  DEN  FAK  5:18:10 

Points after Stage 1 (Maglia Ciclamino)
1  PETACCHI Alessandro  ITA  FAS  25
2  CIPOLLINI Mario  ITA  DVE  20
3  FURLAN Angelo  ITA  ALS  16
5  MC EWEN Robbie  AUS  LOT  12
6  BROWN Graeme Allen  AUS  PAN  10
7  CASPER Jimmy  FRA  FDJ  9
8  NAUDUSZ Andris  LAT  CCC  8
9  PICCOLI Mariano  ITA  LAM  8
10  PIERI Dario  ITA  SAE  8

Intergiro after Stage 1 (Maglia Azzurra)
1  NAUDUSZ Andris  LAT  CCC  4:10:00 
2  PICCOLI Mariano  ITA  LAM  4:10:06 
3  FONTANELLI Fabiano  ITA  MER  4:10:12 
4  CONTE Biagio  ITA  FPF  4:10:16 
5  DI BIASE Moreno  ITA  FPF  4:10:21 
6  PALUMBO Giuseppe  ITA  DNC  4:10:26 
7  GOBBI Michele  ITA  DNC  4:10:30 
8  BAK Lars Ytting  DEN  FAK  4:10:30 
9  BALDUCCI Gabriele  ITA  VIN  4:10:30 
10  KHALILOV Mykhaylo  UKR  CLM  4:10:30 

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