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87th Giro d'Italia Stage 20 Live Coverage
By Staff
Date: 5/30/2004
87th Giro d'Italia Stage 20 Live Coverage

Welcome to live coverage of the final stage of the 87th Giro d'Italia, from Clusone to Milano, 149 km.

Last November we wrote, in our Giro presentation:

Stage 20 runs from Clusone (Bergamo province) to Milan over 149 km. With the winner’s name possibly known since the end of the previous stage, the 87th edition of Giro d’Italia ends on Sunday, May 30, with the “usual” ride into Milan (Italy being one of the few countries whose cycling Tour does not end in the nation’s capital. Why? Perhaps because “Gazzetta dello Sport” is a Milan-based newspaper).

Whereas the 2003 edition featured a flat road stage at the beginning, and a Time Trial finishing into the picturesque scenery of Piazza Duomo in the final day, this time the route is back to its old habits, with a short ride against the clock as opener, and the fastest wheels being given the chance to seal the race with a victory.

Well, if there’s any sprinters left in the pack at least! Indeed with four tremendous mountain stages in a row in the previous days, lots of steep mountains to climb, and short distances that could prompt aggressive riding, thus making the time limit lower, there’s a chance that many (if not even all) of them, notably if dropped on the first climb of any of the past stages, can abandon or be excluded from the competition for crossing the line too late.

But even if the “Gruppetto” (sprinters and other poor climbers who ride in a group, trying to avoid being eliminated by missing the time cutoff) will certainly have to ride hard, race boss Carmine Castellano confessed that organizers may request the technical commission to waive time limits, in order to be able to bring some (more) sprinters to Milan.

The finish line of the 87th Tour of Italy will be located in a new (to the Giro) place inside downtown Milan: neither Corso Sempione, scene of the last efforts of the “Girini” until 2002, but probably affected by major works at Milan’s subway in 2004, nor last year’s Piazza Duomo, good for a Time Trial but not a massive sprint finish, but Corso Venezia: another nice and prestigious area of the city, with buildings dating back to the late 19th century, and close to the Via Palestro/Porta Venezia Public Gardens. And that’s where the Award Ceremony will draw the curtain on the 2004 Giro d’Italia soon after the stage finish.

One hundred forty of the original 169 participants took the start this morning for the final ride, including some of the sprinters who admirably weathered the last four days of mountains. For example, Alessandro Petacchi and Fred Rodriguez are still in the race, though the Lion King Mario Cipollini pulled out after injuries suffered in a finish line crash, and Robbie McEwen also retired in favor of Tour de France preparation.

Today the riders will cycle 120 kilometers from Clusone to Milano, then complete ten city circuits of 4.8 kilometers in order to finish out what has been a fascinating Giro d'Italia.

We have had six race leaders throughout this tour: Bradley McGee (two days), Olaf Pollack (one day), Gilberto Simoni (four days), Yaroslav Popovych (three days) and Damiano Cunego (ten days). Just about every favorite has worn the pink jersey in this race, excepting perhaps Stefano Garzelli, who did win yesterday's stage.

We have also had only ten stage winners, thanks in part to Fassa Bortolo's Alessandro Petacchi taking a record eight stage wins. 22 year old Damiano Cunego of Saeco has also won four stages.

Please refresh this page (F5) to view the latest information. Commentary today by Jan Janssens.

Welcome to the ticker, we're currently some 8kms away from the first passage in Milan, with a tourist-paced peloton, as could be expected. No noteworthy breakaways, though there was a crash for Pérez Arango (without any serious consequences) and a flat tire for Gorik Gardeyn, whom, according to his DS Hendrik Redant, will be Lotto's sprinter today now that McEwen has retired.

A quiet day so far, but the Intergiro ranking has been decided today: Mariano Piccoli has come through first at the Intergiro point today, taking away the points from D'Amore, who was the only one who could still steal it from Rafaelle Illiano, one of yesterday's heroes...he certainly deserved to win the Intergiro overall after his sweep yesterday and with his relentless attacking spirit! Congratulations Rafaelle!

If we take a look at all the overall rankings, we see that there are only 2 that can still be changed if the stage ends in the habitual mass sprint: the GC, where Simoni is a mere 3 seconds from Honchar's second spot, and the Super Team ranking (team points classification) where Saeco is just 3 points behind the Alessio team. It is doubtful that they will still change, though, as Simoni isn't exactly a sprinter, and Saeco's fastest man is Maglia Rosa Cunego, whom they won't risk throwing into the sprint today!

These are all the rankings and their leaders: Cunego wins the GC of course, Petacchi takes the points jersey and the prize for most combative rider, Germany's Wegmann grabs the climber's jersey, Rafaelle Illiano the Intergiro as we mentioned, while Alessio is leading the team points ranking and Saeco the "general" team ranking.

