Welcome to the Daily Peloton's live coverage of Stage 17. Today is a relatively short stage from Salice Terme to Asti, only 117km. It should be fast. And there are a couple of small bumps in the road that should pose no problem for the sprinters.
It will be interesting to see if Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) is still feeling in a lot of pain, or if he's recovered a bit.
6:33 am PST. 57km in. A lone rider is 2' 25" ahead of the peloton. The Fassa men are on the front setting a good tempo, and the peloton is moving along at a good clip though it isn't anything near flat out. The Saeco train is riding en masse behind two Fassa boys on the front; they are there to protect the Maglia Rosa.
The rider off the front is Martin Hvastija (Tenax). Petacchi is still bandaged up, but doesn't look so stiff anymore.
The Mercatone Uno boys are all hanging out at the back of the pack, talking and throwing spitwads at each other, it looks like.
The peloton is pulling back Hvastija slowly, with his lead now down to 1' 44". Pantani, the Mercatone Uno leader, did a great time trial (for him) a few days ago to preserve his 10th on GC. In 11th on GC is his teammate Massimo Codol. Wonder if Codol could be higher up if not riding in support of Pantani?
Of course Stefano Garzelli emerged from Pantani's shadow to take the Giro a few years back. For his part, Garzelli must be satisfied with his Giro so far, winning a couple of stages, snaking several top 5 finishes, and sitting in 2nd on the podium.
6:47 am PST. The gap is now back up to 1' 50" for Hvastija. Simoni follows his red train, who follow a couple of Fassa Bortolo riders.
Simoni had a lot to talk about yesterday, as Fabio reported in our first rest day article. Simoni seems happy with his performance in the Giro, but is doubtful he'll be able to challenge Armstrong in the Tour. Still, he doesn't know anything other than attacking, and seemed determined to throw everything he's got at Lance. Also, his teammate DiLuca just suffered a severe injury in training; still, DiLuca has enough time to recover, and Simoni and DiLuca are all about riding hard and attacking at every turn.
Now Columbia-Selle Italia are on the front trying to catch Hvastija. There is a very small King of the Mountains climb today, so they must be trying to set up Green Jersey wearer Fredy Gonzalez.
6:57 am PST. 47km left. Gonzalez catches Hvastija. Gonzalez gets 2nd over the climb. Fortunato Baliani (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave) takes first over the "climb", which looked more like a false flat.
Petacchi hunches his shoulders forward, stretching in what looks like a display of discomfort with his back wounds and bandages. Hopefully he'll be able to make it through the remaining mountains to take the Points Jersey in Milano.
The Fassa men are back on the front. They are followed by a pack of Caldirola-Sidermec riders. A couple of zebra-men of Domina Vacanze sit near the back of the pack, looking around with big eyes like they're lost...they rarely get to see this part of the race on a flat stage.
Actually, it's not Caldirola-Sidermec but instead Mercatone Uno who are now massed at the front behind the two Fassa men setting the pace. As the riders roll through a hairpin turn in the center of a town, Pantani sits about 9th wheel, contemplating whether he'll be able to jump to Team Bianchi to ride the Tour as he talked about yesterday.
Makes me wonder if his Mercatone boys won't be a bit annoyed working for him if he's just trying to jump ship. Still, I doubt Bianchi would want him...he's never going to work for someone else, and Bianchi wants to focus on Ullrich. Of course, Pantani is convinced that he is the one to challenge Armstrong in the mountains.
If I were Ullrich, and I'd heard Pantani's comments yesterday, I'd get on the phone to my team management and make sure that they don't pick up Pantani. His team has enough problems, and adding a second team leader for the Tour would just complicate things.
The riders are getting close to the Intergiro. Magnus Backstedt (Team Fakta-Pata Chips) moves up through the pack. He is in a pitched battle with Moreno DiBiase (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave) for the Intergiro jersey. Backstedt currently has the upper hand, barely.
