|Welcome to the coverage of the second stage of the 86th Giro d'Italia, covering 177 kms. between Copertino and Matera. A new stage for the sprinters, even though the route is not so easy as in yesterday's stage, won by Alessandro Petacchi ahead of red hot favourite Mario Cipollini. Fassa's 29-year-old Petacchi from the Ligurian city of La Spezia is the brand new overall leader of the race, but will he be able to keep the pink jersey after Sunday's leg as well?
Today's first match between the Lion King and his main rival took place at the Intergiro (km. 82) in Taranto, with Cipollini taking a small revenge on Petacchi and outsprinting him and German sprinter Robert Forster (Gerolsteiner). Thus Cipo gained a 6-second bonus, while Petacchi earned only 4", so now the World Champion is two seconds closer to Fassa Bortolo's fastest man.
After 2 hours and 50 minutes of racing, the peloton is still regrouped.
1545 - INTERGIRO (TARANTO, KM 82.) - OFFICIAL RESULTS
1. MARIO CIPOLLINI (ITA - DOMINA VACANZE)
2. ALESSANDRO PETACCHI (ITA - FASSA BORTOLO)
3. ROBERT FORSTER (GER - GEROLSTEINER)
4. ANGELO FURLAN (ITA - ALESSIO)
5. FABIANO FONTANELLI (ITA - MERCATONE UNO-SCANAVINO)
1546 - After the Intergiro and its time bonuses, Mario Cipollini is now 6" down on Petacchi on GC, while third-placed Angelo Furlan is at 16".
1548 - Cipollini could bridge the gap at the end of today's stage, even though the last meters are not completely flat, but going slightly uphill, and comimg less than 2 km. after a small climb.
1549 - In the meantime, Cipollini has moved to the top of the Intergiro Ranking, where he's currently tied with Latvia's Andris Nauduzs (CCC-Polsat).
1550 - 75k to go, and a small bunch of riders opened a small gap on the rest of the field.
1553 - Now it's one man trying to go on a solo break: Sweden's Magnus Backstedt (Team fakta). Born in Linkoping (Sweden) in 1975, Backstedt, a good all-rounder, is taking part in his first Giro d'Italia.
1555 - As for the Points Competition (Cyclamen Jersey), after the Intergiro sprint in Taranto Petacchi is just 3 points clear of Cipollini (31-28).
1558 - After putting no more than some 100 meters into the bunch, Magnus Backstedt has been caught.
1600 - The slightly going uphill finish of today's stage could make things difficult for another protagonist of yesterday's sprint, Alessio's Angelo Furlan, a sprinter that can't climb at all.
1602 - But the Alessio team may have another option for the stage victory: Fabio Baldato, currently not as fast as Furlan, but a better climber.
1603 - Mario Cipollini just had a flat! But quickly regained the peloton (who didn't speed the pace) thanks to the help of his teammates.
1606 - 62k to go now, and it's still "gruppo compatto", riding under cloudy skies.
1608 - Questioned on Isaac Galvez chances in today's stage, Kelme's Team Manager Vicente Belda said he hopes in a good results for his rider, but sees Petacchi as favorite.
And questioned about the overall chances of Aitor Gonzalez, Belda said he doesn't regard his former rider as a likely Giro winner, as in his opinion the route is a bit too hilly for "TerminAitor."
1612 - Domina Vacanze's team manager Antonio Salutini wrote off the chance that any another rider of his team than Cipo might go for stage victory today, even if the route may not be that appropriate for Cipo's skills.
1614 - In the meantime, Super Mario is taking it easy in the middle the pack.
1615 - And so is maglia rosa werarer Alessandro Petacchi, currently talking with his friend Paolo Fornaciari of Saeco ...
1616 - 38 year-old Roberto Conti, the veteran of the peloton, stays at the bottom of the bunch (as he always does in flat stages).
1617 - Mercatone's team manager Marino Amadori said this stage, with a small climb in its last part, could be a first test for Pantani's condition.
And als0o said that Mercatone's neo-pro Ivan Ravaioli, victim of a crash during yesterday's stage, is perfectly fit today.
1620 - The whole peloton is taking it easy now, occupying the whole route.
1621 - The average speed is about 35.300 km/h after a little more than 03'30" of racing.