The peloton has now made its first passage at the finish line now, 10 local rounds to go.

If we take a look at the list of retired riders, we see that there are a LOT of sprinter names on we go: McEwen, Backstedt, Cipollini, Aug, Svorada, Quaranta (shocking), Pagliarini, Vaitkus, Strazzer, Klemencic, Faresin...

Maybe it's better to consider who we have left...Petacchi is super-favourite, and then there's Rodriguez (aka "Bane of the Ale-jet"), D'Amore, Lombardi, Furlan...maybe also fast-but-not-superfast men like McGee and Gilbert, we'll see. It will be interesting for sure.

Oh, forgot Pollack in the list of sprinters left!! Shame on me!

We're in the third round of the Milano circuit now, going relatively slowly still. Everything is together. Earlier Lotto's Gardeyn, as well as Sella, took a little ride off the front.

This Giro was one of records and historical moments, with Petacchi's record 8 stages and the Cunego-Simoni patricide drama...with his 22 years, Cunego is the 6th youngest Giro winner in its entire history and the 3rd youngest post-war winner. He precedes riders like Binda, Bartali, Merckx in that top 10 of young Giro winners.

Interesting to note is that Cunego has a naturally high hematocrit of 52-53, just like his dad; it's hereditary. That explains to an extent his climbing abilities! Lance Armstrong commented during his short visit to Italy that Cunego looks very talented, and has the legs and the head to match...

In the Tour of Luxembourg, local hero Kim Kirchen has won the final stage, and Landbouwkrediet's Belgian youngster Maxime Monfort wins the overall.

Still very quiet in the peloton, as could be expected. Somewhere around the 4th and 5th local round now.

However, the general speed has risen, and the Fassas have now taken over the command from the Saecos, everyone obeying the tradition to let the team of the leader ride up front while first arriving in Milan.

Dutchman and Rabobank rider Koen De Kort has just won Paris-Roubaix for Espoirs.

25 kms to go, and five circuits.

And we get the first attack! It's the Slovenian Podgornik from the Tenax team! He's gonna have a hard time trying to ride Cunego out of the Maglia Rosa! (He's next to last in the GC at more than 3 hours down from Cunego.) That attack was the "real" start of the stage today.

If we look at the first 15 riders in the GC, we see a few riders who have exceeded expectations...Damiano Cunego of course, but there's also Honchar, Cioni, McGee and Valjavec...Honchar did an excellent job hanging on in the mountains and was a bit unlucky that there was only one ITT. Same for McGee actually, who showed that he can be a player in the GC if he sets his mind to it.

Cioni did a more than superb job making his way without much team support and actually working for Petacchi himself; I think we'll see some nice things from him if he has a whole team to back him up. Same thing with Valjavec, he did extremely well without a strong team to back him up.

And let's not forget Sella and Brandt at 12th and 14th...both young riders who showed that they can climb. Brandt was even without anyone to help him at all, as the entire Lotto team was built around McEwen.

Still Podgornik leading solo, with the Fassas controlling the gap and the peloton. He has about ten seconds gap.

That's more like a five second gap.

A counter-attack from a Sella Italia rider, it's Oz man Trent Wilson, but he is in fact leading the peloton more than breaking away. 13 kms to go.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Vespa Competition has been announced, it's Righi! The Vespa prize is given to the rider that broke away the most kilometers of all, and it earns them a Vespa motorcycle!

In the GP Llodio, Unai Etxebarria held off Perdiguero and Carrara to win the sprint.

Less than 10 kms to go now...we see that the Gerolsteiners are grouping together now behind the Fassa train; maybe they will try and battle Petacchi's locomotive...good luck. Two circuits remaining.

Fassa Bortolo is one of the only teams that is still complete in this Giro, and it's again an impressive sight to see them leading the peloton like that...

Fassa is arguably the most successful team in this Giro. They put all their money on Petacchi, who won a whopping 8 stages, but at the same time their GC man Cioni still grabbed 4th.

Saeco, Fassa, De Nardi and Vini Caldirola are the only intact teams.

The peloton is now nearing the last passage at the finish before the end - we're waiting for the bell ringing in the last tour!

Podgornik was taken back by the peloton a while ago, but he never was really gone anyway.

We hear the bell for the last round now! The previous round had an average speed of 49 km/h, so they'll have to ride over 50 to do better now.

Only a few kms left now, an escape attempt but ther rider is taken back by the Fassas in no time, and the escaped rider (Manzoni) is now leading the peloton. But the Fassas have swallowed him and are leading out now.

Bruseghin has stopped working, Cioni leading now. 3 kms to go.

We see Usov, Furlan and Rodriguez being brought to the front.

The peloton is going FAST now. Three men left leading for Petacchi. Zanotti has Petacchi's wheel.

Borajo and Vierhouten are doing track-style fighting there. Last km!

