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87th Giro d'Italia Stage 18 Live Coverage
By Staff
Date: 5/28/2004
87th Giro d'Italia Stage 18 Live Coverage

Hello and welcome to the Daily Peloton's live coverage of Stage 18 of the 87th Giro d'Italia. Friday's stage covers 120 kms between Cles (Val di Non) and the Bormio 2000 resort, and is the third and penultimate one in quartet of very demanding legs that will determine the outcome of the event, set to finish Sunday with the "ceremonial stage" into Milano.

Friday's short, but extremely difficult, stage will be decisive for any rider wishing to topple current GC leader Damiano Cunego, his own teammate Gilberto Simoni included. In the past days, after the young talent from Verona (re)captured the Maglia Rosa thanks to his sensational solo win at Falzes, both Cunego and the man he still calls "team leader". e.g. Gibo Simoni, said they will race alongside each other, and NOT against each other, in the two last mountain stages. But it's very likely that the Saeco's strategy and team tactics are decided by the road itself. Let's just wait and see what's gonna happen on the Gavia, Mortirolo and other "mountain monsters" riders have to tackle today and tomorrow. And waiting for the "monsters" to come, let's just have a glance at our route preview (that contains several links to stage altimetries, pics and clips) dating back to the past month of November, when the 2004 Tour of Italy parcours was officially unveiled.

Stage 18 - Preview: Overall contenders might have “played poker” in the past stage, but they will not this time. They couldn’t even if they wished. With today’s menu offering four climbs (three of which are absolutely hard) and the last mountain top finish, Stage 18, which covers 120 km. between Cles/Val di Non and Bormio 2000, is the first of two short and hectic mountain stages that will determine the outcome of the 2004 Giro. The first of two days that could make the race explode.

The hardness of the leg scheduled for Friday, May 28, was perfectly summarized in the words uttered by Stefano Garzelli when he finished his “test ride” for RAI TV. “You won’t cheat me anymore. If you want to check a similar stage again, just go look for someone else!” Actually the 2000 Giro winner (and 2003 runner-up) was laughing and (half) kidding while saying this, but he surely wasn’t when he stressed the difficulties of today’s stage.

A little more than 30 km. into the stage, the peloton hits the first one, Passo del Tonale, a 15.2-km. climb whose gradient (about 6%) makes it a difficult ascent, notably when tackled by riders with almost three weeks of racing in their legs, but still easier than many others the bunch has to face in these ultimate days. The Tonale Pass comes early in the stage, but in such as short parcours it could be more selective that one might think.

After getting to the top of the pass, at an altitude of 1883 asl, and entering the Brescia province of Lombardia, the peloton embarks on a 10-km. descent into Ponte di Legno (“Wooden Bridge” in English). As riders hit the town, they take a turn to the right and start climbing the Passo Gavia, the most difficult ascent of the day, that’s also the “Cima Coppi” (status awarded to the highest mountain in the Giro) of this year’s race. It’s one helluva climb for sure: 16.7 km. of uphill riding at an average gradient of 7.9%, peaking at 2621 metres above sea level.

It’s an ascent that, also with a “help” from climatic conditions, has made its mark on the Giro history more than once since it was introduced in 1960, when riders had to use the 44x25 and Italy's Imerio Massignan took the stage. Or, in Stefano Garzelli’s own words “it’s not hell, but comes so close to that”. And if you don’t trust the guy, just ask another Giro winner, Mr. Andy Hampsten, the first ever – and so far only - American to win the race. He might tell you something on June 05, 1988. A late spring Sunday according to the calendar. A day of “riding in winter Wonderland”, albeit perhaps “hellish land” is a more appropriate word, in Hampsten’s World (and Moser’s, and Saronni’s, and Chioccioli’s). He might tell you something like this (Pdf file).

The first 500 metres on the way to the Gavia Pass are downhill, but the road keeps going toward the sky soon. The gradient is quite easy in the first 5 kilometres, until they reach a bunch of buildings going under the name of Santa Apollonia (1500m asl). That’s where the “real” Gavia kicks off. That’s where the road gets narrow, and the asphalt surface worse (but don’t whine about it, please. Until a couple decades ago, there was no asphalt either over much of the ascent!). That’s where you can see that damn road sign telling you the gradient is somewhere around16% (and it’s going up to a maximum of 19% soon). And that’s where you may enjoy a magnificent landscape (you just entered the Stelvio National Park, after all) … unless you are a bike racer involved in the 87th Giro d’Italia.

Km. after km. the gradient goes up, then eases a little, then up again, then down a bit … seven percent, nine percent, eight, ten, twelve, ten percent again. But the route steadily goes up, up, uphill, and riders have to struggle on their bikes until the top of the climb. With about 3 km. to the top, there’s a short (200 m.) dark tunnel, with no lights inside at all. Well, it may look short when you are just watching a map, but when you are on your bike, you may think it’s longer than a whole (flat) stage. And soon after you are out of the tunnel …you get a warm welcome by another part of the ascent at a 15-16% gradient. The last 500m of the Gavia are no steeper than a six-seven percent grade anyway.

Historical and most recent images of the Gavia Pass can be found here and here. And here too.

