Good day, and welcome to the Daily Peloton's live coverage of the 86th Giro d'Italia. Today is the individual time trial from Merano to Bolzano - km. 42.
The 42 kilometre time trial promises to be a great key stage in what has been a fascinating race so far.
Already the 14 previous stages are beginninhg to take their toll and Pavel Tonkov is the second major name to pull out of the race, so 141 riders will be in the action today.
We join the race with Swedens Magnus Backstedt having posted the best time so far at 55.24.
Bogdan Bondariew of CCC is at 39'' and Duma of LBK has just posted the third best at 1.14.
Other startling news today is that Alessandro Petacchi, four-time stage victor and Cyclamen Jersey wearer, crashed at the 25 km. mark of Sunday's ITT and has been taken to the hospital. We will bring you any further information we can on this.
90 riders have completed the course so far which is generally flat except for a small hill (St. Paolo), which is 395 metres altitude with a maximum grade of 10%.
Gazzetta dello Sport reports on Petacchi: "The Fassa Bortolo rider suffered several bruises and had his right shoulder injured. Petacchi actually finished the stage before going to the hospital, but it seems unlikely now that he may finish the Giro as well."
Aitor Gonzalez and Dario Frigo, two of the favourites for today's stage, are now on the course - Backstedt, who has one eye on the intergiro, started very fast today so it will be difficult to make comparisons time-wise straight away.
Di Base (Formaggi) leads the intergiro competition but Backstedt is in second place.
Aitor Gonzalez has confirmed that he will ride the Tour de France - his team manager Ferretti said - "Aitor is having little luck in this race, due to short preparation following injury, followed by allergic problems in the first week; however, he is feeling better as the race continues - and this should prepare him well for the Tour."
However, with the news regarding Pettachi, Ferretti's problems are now compounded...
Simoni knows he has a battle today with Garzelli - "It is important I do not rest on my laurels, I have been slightly better in the mountains but Garzelli is maybe better against the clock - it is still too early to speculate who will win this race."
Pantani is underway - this morning he said, "I want to finish my career with a great victory and if I can do so in the Giro it would be a dream for me." However, The Pirate will not be targetting today's stage.
Ernesto Colnago praised Yaroslav Popovych for the performance the Ukrainian had on Saturday, when he got into the top 5 places in spite of a fever. "Yaroslav passed an important test yesterday. And I am confident that one day he'll be a Grand Tour winner."
Another Ukrainian is on the course and a favourite for today's stage - Sergej Gontchar (De Nardi) - but for the moment Backstedt still leads the race.
The "Terminaitor" is powering around the course - he has taken 4 seconds off Backstedt's time at the intergiro - and is looking very powerful and back to his best.
Vincente Belda, DS of Kelme, is happy the way his young team are performing so far - "We have gained the Kelme a lot of TV coverage without being able to turn that into victory; as the race continues and the gaps open up we will have more opportunity to win."
The TerminAitor sets the best time! He smashes Backstedt's excellent time by 51 seconds - meanwhile the Pink Jersey sets off.
So the battle between Garzelli and Simoni is now on the open road - a test of nerves, fitness and talent.
Aitor Gonzalez said he had expected to go well today and thought the course would suit him, but is not sure whether his ride will be strong enough to win the stage - "Every day I have been feeling better and stronger."
Sandy Casar posts a good time for fifth position - the young French star is in need of a couple of good rides...
Rumsas has been forced to stop for a bike change - bad news indeed for the Lampre rider.
Simoni had a bad start but he's taking time on Garzelli - now he's only a dozen secs behind with 30 km to go.
So far: Gonzalez 54.33, Backstedt at 51, Frigo at 53, Bondariew 1.30, and Casar at 1.41.
At the first check point (10k) Simoni is 19 seconds down on Garzelli.
Popovych seems to have recovered from his illness - he was 25 seconds down at the half way point on Backstedt.
Simoni had 1.19'' on Garzelli at the start of the stage and expects to lose some time - the big question is how much will he lose.
Garzelli is very determined today: "I will push my self to the limit," he said.
