|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!
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!
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.
33 GONZALEZ JIMENEZ Aitor ESP FAS 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.
67 GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio ESP KEL 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)
Alessandro ITA FAS 25
2 CIPOLLINI Mario ITA DVE 20
3 FURLAN Angelo ITA ALS 16
4 GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac ESP KEL 14
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