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88th Giro d'Italia Stage 18 Live Coverage
 
By Staff
Date: 5/27/2005
88th Giro d'Italia Stage 18 Live Coverage
 

88th Giro d'Italia - Stage Eighteen
(Chieri to Torino - 34 km, ITT)


Click for larger images. Courtesy Gazzetta dello Sport.

Hello and welcome to the live coverage of Stage 18 of the 88th Giro d'Italia. The second leg of the terrible "trilogy" which is going to determine the eventual outcome of the race. And the "easiest" one, at least if you look at the parcours and distance: a ride against the clock of 31 km., from the Piedmontese town of Chieri up to the top of the Superga climb and later downhill into downtown Turin. But certainly not so easy if you look at both the current GC and the impact this "race of the truth" may have on it. The stage was previewed in our Giro d'Italia route special report dating back to January.



Stage 18 (Friday - May 27, 2005)

Chieri to Torino - ITT (34 km.)



The finishing line is getting closer and closer, but the parcours has plenty of difficulties looming ahead for those still in contention. Difficulties like today’s unusual feature: an Individual TT coming sandwiched between two tough mountain stages. The 31-km. journey from Chieri to Piedmont’s main town Turin suits the specialists against the clock, the mighty guys able to push their 53x13 for dozens and dozens of miles, and could help improve the overall situation of the likes of Stefano Garzelli and Joseba Beloki, better TTists than other presumed GC contenders. But not that much perhaps, first as the gaps in late ITTs are usually narrower than in earlier rides of the same kind: at such a stage of the race, factors like current condition and the amount of kilometres raced thus far can prove as decisive as anyone’s own ability against the clock, not to the advantage of "race of the truth" specialists. And also due to the Colle di Superga climb, coming halfway through the stage, and arguably favouring the Cunegos and Simonis of the bunch rather than the Honchars, Zubeldias and Belokis.

The name of Colle di Superga (length: 7.5 km. Av. Gradient: 4.85%.) and its sanctuary (Basilica) at the top of the hill are well-known in Italian history (details here), although when it comes to sport, and football in particular, they are associated with a tragedy; the tragedy of the “Grande Torino” (“Great Turin”) the local football team, and Italy’s undisputed best squad of the 1940s, when they claimed five national championships. On May the 4th, 1949, the plane taking the team (in fact 18 players, 3 executives, 2 trainers, 3 journalists and an interpreter) back in town after a match played in Portugal hit a wall of the church - reportedly because of a fatal mix of poor weather with low clouds, poor radio aids and an error in navigation - and got completely destroyed, making this one of the worst international football tragedies ever. But it’s a whole different thing today: it’s not about accidents and tragedy, it’s about sport at its best, with a helluva competition (presumably), riders giving it all in order not to lose precious time to their rivals, and thousands, thousands, thousands of fans certainly packing the road up to Superga. In other words, it’s about the pure essence of cycling.


"Il Grande Torino", Turin and Italy’s best football team of the 1940s.
The whole team was victim of a plane accident at Superga in May 1949.
Pic courtesy Panathlon Terni

After cresting the climb, riders embark on a difficult and steep descent into Turin (profile of the descenthere), where even Marco Pantani fell during the 1995 edition of the Milan-Turin (a race whose last part strictly resembles today’s parcours), along with his colleagues Secchiari and Dall’Olio, and had a broken tibia and fibula, so riders should be very attentive there. The closing kilometers of this stage are a matter of pure flat riding through the streets - and squares, and turns, and corners - of downtown Turin, but some significant gaps could be made also there.


Live updates from the race

1330 CEST - Many riders are underway already. Four of them even finished the race. The GC at the finish line after four riders covered the whole parcours is as follows:

1. HOJ, Frank DEN GST - 51'35
2. CLERC, Aurélien SUI PHO - 51'38
3. WILSON, Trent AUS CLM - 52'07
4. VAN HOUT, Russel AUS CLM - 52'38

1335 CEST - Five more riders crossed the line at Turin, and Australian Matthew Wilson took the provisional lead. Here's the ranking:

1. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - 48.43.00
2. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 01.27
3. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 02.52
4. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 02.55
5. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 02.59
6. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 03.24
7. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 03.31
8. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 03.55
9. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 04.04

1347 CEST - There must have been some mistake in the update above, as the next update shows Basque-Venezuelan Unai Etxebarria still in second place, but ... behind Denmark's Brian Vandborg (a teammate of U.S. rider David Zabriskie, winner of the previous ITT at Florence and one of the main suspects to win today's stage too) instead of Matthew Wilson, who's down to seventh place, behind Bouygues Telecom's Ronny Martias, the man from the French territoire of Guadaloupe who did well in the Reggio Calabria IIT Prologue. Here's the situation at the finishing line.

1. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - 49'30
2. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - at 40
3. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - at 43
4. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - at 01.02
5. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - at 01.11
6. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - at 01.15
7. WILSON Matthew - AUS - at 01.41
8. HOJ Frank - DEN - at 02.05
9. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - at 02.08
10. GRILLO Paride - ITA - at 02.11
11. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - at 02.12
12. WILSON Trent - AUS - at 02.37
13. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - at 02.44
14. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - at 03.08
15. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - at 03.17

1355 CEST - Twenty riders have finished the race thus far. Intergiro contender Sven Krauss got into provisional second place as the time he set was worse than Vandborg's by just eight seconds. Discovery's Jason Mc Cartney also finished the race, but his time was not as good as one may expect from a U.S. contender in races like this, the man being currently last. He sure may have spent a lot of energies over the past stages, and /or saved his legs for tomorrow's efforts, all of the above in order to work for team leader Paolo Savoldelli.

1. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC 49'30
2. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 08
3. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 40
4. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 43
5. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 01'02
6. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 01'11
7. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 01'15
8. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 01'38
9. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 01'41
10. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 01'52
11. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 02'05
12. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 02'08
13. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 02'11
14. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 02'12
15. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 02'37
16. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 02'38
17. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 02'44
18. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 03'08
19. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 03'17
20. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 03'37

1415 CEST - The situation at the line after a dozen more riders finished the race, and Giro d'Italia veteran Fabio Baldato managed to get into the provisional top three places.

1. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC - 49.30.00
2. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 08
3. BALDATO Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 28
4. SCHMITZ Bram - NED - TMO - at 31
5. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 40
6. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 43
7. TAULER LULL Antonio - ESP - IBA - at 54
8. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 01.02
9. BAUMANN Eric - GER - TMO - at 01.05
10. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 01.11
11. MARICHAL Thierry - BEL - COF - at 01.13
12. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 01.15
13. GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac - ESP - IBA - at 01.16
14. MILESI Marco - ITA - LIQ - at 01.22
15. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 01.38
16. BRAMATI Davide - ITA - QST - at 01.40
17. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 01.41
18. BERNAUDEAU Giovanni - FRA - BTL - at 01.52
19. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 01.52
20. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 02.05
21. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 02.08
22. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 02.11
23. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 02.12
24. CRUZ Antonio - USA - DSC - at 02.21
25. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 02.37
26. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 02.38
27. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 02.44
28. GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio - ESP - PHO - at 02.48
29. VOGELS Henk - AUS - DVL - at 03.01
30. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 03.08
31. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 03.17
32. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 03.37

1420 CEST - Five more newcomers to the line, among whom were Petacchis domestique Massimo Codol and Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Muravyev, who took the top two places.

1. CODOL Massimo - ITA - FAS - 48'41
2. MURAVYEV Dmitriy - KAZ - C.A - at 00.30
3. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC - at 00.49
4. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 00.57
5. BALDATO Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 01'17
6. SCHMITZ Bram - NED - TMO - at 01'20
7. TOSATTO Matteo - ITA - FAS - at 01'28
8. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 01'29
9. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 01'32
10. TAULER LULL Antonio - ESP - IBA - at 01'43
11. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 01'51
12. BAUMANN Eric - GER - TMO - at 01'54
13. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 02'00
14. MARICHAL Thierry - BEL - COF - at 02'02
15. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 02'04
16. GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac - ESP - IBA - at 02'05
17. MILESI Marco - ITA - LIQ - at 02'11
18. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 02'27
19. BRAMATI Davide - ITA - QST - at 02'29
20. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 02'30
21. BERNAUDEAU Giovanni - FRA - BTL - at 02'41
22. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 02'41
23. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 02'54
24. RAST Gregory - SUI - PHO - at 02'55
25. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 02'57
26. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 03'00
27. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 03'01
28. WIGGINS Bradley - GBR - C.A - at 03'02
29. CRUZ Antonio - USA - DSC - at 03'10
30. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 03'26
31. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 03'27
32. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 03'33
33. GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio - ESP - PHO - at 03'37
34. VOGELS Henk - AUS - DVL - at 03'50
35. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 03'57
36. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 04'06
37. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 04'26

1425 CEST - Australian Matthew White had a good ride today, and got into provisional spot number three.

1. CODOL Massimo - ITA - FAS - 48'41
2. MURAVYEV Dmitriy - KAZ - C.A - at 30
3. WHITE Matthew - AUS - COF - at 48
4. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC - at 49
5. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 57
6. BALDATO Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 01'17
7. SCHMITZ Bram - NED - TMO - at 01'20
8. TOSATTO Matteo - ITA - FAS - at 01'28
9. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 01'29
10. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 01'32
11. TAULER LULL Antonio - ESP - IBA - at 01'43
12. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 01'51
13. BAUMANN Eric - GER - TMO - at 01'54
14. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 02'00
15. MARICHAL Thierry - BEL - COF - at 02'02
16. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 02'04
17. GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac - ESP - IBA - at 02'05
18. MILESI Marco - ITA - LIQ - at 02'11
19. JOACHIM Benoit - LUX - DSC - at 02'21
20. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 02'27
21. BRAMATI Davide - ITA - QST - at 02'29
22. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 02'30
23. BERNAUDEAU Giovanni - FRA - BTL - at 02'41
24. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 02'41
25. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 02'54
26. RAST Gregory - SUI - PHO - at 02'55
27. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 02'57
28. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 03'00
29. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 03'01
30. WIGGINS Bradley - GBR - C.A - at 03'02
31. CRUZ Antonio - USA - DSC - at 03'10
32. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 03'26
33. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 03'27
34. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 03'33
35. GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio - ESP - PHO - at 03'37
36. VOGELS Henk - AUS - DVL - at 03'50
37. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 03'57
38. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 04'06
39. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 04'26