1625 - 50 km. to go, and the peloton (still regrouped) just moved into the Basilicata region of Southern Italy.
1627 - Interviewed on Italian TV, a team manager of the Quick Step-Davitamon team said that Paolo Bettini is improving, his back is almost completely fit, and the man will be at the startline of Tour of Bavaria (May 21).
Alcobendas just in: Time trial stage today, Beloki is currently in 1st and Botero in 2nd.
1631 - The Vini Caldirola's team manager talked of Stefano Garzelli's crash: the 2000 Giro winner hit his back when falling (along with Popovych and others) with 1.050 meters to go yesterday.
Alcobendas final in the time trial: 1st Beloki, 2nd Dominguez and 3rd Botero. The morning stage was won by José Antonio Garrido (Basque rider) from the Paternina team.
1632 ... back to yesterday's crash. Garzelli, an overall contender in this Tour of Italy edition as well, didn't suffer serious consequences, but lost a few seconds in the GC.
1633 ...even if there's still a chance that the Jury may change its mind and award Garzelli (and Popovych, and others) the same time as the winner.
1634 - As for today's stage, Caldirola's man will obviously be their sprinter Gabriele Balducci.
1637 - The peloton, with UK's Road Champion Julian Winn in the bottom places, is heading towards the first ascent of the Giro, the Montescaglioso climb.
1638 - It's a 5 km. long climb, with an average gradient of about 5%.
1639 - Australian Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) is in the first places of the bunch now, and looks well-determined. He may be another contender for stage victory today.
1642 - This is the third time the Giro comes to Matera. Both previous stages finishing into town were won by Cipollini, even though the route was much more appropriate to the Lion King's skills.
1645 - Landbouwkrediet's DS Marco Saligari talked of Popovych's crash in yesterday's stage. The Ukrainian's back tasted the asphalt, but the man didn't suffer any serious consequences. All the guys who crashed yesterday are OK today. Good for them!
1650 - Four hours into the stage, and the peloton is currently near the start of the first ascent.
1651 - The average speed after 4 hours of racing (and a little more than 30 kms. left), is up to 36.050 km/h.
1652 - Fabio Bordonali, team manager of the small Tenax team, said he's happy to take part in the race his squad skipped last year, and hopes youngsters D'Amore and Pietropolli may use this race to gain experience.
1653 - Lampre's Mariano Piccoli crashed and hit the... grass of a nearby field. He's about to get back on his bike anyway.
1654 - Neo-daddy Mariano Piccoli is a veteran of the Italian peloton, and the man that finished all three Grand Tours of the year a couple seasons ago!
1655 - Piccoli, nicknamed "El Pistolero" (the Gunman) by Spanish fans, also won both the Giro Points and KOM Competitions back in the middle and late 80s.
1658 - 24k to go. And it's still "gruppo compatto."
1659 - The first climb of the 86th Tour of Italy has just begun!
1700 - And the first men to attack are Sicilian Paolo Tiralongo, Colombia's Hernan Munoz and a Panaria guy.
1701- The trio has been immediately caught, while the gradient is now around 9%, and some guys (including Balducci) are being dropped.
1702 - Also Cipo seems to be struggling on this climb. He does not look happy at all. But Cipollini now has two teammates of his around.
1704 - Mexican Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio is now seen at the front of the bunch. Cipo was dropped - Mondini and Ongarato are beside him, but not his other teammates.
1706 - Pantani is just behind Perez Cuapio. Cipo gets a push from a so called fan.
So are Garzelli, Casagrande and all other GC Contenders.
1707 - Two Panaria guys (Perez Cuapio and Mazzanti) now leading the bunch.
Now it's Kelme forcing the pace.
KOM Prime Results - Colombian Freddy Gonzalez Martinez (Selle Italia) was the first across the top of the Montescaglioso climb.
Martinez came ahead of Francesco Casagrande and Stefano Garzelli, while Cipo came in 01'25" behind.
1710 - It seems that the Lion King will have to wait another day to try and equal Binda's record!
Petacchi's bunch is now 40" down on the leaders on the Montescaglioso descent, while Cipo is 01'35" behind.
1711 - Kelme's fastest man Isaac Galvez is part of Petacchi's bunch too. The last time the Gruppo arrived in Matera (in 2000) it was Cipo who won.
