STAGE 12: MAY 24 (Friday) - Campobasso to Chieti - 201 km
This stage that goes into the Appenines, features two ascents: Valico il Macerone, with 5,700 meters of climbing and an average gradient of 6.38%, and Roccaraso, with 8,800 meters of climbing, and an average gradient of 5.1%. With the route going up and down frequently, a bunch sprint is highly unlikely, but also riders aiming for the Milan podium should try to save their energies for tomorrow's mountain stage and Sunday's time trial. Could be a good day for a breakaway!
Of course, the big news in today's Giro is the sad expulsion of current race champion, Gilberto Simoni. He has been disqualified from the race for a positive drug test given before the Tour of Trentino.
It's a gloomy day in Italy, which seems appropriate.
Live updates will be posted in the chat room as well as here on the front page!
As we join the race, Bertolini, Wrolich, Bernucci, Bert
Grabsch, Lunghi and Buxhofer are in a breakaway, and have a lead of about 4.05...
Denish Lunghi is the best placed rider in the break, 51st
in the GC and 17.38 behind Heppner. So there is no threat to his Maglia Rosa in there.
The peloton is descending and stretched out in a long
ribbon down the hills. The breakaway is down to 3.35.
Ivan Quaranta left the race today, he had a hard day in
the saddle yesterday - he is suffering from Bronchitis.
The breakaway is down to 2.50... The rain is heavy.
Everyone is wearing rain jackets.
The peloton is diminishing... there is a big group of
Sprinters and stragglers about 11 minutes back on the Gruppo Maglia Rosa....
The road is turning up again, and the Rabobank team is
making itself felt on the front of the peloton, possibly setting Michael Boogerd up for an attack
on the last hill.
Big names are all in place.
Paolo Salvodelli looks good today, report Phil and
Paul... At only 45" behind Casagrande and with the disqualification of Simoni, moving into 4th
place, he is an inspired descender.
The race ends in a 5 kilometer descent into the finishing
circuit, and he could do some damage there.
Dennis Lunghi has attacked the break...
Rabobank is really going hard at the front of the
Dario Frigo has had a technical problem... he is back
with the cars, 4.04 from the Maglia Rosa...
But Frigo should catch up without any problem!
Racers are in Chieti... Lunghi is on the finishing
circuit with a 3 minute lead. Casagrande is near the front of the peloton and very attentive.
It's raining really hard, and it looks as if Lunghi may
have made the move of his career!
Lunghi stays away, and the peloton is about three minutes
behind... He's going..... he may even be gone!
Lunghi is 40 seconds ahead of his breakaway compadres,
and gaining. He's on his last tour of the circuit, and faces a 5 km climb, followed by the descent to the finish. The chase group is disorganized and not working
together... they will be caught by the peloton at that rate.
Lunghi is 3.12 ahead of the Groupo Maglia Rosa....
Correction - it seems that Lunghi is on the pentultimate lap on the circuit- not the last!
The peloton is losing steam and looks to have given up
Lunghi is still away... 14 km to go.The weather is really bad. The peloton doesn't appear to be making much of an effort to catch him! This will be a great result for Lunghi if he manages to hold on!
Last lap. Lunghi ahead of the chasers by .58 seconds. He is gaining time.
The rain is letting up... Heppner is sitting pretty at the front of the peloton. He will keep his jersey.
Tyler Hamilton is looking comfortable too... but then,
they all are. They are sitting up!
Lunghi will almost certainly stay away. 8 or 9 minutes more of racing...
The peloton has completely stopped racing. They are out for a pleasure cruise.
The chasers are back in the peloton... Lunghi still away with a lead of 1'22"
NO!! They are not absorbed- they
are chasing! The chasers are actually still chasing, and it is they that are 1'22" down on Lunghi.
Lunghi is emotional and in his last Kilometer. He has
taken off his rain jacket and prepares for his victory. The sun is shining for him! He wins!
Grabsch second at 35 seconds or so, Bernucci
third, Bertolini 4th, Buxhofer 5th at 50 seconds.
Peloton is still cruising like they are on
holidays...Saving their energy for tomorrow...not taking any
3.43 6th for Vrolich from Gerolsteiner
The peloton is still on the descent
The Sprinters are racing against the clock... they have
to beat the time limit!
Rik Verbrugghe is 24th, Casagrande 26th today
19th Boogerd, 21st Evans
Lunghi is on the podium...It is his third career victory! Davoldelli would be 3rd in GC now....
A bunch of riders arrived at full speed and a whole
bunch of people were on the road and didn't move...
The race directeur may have stopped the grupetto...but in inclement conditions the finishing time limits can be waived....
Green jersey (KOM) is for Joaquim Castelblanco since
Simoni is out. Strazzer also has the blue jersey still.
1 Denis Lunghi (Ita) Team Colpack-Astro 5.38.17
2 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.37
3 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 0.38
4 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio 0.54
5 Matthias Buxhofer (Aut) Phonak Hearing Systems
6 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner 3.44
7 Mykhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) Colombia-Selle Italia 7.47
8 Mariano Piccoli (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
9 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems
10 John Freddy Garcia (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia
General Classification after Stage 12
1 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Telekom 58.40.30
2 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 2.58
3 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia 3.43
4 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio
5 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Team Coast 3.46
6 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 3.50
7 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 3.55
8 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 3.58
9 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 4.00
10 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei-Quick Step 4.03
Many thanks to Phil Miano and the Daily Peloton Official Angel, Celine Tytgadt, for their valuable additions to this ticker. Stay tuned for analysis and the latest reports!