1435 CEST - Hurricane David stromed the Giro, CSC's Zabriskie came to the line and simply smoked any other previous contender, bettering Codol's time by more than three minutes, and setting an average speed of 44.917 kph. So that we have a U.S. rider .... both in first a last place now. But it will be extremely tough for anyone to kick the American rider currently standing atop the stage ranking out of the leadership today. So here's the stage classification after 45 riders crossed the line.

1. ZABRISKIE David - USA - CSC - 45'25
2. CODOL Massimo - ITA - FAS - at 03'16
3. ZANINI Stefano - ITA - QST - at 03'29
4. MURAVYEV Dmitriy - KAZ - C.A - at 03'46
5. WHITE Matthew - AUS - COF - at 04'04
6. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC - at 04'05
7. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 04'13
8. VANDEVELDE Christian - USA - CSC - at 04'23
9. BALDATO Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 04'33
10. SCHMITZ Bram - NED - TMO - at 04'36
11. TOSATTO Matteo - ITA - FAS - at 04'44
12. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 04'45
13. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 04'48
14. TAULER LULL Antonio - ESP - IBA - at 04'59
15. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 05'07
16. BAUMANN Eric - GER - TMO - at 05'10
17. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 05'16
18. MARICHAL Thierry - BEL - COF - at 05'18
19. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 05'20
20. GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac - ESP - IBA - at 05'21
21. MILESI Marco - ITA - LIQ - at 05'27
22. SCARSELLI Leonardo - ITA - CLM - at 05'31
23. JOACHIM Benoit - LUX - DSC - at 05'37
24. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 05'43
25. BRAMATI Davide - ITA - QST - at 05'45
26. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 05'46
27. MOLETTA Andrea - ITA - GST - at 05'55
28. BERNAUDEAU Giovanni - FRA - BTL - at 05'57
29. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 05'57
30. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 06'10
31. RAST Gregory - SUI - PHO - at 06'11
32. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 06'13
33. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 06'16
34. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 06'17
35. WIGGINS Bradley - GBR - C.A - at 06'18
36. CRUZ Antonio - USA - DSC - at 06'26
37. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 06'42
38. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 06'43
39. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 06'49
40. GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio - ESP - PHO - at 06'53
41. VOGELS Henk - AUS - DVL - at 07'06
42. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 07'13
43. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 07'22
44. GARRIDO LIMA Jose' Antonio - ESP - QST - at 07'41
45. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 07'42

1445 CEST - More riders made it to the line. Australian Rory Sutherland and Italy's Stefano Zanini set some good times, but neither was nearly as good as Zabriskie's. Here's the current standings:

1. ZABRISKIE David - USA - CSC - 45'25
2. SUTHERLAND Rory - AUS - RAB - at 02'31
3. CODOL Massimo - ITA - FAS - at 03'16
4. ZANINI Stefano - ITA - QST - at 03'29
5. MURAVYEV Dmitriy - KAZ - C.A - at 03'46
6. LORENZETTO Mirco - ITA - DOM - at 04'03
7. WHITE Matthew - AUS - COF - at 04'04
8. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC - at 04'05
9. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 04'13
10. VANDEVELDE Christian - USA - CSC - at 04'23
11. BALDATO Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 04'33
12. SCHMITZ Bram - NED - TMO - at 04'36
13. TOSATTO Matteo - ITA - FAS - at 04'44
14. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 04'45
15. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 04'48
16. TAULER LULL Antonio - ESP - IBA - at 04'59
17. BENETEAU Walter - FRA - BTL - at 05'01
18. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 05'07
19. BAUMANN Eric - GER - TMO - at 05'10
20. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 05'16
21. MARICHAL Thierry - BEL - COF - at 05'18
22. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 05'20
23. GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac - ESP - IBA - at 05'21
24. LANCASTER Brett - AUS - PAN - at 05'24
25. MILESI Marco - ITA - LIQ - at 05'27
26. SCARSELLI Leonardo - ITA - CLM - at 05'31
27. JOACHIM Benoit - LUX - DSC - at 05'37
28. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 05'43
29. BRAMATI Davide - ITA - QST - at 05'45
30. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 05'46
31. MOLETTA Andrea - ITA - GST - at 05'55
32. BERNAUDEAU Giovanni - FRA - BTL - at 05'57
33. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 05'57
34. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 06'10
35. RAST Gregory - SUI - PHO - at 06'11
36. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 06'13
37. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 06'16
38. PEREZ CUAPIO Julio Alberto - MEX - PAN - at 06'17
39. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 06'17
40. WIGGINS Bradley - GBR - C.A - at 06'18
41. CRUZ Antonio - USA - DSC - at 06'26
42. KORFF Andre' - GER - TMO - at 06'31
43. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 06'42
44. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 06'43
45. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 06'49
46. GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio - ESP - PHO - at 06'53
47. VOGELS Henk - AUS - DVL - at 07'06
48. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 07'13
49. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 07'22
50. GARRIDO LIMA Jose' Antonio - ESP - QST - at 07'41
51. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 07'42