Once the Gavia “not hellish, but so close to that” climb is over, the peloton descends into Santa Caterina Valfurva and Bormio, then tackles La Motta, a short ascent which could prove quite selective in today’s circumstances. Then down again for a few kilometres, and eventually up over the ultimate ascent of this “hellish” day, 9.9 kms. of climbing to the finish line at the Bormio 2000 resort, at an average gradient of 7.5 percent.

The most talented mountain goats - first of all Gilberto Simoni, winner in downtown Bormio exactly four years before, may rock in this stage, but who wants to be a 90kg rider today???

* Climb Profiles (Gavia, Bormio 2000): click here
* Passo del Tonale: more detailed Climb Profile: click here
* Passo del Gavia: more detailed Climb Profile: click here
* A clip of Stefano Garzelli testing the route in late 2003 can be seen here


Please click the F5 key to refresh the page and get the latest information

KM. 0 The stage got underway at about 13:50 hours local time (CEST; GMT+2) in Cles, hometown of 1988 Road World Champion Maurizio Fondriest. 141 riders were at the startline, but among them wasn't Giuliano Figueras. The Panaria-Margres Neapolitan had a horrible day yesterday, as the man, suffering from stomach problems, got dropped on the first slopes of Passo della Mendola and finished his calvary with the sprinters "gruppetto", close to 14 minutes behind stage winner Pavel Tonkov. And to the surprise of few, the unfit Italian gave up and didn't take the start on Friday.

1410 CEST The first attack in the stage came after 8 kms, courtesy of a couple Tenax guys, that were immediately pulled back into the peloton. As soon as they were chased down, some 20 other riders counter-attacked, but their attempt didn't prosper either, and by km.14 the peloton was regrouped again.

1420 CEST km. 15/105 km to go, and the situation at the front of the peloton is fluid, with more skirmishes coming, but no successful breakaway attempts thus far in the stage.

1430 GAVIA WEATHER UPDATE - According to recent weather reports, snow fell over the Gavia area in the night and early this morning, but regardless of this, it seems the stage will go on as planned, and even if spectators both along the route and watching the race on tv will likely see plenty of white landscapes, the conditions are not comparable to those of that legendary stage of the 1988 Giro. Expect very low temperatures over there anyway!

1435 CEST One attack bore fruit at last! A bunch of tewnty riders broke clear after about 17 kms and quickly took more than a minute out of the peloton. They subsequently extended their gap to 02'40" by km. 32.

1445 CEST The names of the 20 riders in the break are:

  • Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita - Saeco),
  • Gorazd Stangelj (Slo - Saeco),
  • Kyrylo Pospyeyev (Ukr - Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo),
  • Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro - Alessio),
  • Cristian Moreni (Ita - Alessio),
  • Luca Mazzanti (Ita - Panaria-Margres),
  • Igor Pugaci (Mol - De Nardi),
  • Andris Nauduzs (Let - Fassa Bortolo),
  • Alessandro Petacchi (Ita - Fassa Bortolo),
  • Philippe Gilbert (Bel -,
  • Marcel Strauss (Swi - Gerolsteiner),
  • Fabian Wegmann (Swi - Gerolsteiner),
  • Daniele Righi (Ita - Lampre),
  • Patxi Vila Errandonea (Spa - Lampre),
  • Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr - Landbouwkrediet-Colnago),
  • Nico Sijmens (Bel - Landbouwkrediet-Colnago),
  • Daniel Schnider (Swi - Phonak H.S.),
  • Rubens Bertogliati (Swi - Saunier Duval-Prodir),
  • Juan Gomis Lopez (Spa - Saunier Duval-Prodir),
  • Oscar Mason (Ita - Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie)

1450 CEST The peloton averaged a speed of 33.600 kph after the first hour of racing. While France's Jacky Durand dropped out of a race he never was a real protagonist of at km. 35, the bunch reacted and brought the gap to the 20 frontrunners slightly down to 02'25".

1500 CEST On the first slopes of Passo del Tonale, Alessandro Petacchi couldn't hold onto the tempo set by his breakaway companions and - not surprisingly - got dropped. We'll likely see him back into spotlight in Milan on Sunday anyway.

1512 CEST: 2.5 km. to the top of the Tonale ascent, and no changes in either the leading or main groups. The pace is fast, although not TOO fast.

1515 CEST: The peloton is still some 2 minutes down to the leaders. As fully predictable, the real fireworks will start on the Gavia Pass, although before that riders will have to tackle also the 4-km. Le Motte ascent.

1518 CEST: German Fabian Wegmann took the points at the Tonale KOM Prime, in front of fellow countryman Strauss, with Spain's Juan Gomis López taking third, and strengthened his grip on the Maglia Verde (Green Jersey). The Gerolsteiner rider was of much help to Damiano Cunego in Tuesday's stage, and the Saecos promised they'll pay him back by helping the "waterboy" to be crowned King of the Mountains in Milan.

Despite Cunego's excellent position in the ranking (he's currently second, twelve points behind Wegmann) what really matters to the "red team" is just the Maglia Rosa.

1524 CEST: And Maglia Rosa holder Damiano Cunego briefly chatted with RAI's Alessandra De Stefano before the stage start, and sounded quite confident, telling her that, "The moment I was waiting for has come at last. We've gotta do well today, and not make any mistakes. It all has worked fine for me so far in the race, things couldn't have gone better, I'm serene, and I have a great team beside me to help. And now let's wait and see what's going to happen".