Popovch is doing well against his nearest rival, Noe. If he continues, he could move up a place - at Terlano at 24km Garzelli is 1'40'' down on Gonzalez - at the 22 km mark it seems that Garzelli may be fading.
Indeed, after 24 kilometres Simoni is 11 seconds ahead of Garzelli - Pantani arrives in 19th place - 58.06.
After 30km, Simoni is ahead of Garzelli by 16''.
It would seem that yesterday's efforts are beginning to take their toll on Garzelli...
Honchar comes in - he takes third place.
Simoni, black shorts, pink shirt and red Cannondale bike, is looking smooth and calm as he turns a big gear.
20 kilometres to go for Simoni.
45.19 is Garzelli's time at the 32 kilometre mark.
Yaroslav Popovych (right after crossing the line): "I'm satisfied with my performance, as I'm not accustomed to ITTs. I did very few of them in the last 3-4 years. So I can be happy now."
Popovych was out of the saddle and forced himself to the limit. Belli finishes in 22nd spot.
Yaroslav Popovych finished in 56.09 - 6th position, that could take him to third position over Noe - a great ride from the young Ukrainian.
Simoni went through the 32 kilometre mark 30'' ahead of Garzelli - it looks like he will stay in pink.
Garzelli, after he crossed the line: "I just wasn't able to find the right pace."
Rumsas finished with a time of 57.16.
Noe is at 57.50 - Popovych will move up - Garzelli comes in at 56.52 - it looks like the day's big winners will be Simoni and Popovych.
Simoni at 56.13, 7th place. A great ride, and rather than losing time, as expected, he has gained time on Garzelli.
So a day in which Garzelli was supposed to close the gap has been reversed, as Simoni shows that he can time trial with the best, and no one would dispute that he is one of the best climbers in the world.
Simoni (after crossing the line): "I never had the impression I was going particularly fast, but I was quiet. Unbelievably quiet. I didn't fear I could lose the Giro today, as there's a long way to go. But, well everything was incredible today."
Popovych, meanwhile, showed why Ernest Colnago is convinced that he can one day win a major tour with a truly impressive piece of racing - he will be very hard to dislodge from that podium place now - particularly since he has obviously ridden through the sickness that at times yesterday seemed to be finishing off his Giro hopes for good. To win a major tour, you must be able to ride through the bad days.
And Popovych, who was excellent in this race last year, has proven he has made great progress.
1 Gonzalez J. A. 54'33"
2 Backstedt a 51"
3 Honchar a 1'22"
4 Frigo a 1'23"
5 Bondariew a 1'30"
1 Simoni 66h41'52"
2 Garzelli a 1'58"
3 Popovych a 4'05"
4 Noč a 5'16"
5 Rumsas a 6'11"
So in the Tour of Belgium - on the stage they called the "mini LBL," it was Dave Bruylandts who took the victory, but Australian Quickstep rider Michael Rogers held onto the GC.
While in Germany at the Bayern Rundfahrt, Johan Coenen made it double delight for Marlux when he took the stage and Michael Rich held on, as expected, to the GC.
Aitor Gonzalez: "I expected a good result today, but not so good. Yes, I also expected I could do better in this Giro. But I didn't go the way I wanted it to. I don't know why. Maybe I just got in good shape one week too late. If I only had known before ..."
Alberto Volpi (Fassa Bortolo's DS) on Aitor and the team so far in the Giro: "The balance is positive. Even though Aitor wasn't in good form in the first week. And with rivals such as Garzelli and Simoni it'a mistake you can't do. That will be a good lesson for the future."
Alberto Volpi on Petacchi's crash: "He has no fractures, and that's a good thing. But he suffered a bad trauma to his left shoulder, and we'll make a decision about him going on or not tomorrow morning.
"Petacchi got to finish line because of a matter of pride, and the fact he knew some stages were he could do well are coming. The doctor is going to visit him tonight and then we'll make a decision. What really matters is Alessandro's health anyway. Even if he has to pull out now, he'll have many other chances in years to come."
Spanish news site Todociclismo reports he also hurt his left elbow and has bad bruising to his right rib cage.
Alessandro Petacchi: "I'm happy that I didn't suffer any fractures. I feared I had broken my pelvis or the iliac bone. It was hurting so much, I could hardly keep riding. Let's wait and see what happens tonight, then we'll make a decision in the morning.