The Petacchi and Galvez bunch is now less than 10" down on the leaders.
1713 - 15k to go for the leading bunch, including Petacchi now, while McEwen is a bit behind them.
It is the Mercatone Uno squad leading the peloton at the front on a flat piece, while Cipollini is now 56" down.
1715 - Three of Cipollini's teammates are now chasing hard to regain the leading peloton.
Beautiful sight across the rolling Italian countryside of the various groups of riders strung out along the roads.
1717 - The Cipollini bunch cut the gap down to 30".
podofdonny comments: Julian Winn is pacing Cipo! Great to see the world champion alongside the BRITISH CHAMPION.
1718 - But the Lion King just lost the wheels of his teammates. It took a moment for Lombardi and Scirea to realize it, and when they did, they stopped setting the pace. Seems it's over for Cipo now.
1719 - 10k to go, and no less than 6 Mercatone guys now riding tempo. Pantani's day?
Pantani looks very strange in a helmet as his team powers him along - he has been practising his sprints in Spanish races.
1721 - Tosatto aside, the whole Fassa team is in the main bunch as well.
1722 - Cipolini (today wearing the rainbow and not the cyclamen jersey) lost more time. His bunch is 01'02" down.
1723 - Now an attack from a neopro: young climber Giuseppe Muraglia (Formaggi Pinzolo-Fiavè), who dominated last year's Baby Giro.
1724 - 8k to go and Muraglia has managed to put a few metres into the peloton on an uphill section. It's a bold effort and he is pounding the pedals of his Gios bike.
1725 - Italy's Giuseppe Muraglia opened a 10-second gap on the peloton.
1726 - Muraglia was caught, but immediately Oscar Pozzi (Tenax) counter-attacked.
1727 - 6k to go. Pozzi opened a 6-second gap on the peloton, while also Gianni Faresin attacked.
1728 - 5k to go - Faresin caught and dropped Pozzi, while it's the Saecos leading the chasing bunch now.
By the way, David Zabrinske had a great ride today - best young rider in 4 days of Dunkerque.
1729 - Kelme's Sprinter Isaac Galvez got dropped, while Oscar Pozzi has been absorbed by the bunch too.
1731 - Solo leader Gianni Faresin got into Matera town.
A new attack, this time from super-combative Elio Aggiano, trying to bridge the gap to Faresin.
1732 - Aggiano caught Faresin, and it's 2 men in the lead now. oops, seems that group is about to absorb both!
New breakaway attempt by another Formaggi Pinzolo fiavé rider: this time it's Fortunato Baliani making his move.
1734 - 1k to go! And Baliani was just swallowed by the bunch.
1735 - So it's time for the final sprint: McEwen or Petacchi or anyone else for the win?
And here comes the bunch sprint: the winner is... Robbie McEwen!
1737 - But Fabio Baldato, who took second place, is complaining about McEwen's sprint, as the Aussie would have pushed him towards the barriers. Looking at the images, it seems Baldato is right - he was actually boxed. McEwen clearly switched to the right and hampered Baldato, that's for sure.
Baldato came in second ahead of Colombo, Figueras, Petacchi, Eisel, Duma and Garzelli.
1740 - The judges are currently watching the sprint!!
We are standing by...
1742 - No decision yet from the judges, but so far one thing is for sure, Alessandro Petacchi has kept the overall leader's jeresey on his shoulders!
1744 - Should the win be awarded to McEwen, Petacchi would keep a 4" lead over the Aussie.
1746 - THE JSRY HAS MADE A DECISION. IT'S OFFICIAL NOW: MCEWEN HAS BEEN SANCTIONED - THE WINNER OF THE 2nd STAGE OF THE TOUR OF ITALY IS FABIO BALDATO!
1747 - And looking at the images, one may think the jury made the right decision.
1748 - Alessio's Fabio Baldato is back to a Giro stage win after 11 years.
Comment by podofdonny: Perfectly correct decision - you must not impede a rider in the sprint and the Australian had more sideward movement than a kangaroo after 10 pints of Fosters.