1527 CEST: The Tonale descent broke the front group into pieces, but close to all of them regrouped again as the race hit the first slopes of the next climb.

1528 CEST: ...although Croatia's Miholjevic, Lampre's "serial escapee" Daniele Righi (more than 470 km. outside the bunch since the race kicked off) and Spanish teammate Patxi Vila are leading the rest by some 20".

1531 CEST: Back in the "Gruppo Maglia Rosa", some of the sprinters who got dropped on the Tonale regained the bunch on the descent afterwards, but lost contact one more time as the road kept tilting upwards.

1532 CEST: And as for the front of the bunch, Cristian Moreni lost the wheels of both the three leaders and the first chasers, and will probably be absorbed by the peloton in a short time.

1535 CEST: Needless to say, many red jersies of the Saeco team are seen at the front of the main peloton setting the pace, while the riders are climbing the Gavia.

1538 CEST: Back to the front group now, where Italy's Daniele Righi got dropped, and there's just two riders in the lead now: Croatian Vladimir Miholjevic (Alessio) and Basque Patxi Vila Errandonea (Lampre).

1539 CEST: No moves from any GC contenders thus far, though many of them got one or more of their domestiques into the break.

1541 CEST: As the race progresses toward the Gavia, more and more riders, many of which are sprinters, but there's also Austrian Gerard Trampusch, are losing contact to the Cunego bunch.

1545 CEST: The road is getting narrow, and the “real” Gavia is about to start, while Miholjevic and Vila are leading the group of Wegmann, Mazzanti, Bileka Bertagnolli, Gomis and struggling Daniele Righi by 25”, and Cristian Moreni and Igor Pugaci are trying to regain the first chasing group.

Nothing new from the main peloton (that was 03’50 secs adrift at the start of the Gavia), apart from Yaroslav Popovych having a flat, with teammate Duma giving him his wheel, and Popo forced to regain the bunch all by himself, with no teammates around to drive him.


1550 CEST: The Vini Caldirola leader finally started the fireworks on the Gavia, with about 8k to the top of the ascent. The Saecos didn't counter his move, while Lampre's Wladimir Belli did, and is trying to bridge the gap to fellow Lombard Garzelli.

1551 CEST: Garzelli is now leading Belli by 06", with the "Gruppo Maglia Rosa" at 20". Back in the bunch, Australian Brad McGee is struggling instead.

1553 CEST: Szmyd and Mazzoleni are riding tempo in the Cunego/Simoni bunch, containing also Tonkov, Cioni, Valjavec, Honchar, Popovych, Sella and a few others.

1554 CEST: Less than 8 km. to the top of the Gavia for Stefano Garzelli, who is pushing a 39x23, and who put more seconds into both Belli (now at 10") and the Gruppo Maglia Rosa.

1556 CEST: Caldirola's Oscar Mason slowed down his pace and is waiting for Stefano Garzelli to join him. Brad McGee is at the bottom of the Cunego group, but still holds on.

1558 CEST: Garzelli caught teammate and fellow "Varesino" Mason, who is likely going to ride hard for him in the next kms (as long as he can).

1600 CEST: In the meantime Miholjevic dropped Vila and is on a solo escape. The Croat leads Vila and Gomis by about 40 seconds, while Moreni is fourth at 01'00", with Bileka and Bertagnoli at 01'13". More riders, still in between the leaders and Garzelli, follow.

1602 CEST: Oscar Mason couldn't stay with Garzelli any longer; Garzelli is 03'10" behind solo leader Vladimir Miholjevic, but took 15 more seconds on the Saeco-led peloton!

1603 CEST: Garzelli increased his lead to the Gruppo Maglia Rosa to a good 50 seconds.

1605 CEST: And the gap is up to a minute! The Saecos in the peloton blatantly slowed down their pace, but on the other hand, the man from Varese is flying now!

1609 CEST: Stefano Garzelli caught and dropped Bileka, Bertagnolli, and Wegmann. And there are just 4 riders in front of him now.

1610 CEST: Nineteen riders in the Cunego group, with Saeco's Szmyd riding tempo at the front throughout the last 2-3 kms. McGee struggling but holding on, and Popovych seemingly not riding too well.

1613 CEST: 2k to the Gavia summit for 39x25-pushing Garzelli, whose next targets are Cristian Moreni, Patxi Vila and Juan Gomis, currently 01'30" down to solo leader Miholjevic.

1617 CEST: 1k to the top for Stefano Garzelli, who has caught Vila, Moreni and Gomis, while the Gruppo Maglia Rosa is about 01'15" down on him.

1618 CEST: McGee and Pellizotti lost contact to the Cunego group; they'll get back in the descent afterwards anyhow.

1619 CEST: Garzelli sped the pace again, and only Juan Gomis Lopez could follow. Garzelli's next target is solo leader Miholjevic.

1621 CEST: Croatia's Vladimir Miholjevic (Alessio) was first over the top of the highest mountain of the 87th Giro d'Italia, the Passo Gavia (2618m asl). Kudos to him!!