"I'm not that optimistic though. I couldn't stand up either after the stage. But the next legs are flat ones. Well, nothing has been decided yet."
Petacchi on his crash dynamics: "I crashed badly. I hit a hole on the road, then the bike frame broke, and I hit the ground even without having the time to realize it."
This concludes our live coverage of today's time trial. The daily Prosciutto Awards are yet to come, and check here soon for full results. Thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow!
Stage 15 Results
1 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 54:33 (46,746 Km/H)
2 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 0:51
3 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 1:22
4 Frigo Dario Ita Fas 1:23
5 Bondariew Bogdan Ukr Ccc 1:30
6 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 1:36
7 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 1:40
8 Kirchen Kim Lux Fas 1:41
9 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj 1:41
10 Totschnig Georg Aut Gst 1:52
11 Duma Vladimir Ukr Lan 2:05
12 Quinziato Manuel Ita Lam 2:07
13 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 2:19
14 Dacruz Carlos Fra Fdj 2:28
15 Codol Massimo Ita Mer 2:31
16 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst 2:39
17 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam 2:43
18 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas 2:46
19 Petersen Jorgen Bo Den Fak 2:47
20 Casagrande Francesco Ita Lam 2:54
21 Svorada Jan Cze Lam 3:05
22 Derepas David Fra Fdj 3:10
23 Adyeyev Sergiy Ukr Lan 3:13
24 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 3:17
25 Eisel Bernhard Aut Fdj 3:20
26 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 3:32
27 Sacchi Fabio Ita Sae 3:34
28 Bertagnolli Leonardo Ita Sae 3:34
29 Bennati Daniele Ita Dve 3:38
30 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Ccc 3:46
31 Muraglia Giuseppe Ita Fpf 3:50
32 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf 3:52
33 Pellizotti Franco Ita Als 4:04
34 Chmielewski Piotr Pol Ccc 4:05
35 Hamburger Bo Den Fpf 4:10
36 Mondini Gianpaolo Ita Dve 4:13
37 Andriotto Dario Ita Vin 4:16
38 Usano Martinez Julian Esp Kel 4:19
39 Szmyd Sylvester Pol Mer 4:27
40 Gasparre Graziano Ita Dnc 4:28
41 Kohut Seweryn Pol Ccc 4:31
42 Cunego Damiano Ita Sae 4:35
43 Weigold Steffen Ger Gst 4:35
44 Verstrepen Johan Bel Lan 4:42
45 Caucchioli Pietro Ita Als 4:43
46 Colombo Gabriele Ita Dve 4:47
47 De Angeli Luca Ita Clm 4:48
48 Forster Robert Ger Gst 4:50
49 Velo Marco Ita Fas 4:55
50 Riera Valls Jordi Esp Kel 5:00
51 Bertoletti Simone Ita Lam 5:00
52 Cioni Dario David Ita Fas 5:00
53 Cheula Gian Paolo Ita Vin 5:02
54 Lunghi Denis Ita Als 5:03
55 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 5:04
56 Trampusch Gerhard Aut Gst 5:05
57 Laverde Jimenez Luis F Col Fpf 5:07
58 Hoj Frank Den Fak 5:08
59 Conti Roberto Ita Mer 5:08
60 Bernucci Lorenzo Ita Lan 5:08
61 Ongarato Alberto Ita Dve 5:09
62 Romanik Radoslaw Pol Ccc 5:11
63 Tosatto Matteo Ita Fas 5:11
64 Perez Cuapio Julio A Mex Pan 5:12
65 Wiggins Bradley Gbr Fdj 5:12
66 Bak Lars Ytting Den Fak 5:14
67 Casper Jimmy Fra Fdj 5:14
68 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve 5:16
69 Gobbi Michele Ita Dnc 5:16
70 Scholz Ronny Ger Gst 5:21
71 Trenti Guido Usa Fas 5:21
72 Figueras Giuliano Ita Pan 5:27
73 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan 5:27
74 Bileka Volodimir Ukr Lan 5:30
75 Baldato Fabio Ita Als 5:30
76 Munoz Hernan D Col Clm 5:31
77 Gryschenko Ruslan Ukr Lan 5:31
78 Scarponi Michele Ita Dve 5:32
79 Steegmans Gert Bel Lot 5:32
80 Pozzi Oscar Ita Ten 5:33
81 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam 5:34
82 Apollonio Massimo Ita Vin 5:37
83 Lhuillier Regis Fra Fdj 5:37