1450 CEST - Bravo Alessandro!! Petacchi set the fifth best time to the line thus far. But no one could even come close to Zabriskie's point ... er time.

1. ZABRISKIE David - USA - CSC - 45'25
2. SUTHERLAND Rory - AUS - RAB - at 02'31
3. CODOL Massimo - ITA - FAS - at 03'16
4. ZANINI Stefano - ITA - QST - at 03'29
5. PETACCHI Alessandro - ITA - FAS - at 03'35
6. MURAVYEV Dmitriy - KAZ - C.A - at 03'46
7. LORENZETTO Mirco - ITA - DOM - at 04'03
8. WHITE Matthew - AUS - COF - at 04'04
9. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC - at 04'05
10. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 04'13
11. VANDEVELDE Christian - USA - CSC - at 04'23
12. BALDATO Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 04'33
13. VELO Marco - ITA - FAS - at 04'35
14. SCHMITZ Bram - NED - TMO - at 04'36
15. TOSATTO Matteo - ITA - FAS - at 04'44
16. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 04'45
17. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 04'48
18. TAULER LULL Antonio - ESP - IBA - at 04'59
19. BENETEAU Walter - FRA - BTL - at 05'01
20. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 05'07
21. ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor - ESP - EUS - at 05'08
22. BAUMANN Eric - GER - TMO - at 05'10
23. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 05'16
24. MARICHAL Thierry - BEL - COF - at 05'18
25. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 05'20
26. GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac - ESP - IBA - at 05'21
27. LANCASTER Brett - AUS - PAN - at 05'24
28. MILESI Marco - ITA - LIQ - at 05'27
29. SCARSELLI Leonardo - ITA - CLM - at 05'31
30. JOACHIM Benoit - LUX - DSC - at 05'37
31. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 05'43
32. BRAMATI Davide - ITA - QST - at 05'45
33. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 05'46
34. MOLETTA Andrea - ITA - GST - at 05'55
35. BERNAUDEAU Giovanni - FRA - BTL - at 05'57
36. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 05'57
37. STRAUSS Marcel - SUI - GST - at 06'06
38. LEUKEMANS Bjoern - BEL - DVL - at 06'07
39. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 06'10
40. RAST Gregory - SUI - PHO - at 06'11
41. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 06'13
42. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 06'16
43. PEREZ CUAPIO Julio Alberto - MEX - PAN - at 06'17
44. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 06'17
45. WIGGINS Bradley - GBR - C.A - at 06'18
46. CRUZ Antonio - USA - DSC - at 06'26
47. KORFF Andre' - GER - TMO - at 06'31
48. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 06'42
49. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 06'43
50. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 06'49
51. GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio - ESP - PHO - at 06'53
52. VOGELS Henk - AUS - DVL - at 07'06
53. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 07'13
54. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 07'22
55. GARRIDO LIMA Jose' Antonio - ESP - QST - at 07'41
56. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 07'42

1453 CEST - AleJet's leadoutman Fabio Sacchi did even better than his team leader, setting the third best time thus far, after 62 riders finished the race. And became one of the two riders whose gap to Zabriskie is under three minutes.

1455 CEST - Here comes more good results. Like that of Filippo Pozzato. The man from Veneto set the third best time and turned into the top-placed Italian thus far in the stage classification, kicking Fabio Sacchi down into fourth. Zabriskie's time remain untouchable however.

1458 CEST - David Zabriskie obviously set the best times also the mid-race time checks: 09'52" after 8.7 km. (averaging a speed of 52.905 kph), 26'33" after 15.7 km. (his average speed going down to 35.480 kph on the Superga hill slopes) and 34'08" at the km. 22.9 check (40.253 kph).