1622 CEST: Stefano Garzelli and Juan Gomis Lopez follow at 01'06".

1623 CEST: And after a few more riders, here comes the peloton, 02'55" behind Miholjevic, and 01'49" behind Garzelli!

1625 CEST: Cristian Moreni took fourth at the top of the Gavia, with Patxi Vila in fifth and Wladmir Belli sixth.

1626 CEST: With the landscape along the road being white with snow, all main stars of the 87th Giro d'Italia are tackling the descent into Santa Caterina Valfurva and Bormio, with a little more than 40k remaining.

1631 CEST: Cristian Moreni is trying to make the most of his downhill skills and bridge the gap to Garzelli and Gomins, while back in the bunch pure climber Emanuele Sella is not as good in the descent.

1633 CEST: Wladimir Belli was swallowed by the bunch in the descent, while Miholjevic is currently leading Garzelli and Gomis by a minute, with Moreni and Patxi Vila a further 30 secs behind.

1634 CEST: The good news for Stefano Garzelli is that his move lifted him up to the provisional third place in the GC, ahead of both Popovych and Simoni.

1635 CEST: The gap between Garzelli (and Gomis) and the Cunego bunch is up to two minutes now!

1636 CEST: Garzelli and Gomis are working very well together, and they could get further help from Moreni and Vila, who are about to join them.

1637 CEST: The good news for Cunego and Simoni is that their super-domestique Szmyd, dropped in the last part of the Gavia, regained the Maglia Rosa group.

1638 CEST: Also Belgium's Christophe Brandt and Italy's Emanuele Sella are about to get back into the Gruppo Maglia Rosa.

1639 CEST: Unbelievable but true: Garzelli and Gomis put 35" more secs into the Cunego/Honchar/Popovych/Simoni group: the gap is 02'35" now!!

1642 CEST: And the two were joined by Vila and Moreni. But with teammate Miholjevic still at the front, the latter will hardly (as in NOT) help Garzelli.

1643 CEST - CORRECTION: The aforementioned gap of 02'35" (now 02'42") was referring to Miholjevic and NOT Garzelli and Gomis; the Italian and the Spaniard are leading Simoni and Cunego by about 01'27" only!!

1647 CEST: 21.5k to go for solo escapee Miholjevic, with Garzelli, Vila, Gomis and Moreni more than a minute behind.

1648 CEST: The bad news for Garzelli is that neither Miholjevic's teammate Moreni nor Patxi Vila (teammate of GC contender Wladimir Belli) are willing to help and also Juan Gomis is less cooperative than before, such that Garzelli most do the lion's share of the work.

...and one of the consequences is that Miholjevic extended the gap to 01'45" with 19.5 k to go.

1651 CEST: Bad news for Garzelli. More good news for Cunego and Simoni - who have Mazzoleni, Tonti and Smzyd in the bunch with them, riding tempo on the flats.

1653 CEST: More good news for solo leader Miholjevic at the Intergiro in Bormio: the advantage to Garzelli and the three other chasers is up to 01'53!"

1654 CEST: ...But there's still two difficult climbs between the man from Rijeka, Istria, and his biggest win as professional rider!

1656 CEST: And the first one has just begun, with the Garzelli quartet about 01'50" down on the leader, and only half a minute clear of the Gruppo Maglia Rosa!

1658 CEST: The Saeco's team tactics seemingly proved right this time too, while Garzelli paid the price for the lack of cooperation from his breakaway mates, despite some early help from Juan Gomis.

1659 CEST: And the strong headwinds in the flat section surely weren't of help to him either.

1700 CEST: In the meantime, it has kept raining again over the Giro d'Italia...a mixture of rain and sunny skies has marked most of today's stage.

1702 CEST: Riders are on Le Motte ascent now, with Mihlojevic leading by 02'00", and three Saecos riding tempo at the front of the peloton, with Simoni following and Cunego behind him.

1704 CEST: About 13k to go, and Miholjevic still leading the 26-strong bunch (now containing also the former "Garzelli quartet", that was just caught) by about 02'00". Popovych punctured again (!) and Bileka is helping him regain the bunch.

1708 CEST: The race left the penultimate climb on the day (Le Motte) behind, and is on the way to the final ascent into Bormio 2000, a resort that will host next year's FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

1710 CEST: Wladimir Miholjevic is back into Bormio, and about to tackle the last climb, but with the gap being less than two minutes, it will be very difficult for the Croat to save his lead over the 9 kms of the Bormio 2000 ascent.

1711 CEST: Notably, if he's up aginst the mighty red army of Saeco!

1717 CEST: And the first slopes of the last climb saw Garzelli lose contact, and SIMONI ON ATTACK!

1718 CEST: 8k to the line, and it's young Emanuele Sella that tries to bridge the gap to Simoni, while Popovych is struggling.

1719 CEST: Sella joins Gibo, while also Maglia Rosa Cunego is trying to bridge the gap. Brad McGee is struggling (again).

1720 CEST: Cunego didn't counter Simoni's move immediately, but never lost control of the situation.

1721 CEST: Simoni and Sella brought the gap to solo escapee Vladimir Miholjevic down to 01'00", while Mazzoleni is still ahead of Cunego, riding tempo for him.