Personally, I think there will be plenty of very talented, focused, on-form riders to challenge Armstrong as it is in this year's Tour. I think this is the most talented field Armstrong will have faced since his first victory: Ullrich, Beloki, Simoni, Hamilton, etc., etc. The DP message boards are already debating who amongst the horde of favorites has the best shot at the Texan. Of course, "El Jefe" Armstrong is still the man to beat.
7:19 am PST. 30.7 km left Backstedt takes the sprint in his blue jersey. It was a big sprint, with Svorada and Di Biase and a few others contesting it. This should add to Backstedt's lead in the Blue Jersey competition.
Luis Laverde (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave) and Julian Usano (Kelme-Costa Blanca) attack after the Intergiro and get a bit of a gap. The cheesemen of Formaggi have jerseys that are designed to look annoyingly similar to those of the Kelme men. The stripes are blueish instead of green, but still, with the cameras on the road the color resolution isn't the best, so it's hard to tell them apart.
Now Hector Mesa Mesa (Formaggi Pinzolo) has a go on the final "climb" of the day. This climb looks harder than the one that had King of the Mountains points. There have been a flurry of attacks and counter-attacks...this is just the latest one. The little mountain men just can't wait for the climbs tomorrow, it seems.
Of course, with the way Simoni's riding on the climbs, I'd just have a go on a flat stage myself like this. Simoni has been bending everyone over his knee on the climbs and just whacking them with his mountain stick...
At the front of the race things are very strung out. Nobody is in control, and a mix of riders from different teams are there. Alexis Rodriguez (Kelme-Costa Blanca) is now off the front. Kelme and Formaggi have both made up their minds to attack today. Go figure.
The Saeco train comes up the right side of the front of the pack, with Simoni in tow, to try to give some organization to the front.
7:29 am PST. Rodriguez has an 11" gap. The race is all flat now to the finish. Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo) sets the pace in the pack. Clearly, Petacchi has the full confidence of his men. A win by Petacchi would tie the modern record for stage wins in one Giro with six, the number that Cipollini had last year.
Now Rodriguez has stretched it to 18". The fans along the roads are absolutely loving the race. They look very, very excited, even though the pack is pretty compact and flying by at high speed.
Simoni is 5th wheel in the peloton, staying out of trouble. A FDJeux.com rider helps a Saeco and two Fassas with the chase. Casper seems to have found his sprinting legs for FDJeux.com.
7:36 am PST. 15km left. Rodriguez has been caught. Alessio has some men up near the front with Fassa setting the pace. Maybe Furlan thinks today is his day.
A couple of Domina zebras are near the front now too, likely looking to set up Lombardi and Bennati.
FDJeux.com has a string of five men along the left side of the peloton near the front. They appear to be very organized today, taking the finale very seriously.
Petacchi, Simoni, and Garzelli are all near the front of the peloton as well. Petacchi is there to look for the stage win, Simoni is there to stay out of trouble, and Garzelli may be there to try to snake another time bonus in a sprint.
7:41 am PST. 10km left. Gerolsteiner has a man on point now setting the pace. The hammer is down, and the tired men on the back of the pack are struggling to keep up with so many kilometers in their legs.
Today of course is a short stage, only 117km, a blessing for which those tired men must be grateful. Can't figure why Gerolsteiner has put two men on the front to set the pace.
7:45 am PST. 7km left. Fassa and Caldirola are leading the peloton. It is really strung out in the peloton now. Still, the sprinters are starting to get into their final positions, racing up the outside of the pack to shoulder their way in behind the various trains.
Okay, now the peloton ISN'T strung out so much anymore, except at the very front and the very back. Furlan and Lombardi are lining up near Petacchi's wheel. Domina still hasn't organized a lot on the front yet.
7:49 am PST. 4km left. Some of the Lampre men, and a few DeNardi-Colpack men, are now taking positions for the sprint. NOW Domina Vacanze is taking control. They are strong on the front. Lombardi is on Petacchi's wheel, though, and Petacchi is at the back of the Domina train. Maybe today Lombardi will go for the win and not play the leadout role.