84 Zanotti Leonardo Ita Dnc 5:39
85 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita Fpf 5:39
86 Gerosa Mauro Ita Vin 5:43
87 Di Biase Moreno Ita Fpf 5:45
88 Arvesen Kurt Asle Nor Fak 5:45
89 Conte Biagio Ita Fpf 5:46
90 Stremersch Tom Bel Lan 5:47
91 Pietropolli Daniele Ita Ten 5:48
92 Moerenhout Koos Ned Lot 5:50
93 Sunderland Scott Aus Fak 5:51
94 Scirea Mario Ita Dve 5:56
95 Miholievic Vladimir Cro Als 5:56
96 Brozyna Thomas Pol Ccc 5:58
97 Secchiari Francesco Ita Dve 5:59
98 Vila Errandonea Franc Esp Lam 5:59
99 Furlan Angelo Ita Als 6:05
100 Zampieri Steve Sui Vin 6:07
101 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm 6:11
102 Barbero Sergio Ita Lam 6:12
103 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel 6:15
104 Fontanelli Fabiano Ita Mer 6:16
105 Garcia Quesada Adolfo Esp Kel 6:16
106 Aug Andrus Est Dnc 6:16
107 Tonti Andrea Ita Sae 6:16
108 Joergensen Rene' Den Fak 6:18
109 Gasperoni Cristian Ita Mer 6:19
110 Riebenbauer Werner Aut Fak 6:20
111 Giordani Leonardo Ita Dnc 6:25
112 Palumbo Giuseppe Ita Dnc 6:28
113 Castelblanco Joaquim Col Clm 6:29
114 Frattini Cristiano Ita Ten 6:31
115 Clavero Daniel Esp Mer 6:43
116 Gutierrez Cataluna Ignacio Esp Kel 6:44
117 Hardter Uwe Ger Gst 6:44
118 Manzoni Mario Ita Mer 6:47
119 Scamardella Salvatore Ita Lan 6:52
120 Gates Nick Aus Lot 6:57
121 Spezialetti Alessandro Ita Sae 7:04
122 Carrara Matteo Ita Dnc 7:04
123 Davis Scott Aus Pan 7:05
124 Guesdon Frederic Fra Fdj 7:06
125 Garcia John Freddy Col Clm 7:07
126 Tonetti Gianluca Ita Ten 7:18
127 Hvastija Martin Slo Ten 7:21
128 Fornaciari Paolo Ita Sae 7:27
129 Rodriguez Alexis Esp Kel 7:31
130 Marin Ruber Alverio Col Clm 7:42
131 Massi Rodolfo Ita Clm 8:06
132 Mesa Mesa Hector O Col Fpf 8:06
133 Winn Julian Gbr Fak 8:11
134 Pieri Dario Ita Sae 8:19
135 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm 8:44
136 Sabaliauskas Marius Ltu Sae 8:52
137 Wegelius Charles Gbr Dnc 9:11
138 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas 11:34
General Classification after Stage 15 (Maglia Rosa)
1 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 66:41:52
2 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 1:58
3 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 4:05
4 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 5:16
5 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam 6:11
6 Casagrande Francesco Ita Lam 6:47
7 Totschnig Georg Aut Gst 6:57
8 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 9:38
9 Pellizotti Franco Ita Als 9:42
10 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 10:11
11 Codol Massimo Ita Mer 12:16
12 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam 12:35
13 Frigo Dario Ita Fas 12:45
14 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Ccc 13:50
15 Scarponi Michele Ita Dve 14:23
16 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 15:32
17 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 15:59
18 Velo Marco Ita Fas 18:08
19 Perez Cuapio Julio A Mex Pan 18:14
20 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas 19:25
21 Kirchen Kim Lux Fas 19:52
22 Bertagnolli Leonardo Ita Sae 20:07
23 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj 20:14
24 Figueras Giuliano Ita Pan 21:16
25 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst 22:52
Points Classification after Stage 15 (Maglia Ciclamino)
1 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas 183
2 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 130
3 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 109
4 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 86
5 Svorada Jan Cze Lam 83
6 Casagrande Francesco Ita Lam 63
7 Eisel Bernhard Aut Fdj 60
8 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 59