1722 CEST: Popovych got dropped and lost some 100 metres to Cunego instead.

The five-strong group containing both Mazzoleni and Cunego is about to catch Simoni and Sella. Though the chasers halved the gap to Miholjevic, now leading by 30" only. He'll lose the lead very soon.

1724 CEST: 6k to go and as fully predictable Vladimir Miholjevic was caught (and dropped) by Simoni and Sella.

1726 CEST: Simoni attacks and drops Sella!

1727 CEST: 5k to the line: The gap between solo leader Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego group (with the Maglia Rosa now keeping an eye on Honchar) is up to 25".

1728 CEST: Cioni attacks the Cunego group, but the Maglia Rosa holder counters, and Sella is brought back .

1729 CEST: A chasing trio formed behind Simoni, with Cioni, Cunego and Honchar, while Popovych lost contact again.

1730 CEST: Honchar is doing a helluva Giro this year, but worthy of mention is also the performance of Italo-British Dario David Cioni of Fassa Bortolo.

1731 CEST: The three chasers cut the gap to Simoni down to some 100 meters, while a group with Perez Cuapio, Mazzoleni, Sella, Garate and Popovych follows.

1732 CEST: Simoni caught by Cioni, Cunego and Honchar!! ...while Perez Cuapio attacks in order to bridge the gap to the leading quartet.

1733 CEST: Here comes the Mexican! Julio Alberto Pèrez Cuapio (pushing a 53x21!!) has joined the leaders. The Panaria climber finally found back his good form.

1734 CEST: Yaroslav Popovych is 20" back, in the chasing bunch with Garate, Belli and Noé, while the Giro's thinnest athlete, Emanuele Sella, is further behind.

1735 CEST: 2K to go for the five leaders: Simoni, Cunego (now setting the pace), Honchar, Cioni and Pérez Cuapio.

1736 CEST: Popovych is 23" behind, Sella at 45".

Slovenia's Valjavec is riding alongisde Sella, while Popo's thrid place overall is in jeopardy.

1738 CET: 1k to go for the five frontrunners.

...while Garzelli is losing time after time, paying the price for his previous, brave efforts.

1739 CEST: 700m to go for the quintet...

In the five-man sprint, Cunego will be working as leadoutman for Simoni.

1740 CEST: Time for the sprint... Cunego attacks. Leadoutman man?? No way!! Cunego wants to win this stage too and he easily takes the stage. DAMIANO CUNEGO HAS WON!!!

Cioni was second, Honchar third, then Simoni and Pérez Cuapio. Simoni captured the third place overall, but it must be of a very small solace to him, while excellent McGee came in about a minute behind Cunego.

1743 CEST: Gutsy Stefano Garzelli crossed the line 02'03" behind Cunego.

1745 CEST: Another impressive display of power by Damiano Cunego, that after taking his fourth stage win (and it ended up like a SOLO win) is one step away from becoming overall winner of the 87th Giro d 'Italia. Gilberto Simoni tried but simply couldn't; his condition is not the same as it was one year ago, and the man was everything but happy at the stage end.

Serhyi Honchar has more than a reason to happy instead: despite not being pure climber, he held on and will probably take De Nardi's name into the Milan podium.

Good news for Dario David Cioni too: the UK-born Tuscan had a more than excellent ride today, was "best of the rest" behind Cunego, and is now in the Top 5 places overall. Who said Fassa didn't have GC contenders?

And who said Stefano Garzelli was a finished rider (in this Giro at least)? The man didn't give up the fight, and his gutsy move was among the best ones of this Giro. Luck was not on his side this time though, and the mix of poor cooperation by his breakaway mates and the strong headwinds in the long flat part between Il Gavia and the last two climbs dashed all of his hopes, with Garzelli's own condition (just like in Simoni's case...what a difference one year makes) doing the rest!

As for Yaroslav Popovych, the Ukrainian is a better time-triallist than last year, but a worse climber, and we saw the results today too. Add the lack of a strong team to help him, and one may realize why it will be difficult for the LBK-Colnago talent to repeat last year's podium finish.

And last but absolutely not least, a big thumbs up for Vladimir Miholjevic, Eddy Mazzoleni, Andrea Tonti, Sylvester Szmyd, Emanuele Sella and Brad McGee. The Croat was the main protagonist of the "break of the day", and wrote his name in the Giro history books by being the first over the top of the Cima Coppi, the highest peak in the race, that this year was nothing else but the legendary Gavia, climbed for the sixth time in the Corsa Rosa.

The Saeco trio did their usual, sensational job for Cunego and Simoni, and both team leaders owe them a lot, while both the young Italian and the solid Australian added another excellent performance to their Giro balance, which already includes one stage victory for each of them.

It was also nice to see Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio at the front again. And if the Mexican has finally found the right condition, tomorrow's stage might be the good one for fans to see him rock, like he got us accustomed to a couple years ago.

Brief Results - Stage 18: Top 10 Places
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita - Saeco) - 03h56'31"
2. Dario David Cioni (Ita - Fassa Bortolo) - at 05"
3. Serhyi Honchar (Ukr - De Nardi) - s.t.
4. Gilberto Simoni (Ita - Saeco) - at 10"
5. Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio (Mex - Ceramiche Panaria-Margres) - at 18"
6. Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita - Saeco) - at 36"
7. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa - Lampre) - s.t.
8. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr - Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) - at 40"
9. Wladimir Belli (Ita - Lampre) - s.t.
10. Andrea Noé (Ita - Alessio-Bianchi) - s.t.