A FDJeux.com man is on the front, and now fades and gives way to the Domina men. Now there is a lot of fighting for position between Casper and Petacchi. They are entering the final kilometer. Domina still is in control.
This is a straight drag strip finish.
Furlan is there, as is Petachhi. Petacchi has a man on the front leading him out, he's in 2nd wheel.
Petacchi wins it!! He gets a good leadout and smokes everyone, easily taking another victory!!
A sixth victory for Petacchi! He took the front and sprinted from a long ways out, and he actually started to fade near the end. Svorada made a hard charge, and Petacchi was actually only able to hold him off by about two feet at the line.
Svorada came around on the right, and it looks like it was Lombardi trying to come around on the left to take 3rd.
Petacchi looks like he's been kicked by a mule into a hay baler and spit out the other side. He leans against the barriers, exhausted and still clearly smarting from his crash three days ago. Still, a sixth stage victory and the Points Jersey will ease some of that pain I'm sure. And some more champagne will help too.
Petacchi's left leg isn't bandaged today, so he doesn't look like a mummy so much anymore. Looks like Furlan was 4th, and a FDJeux.com rider was 5th.
Now all of these sprinters will go home and say their prayers, because they'll all get their asses handed to them in the mountains over the next couple of days.
They'll try to hold on until Saturday, as Stage 20 will provide one final chance for the flatlanders to take a victory. But they have a sawblade race profile between now and then.
1 Petacchi 2h39'47"
2 Svorada s.t.
3 Lombardi s.t.
4 Furlan s.t.
5 Riebenbauer s.t
1 Simoni 74h01'13"
2 Garzelli a 1'58"
3 Popovych a 4'05"
4 Noč a 5'16"
5 Rumsas a 6'11"
Check here for full results, and be sure to watch for updates to our special Rest Day coverage later on. Thanks for reading today, and don't forget that tomorrow brings another mountain battle royale!
Stage 17 Results
1 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas 2:39:47 /20" (43,934 Km/H)
2 Svorada Jan Cze Lam 0:00 /14"
3 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve 0:00 /8"
4 Furlan Angelo Ita Als 0:00
5 Riebenbauer Werner Aut Fak 0:00
6 Casper Jimmy Fra Fdj 0:00
7 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm 0:00
8 Palumbo Giuseppe Ita Dnc 0:00
9 Forster Robert Ger Gst 0:00
10 Aug Andrus Est Dnc 0:00
11 Fontanelli Fabiano Ita Mer 0:00
12 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan 0:00
13 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 0:00 /6"
14 Pieri Dario Ita Sae 0:00
15 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel 0:00
16 Duma Vladimir Ukr Lan 0:00
17 Pietropolli Daniele Ita Ten 0:00
18 Bernucci Lorenzo Ita Lan 0:00
19 Eisel Bernhard Aut Fdj 0:00
20 Gasparre Graziano Ita Dnc 0:00
21 Verstrepen Johan Bel Lan 0:00
22 Di Biase Moreno Ita Fpf 0:00 /4"
23 Winn Juilian Gbr Fak 0:00
24 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 0:00
25 Velo Marco Ita Fas 0:00
26 Chmielewski Piotr Pol Ccc 0:00
27 De Angeli Luca Ita Clm 0:00
28 Gates Nick Aus Lot 0:00
29 Bileka Volodimir Ukr Lan 0:00
30 Derepas David Fra Fdj 0:00
31 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 0:00
32 Trampusch Gerhard Aut Gst 0:00
33 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 0:00
34 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 0:00
35 Sacchi Fabio Ita Sae 0:00
36 Spezialetti Alessandro Ita Sae 0:00