General Classification after Stage 2:
1. ALESSANDRO PETACCHI (ITA - FASSA BORTOLO)
2. FABIO BALDATO (ITA - ALESSIO) at 4"
3. GABRIELE COLOMBO (ITA - DOMINA VACANZE) at 19"
4. GIULIANO FIGUERAS (ITA - PANARIA FIORDO) at 23"
5. GRAZIANO GASPARRE (ITA - DE NARDI-COLPACK)
First leader of the KOM Classification is FREDY GONZALEZ MARTINEZ (COL - COLOMBIA-SELLE ITALIA), not new to wearing the green jersey of the King of Mountain competition.
Latest news: Robbie McEwen was relegated to the back of the first bunch, such that his actual placing in today's stage is 60th.
Full results to come right here, and thank you for joining us today. See you tomorrow for live coverage of Stage 3!
Stage 2 Results
1 BALDATO Fabio ITA ALS 4:46:57 - 37,009 Km/h
2 COLOMBO Gabriele ITA DVE 0:00 /12" bonus
3 FIGUERAS Giuliano ITA PAN 0:00 /8" bonus
4 PETACCHI Alessandro ITA FAS 0:00 /4" bonus
5 EISEL Bernhard AUT FDJ 0:00
6 DUMA Vladimir UKR LAN 0:00
7 GARZELLI Stefano ITA VIN 0:00
8 CASAGRANDE Francesco ITA LAM 0:00
9 SACCHI Fabio ITA SAE 0:00
10 HAMBURGER Bo DEN FPF 0:00
11 GASPARRE Graziano ITA DNC 0:00
12 GONZALEZ CUAPIO Fredy COL CLM 0:00
13 STRAUSS Marcel SUI GST 0:00
14 ARVESEN Kurt Asle NOR FAK 0:00
15 FRIGO Dario ITA FAS 0:00
16 MANZONI Mario ITA MER 0:00
17 NOE' Andrea ITA ALS 0:00
18 LUNGHI Denis ITA ALS 0:00
19 TRAMPUSCH Gerhard AUT GST 0:00
20 BELLI Wladimir ITA LAM 0:00
21 RUMSAS Raimondas LTU LAM 0:00
22 HONCHAR Serhiy UKR DNC 0:00
23 POPOVYCH Yaroslav UKR LAN 0:00
24 CASAR Sandy FRA FDJ 0:00
25 MORENI Cristian ITA ALS 0:00
26 TONKOV Pavel RUS CCC 0:00
27 PELLIZOTTI Franco ITA ALS 0:00
28 LANFRANCHI Paolo ITA PAN 0:00
29 RODRIGUEZ Alexis ESP KEL 0:00
30 SABALIAUSKAS Marius LTU SAE 0:00
31 MUNOZ Hernan D. COL CLM 0:00
32 MAZZANTI Luca ITA PAN 0:00
33 GONZALEZ JIMENEZ Aitor ESP FAS 0:00
34 TOTSCHNIG Georg AUT GST 0:00
35 NOCENTINI Rinaldo ITA FPF 0:00
36 PANTANI Marco ITA MER 0:00
37 SCARPONI Michele ITA DVE 0:00
38 SIMONI Gilberto ITA SAE 0:00
39 SUNDERLAND Scott AUS FAK 0:00
40 CAUCCHIOLI Pietro ITA ALS 0:00
41 AGGIANO Elio ITA FPF 0:00
42 GARCIA QUESADA Carlos ESP KEL 0:00
43 GASPERONI Cristian ITA MER 0:00
44 TIRALONGO Paolo ITA PAN 0:00
45 VELO Marco ITA FAS 0:00
46 CHMIELEWSKI Piotr POL CCC 0:00
47 CODOL Massimo ITA MER 0:00
48 GARCIA QUESADA Adolfo ESP KEL 0:00
49 BRUSEGHIN Marzio ITA FAS 0:00
50 FARESIN Gianni ITA GST 0:00
51 WEGELIUS Charles GBR DNC 0:00
52 CASTELBLANCO Joaquim COL CLM 0:00
53 MARIN Ruber Alverio COL CLM 0:00
54 MIHOLIEVIC Vladimir CRO ALS 0:00
