Italy's Michele Maccanti of Cyber Team Faresin was the surprise, but clear winner of Stage 8 of the Baby Giro, a tough ITT in and around the town of Fabriano, in the Marche region, with just 3 kms of flat racing, followed by a route continuously going up and down, with gradients going up to 15%. The 24-year-old Maccanti, winner of the Coppa San Geo amateur season opener, and podium place getter at Croatia's Trofej Plave Lagune open race early this year, covered the 20.3-km. route in a time of 26'35"74, averaging a speed of 46.043 km/h. Fellow countryman Nicola Da Dalto took second in 27'27", and Serbian Ivan Stevic, one the main protagonsists of this year's Giro, filled the remaining top 3 spot. The winner got off to a very fast start, such that he was leading his closest rivals by more than 50" at the 10-km. time check, and maintained his advantage all over the second half of the stage.
Michele Maccanti was back to competitive cycling in May as, after his aforementioned wins, a early season accident forced him out of the saddle for a few weeks. If his ITT success was a surprise to some, it wasn't to him: "I thought I could do well in the Time Trial, because I knew that the course suited my skills. When at the startline, I was confident, and when on the road I did everything right. I think that I can still have something to say in cycling, and now I want some more significant victories" were his post-win words.
Alessandro Bertuola snatched fifteenth in the stage, in a time of 28'33", and held onto his lead in the overall standings, also extending the gap to closest pursuers Nicola Del Puppo and Marco Marzano to 01'40" and 02'25" respectively, while Maccanti's teammate, and reigning champion, Dainus Kairelis of Lithuania gained 18 seconds on the Ima Moro Brugnotto team leader and moved up into fourth overall, but still a distant fourth, as he's close to three minutes down in the GC. Aussies didn't live up to expectations, or maybe the route just wasn't much appropriate for the "pure" time-trial specialists: none of them made the Top 10, and Friday's top finisher from OZ was Peter Dawson, who took 11th in a time of 28'20".
Worthy of mention is also the Giro performance by Micula De Matteis: the young Piedmontese, riding with the Bottoli Artoni-Zoccorinese outfit, has been hampered by falls and punctures throughout the race, the Fabriano ITT included, but nonetheless he's still in the top 6 places, trailing by three (that without his bad luck might have been two or so) minutes only. Many say the boy has got talent, and we'll hear his name many a good times in years to come. Time will tell.
Saturday's penultimate leg is the "stage of truth" as the last mountain top finish, into the well-known Terminillo (where Stefano Garzelli pipped Gilberto Simoni to claim stage 7 of last year's Tour of Italy), coming at the end of a 167-km. journey also featuring the Anifo, Soglio and Forca difficulties is going to determine the eventual winner of the race, as well as the two other podium riders. Alessandro Bertuola, the brilliant Maglia Rosa, still believing in his chances, remains the red hot favourite for the GC win, but he'll have to defend his lead from possible attacks by Marzano, the only rider Bertuola said he'll keep an eye on, or (more unlikely) Dal Puppo, while Daiuus Kairelis might have something to say too, and also climbing talent Domenico Pozzovivo, despite not being a GC contender, could go for some glory.
Stage 8 (Fabriano ITT, 20.4 km.): Results - Top 10 Places
1. Michele Maccanti (Ita - Cyber Team Faresin) - 26’35”74 (46.043 kph)
2. Mauro Da Dalto (Ita - SC Marchiol Famila Site) - 27'27’21
3. Ivan Stevic (Scg - VC Aran World Cantina Tollo) - 27’43”41
4. Orviz Mario De Sarraga (Spa - Calzaturieri Montegranaro) - 27’23”87
5. Denis Shkarpeta (Uzb - VC Ceramiche Pagnoncelli) - 27’47”15
6. Diego Caccia (Ita - GS Bottoli Artoni Zoccorinese) - 28’06”50
7. Adriano Angeloni (Ita - Futuro Team Matricardi) - 28’08”57
8. Daniele Marziani (Ita - VC Aran World cantina Tollo) - 28’11”65
9. Dainius Kairelis (Lit - Cyber Team Faresin) - 28’18”66
10. Riccardo Riccò (Ita - GC Fausto Coppi Grassi) - 28’18”75"
34th Giro d'Italia U26 (2.6): GC after Stage 8 - Top 10 Places
1. Alessandro Bertuola (Ita - Ima Moro Brugnotto) - 26h00’36”
2. Nicola Del Puppo (Ita - GS Promosport) - at 01’40”
3. Marco Marzano (Ita - VC Ceramiche Pagnoncelli) - at 02’24”
4. Dainius Kairelis (Lit - Cyber Team Faresin) - at 02’41”
5. Paolo Bailetti (Ita - Camel Brunero Boeris ) - at 03’08"
6, Micula Dematteis (Ita - GS Bottoli Artoni Zoccorinese) - at 03’08"
7. Riccardo Riccò (Ita - GC Fausto Coppi Grassi) - at 03’18”
8. Alessio Ricciardi (Ita - Bedogni Natalini Famá) - at 03’18”
9. Alexandr Sabalin (Rus - VC La Pomme Marseille) - at 03’25”
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita - GS Zalf Desirèe Fior) - at 03’25”
34th Giro d’Italia Under 26 on the”Daily Peloton" - Links
* Stage 1 Results & Report
* Stage 2 Results & Report
* Stages 3, 4 & 5 Results & Report
* Stage 6 Results & Report
* Stage 7 Results & Report