37 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 0:00
38 Totschnig Georg Aut Gst 0:00
39 Laverde Jimenez Luis F Col Fpf 0:00
40 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 0:00
41 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 0:00
42 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam 0:00
43 Adyeyev Sergiy Ukr Lan 0:00
44 Pellizotti Franco Ita Als 0:00
45 Gutierrez Cataluna Ignacio Esp Kel 0:00
46 Scarponi Michele Ita Dve 0:00
47 Stremersch Tom Bel Lan 0:00
48 Quinziato Manuel Ita Lam 0:00
49 Davis Scott Aus Pan 0:00
50 Scirea Mario Ita Dve 0:00
51 Tonti Andrea Ita Sae 0:00
52 Miholievic Vladimir Cro Als 0:00
53 Manzoni Mario Ita Mer 0:00
54 Arvesen Kurt Asle Nor Fak 0:00
55 Zampieri Steve Sui Vin 0:00
56 Codol Massimo Ita Mer 0:00
57 Figueras Giuliano Ita Pan 0:00
58 Frigo Dario Ita Fas 0:00
59 Zanotti Leonardo Ita Dnc 0:00
60 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj 0:00
61 Casagrande Francesco Ita Lam 0:00
62 Hardter Uwe Ger Gst 0:00
63 Hamburger Bo Den Fpf 0:00
64 Weigold Steffen Ger Gst 0:00
65 Vila Errandonea Franc Esp Lam 0:00
66 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 0:00
67 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Ccc 0:00
68 Barbero Sergio Ita Lam 0:00
69 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf 0:00
70 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst 0:00
71 Bertoletti Simone Ita Lam 0:00
72 Bertagnolli Leonardo Ita Sae 0:00
73 Fornaciari Paolo Ita Sae 0:00
74 Scamardella Salvatore Ita Lan 0:00
75 Riera Valls Jordi Esp Kel 0:00
76 Castelblanco Joaquim Col Clm 0:00
77 Sabaliauskas Marius Ltu Sae 0:00
78 Rodriguez Alexis Esp Kel 0:00
79 Clavero Daniel Esp Mer 0:00
80 Kirchen Kim Lux Fas 0:00
81 Romanik Radoslaw Pol Ccc 0:00
82 Carrara Matteo Ita Dnc 0:00
83 Caucchioli Pietro Ita Als 0:00
84 Cunego Damiano Ita Sae 0:00
85 Brozyna Thomas Pol Ccc 0:00
86 Gerosa Mauro Ita Vin 0:00
87 Kohut Seweryn Pol Ccc 0:00
88 Cioni Dario David Ita Fas 0:00
89 Szmyd Sylvester Pol Mer 0:00
90 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm 0:00
91 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam 0:00
92 Usano Martinez Julian Esp Kel 0:00
93 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas 0:00
94 Dacruz Carlos Fra Fdj 0:00
95 Gasperoni Cristian Ita Mer 0:00
96 Sunderland Scott Aus Fak 0:00
97 Munoz Hernan D Col Clm 0:00
98 Andriotto Dario Ita Vin 0:00
99 Garcia Quesada Adolfo Esp Kel 0:00
100 Ongarato Alberto Ita Dve 0:00
101 Moerenhout Koos Ned Lot 0:00
102 Petersen Jorgen Bo Den Fak 0:00
103 Marin Ruber Alverio Col Clm 0:00
104 Frattini Cristiano Ita Ten 0:00
105 Joergensen Rene' Den Fak 0:00
106 Massi Rodolfo Ita Clm 0:00
107 Perez Cuapio Julio A Mex Pan 0:00
108 Lunghi Denis Ita Als 0:00
109 Trenti Guido Usa Fas 0:19
110 Tonetti Gianluca Ita Ten 0:19
111 Wegelius Charles Gbr Dnc 0:19
112 Conti Roberto Ita Mer 0:19
113 Scholz Ronny Ger Gst 0:19
114 Garcia John Freddy Col Clm 0:19
115 Apollonio Massimo Ita Vin 0:19
116 Hoj Frank Den Fak 0:19
117 Baldato Fabio Ita Als 0:19
118 Conte Biagio Ita Fpf 0:19
119 Gryschenko Ruslan Ukr Lan 0:19
120 Secchiari Francesco Ita Dve 0:19
121 Mesa Mesa Hector O Col Fpf 0:26
122 Wiggins Bradley Gbr Fdj 0:26
123 Bondariew Bogdan Ukr Ccc 0:26
124 Pozzi Oscar Ita Ten 0:29
125 Cheula Gian Paolo Ita Vin 0:32
126 Giordani Leonardo Ita Dnc 0:32
127 Muraglia Giuseppe Ita Fpf 0:32
128 Tosatto Matteo Ita Fas 0:32
129 Hvastija Martin Slo Ten 0:32
130 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita Fpf 0:34