1505 CEST - The stage classification after 66 riders finished the race.

1. ZABRISKIE David - USA - CSC - 45'25
2. SUTHERLAND Rory - AUS - RAB - at 02'31
3. POZZATO Filippo - ITA - QST - at 02'44
4. SACCHI Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 02'59
5. CODOL Massimo - ITA - FAS - at 03'16
6. ZANINI Stefano - ITA - QST - at 03'29
7. PETACCHI Alessandro - ITA - FAS - at 03'35
8. MURAVYEV Dmitriy - KAZ - C.A - at 03'46
9. LORENZETTO Mirco - ITA - DOM - at 04'03
10. WHITE Matthew - AUS - COF - at 04'04
11. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC - at 04'05
12. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 04'13
13. ONGARATO Alberto - ITA - FAS - at 04'14
14. VANDEVELDE Christian - USA - CSC - at 04'23
15. ANDRIOTTO Dario - ITA - LIQ - at 04'28
16. GUSTOV Volodymir - UKR - FAS - at 04'31
17. BALDATO Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 04'33
18. VELO Marco - ITA - FAS - at 04'35
19. SCHMITZ Bram - NED - TMO - at 04'36
20. TOSATTO Matteo - ITA - FAS - at 04'44
21. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 04'45
22. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 04'48
23. TAULER LULL Antonio - ESP - IBA - at 04'59
24. BARRY Michael - CAN - DSC - at 04'59
25. BENETEAU Walter - FRA - BTL - at 05'01
26. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 05'07
27. ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor - ESP - EUS - at 05'08
28. BAUMANN Eric - GER - TMO - at 05'10
29. BONNAIRE Olivier - FRA - BTL - at 05'15
30. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 05'16
31. MARICHAL Thierry - BEL - COF - at 05'18
32. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 05'20
33. GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac - ESP - IBA - at 05'21
34. LANCASTER Brett - AUS - PAN - at 05'24
35. MILESI Marco - ITA - LIQ - at 05'27
36. SCARSELLI Leonardo - ITA - CLM - at 05'31
37. JOACHIM Benoit - LUX - DSC - at 05'37
38. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 05'43
39. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin - ESP - SDV - at 05'45
40. BRAMATI Davide - ITA - QST - at 05'45
41. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 05'46
42. MOLETTA Andrea - ITA - GST - at 05'55
43. BERNAUDEAU Giovanni - FRA - BTL - at 05'57
44. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 05'57
45. JEGOU Lilian - FRA - FDJ - at 06'02
46. STRAUSS Marcel - SUI - GST - at 06'06
47. LEUKEMANS Bjoern - BEL - DVL - at 06'07
48. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 06'10
49. RAST Gregory - SUI - PHO - at 06'11
50. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 06'13
51. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 06'16
52. PEREZ CUAPIO Julio Alberto - MEX - PAN - at 06'17
53. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 06'17
54. WIGGINS Bradley - GBR - C.A - at 06'18
55. CRUZ Antonio - USA - DSC - at 06'26
56. KORFF Andre' - GER - TMO - at 06'31
57. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 06'42
58. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 06'43
59. MURN Uros - SLO - PHO - at 06'46
60. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 06'49
61. GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio - ESP - PHO - at 06'53
62. VOGELS Henk - AUS - DVL - at 07'06
63. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 07'13
64. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 07'22
65. GARRIDO LIMA Jose' Antonio - ESP - QST - at 07'41
66. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 07'42

1508 CEST - Great ride by Thomas Dekker! The young Rabo-boy from the Netherlands set the second best time, "only" 01'34" down on David Zabriskie, and close to a minute ahead of Rory Sutherland, whom he kicked down to third place. Zabriskie in the lead, two Rabobank riders in the other top three spots after 74 riders finished the race.

1512 CEST - Close to 90 riders already got to the 8.7-km. time check. The Czech duo Rene Andrle and Jan Hruska has the second bett time there, 22" behind Zabriskie, but well ahead of Thomas Dekker. Will they keep such a lead on the Dutch rider all the way to the finish line, perhaps even increase it?

1516 CEST - Four more riders crossed the finishing line at Turin, and Denmark's Michael Blaudzun came in between the Rabo-duo. So that we have two CSCs (Zabriskie 1st and Blaudzun in third) and as many Rabos (Thomas Dekker in second place, Rory Sutherland 4th) in the Top 4 places, with Pozzato, Sacchi, Codol, Zanini, Petacchi and Muravyev completing the provisional top 10. Jason McCartney is still last instead.

