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GIRO PROLOGUE - Live Ticker & Results
By Podofdonny
Date: 5/11/2002
GIRO PROLOGUE - Live Ticker & Results

A great ride by the rider from Iscar, Spain born on 13 April, 1971. He has riden for Kelme, Vitalicio Seguros,, and of course this year for Phonak. He has had a lot of success in the past usually in the week long tours in Spain, but a great ride today to take the pink. I wonder how many times the jersey will change hands over the next weeks?

Full report and results to come later but for now, hats off to the Phonak team, winners of the day with Buxhofer and Domiguez in the top ten, while Bettini and Cipolinni have set themselves in a good position to take the pink over the next few days.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to tune in tomorrow for the first stage with a live ticker here on the Daily Peloton!

Simoni 8.46 so the leader board is:

J.C.Dominguez 8.12
Rik Verbrugghe + 1
P.Savoldelli + 4
M.Buxhofer + 8
F.Hoj + 9
G.Nierman -Rebellin + 12

Savodelli puts in a great ride, but an amazing Juan Carlos Domínguez of the Phonak team takes the lead!

Cipo will not bother the leaders though a good time of 8.27 which keeps him in sght of an early pink jersey.

Pantani finishes well down, as Tiger man Cipo, winds his way around the course to huge applause and great humour!

Boogerd charges up the finishing straight to huge applause. Good time too, as he finishes in 6th place so far, and as the pink shirt of Simoni, the last man to go sets off.

Rik Verbrugghe 8'13
M.Buxhofer + 7
F.Hoj + 8
Rebellin + 9
G.Nierman -Rebellin + 9
C.Sastre + 12
T.Hiekman - McEwen

Rebellin puts in a great ride to finish 4th so far.

Cipollini takes the start head toe in a Tiger striped skin suit!

Hamilton will not trouble the leaders he finishes 90th.

Rik Verbrugghe time is an amazing 8.13!

Garzelli finishes 18th. Verbrugghe is steaming along... he must surely take the lead... he does!

Frigo finishes in 16th place. Hamilton is still storming round the course and Verbrugghe sets of as Tonkov finishes: he does not change the leader board.

Hamilton takes the corner too fast and almost crashes! Marco Pantani sets off looking very serious. Casagrande finishes in 23rd place for now.

Frank Hoj puts in a stunning ride to finish in 2nd place at 8'21.

Pelizotti is forced to make a front wheel change, losing significant time, and he will not challenge the leaders.

Leader board now reads

M.Buxhofer 8:20
G.Nierman + 2
C.Sastre + 5
T.Hiekman - McEwen + 6
Pereiro -Streel- Mazzoleni + 7

Strazzer now sets off for Phonak. Carlos Sastre has done a great time at 8'25, which should put him into third.

M.Buxhofer 8:20
G.Nierman + 2
T.Hiekman - McEwen + 6
Pereiro -Streel- Mazzoleni + 7

is how it stands now as Kessler for Telekom sets off.

Nardello, the Italian champion, will not bother the leaders. An excellent time by McEwan; He finishes fourth so far... could it be that fatherhood agrees with him?

Garate comes in at 8:29, an excellent time for the Sainish rider from Lampre.

Bartoli seems to be going very well on this tricky and technical course. He finishes 12 seconds down. Cadel Evans, who left earlier is still in the top ten.

Nardello starts off. Grabsch finishes, but does not worry the leaders. McEwan, a new father, as his wife gave birth two days ago, sets off.

Bartoli is on the course, storming down the canal side, but Buxhofer still leads this prologue.

Bert Grabsch for Phonak is in good form and sets off. He might be able to cause a big surprise today.

Telecom's Schreck covers the 6.5 km in 8:42. The best time for a German rider so far.

M.Buxhofer 8:20
G.Nierman + 2
T.Hiekman + 6
Pereiro, Streel and Mazzoleni + 7

Good time recorded by Mazzoleni just now. Bettini home in an impressive 8.29! could be good enough to put him in pink over the next few days. Bettini was impressive with teammate Garzelli in LBL this year. We can expect some good things out of this Mapei squad this year and Garzelli should make a strong run at the GC.