GC after Stage 18 - Top 8 Places
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita - Saeco) - 80h38'46"
2. Serhyi Honchar (Ukr - De Nardi) - at 01'31"
3. Gilberto Simoni (Ita - Saeco) - at 03'07"
4. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr - Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) - at 03'23"
5. Dario David Cioni (Ita - Fassa Bortolo) - at 04'44"
6. Wladimir Belli (Ita - Lampre) - s.t.
7. Bradley McGee (Aus - - at 05'24"
8. Stefano Garzelli (Ita - Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie) - at 06'45"

Thanks so much for joining us today, and please join us again Saturday for the final mountain stage, before the road home to Milano. Full results to come.


1 Cunego Damiano Ita Sae 3:56:31
2 Cioni Dario David Ita Fas 0:05
3 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Den m.t.
4 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 0:09
5 Perez Cuapio Julio a. Mex  Pan 0:17
6 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Sae 0:35
7 Garate Cepa Juan Manuel Esp Lam 0:35
8 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 0:41
9 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam 0:41
10 Noe' Andrea Ita Alb 0:43
11 Mc Gee Bradley Aus Fdj 1:00
12 Valjavec Tadej Slo Pho 1:11
13 Sella Emanuele Ita Pan 1:16
14 Laverde Jimenez Luis Fil Col Fpf 1:21
15 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 2:03
16 Brandt Christophe Bel Lot 2:12
17 Tonkov Pavel Rus Vin 3:08
18 Pellizotti Franco Ita Alb 3:08
19 Ardila Cano Mauricio Al Col Cho 3:55
20 Miholyevic Vladimir Cro Alb 4:25
21 Marzoli Ruggero Ita a&S 5:35
22 Canada Gracia David Esp Sdv 5:35
23 Zaugg Oliver Sui Sdv 5:35
24 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita a&S 5:35
25 Vila Errandonea Franc Esp Lam 5:40
26 Lobato Elvira Ruben Esp Sdv 5:40
27 Zampieri Steve Sui Vin 5:47
28 Pospyeyev Kyrylo Ukr a&S 5:54
29 Moreni Cristian Ita Alb 5:57
30 Gomis Lopez Juan Esp Sdv 6:27
31 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm 7:30
32 Szmyd Sylvester Pol Sae 7:38
33 Di Grande Giuseppe Ita Fpf 7:38
34 Borghi Ruggero Ita Den 7:56
35 Bileka Volodymyr Ukr Lan 9:11
36 Gilbert Philippe Bel Fdj 10:12
37 Moos Alexandre Sui Pho 11:08
38 Mason Oscar Ita Vin 11:08
39 Mazzanti Luca Ita Pan 11:55
40 Trampusch Gerhard Aut a&S 13:28
41 Ginestri Giancarlo Ita Ten 13:28
42 Siymens Nico Bel Lan 13:28
43 Bertagnolli Leonardo Ita Sae 13:47
44 Verheyen Geert Bel Cho 14:32
45 Wegmann Fabian Ger Gst 14:39
46 Righi Daniele Ita Lam 14:39
47 Ziegler Thomas Ger Gst 14:39
48 Stangelj Gorazd Slo Sae 16:02
49 Tonti Andrea Ita Sae 16:33
50 Perez Arango Marlon Al Col Clm 16:44
51 Pugaci Igor Mda  Den 16:56
52 Vanotti Alessandro Ita Den 16:59
53 Ferrigato Andrea Ita a&S 17:44
54 Van Velzen Jan Ned Cho 18:36
55 Pietropolli Daniele Ita Ten 18:58
56 Baliani Fortunato Ita Pan 20:15
57 Spezialetti Alessandro Ita Sae 20:22
58 Gasparre Graziano Ita Den 20:35
59 Avdyeyev Sergey Ukr Lan 21:19
60 Gerosa Mauro Ita Vin 21:37
61 Aebersold Niki Sui Pho m.t.
62 Andriotto Dario Ita Vin m.t.
63 Schnider Daniel Sui Pho m.t.
64 Sironi Gianluca Ita Vin m.t.
65 Fertonani Marco Ita Pho m.t.
66 Albasini Michael Sui Pho m.t.
67 Duma Volodimyr Ukr Lan m.t.
68 Derepas David Fra Fdj 22:14
69 Bertolini Alessandro Ita Alb 22:38
70 Piccoli Mariano Ita Lam 23:43
71 Wilson Trent Aus Clm m.t.
72 Ljungqvist Marcus Swe Alb m.t.
73 Astarloa Igor Esp Lam m.t.
74 Gates Nick Aus Lot m.t.
75 Kostuk Denys Ukr Cho m.t.
76 Hamburger Bo Den a&S m.t.
77 Forster Robert Ger Gst m.t.
78 Serpellini Marco Ita Gst m.t.
79 Hauptman Andrej Slo Lam m.t.
80 Wegelius Charly Gbr Den m.t.
81 Strauss Marcel Sui Gst m.t.
82 Vaugrenard Benoit Fra Fdj m.t.
83 Muraglia Giuseppe Ita Fpf m.t.
84 Vogondy Nicolas Fra Fdj m.t.
85 Fornaciari Paolo Ita Sae m.t.
86 Loda Nicola Ita Ten m.t.
87 Gobbi Michele Ita Den m.t.
88 Rastelli Ellis Ita Alb m.t.
89 Pozzi Oscar Ita Ten m.t.
90 Verstrepen Johan Bel Lan m.t.
91 Nauduzs Andris Lat Dve m.t.
92 Mourey Francis Fra Fdj m.t.
93 Sacchi Fabio Ita Fas 27:44
94 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas m.t.
95 Codol Massimo Ita Fas m.t.
96 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas m.t.
97 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan m.t.
98 Gardeyn Gorik Bel Lot m.t.
99 Borrajo Alejandro Albert Arg Pan m.t.
100 Usov Alexandre Blr  Pho m.t.
101 Van Hout Russell Aus Clm m.t.
102 Davis Scott Aus Pan m.t.
103 Mori Manuele Ita Sdv m.t.
104 Podgornik Dean Slo Ten m.t.
105 Velo Marco Ita Fas m.t.
106 Gustov Volodymir Ukr Fas m.t.
107 Scirea Mario Ita Dve m.t.
108 Tosatto Matteo Ita Fas m.t.
109 Pollack Olaf Ger Gst m.t.
110 Masciarelli Simone Ita Vin m.t.
111 Zanotti Marco Ita Vin m.t.
112 Rogina Radoslav Cro Ten m.t.
113 Galletti Alessio Ita Dve m.t.
114 Lancaster Brett Aus Pan m.t.
115 Verbrugghe Ief Bel Lot m.t.
116 Marin Ruber Alverio Col Clm m.t.
117 Fritsch Nicolas Fra Fdj m.t.
118 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve m.t.
119 Steegmans Gert Bel Lot m.t.
120 Schnyder Philippe Sui Clm m.t.
121 Ongarato Alberto Ita Fas m.t.
122 Colombo Gabriele Ita Dve m.t.
123 Mervar Bostjan Slo Fpf m.t.
124 Manzoni Mario Ita Fpf m.t.
125 Murn Uros Slo Pho m.t.
126 Mazzoleni Renzo Ita Ten m.t.
127 Derganc Martin Slo Dve m.t.
128 Brard Florent Fra Cho m.t.
129 Furlan Angelo Ita Alb m.t.
130 Rodriguez Fred Usa a&S m.t.
131 Wilson Matthew Aus Fdj m.t.
132 Vierhouten Aart Ned Lot m.t.
133 D'Amore Crescenzo Ita a&S m.t.
134 Giordani Leonardo Ita Den m.t.
135 Rudenko Maxim Ukr Cho 28:23
136 Cadamuro Simone Ita Den 30:35
137 Bosisio Gabriele Ita Ten 30:35
138 Serina Corrado Ita Fpf 30:35
139 Bertogliati Rubens Sui Sdv 32:27
140 Gualdi Domenico Ita Fpf 33:12