1525 CEST - The complete situation after 80 riders crossed the line.

1. ZABRISKIE David - USA - CSC - 45'25
2. DEKKER Thomas - NED - RAB - at 01'34
3. BLAUDZUN Michael - DEN - CSC - at 01'38
4. SUTHERLAND Rory - AUS - RAB - at 02'31
5. POZZATO Filippo - ITA - QST - at 02'44
6. SACCHI Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 02'59
7. CODOL Massimo - ITA - FAS - at 03'16
8. ZANINI Stefano - ITA - QST - at 03'29
9. PETACCHI Alessandro - ITA - FAS - at 03'35
10. MURAVYEV Dmitriy - KAZ - C.A - at 03'46
11. IVANOV Ruslan - MDA - DOM - at 03'47
12. LORENZETTO Mirco - ITA - DOM - at 04'03
13. WHITE Matthew - AUS - COF - at 04'04
14. VANDBORG Brian - DEN - CSC - at 04'05
15. KRAUSS Sven - GER - GST - at 04'13
16. ONGARATO Alberto - ITA - FAS - at 04'14
17. VANOTTI Alessandro - ITA - DOM - at 04'20
18. VANDEVELDE Christian - USA - CSC - at 04'23
19. ANDRIOTTO Dario - ITA - LIQ - at 04'28
20. GUSTOV Volodymir - UKR - FAS - at 04'31
21. BALDATO Fabio - ITA - FAS - at 04'33
22. MORI Manuele - ITA - SDV - at 04'35
23. VELO Marco - ITA - FAS - at 04'35
24. SCHMITZ Bram - NED - TMO - at 04'36
25. SCHNIDER Daniel - SUI - PHO - at 04'38
26. TOSATTO Matteo - ITA - FAS - at 04'44
27. ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai - VEN - EUS - at 04'45
28. BILEKA Volodymyr - UKR - DSC - at 04'47
29. CHRISTENSEN Mads - DEN - QST - at 04'48
30. FOFONOV Dmitriy - KAZ - COF - at 04'49
31. CARRASCO GAMIZ Jose Luis - ESP - IBA - at 04'57
32. GOMEZ GOMEZ Angel - ESP - SDV - at 04'58
33. TAULER LULL Antonio - ESP - IBA - at 04'59
34. BARRY Michael - CAN - DSC - at 04'59
35. BENETEAU Walter - FRA - BTL - at 05'01
36. TALABARDON Yannick - FRA - C.A - at 05'02
37. LUTTENBERGER Peter - AUT - CSC - at 05'06
38. URWEIDER Sascha - SUI - PHO - at 05'07
39. ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor - ESP - EUS - at 05'08
40. BAUMANN Eric - GER - TMO - at 05'10
41. LOMBARDI Giovanni - ITA - CSC - at 05'12
42. BONNAIRE Olivier - FRA - BTL - at 05'15
43. RENSHAW Mark - AUS - FDJ - at 05'16
44. MARICHAL Thierry - BEL - COF - at 05'18
45. MARTIAS Rony - FRA - BTL - at 05'20
46. GALVEZ LOPEZ Isaac - ESP - IBA - at 05'21
47. LANCASTER Brett - AUS - PAN - at 05'24
48. MILESI Marco - ITA - LIQ - at 05'27
49. SCARSELLI Leonardo - ITA - CLM - at 05'31
50. JOACHIM Benoit - LUX - DSC - at 05'37
51. RENIER Franck - FRA - BTL - at 05'43
52. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin - ESP - SDV - at 05'45
53. BRAMATI Davide - ITA - QST - at 05'45
54. WILSON Matthew - AUS - FDJ - at 05'46
55. MOLETTA Andrea - ITA - GST - at 05'55
56. BERNAUDEAU Giovanni - FRA - BTL - at 05'57
57. SENTJENS Roy - BEL - RAB - at 05'57
58. JEGOU Lilian - FRA - FDJ - at 06'02
59. STRAUSS Marcel - SUI - GST - at 06'06
60. LEUKEMANS Bjoern - BEL - DVL - at 06'07
61. HOJ Frank - DEN - GST - at 06'10
62. RAST Gregory - SUI - PHO - at 06'11
63. CLERC Aurélien - SUI - PHO - at 06'13
64. ILLIANO Raffaele - ITA - CLM - at 06'14
65. GRILLO Paride - ITA - PAN - at 06'16
66. PEREZ CUAPIO Julio Alberto - MEX - PAN - at 06'17
67. CLAUDE Mathieu - FRA - BTL - at 06'17
68. WIGGINS Bradley - GBR - C.A - at 06'18
69. CRUZ Antonio - USA - DSC - at 06'26
70. KORFF Andre' - GER - TMO - at 06'31
71. WILSON Trent - AUS - CLM - at 06'42
72. FORSTER Robert - GER - GST - at 06'43
73. MURN Uros - SLO - PHO - at 06'46
74. FORNACIARI Paolo - ITA - LAM - at 06'49
75. GUTIERREZ CATALUNA Ignacio - ESP - PHO - at 06'53
76. VOGELS Henk - AUS - DVL - at 07'06
77. VAN HOUT Russel - AUS - CLM - at 07'13
78. SCHNYDER Philippe - SUI - CLM - at 07'22
79. GARRIDO LIMA Jose' Antonio - ESP - QST - at 07'41
80. MCCARTNEY Jason - USA - DSC - at 07'42

DP favourite Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval) is rolling along nicely; he said he'd be aiming for a top 10 today. He is on course riding hard. It is a beautiful day for a time trial. Blaudzun (CSC) comes across with the 3rd best finish so far at 47' 03". Looks like.

Joan Horrach, the ex-Milaneza rider, leaves the starting house. Now with Illes Balears, the Spaniard has proved good support in the mountains for Vladimir Karpets, who will be hoping for a good finish today.