600 metres. Petacchi is being piloted perfectly it seems! We saw Pollack doing a hand-sling there in the back!

Velo doing it for Petacchi, Petacchi now leading! Petacchi wins with enormous ease - his ninth win in this race.

Cunego wins the Giro, amazing for a 22-yr old!

As expected, Petacchi's win was very easy, though he says that he was extremely tired, and that he even had problems getting over his lead-out man Marco Velo, who was extremely strong (which showed because Velo still made 7th!).

Zanotti took second; no surprise because he was in the best position, on Petacchi's wheel.

Aart Vierhouten grabs a nice third place, and doesn't disappoint a McEwen-less Lotto team. Pollack 4th, Borajo 5th, Usov 6th, and we believe Velo was 7th.

Looking back at this Giro, we can say that it belonged to Saeco and Fassa Bortolo, with Cunego, Simoni and Petacchi as the protagonists...

We see an enormous number of people watching the podium proceedings, and we see Petacchi laughing and smiling on the podium - that must be historic! Haven't seen that yet in this Giro! The man who started off with the ambition of winning 3 stages, but he did three times as well as he had hoped.

Cunego appears on the podium and gets cheers from everyone, and look at that smile! He's overjoyed! He's standing on the highest spot on the podium, and he's still shorter than the podium girls!

Simoni steps onto the podium and hugs him, takes his hand and puts it in the air! He's proving to be a good loser after all - if he was actually was ever a bad loser at all. A great picture nonetheless...

Brief Results

1. Petacchi
2. Zanotti
3. Vierhouten
4. Pollack
5. Borrajo
6. Usov
7. Velo
8. Cadamuro
9. Furlan
10. Ljungqvist

Cunego and Simoni are now both holding the winner's trophy on the final podium! Nice!

A nice apotheosis by Simoni after today's predictable stage, and the drama of the past four days of mountains.

One last note: It's possible that Pollack could be disqualified for the handsling, as McEwen was for his earlier in the race. This we will have to see in the official stage results.

Well, we hope you have enjoyed this edition of the Giro d'Italia as much as we have, and we thank you for joining us. Today's stage results will be posted here, while final Giro classifications will be posted separately later today.