General Classification after Stage 18

1 Cunego Damiano Ita Sae 80:40:26
2 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Den 1:31
3 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 3:07
4 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 3:23
5 Cioni Dario David Ita Fas 4:44
6 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam 5:21
7 Mc Gee Bradley Aus Fdj 5:24
8 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 6:45
9 Garate Cepa Juan Manuel Esp Lam 6:56
10 Noe' Andrea Ita Alb 6:58
11 Valjavec Tadej Slo Pho 7:11
12 Brandt Christophe Bel Lot 8:56
13 Pellizotti Franco Ita Alb 8:59
14 Sella Emanuele Ita Pan 9:21
15 Tonkov Pavel Rus Vin 10:06
16 Laverde Jimenez Luis Fil Col Fpf 11:17
17 Canada Gracia David Esp Sdv 15:22
18 Moreni Cristian Ita Alb 16:21
19 Lobato Elvira Ruben Esp Sdv 17:41
20 Di Grande Giuseppe Ita Fpf 19:47
21 Marzoli Ruggero Ita a&S 21:15
22 Vila Errandonea Franc Esp Lam 22:59
23 Zampieri Steve Sui Vin 23:55
24 Miholyevic Vladimir Cro Alb 24:12
25 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Sae 27:13
26 Trampusch Gerhard Aut a&S 29:45
27 Ardila Cano Mauricio Al Col Cho 30:40
28 Moos Alexandre Sui Pho 31:15
29 Borghi Ruggero Ita Den 31:27
30 Mason Oscar Ita Vin 34:01
31 Tonti Andrea Ita Sae 34:49
32 Gilbert Philippe Bel Fdj 38:09
33 Bertagnolli Leonardo Ita Sae 43:05
34 Hamburger Bo Den a&S 47:54
35 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita a&S 48:10
36 Perez Arango Marlon Al Col Clm 48:47
37 Wegmann Fabian Ger Gst 49:01
38 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm 50:44
39 Baliani Fortunato Ita Pan 54:00
40 Pospyeyev Kyrylo Ukr a&S 55:53
41 Perez Cuapio Julio a. Mex  Pan 56:22
42 Verheyen Geert Bel Cho 59:41
43 Vanotti Alessandro Ita Den 1:05:19
44 Szmyd Sylvester Pol Sae 1:05:21
45 Astarloa Igor Esp Lam 1:07:02
46 Schnider Daniel Sui Pho 1:07:03
47 Wegelius Charly Gbr Den 1:08:34
48 Aebersold Niki Sui Pho 1:09:13
49 Fritsch Nicolas Fra Fdj 1:09:29
50 Mazzanti Luca Ita Pan 1:10:47
140 Serina Corrado Ita Fpf 3:28:42 (Maglia Nera)