"Friskie" Zabriskie will be the man to beat, though... already in with an average speed of 44.917mph. In 2nd is Thomas Dekker (Rabobank), who is a darned good time trialist... but he was 1' 34" back. So clearly, another solid time trial from Zabriskie. Today, Zabriskie actually had on his American Time Trial Champ Jersey, so it was the Captain America shirt that was ripping up the course.

1531 CEST - Wegelius is on course now. He is rolling up the climb. Wegelius is currently 51st on GC, so we have 50 more men after Wegelius today. Meanwhile, the cameraman focuses on a black-haired bella donna - he's zoomed in a bit too much...

Cedric Vasseur is rolling through the 15.7km mark... in a horrible time. Out of respect for France, I won't give the time... I'll just say it is nearer the bottom of the results than the top. Czech Rene Andrle (Liberty Seguros) finishes 60th, 5'56" behind Zabriskie. Not good for Andrle, a competent time-trialist - the Czech had an excellent time at the first time check, but ran out of legs in the last part of the ride.

This late in a grand tour, it's always hard to predict who will still have some power left in his legs. Good time trialists often suffer, and poor time trialists who have come through the mountains strong excel. Racing like hell for three weeks can do that kind of thing.

1535 CEST - Paolo Tiralongo of Panaria gets ready to go - the former Fassa Bortolo man was in the six-man breakaway yesterday but, like everyone else, just could not follow Basso when he went for gold. Tiralongo's a good rider, though.

Jan Hruska (Liberty Seguros) should be finishing soon. A few years back he won a time trial in the Giro... his time should be interesting. "Teeny" Bettini is in the start house. And he's off...

1538 CEST - Ivan Basso is underway! Basso, of course, came in 2nd in the last time trial and could well win the day today. Hruska crosses the line in 47'53", which puts him fourth. Wladimir Belli is the next rider to take the start.

Hruska set the same time as Andrea Peron, both guys are currently in fourth place, 02'28" behind Zabriskie.

1543 CEST - Pavel "the Gavel" Padrnos crosses the line 9th at 2'59" - considering he's a pretty big guy, that's a good time. He did some good work for leader Savoldelli yesterday, grimly hanging on to the gruppo maglia rosa.

News from Belgium: Lamdbouwkrediet's Jurgen Van Loocke scored his first win as a professional rider as he took Stage 3 of the local tour, continuing the host country's winning streak after Tom Boonen's 1-2 in the opening legs.

Boonen is clearly going well, and will likely be a big force at the Tour this year.

1546 CEST - Grischa Niermann finishes thirtieth, really labouring on the drag to the finish line. Unlike other GC contenders, Gilberto Simoni didn't check the parcours in the morning, but just did it. Basso looks smooth as usual. He pedaling always seems effortless, except when he is extremely sick.

The "Big E-Z" Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) is doing something... he's not setting the course on fire or anything... he's thinking more about that last stage. He comes across 28th so far, just under 50'. Meanwhile, Basso sets the best time at the 8.7-km. check!! He does his teammate 1" better.

Bettini in his Ciclamino Jersey gets lots of encouragement from the fans along the climb. He too is thinking about Milano now. And the intermediate sprint tomorrow. Extremely enthusiastic fans take up most the road as Basso is just blistering the climb, out of the saddle tearing it up.

Marco Pinotti takes fourth place, 02'18" behind Zabriskie, 8 seconds clear of Haimar Zubeldia. Pinotti's heart rate was at 98%, so he almost gave it his all... I'm waiting for one of those heart-rate graphics to say someone is giving 110% though.

Dual stage winner Ivan Parra of Colombia talked to RAI minutes before taking the start: "I'm gonna take it easy today. And save my legs for tomorrow's stage. I wanna help Rujano climb the eventual podium at least. He's a very young rider, but showed that he can make the Top 3. He's been the true revelation of this race, and he's also a great person".

Panaria's Domenico Pozzovivo is still in the race despite falling yesterday; thankfully he didn't break his collarbone. If you will recall, he was taken to the hospital after yesterday's finish. His time at the 8.7-km. check is far from the best ones, but we didn't expect the tiny climber from southern Italy to rock the field today.

Scarponi goes through the 2nd time check in 12th at 1' 35" back (or 28' 08")... he's had a disappointing Giro, but is still young and will likely be a GC threat in the years to come.

1557 CEST - Spain's Unai Osa is the next rider to take the start. He made the podium in the 2001 edition, but had no other great results on Italy roads since. Osa, thirty in three weeks' time, was third at the Giro in 2001, but his star has waned significantly since then.

And Britain's Wegelius finished in 53rd place, setting a time of 50'26". Cristian Moreni gets to the line - he's not wearing the Maglia Tricolore today, as he's just Italy's National ROAD champion.

Basso is now ripping the descent.

More news from "minor" races abroad: German David Kopp (Team Wiesenhof) won the third stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt in the south of Germany and took the race leadership.

