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By Podofdonny
Date: 5/19/2002

STAGE 7: MAY 19 (Sunday) - Versilia Circuit (Viareggio/Lido di Camaiore- 159 km.):

13.50 - Good afternoon and wellcome to the live ticker of todays stage - please remember to hit the F5 button to refresh the page

After the drama of yesterday todays stage will make it a difficult day in the saddle for the telecom boys to control the race

Today's stage goes from Viareggio to Forte dei Marmi, then to Camaiore, then back to the coastline in Lido di Camaiore, but only after climbing the Pedona (Km.5,8 of climbing - average gradient 4,91%) for three times. And beware the descents, as in 1997 neopro Paolo Bettini, while going downhill to Viareggio, had a flat tire that stopped him from taking his first stage win.

178 riders set off this morning and we join the race as Pettachi is being given leave of abscence to visit his parents

14.05 - ,The riders faced another transfer last night this time by car. Riders will go to Versilia, a coastal area in NW Tuscany, whose beaches are usually frequented by Mario Cipollini. But the Versilia Circuit, starting in Viareggio, a town famous because of his Carnival (Mardi Gras) parade, doesn't suit to the "Lion King", nor to any sprinters. Just like in 2001, the first weekend after the beginning of the "pink race" is dedicated to breakaway-guys, like that Gabriele Missaglia who won a very similar stage (ending in Lido di Camaiore) in 1997, ahead of Vatteroni, Mirko Celestino and Podenzana. -

So far the peloton is compact and will probably remain so until after the first inter giro sprint at 58 kms

worth having a look at the GC after yesterdays stage

General classification after stage 6

1 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Telekom 31.19.45

2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 3.33

3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 3.43

4 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio 3.45

5 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 3.57

6 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 4.09

7 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.16

8 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia 4.27

9 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 4.33

10 Santiago Perez Fernandez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 4.36

11 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.39

12 Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 4.43

13 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Team Coast 4.44

14 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC Tiscali 4.46

15 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei-Quick Step 4.47

16 Juan D. Ramirez (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia 4.50

17 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 4.52

18 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 5.02

19 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 5.05

20 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 5.08

So the remarkable Heppner leads the race - he turned proffesional in 1991 - and after one year with Panasonic has spent the rest of his career with Telekom - quite an unusual fact in itself !

14.35 - A lot better weather conditons today - clear skies and a slight breeze the peloton is getting close to the Pedona for the first time and everyone is together

Of course most people will see Heppner as only holding onto the jersey for a short while - but is always worth remembering that once in the leaders jersey riders very often perform beyond themselves -. A good example is Christophe Agnolutto who took an unexpected lead in the Tour of Swisse in 1997 - and amazingly hung onto the jersey until the end of the race

Still after yesterdays inter-giro results the standings in the competition are as follows - the intergiro today comes on the 58th Km (Marina di Pietrasanta).

Intergiro classification

1 Massimo Strazzer (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems 20.12.55

2 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Team Coast 0.26

3 Sven Teutenberg (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.41

4 Mykhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) Colombia-Selle Italia 1.46

5 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo 1.52

15.00 - it has been a slow first hour average speed 31.700 k/p/h

Yesterday two riders Abandoned : Jesús Manzano Ruano (Spa-Kel) - Robert Hunter (Rsa-Map)

Two other riders did not make the time cut - both from Panaria: Graeme Brown (Aus) and Sergei Matveyev (Ukr) - the Panaria team is having a very miserable Giro this year !

On a more positive note Piotr Wadecki (Pol-Dff) will return to racing in the Midi Libre, 2 months after his terrible accident we wish him well !

While Gerrit Glomser (Aut-Sae) is already back in racing - he started in the Vuelta Asturias - so good to see these riders back from injury .