55 MURAGLIA Giuseppe RUS FPF 0:00
56 BERTAGNOLLI Leonardo ITA SAE 0:00
57 BARANOWSKI Dariusz POL CCC 0:00
58 LAVERDE JIMENEZ Luis F. COL FPF 0:00
59 VERBRUGGHE Rik BEL LOT 0:00
60 ADYEYEV Sergiy UKR LAN 0:00
61 ROMANIK Radoslaw POL CCC 0:00
62 FRITSCH Nicolas FRA FDJ 0:00
63 PEREZ CUAPIO Julio A. MEX PAN 0:00
64 SCHOLZ Ronny GER GST 0:00
65 PETERSEN Jorgen Bo DEN FAK 0:00
66 SZMYD Sylvester POL MER 0:00
67 KIRCHEN Kim LUX FAS 0:00
68 ZANETTI Mauro ITA TEN 0:00
69 MASON Oscar ITA VIN 0:00
70 MC EWEN Robbie AUS LOT 0:00
71 TONETTI Gianluca ITA TEN 0:23
72 BALIANI Fortunato ITA FPF 0:23
73 ZANOTTI Leonardo ITA DNC 0:25
74 USANO MARTINEZ Julian ESP KEL 0:28
75 TONTI Andrea ITA SAE 0:30
76 BARBERO Sergio ITA LAM 0:30
77 MAZZOLENI Eddy ITA VIN 0:30
78 ZAMPIERI Steve SUI VIN 0:30
79 DACRUZ Carlos FRA FDJ 0:30
80 POZZI Oscar ITA TEN 0:30
81 CIONI Dario David ITA FAS 0:55
82 GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio ESP KEL 2:07
83 KOHUT Seweryn POL CCC 2:26
84 BROZYNA Thomas POL CCC 2:26
85 PALUMBO Giuseppe ITA DNC 2:40
86 GRYSCHENKO Ruslan UKR LAN 2:51
87 MOERENHOUT Koos NED LOT 3:50
88 MESA MESA Hector O. COL FPF 3:50
89 KHALILOV Mykhaylo UKR CLM 3:50
90 GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac ESP KEL 3:50
91 HARDTER Uwe GER GST 4:41
92 BERTOLETTI Simone ITA LAM 4:53
93 VILA ERRANDONEA Franc ESP LAM 4:53
94 FRATTINI Cristiano ITA TEN 4:53
95 CHEULA Gian Paolo ITA VIN 4:53
96 BERNUCCI Lorenzo ITA LAN 4:53
97 QUINZIATO Manuel ITA LAM 4:53
98 CONTI Roberto ITA MER 4:53
99 ILLIANO Raffaele ITA CLM 4:53
100 CLAVERO Daniel ESP MER 4:53
101 CUNEGO Damiano ITA SAE 4:53
102 PIETROPOLLI Daniele ITA TEN 4:53
103 MASSI Rodolfo ITA CLM 4:53
104 CIPOLLINI Mario ITA DVE 6:19 6"
105 ONGARATO Alberto ITA DVE 6:19
106 DEREPAS David FRA FDJ 6:19
107 FURLAN Angelo ITA ALS 6:19
108 MONDINI Gianpaolo ITA DVE 6:19
109 WINN Juilian GBR FAK 6:19
110 SPEZIALETTI Alessandro ITA SAE 6:19
111 DI BIASE Moreno ITA FPF 6:19
112 PIERI Dario ITA SAE 6:19
113 STREMERSCH Tom BEL LAN 6:19
114 AUG Andrus EST DNC 6:19
115 RIERA VALLS Jordi ESP KEL 6:19
116 FORNACIARI Paolo ITA SAE 6:19
117 TRENTI Guido USA FAS 6:19
118 JOERGENSEN Rene' DEN FAK 6:19
119 SVORADA Jan CZE LAM 6:19
120 SCIREA Mario ITA DVE 6:19
121 DAVIS Scott AUS PAN 6:19
122 BROWN Graeme Allen AUS PAN 6:19
123 CARRARA Matteo ITA DNC 6:19
124 LOMBARDI Giovanni ITA DVE 6:19
125 BENNATI Daniele ITA DVE 6:19
126 HOJ Frank DEN FAK 6:19
127 LELEKIN Sergei RUS TEN 9:06
128 BILEKA Volodimir UKR LAN 9:06