9 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 45
10 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 42
11 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 42
12 Arvesen Kurt Asle Nor Fak 40
13 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve 40
14 Di Biase Moreno Ita Fpf 38
15 Bennati Daniele Ita Dve 38
16 Gasparre Graziano Ita Dnc 34
17 Colombo Gabriele Ita Dve 32
18 Perez Cuapio Julio A Mex Pan 30
19 Figueras Giuliano Ita Pan 30
20 Furlan Angelo Ita Als 30
21 Baldato Fabio Ita Als 29
22 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 29
23 Duma Vladimir Ukr Lan 29
24 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam 28
25 Pellizotti Franco Ita Als 2
KOM Classification after Stage 15 (Maglia Verde) - unchanged from Stage 14
1 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm 77
2 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel 48
3 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 43
4 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 36
5 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas 15
6 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan 11
7 Gryschenko Ruslan Ukr Lan 9
8 Casagrande Francesco Ita Lam 8
9 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 6
10 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 6
11 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam 6
12 Gobbi Michele Ita Dnc 6
13 Lunghi Denis Ita Als 5
14 Perez Cuapio Julio A Mex Pan 4
15 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 4
16 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 3
17 Laverde Jimenez Luis F Col Fpf 3
18 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 2
19 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 2
20 Caucchioli Pietro Ita Als 2
21 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf 2
22 Pozzi Oscar Ita Ten 2
23 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam 1
24 Garcia Quesada Adolfo Esp Kel 1
25 Conti Roberto Ita Mer 1
Intergiro after Stage 15 (Maglia Azzurra)- unchanged from Stage 14
1 Di Biase Moreno Ita Fpf 36:28:10
2 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 0:26
3 Svorada Jan Cze Lam 1:16
4 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel 1:18
5 Casper Jimmy Fra Fdj 1:30
6 Palumbo Giuseppe Ita Dnc 1:31
7 Gutierrez Cataluna Ignacio Esp Kel 1:38
8 Winn Juilian Gbr Fak 1:56
9 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm 1:56
10 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj 1:56
11 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf 1:56
12 Lelekin Sergei Rus Ten 1:56
13 Hamburger Bo Den Fpf 1:59
14 Fontanelli Fabiano Ita Mer 1:59
15 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita Fpf 2:02
16 Usano Martinez Julian Esp Kel 2:02
17 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas 2:02
18 Miholievic Vladimir Cro Als 2:02
19 Arvesen Kurt Asle Nor Fak 2:02
20 Forster Robert Ger Gst 2:04
21 Gobbi Michele Ita Dnc 2:08
22 Hvastija Martin Slo Ten 2:08
23 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst 2:08
24 Cioni Dario David Ita Fas 2:08
25 Brozyna Thomas Pol Ccc 2:1
Trade Team after Stage 15 (Fast Team)
1 Lampre 200:27:00
2 Fassa Bortolo 9:14
3 Saeco - Macchine Per Caffe' 15:55
4 Alessio 16:17
5 Mercatone Uno - Scanavino 23:49
6 CCC Polsat 31:03
7 Vini Caldirola - Sidermec 31:31
8 Ceramiche Panaria - Fiordo 40:22
9 Gerolsteiner 44:27
10 De Nardi - Colpack 45:50
11 Kelme - Costa Blanca 52:29
12 Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 53:28
13 Colombia - Selle Italia 1:23:38
14 Team Fakta - Pata Chips 1:39:59
15 Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave' - Ciarrocchi 1:42:22
16 Fdjeux.Com 1:49:33
17 Domina Vacanze - Elitron 2:12:57
18 Tenax 2:55:34
19 Lotto - Domo 3:52:05