Stage 18 - May 31 - Rovereto to Brescia, 144 km
A bit of a breather today, before tomorrow's final time trial, which will decide the outcome of the race, today's stage from Roverto to Brescia is a short one, and compared with the past two days, is a relatively easy one. The sprinters may come to the fore.
Read the live ticker below, and check back for reports and interviews, and discussion of tomorrow's big ITT.
Seems Cipo has set a new record (better or equal to Merckx)! A record number of STAGE Victories in stage races as well: 133 victories.
Cipo again: "I thought some team would have attacked
today, but after the past efforts on the Dolomites, seems that many just wanted to recover energies. As for me, I'm 35 but still want to go on doing something good."
Cipo's words: "My team did the lion's share of the work,
unfortunately as the route was quite selective I lost some teammates, but we asked for help by Petacchi's teammates. They agreed and we got to the finish line and it was a sprint between the two of us."
Cipo himself now on TV
Cipo's manager Santoni now talking on TV
"King Lion you are unique" are the fan's inscriptions on
The question now might be: Is Cipo the greatest sprinter
of all time? Or was Van Steenbergen better?
Petacchi on Italian TV: "I lost, but I lost to such a
Smart tactics by Lombardi, who didn't start the leadout
work too soon, and let Petacchi start the sprint
Lars Michaelsen took fourth, ahead of Strazzer and
CIPOLLINI, ahead of Petacchi and Haselbacher
THE BIG SPRINT NOW ... AND THE WINNER IS ....
Even the Kelme train now, trying to set up for Galvez
Peloton regrouped - the Zebrato train now up front, with
Cipo on Petacchi's wheel now. BIG SPRINT TO COME!!
Boogerd (and Mazzoleni and Phonak's Moos) caught, but
some successive attacks partially splintered the peloton
4 to go - While De Jongh gets caught, and Boogerd
counter-attacks, Strazzer is gaining the peloton's first places.
There's an attack by a Rabobank rider, Steve de Jongh,
now at the foot of the Castello climb
Seems that even Fassa's Petacchi feels like trying to win
The last lap bell is ringing, and it's gruppo compatto,
with the Acquas and Fassa leading
Leading trio got caught, then Lunghi attacked and managed
to gain a few metres, but the unlucky guy fell on the ascent and the peloton is currently regrouped.
Slight interruption - our apologies.
The leading trio is in the Brescia city circuit
now, and Cadel Evans got dropped again in the castle climb
8:21 PST - 3 riders got clear. Fassa's Tosatto and CSC's
Andrea Peron, but especially DARIO FRIGO, who wants to make up for yesterday's disaster!!
Fabio now takes over the ticker.
Peloton now tackling a short but steep ascent
around the Brescia castle, featuring cobbled pieces too
18 to go - Gruppo Compatto
8:16 AM PST - they have passed over the finish for the
8:14 AM PST - Gruppo Compatto. The peloton is a long
ribbon streaming through Brescia.
8:10 AM PST - Gruppo Compatto. CSC is joining Acqua e
Sapone at the front.
8:02 AM PST - Moreni is caught. The second group on the
road, with Strazzer, has still not caught up with the lead.
7:57 AM PST - Moreni's lead is .45. Still chasing.
7:53 AM PST - The chasers are caught. Moreni's lead is
.48 seconds, and the peloton has split under the pressure of Acqua e Sapone's pace-setting. Strazzer is in the second group!
7:50 AM PST - The riders are speeding down the
descent into Brescia. They will soon be on the finishing circuit.
7:46 AM PST - The gaps are closing fast. Moreni now
leads by 1.02, with the chasers at .48.
Acqua e Sapone is chasing, there's a long line of
zebrato at the head of the peloton.
7:44 AM PST - 38 km to go. Moreni leads the Gruppo
Maglia Rosa by 1.28, and the chase group of 4 by 1.00.
Moreni looks like he might be getting a bit tired.
Acqua e Sapone looks steady and concentrated on the
front. They will maintain a steady paces, conscious of the job in hand.
7:40 AM PST - A flurry of small attacks off the
front: Mazzoleni, and riders from Telecom, Tacconi and Trentino Formaggi breaking away from the peloton, joined a few seconds later by Rabobank's Engels.
Tyler Hamilton is looking tough and serious in dark
glasses. Most likely considering how he's going to beat Savoldelli to the pink tomorrow...
7:30 AM PST - Moreni's gap is up to 2.55.
7:24 AM PST - The peloton is led by a long string of
Acqua e Sapone and Alexia. Cipollini looks to be keeping an eye on this stage, and if he comes to the line at the front, who can beat him? Still, the finishing circuit features a tough climb...
7:15 AM PST - 54 km from the finish, and the situation
remains the same. No new time check. Cipollini and Savoldelli are chatting it up in the peloton.
7:12 AM PST - Moreni still leads. 1.22 behind, the
peloton is led by Acqua e Sapone, and the team of the Maglia Rosa, cooperating with one another.
7:08 AM PST - Strazzer wins the sprint for second at
7:06 AM PST - Moreni arriving at the Intergiro, he will
take the top spot there, but the sprint for second place should liven things up!
7:04 AM PST - Moreni leads by 1.28. Acqua e Sapone
leads the peloton, keeping him at a safe distance. There are around 68 km to go.
Fabrizio Guidi and Jens Heppner both retired today. 140
riders remain, and three teams are intact, including Acqua e Sapone.
Moreni has 1.08 on the peloton, which is led now by
Zebras. And a report from Italy that Fabrizio Guidi has just left the race...
Moreni still leads, and the riders are in a tunnel....
Reports from the race are that tomorrow's Time Trial
will be extended by a little over one kilometer. Tyler Hamilton will have to make up 2.07 seconds per minute on Savoldelli to beat him tomorrow, and the Giro will be won or lost by seconds.
Today's stage will not feature the fireworks we had in
yesterday's 7 and a half hour mountain crack-fest. Some of these guys look like they are barely turning
the pedals over.
Acqua e Sapone's Gasperoni immediately went to the
front to keep Ortenzi in line.
We join the race in progress. The riders are taking it easy today with a slow average speed of 26 km/hr, and the group was all together until just a few moment ago when Mercatone Uno's Ortenzi attacked off the front.