Sergei Honchar, of Fassa-Bortolo is now on course. He should set a good time. Gigli, from Colpack, comes in at 8'49. Martin Dergang, the Slovanian champion for Aqua E Sapone has just started.

Petacchi home, and does not shake up the leaders, who now stand:

M.Buxhofer 8:20
G.Nierman + 2
T.Hiekman + 6
Pereira + 7

The first riders times coming in and Buxhofer has set the bench mark at 8:20. Petacchi is now on the course. The weather is dry but overcast.

The favourites are all fairly confident.

Gilberto Simoni: "Last year's win is a distant memory even if it is something I'll never forget. We can't live on our past and so I'm ready to start all over again."

Dario Frigo: "I really want to race and try to win, but I don't feel like making excessive promises right now. Every season has its own features, and a comparison between my current condition and last year's would make no sense."

Stefano Garzelli: "My main objective this season is to win the Giro d'Italia, and I'm sure that I will repay the confidence that Mapei have placed in me."

With such a course, much different from the long, straight roads we saw last year in Abruzzo, not only TT specialists, but also riders able to change their pace fast could have their say on the course today.

Marco Pantani will ride the race with papal benediction, having seen the Pope at Easter time. Be that as it may, some of his colleagues are not so happy with him. He has apparently asked for a larger starting fee from the organisers, which has upset a few people. "I do not have anything against Pantani, but the attention he gets seems to me to be exaggerated," said Mario Cipollini. "I regret to have to say this, but in the field, an anti-Pantani viewpoint is growing."

The flat 6.5-km course, tested by nothing less than World Cup winner Erik Dekker, 1988 Giro runner-up Erik Breukink, "Diablo" Chiappucci and promising Dutch youngster Niels Scheuneman could be harder than expected. According to what "El Diablo" Chiappucci (who was asked to become a kind of "sporting ambassador to Italy" for the city of Groningen in 1999, when racing a criterium in the Dutch town) said that "after an easy first kilometer the road gets narrower and an insidious, not uniform cobbled section begins. Especially if the day is rainy the cobbled sections could compromise the chances of a stage victory to anyone among the time-trial specialists. The final 1000 meters are quite simple."

As expected huge crowds have turned up today to watch the prologue which starts in the beautiful Grote Markt. The 2002 Giro bears a striking resemblance to the 1973 edition, when legendary boss Vincenzo Torriani decided to pay a first tribute to the "European ideal." In that edition the Giro started in the Belgian city of Verviers, but today the riders will get on their bikes in Groningen which has humorously been renamed GIRO-ningenfor one day. A town of 170,000 people, and perhaps the same number of bicycles, located in the northern part of The Netherlands, it is famous for its picturesque canals, the University, and streets named after professions practised in the 13th Century.

After the scandal and disappointment of last years Giro affair, the good news is that every one of the 198 riders was given the all clear to start the race. Everyone is hoping for a trouble free race which should be a classic confrontation between four men all at the top of their form: Gilberto Simoni (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Francesco Casagrande (Fassa Bortolo), Stefano Garzelli (Mapei-Quick Step) and Dario Frigo (Tacconi Sport).

PROLOGUE: Saturday, MAY 11, GRONINGEN. ITT - 6.5 KM:

Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Peloton?s live coverage of the the Giro d?Italia.

The organizers of the 2002 Italian Grand Tour pay tribute this year to the birth of the European single currency, making the Giro D'Italia a kind of "Tour of Europe." The race will go through Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France: the "founding mothers" of the European Economic Community, before getting to Italym, the "sixth mother" of the EEC, and homeland of the Giro D'Italia.

This is the seventh time the Giro starts abroad, after the Republic of San Marino in 1965, Montecarlo in 1966, the Belgian city of Verviers in 1973, the Vatican City in 1974, Athens in 1996 and Nice two years later.

Don't forget to hit the F5 button to refresh the browser, and to visit the Giro d'Italia main site in the Daily Peloton situated on the left hand side of the screen.

After todays prologue The 2002 Giro d'Italia consists of 20 stages with two rest days, a total of 3334 kilometres of racing which makes it the longest of the three major tours this season.

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