Stage 20 Results

1 Petacchi Alessandro Ita Fas 4:07:01
2 Zanotti Marco Ita Vin m.t.
3 Vierhouten Aart Ned Lot m.t.
4 Pollack Olaf Ger Gst m.t.
5 Borrajo Alejandro Albert Arg Pan m.t.
6 Usov Alexandre Blr  Pho m.t.
7 Velo Marco Ita Fas m.t.
8 Cadamuro Simone Ita Den m.t.
9 Furlan Angelo Ita Alb 0:03
10 Ljungqvist Marcus Swe Alb m.t.
11 D'Amore Crescenzo Ita a&S m.t.
12 Gardeyn Gorik Bel Lot m.t.
13 Gerosa Mauro Ita Vin m.t.
14 Rudenko Maxim Ukr Cho m.t.
15 Mori Manuele Ita Sdv m.t.
16 Canada Gracia David Esp Sdv m.t.
17 Pellizotti Franco Ita Alb m.t.
18 Forster Robert Ger Gst m.t.
19 Cunego Damiano Ita Sae 0:08
20 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Sae m.t.
21 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Den m.t.
22 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae m.t.
23 Albasini Michael Sui Pho m.t.
24 Gilbert Philippe Bel Fdj m.t.
25 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam m.t.
26 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan m.t.
27 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin m.t.
28 Tonti Andrea Ita Sae m.t.
29 Garate Cepa Juan Manuel Esp Lam m.t.
30 Stangelj Gorazd Slo Sae m.t.
31 Mc Gee Bradley Aus Fdj m.t.
32 Marzoli Ruggero Ita a&S m.t.
33 Moos Alexandre Sui Pho m.t.
34 Valjavec Tadej Slo Pho m.t.
35 Rodriguez Fred Usa a&S m.t.
36 Ongarato Alberto Ita Fas m.t.
37 Colombo Gabriele Ita Dve 0:14
38 Nauduzs Andris Lat Dve m.t.
39 Lobato Elvira Ruben Esp Sdv m.t.
40 Wegmann Fabian Ger Gst m.t.
41 Tonkov Pavel Rus Vin m.t.
42 Sella Emanuele Ita Pan m.t.
43 Lancaster Brett Aus Pan m.t.
44 Derepas David Fra Fdj m.t.
45 Gasparre Graziano Ita Den m.t.
46 Zampieri Steve Sui Vin m.t.
47 Cioni Dario David Ita Fas m.t.
48 Fornaciari Paolo Ita Sae m.t.
49 Gobbi Michele Ita Den m.t.
50 Verstrepen Johan Bel Lan m.t.
51 Vila Errandonea Franc Esp Lam m.t.
52 Sironi Gianluca Ita Vin m.t.
53 Brandt Christophe Bel Lot m.t.
54 Di Grande Giuseppe Ita Fpf m.t.
55 Moreni Cristian Ita Alb m.t.
56 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita a&S m.t.
57 Scirea Mario Ita Dve m.t.
58 Bertagnolli Leonardo Ita Sae m.t.
59 Piccoli Mariano Ita Lam m.t.
60 Hamburger Bo Den a&S m.t.
61 Righi Daniele Ita Lam m.t.
62 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas m.t.
63 Loda Nicola Ita Ten m.t.
64 Hauptman Andrej Slo Lam m.t.
65 Bertolini Alessandro Ita Alb 0:23
66 Miholyevic Vladimir Cro Alb 0:27
67 Wilson Matthew Aus Fdj 0:29
68 Gates Nick Aus Lot 0:29
69 Sacchi Fabio Ita Fas 0:38
70 Tosatto Matteo Ita Fas 0:38
71 Ferrigato Andrea Ita a&S 0:40
72 Serina Corrado Ita Fpf 0:42
73 Noe' Andrea Ita Alb m.t.
74 Trampusch Gerhard Aut a&S m.t.
75 Baliani Fortunato Ita Pan m.t.
76 Verbrugghe Ief Bel Lot m.t.
77 Schnider Daniel Sui Pho m.t.
78 Vanotti Alessandro Ita Den m.t.
79 Manzoni Mario Ita Fpf m.t.
80 Andriotto Dario Ita Vin m.t.
81 Avdyeyev Sergey Ukr Lan m.t.
82 Borghi Ruggero Ita Den m.t.
83 Mazzanti Luca Ita Pan m.t.
84 Mervar Bostjan Slo Fpf m.t.
85 Serpellini Marco Ita Gst m.t.
86 Verheyen Geert Bel Cho m.t.
87 Bileka Volodymyr Ukr Lan m.t.
88 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve m.t.
89 Kostuk Denys Ukr Cho m.t.
90 Laverde Jimenez Luis Fil Col Fpf m.t.
91 Ardila Cano Mauricio Al Col Cho m.t.
92 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm m.t.
93 Pospyeyev Kyrylo Ukr a&S m.t.
94 Perez Arango Marlon Al Col Clm m.t.
95 Gustov Volodymir Ukr Fas 0:49
96 Steegmans Gert Bel Lot 0:49
97 Mason Oscar Ita Vin 1:08
98 Bosisio Gabriele Ita Ten m.t.
99 Astarloa Igor Esp Lam m.t.
100 Masciarelli Simone Ita Vin m.t.
101 Wegelius Charly Gbr Den m.t.
102 Ziegler Thomas Ger Gst m.t.
103 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan m.t.
104 Pietropolli Daniele Ita Ten m.t.
105 Mazzoleni Renzo Ita Ten m.t.
106 Siymens Nico Bel Lan m.t.
107 Aebersold Niki Sui Pho m.t.
108 Rastelli Ellis Ita Alb m.t.
109 Gomis Lopez Juan Esp Sdv m.t.
110 Strauss Marcel Sui Gst m.t.
111 Zaugg Oliver Sui Sdv m.t.
112 Schnyder Philippe Sui Clm m.t.
113 Wilson Trent Aus Clm m.t.
114 Bertogliati Rubens Sui Sdv m.t.
115 Rogina Radoslav Cro Ten m.t.
116 Codol Massimo Ita Fas m.t.
117 Marin Ruber Alverio Col Clm m.t.
118 Derganc Martin Slo Dve m.t.
119 Ginestri Giancarlo Ita Ten m.t.
120 Pozzi Oscar Ita Ten m.t.
121 Duma Volodimyr Ukr Lan m.t.
122 Vogondy Nicolas Fra Fdj m.t.
123 Perez Cuapio Julio a. Mex  Pan m.t.
124 Giordani Leonardo Ita Den m.t.
125 Pugaci Igor Mda  Den m.t.
126 Galletti Alessio Ita Dve m.t.
127 Muraglia Giuseppe Ita Fpf m.t.
128 Davis Scott Aus Pan m.t.
129 Gualdi Domenico Ita Fpf m.t.
130 Fertonani Marco Ita Pho m.t.
131 Vaugrenard Benoit Fra Fdj m.t.
132 Van Velzen Jan Ned Cho m.t.
133 Brard Florent Fra Cho m.t.
134 Fritsch Nicolas Fra Fdj m.t.
135 Szmyd Sylvester Pol Sae m.t.
136 Murn Uros Slo Pho m.t.
137 Van Hout Russell Aus Clm m.t.
138 Mourey Francis Fra Fdj 1:16
139 Spezialetti Alessandro Ita Sae 1:16
140 Podgornik Dean Slo Ten 2:58

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