Worth while looking at the Telekom team who have the task of defending the Maglia Rosa


211. Ralf Grabsch (Ger)

212. Sergei Yakovlev (Kaz)

213. Torsten Hiekmann (Ger)

214. Jens Heppner (Ger)

215. Danilo Hondo (Ger)

216. Kai Hundertmarck (Ger)

217. Matthias Kessler (Ger)

218. Jan Schaffrath (Ger)

219. Stephan Schreck (Ger)

Of course unfortunately Danilo Hondo had to return to Germany due to the sad death of his mother -

15:10 INTERGIRO SPRINT - Quaranta is first Quaranta first, Strazzer second, Di Biase third. So Strazzer will increase his lead in this competition

Quick look at the Telekom team members - Stephan Schreck 23 years old from Erfurt become a pro in 2000 with Telekom - no victories as yet

15.30 Crash - , Mazzanti, Sgambelluni, Gerosa and Totsching involved at the back of the peloton all seem ok

Fassa's Casagrande is leading the peloton up the Colli de Perdano while the Telekom look to defend the jersey the Mapei and Fassa boys amass.

Bettini and Strazzer are not looking good with 2km's before the summitt .

first over the top : Castelblanco - Cioni - Casagrande.

the peloton is split as they begin the descent with a gap of around three minutes - they should come back together this time around

15.55 - very rapid descent by the first group with Simoni the chief animator - he seems very determined today - and his team are giving him full support

16.00 - 90 riders now make up the leading peloton - with 5 Telekom men for Heppner in this group with a gap of around a minute on the rest of the field - while about six riders have started an attack at the front -

16.15 Schweda and Pereiro Sio (Phonak), Cioni (Mapei), Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio Cristian Moreni (Alessio), Faresin (Gerolsteiner)and Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Sciandri (Lampre) and Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto). are the attackers they have gained about 45 seconds

Telekom lead the chasing peloton the gap is now 1.15

16.25 - Kelme have picked up the chase

Heppner is apparently without contract for next year - so there might be a few managers visiting his hotel during the race - Telekom now driving the chase while the ten escapees are working very well together - just 35 kms to go

The ten escapees pass under the 30 km to go banner - further back the Telekom riders protect their man - while Kelme - riding for prize money still lead the chasers

16.35 - the gap now 1.38 ,Sciandri looking very comfortable at the front - he is very active at the front of the race

Just to recap on the riders in the leading group as they pass Flag waving tifosi -

Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio

Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio

Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo

Gianni Faresin (Ita) Gerolsteiner

Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre - Daikin

Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto - Adecco

Dario Cioni (Ita) Mapei - Quick Step

Oscar Pereira Sio (Spa) Phonak

Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast

Denis Lunghi (Ita) Team Colpack - Astro

Interesting in regard to Garzelli that Hunter retired sick yesterday and Bettini may be poorly as well today -

25 kilometres to go as they start the ascent of Pedona

Lunghi is driving the escapees up the hill - while Bertolini attcacks - and gains a good advantage on his fellow escapees Rik Verbrugghe counters and bridges the gap while Cioni tries to hang on

Rik Verbrugghe is powering up this hill! Cioni is next while Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast is making an effort to bridge the gap - but Verbrugghe looks very strong today

Enourmous crowds - cheering the Belgian at the front of the race - he is over the summit - just 18 kms to go - now Cioni passes the summit just in front of Alessandro Bertolini , Raphael Schweda and Denis Lunghi

Verbrugghe has a minute on the Telekom led peloton the descent is fast technical and difficult - Verbrugghe is throwing caution to the wind as he swoops through the Italian countryside

At the back of the peloton "Lucky " perez is cautiously following the pack - Verbrugghe is in frightening form - pushing it to the limit as he tries to make the most of the descend .Zampieri (Tacconi) crashes on on of the corners !

Verbrugghe has nearly 2 minutes on the peloton - the group Sciandri inbetween - less than 10 kilometres to go fro the flying Belgian !

Sorry - technical difficulties there for a minute...

So Verbrugghe storms home to solo glory -


Results (159 km)

1 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 4.03.59 (39.10 km/h)

2 Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast 0.59

3 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio

4 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin 1.02

5 Gianni Faresin (Ita) Gerolsteiner

6 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems

7 Denis Lunghi (Ita) Team Colpack-Astro

8 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 1.08

9 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.46

10 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Team Coast

General Classification General classification after stage 7

1 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Telekom 35.25.30

2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 3.33

3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 3.43

4 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio 3.45

5 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 3.57

6 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 4.09

7 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.16

8 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia 4.27

9 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 4.33

10 Santiago Perez Fernandez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 4.36

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