129 WEIGOLD Steffen GER GST 9:06
130 SECCHIARI Francesco ITA DVE 9:06
131 FORSTER Robert GER GST 9:06 /2" bonus
132 NAUDUSZ Andris LAT CCC 9:06
133 TOSATTO Matteo ITA FAS 9:06
134 RIEBENBAUER Werner AUT FAK 9:06
135 GARCIA John Freddy COL CLM 9:06
136 SCAMARDELLA Salvatore ITA LAN 9:06
137 DE ANGELI Luca ITA CLM 9:06
138 MARICHAL Thierry BEL LOT 9:06
139 BONDARIEW Bogdan UKR CCC 9:06
140 VAN IMPE Kevin BEL LOT 9:06
141 FONTANELLI Fabiano ITA MER 9:06
142 VERSTREPEN Johan BEL LAN 9:06
143 GATES Nick AUS LOT 9:06
144 GEROSA Mauro ITA VIN 9:06
145 GUESDON Frederic FRA FDJ 9:06
146 PRZYDZIAL Piotr POL CCC 9:06
147 VIERHOUTEN Aart NED LOT 9:06
148 BALDUCCI Gabriele ITA VIN 9:06
149 RAVAIOLI Ivan ITA MER 9:06
150 ANDRIOTTO Dario ITA VIN 9:06
151 APOLLONIO Massimo ITA VIN 9:06
152 LHUILLIER Regis FRA FDJ 9:06
153 CONTE Biagio ITA FPF 9:06
154 CASPER Jimmy FRA FDJ 9:06
155 CONTRINI Daniele ITA GST 9:06
156 VERBRUGGHE Ief BEL LOT 9:06
157 ZABALLA GUTIEREZ Constan ESP KEL 9:06
158 LANCASTER Brett AUS PAN 9:06
159 GIORDANI Leonardo ITA DNC 9:06
160 MARINI Mirko ITA TEN 9:06
161 HVASTIJA Martin SLO TEN 9:06
162 BAK Lars Ytting DEN FAK 9:06
163 BONGIORNO Guillermo ARG PAN 9:06
164 D'AMORE Crescenzo ITA TEN 9:06
165 BACKSTEDT Magnus SWE FAK 9:06
166 STEEGMANS Gert BEL LOT 9:06
167 WIGGINS Bradley GBR FDJ 9:06
168 GOBBI Michele ITA DNC 9:06
169 PICCOLI Mariano ITA LAM 24:38
General Classification after Stage 2
PETACCHI Alessandro ITA FAS10h02'36"
2 BALDATO Fabio ITA ALS
3 COLOMBO Gabriele ITA DVE
4 FIGUERAS Giuliano ITA PAN
5 GASPARRE Graziano ITA DNC
Points after Stage 2 (Maglia Ciclamino)
1 PETACCHI Alessandro ITA FAS 45
2 CIPOLLINI Mario ITA DVE 28
3 BALDATO Fabio ITA ALS 25
4 COLOMBO Gabriele ITA DVE 20
5 FURLAN Angelo ITA ALS 19
6 FIGUERAS Giuliano ITA PAN 16
7 GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac ESP KEL 14
8 MC EWEN Robbie AUS LOT 12
9 EISEL Bernhard AUT FDJ 12
10 GASPARRE Graziano ITA DNC 11
KOM after Stage 2 (Maglia Verde)
1 GONZALEZ MARTINEZ Fredy COL CLM 3
2 CASAGRANDE Francesco ITA LAM 2
3 GARZELLI Stefano ITA VIN 1
Intergiro after Stage 2 (Maglia Azzurra)
1 CIPOLLINI Mario ITA DVE 6:46:14 0:00
2 NAUDUSZ Andris LAT CCC 6:46:14 0:00
3 FONTANELLI Fabiano ITA MER 6:46:17 0:03
4 PETACCHI Alessandro ITA FAS 6:46:20 0:06
5 PICCOLI Mariano ITA LAM 6:46:20 0:06
6 FORSTER Robert GER GST 6:46:26 0:12
7 FURLAN Angelo ITA ALS 6:46:30 0:16
8 CONTE Biagio ITA FPF 6:46:30 0:16
9 DI BIASE Moreno ITA FPF 6:46:35 0:21
10 BROWN Graeme Allen AUS PAN 6:46:40 0:26