Points Classification after Stage 18 (Maglia Ciclamino)

1 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas 225
2 Cunego Damiano Ita Sae 141
3 Pollack Olaf Ger Gst 134
4 Usov Alexandre Blr  Pho 101
5 Rodriguez Fred Usa a&S 96
6 Zanotti Marco Ita Vin 82
7 Mc Gee Bradley Aus Fdj 81
8 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 73
9 Nauduzs Andris Lat Dve 68
10 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Den 65
11 D'amore Crescenzo Ita a&S 65
12 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Sae 61
13 Borrajo Alejandro Albert Arg Pan 60
14 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 55
15 Pellizotti Franco Ita Alb 54
16 Cadamuro Simone Ita Den 53
17 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 47
18 Moreni Cristian Ita Alb 45
19 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita a&S 40
20 Tonkov Pavel Rus Vin 38

Mountains Classification after Stage 18 (Maglia Verde)

1 Cunego Damiano Ita Sae 53
2 Wegmann Fabian Ger Gst 50
3 Moos Alexandre Sui Pho 27
4 Miholyevic Vladimir Cro Alb 20
5 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 20
6 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 17
7 Aebersold Niki Sui Pho 15
8 Laverde Jimenez Luis Fil Col Fpf 14
9 Mc Gee Bradley Aus Fdj 13
10 Pellizotti Franco Ita Alb 12
11 Gomis Lopez Juan Esp Sdv 11
12 Cioni Dario David Ita Fas 10
13 Mazzoleni Renzo Ita Ten 9
14 Sella Emanuele Ita Pan 8
15 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Den 8
16 Baliani Fortunato Ita Pan 8
17 Bertolini Alessandro Ita Alb 7
18 Moreni Cristian Ita Alb 7
19 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm 6
20 Zampieri Steve Sui Vin 6

Intergiro Classification after Stage 18 (Maglia Azzurra)

1 D'Amore Crescenzo Ita a&S 46:23:04
2 Perez Arango Marlon Al Col Clm 0:09
3 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm 0:21
4 Forster Robert Ger Gst 0:26
5 Vierhouten Aart Ned Lot 0:26
6 Righi Daniele Ita Lam 0:31
7 Piccoli Mariano Ita Lam 0:36
8 Vanotti Alessandro Ita Den 0:47
9 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 0:52
10 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Den 0:55
11 Marzoli Ruggero Ita a&S 0:55
12 Muraglia Giuseppe Ita Fpf 0:58
13 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas 1:04
14 Mc Gee Bradley Aus Fdj 1:07
15 Bertolini Alessandro Ita Alb 1:07
16 Tonkov Pavel Rus Vin 1:10
17 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita a&S 1:13
18 Hamburger Bo Den a&S 1:13
19 Bertogliati Rubens Sui Sdv 1:13
20 Furlan Angelo Ita Alb 1:17

Trofeo Fast Team after Stage 18 (Teams Classification)

1 Saeco  241:51:33
2 Alessio-Bianchi 242:01:51 10:18
3 Lampre  242:08:03 16:30
4 Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie 242:09:21 17:48
5 Ceramiche Panaria-Margres 242:17:13 25:40
6 Saunier Duval-Prodir 242:18:08 26:35
7 Acqua&Sapone-Caffe' Mokambo 242:19:23 27:50
8 Phonak-Hearing Systems 242:37:15 45:42
9 De Nardi 242:40:56 49:23
10 Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'  243:22:06 1:30:33
11 Fdjeux.Com 243:25:31 1:33:58
12 Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 243:31:12 1:39:39
13 Gerolsteiner 243:56:11 2:04:38
14 Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf 244:04:08 2:12:35
15 Colombia-Selle Italia 244:22:59 2:31:26
16 Lotto - Domo 244:44:05 2:52:32
17 Fassa Bortolo 244:58:37 3:07:04
18 Tenax 245:14:58 3:23:25
19 Domina Vacanze  246:25:04 4:33:31

Trofeo Super Team after Stage 18

1 Alessio-Bianchi 346
2 Lampre  308
3 Acqua&Sapone-Caffe' Mokambo 305
4 Saeco 304
5 Fassa Bortolo 288
6 Ceramiche Panaria-Margres 242
7 Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie 234
8 Gerolsteiner 233
9 Phonak-Hearing Systems 231
10 De Nardi 190
11 Lotto - Domo 185
12 Fdjeux.Com 182
13 Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 146
14 Saunier Duval-Prodir 145
15 Domina Vacanze  132
16 Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'  92
17 Tenax 82
18 Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf 68
19 Colombia-Selle Italia 67

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