131 Bennati Daniele Ita Dve 0:37
132 Colombo Gabriele Ita Dve 0:38
133 Mondini Gianpaolo Ita Dve 0:40
134 Gobbi Michele Ita Dnc 0:57
135 Steegmans Gert Bel Lot 0:57
136 Guesdon Frederic Fra Fdj 1:14
137 Lhuillier Regis Fra Fdj 2:22
138 Bak Lars Ytting Den Fak 3:33
General Classification after Stage 17 (Maglia Rosa)
1 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 74:01:13
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 17 (Maglia Ciclamino)
1 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas 233
2 Svorada Jan Cze Lam 131
3 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 130
4 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 109
5 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 104
6 Casagrande Francesco Ita Lam 63
7 Eisel Bernhard Aut Fdj 60
8 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 59
9 Casper Jimmy Fra Fdj 56
10 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve 56
11 Di Biase Moreno Ita Fpf 54
12 Bennati Daniele Ita Dve 52
13 Furlan Angelo Ita Als 52
14 Gasparre Graziano Ita Dnc 46
15 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 45
16 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 42
17 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 42
18 Arvesen Kurt Asle Nor Fak 40
19 Pieri Dario Ita Sae 36
20 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 32
21 Colombo Gabriele Ita Dve 32
22 Perez Cuapio Julio A Mex Pan 30
23 Figueras Giuliano Ita Pan 30
24 Baldato Fabio Ita Als 29
25 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 29
KOM after Stage 17 (Maglia Verde)
1 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm 79
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 Lunghi Denis Ita Als 6
13 Gobbi Michele Ita Dnc 6
14 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf 5
15 Perez Cuapio Julio A Mex Pan 4
16 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 4
17 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 3
18 Laverde Jimenez Luis F Col Fpf 3
19 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 2
20 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 2
21 Caucchioli Pietro Ita Als 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 17 (Maglia Azzurra)
1 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 42:53:00
2 Di Biase Moreno Ita Fpf 0:28
3 Svorada Jan Cze Lam 1:44
4 Casper Jimmy Fra Fdj 2:32
5 Palumbo Giuseppe Ita Dnc 2:34
6 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel 2:34
7 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 2:44
8 Gutierrez Cataluna Ignacio Esp Kel 2:54
9 Hvastija Martin Slo Ten 3:10
10 Winn Juilian Gbr Fak 3:12
11 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf 3:12
12 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj 3:12
13 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm 3:12
14 Fontanelli Fabiano Ita Mer 3:15
15 Hamburger Bo Den Fpf 3:15
16 Bondariew Bogdan Ukr Ccc 3:16
17 Arvesen Kurt Asle Nor Fak 3:18
18 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita Fpf 3:18
19 Usano Martinez Julian Esp Kel 3:18
20 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas 3:18
21 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 3:18
22 Miholievic Vladimir Cro Als 3:18
23 Forster Robert Ger Gst 3:20
24 Cioni Dario David Ita Fas 3:24
25 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst 3:24
Trade Team after Stage 17 (Fast Team)
1 Lampre 222:25:03
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 2:55:53
19 Lotto - Domo 3:57:10