1603 CEST - Ivan Basso gettng closer to the top of the Superga ascent. The CSC man nearly comes to a stop on a very sharp left-hand bend; not good planning by the organisers. There's a massive crowd along the climb on this beautiful Friday afternoon.

Paolo Bettini sets a good time at the km. 15.7 check: 17'08" - 35" down on Zabriskie. IVAN BASSO SETS A GREAT TIME at the same check! 26'03". 26 seconds better than Zabriskie's.

Though no longer a GC threat, the other GC men will take Basso's times as a the measure of how they are doing on the course. Considering his performance yesterday on the Colle di Tenda, this is impressive from Basso - the organisers predicted top 3 times to be around 45 minutes. Ivan started the descent, he found a couple cars on his way (which were there for unknown reasons), but thankfully managed to avoid them.

It would be sweet to see Basso rally and take two - or possible three - consecutive stages to put a nice finish to what has been a disastrous Giro, what with his illness and all. No more Pink for Basso, but that would certainly make him feel good. The crowd at the finishing line saluted Basso's halfway point time with huge applause.

Definitely, the same for Cunego tomorrow, though it's unlikely that he'll break out of the sterling work ethic he's forged with Simoni - so much for intra-team squabbling before the start in Reggio Calabria; they've looked model teammates the whole way through.

The km. 15.7 time for Wladimir Belli: 28'56". The Domina rider is almost three minutes behind Basso. Ivan Basso is on a false-flat section leading to Pino Torinese, where the second, most difficult part of the descent is set to start. And also Basso lost something to Zabriskie in that piece, about 5-6 seconds.

Bettini lost four more seconds to Zabriskie in the first part of the descent. He's 39" down to the American.

Basso just flew by Tiralongo, who started two spots ahead of him.

It's 30 degrees Celsius in Chieri today! Surprise, surprise: Ivan Basso is apparently pulling the brake on the descent. He caught Paolo Tiralongo on the false-flat section earlier, but was later passed by the Panariaman as the road tilted downwards again. It will be a task to beat Basso, though, who is absolutely spanking the pavement today. But as Ivan Basso got back on the flats, he got back to his flying attitude too, as he caught Ruben Lobato Elvira, who started six minutes ahead of him.

Now Serhiy "Honcho" Honchar (Domina Vacanze) hits the road to try and avenge his relatively poor time trial showing in the first ITT this Giro.

Great time by Marzio Bruseghin, just 13 secs down to Basso at the km. 8.7 check. And Dario David Cioni is just one second worse than him at the same point. "Choo Choo" Cioni (Liquigas-Bianchi) is sporting the Italian Time Trial Champ kit today... very cool looking (I want one).

1623 CEST - Ivan Basso just crossed the finish line with 45'05"! He's first!!

Just a few seconds before him, Bettini crossed the line, second to Zabriskie, but he's immediately been bumped down a spot. Despite losing a few seconds on the last part of the downhill, Ivan held onto his lead in the final kilometres to complete a great ride! Twenty seconds faster than teammate Zabriskie, an excellent performance by Basso. We knew he'd improved his time-trialing but results of this calibre in the Giro have been unexpected.

Once more, CSC are setting the standard - I don't know how they do it; Blaudzun also had a strong ride. That was weird... almost like a three-man sprint, that, with Bettini catching Eltink and Basso almost catching Bettini in that final straight.

Great time by Karpets too: the Russian is just 06" down to Basso at the first time check. Emanuele Sella is not doing that fine instead: the Panaria climber lost 01'09" to Basso in the space of just 8.7 kilometres.

The diminuitive Sella might limit his losses on the climb but this is a slow start from him. And speaking of climbers ... here come Rujano and Simoni. Both riders are on the parcours. Only one left. Maglia Rosa Paolo Savoldelli - he's gonna be the last rider to start his efforts, in a few seconds.

1630 CEST - The tiny Rujano leaves the starting house, no doubt planning for a good ride today to consolidate his position. It looks like he's riding an oversized bike... his size just blows my mind, how someone so slight can produce so much power.

Not even Serhyi Honchar could match Basso's time: the Ukrainian is 09" back at the first time check. And "Shaggy" Karpets has had a quiet but steady ride for the Illes Balears squad. He's high up the GC.

Garate is 9th at 0'26" on that first check - a good start by the Saunier Duval leader.

1633 CEST - Di Luca is working that white ProTour leader's kit on the road... he's looking smooth, but you never know. At 8.7km. Di Luca is 25" back, going through just faster than Garate, for 9th at that point.

Francisco Vila finishes in twenty-second place on the road; the Spaniard has been doing some fine work for Simoni in the mountains; yesterday he was pacing the lead group up the final climb for almost 12km.

1637 CEST - Savoldelli has certainly improved his time trialing position over the years. He's very low and looking good out on the course. Brandt puts in a good time of 47' 53" for 11th at the line. Nice ride for the Davitamon-Lotto strongman. Rujano comes through in 27th at the first check, over 40" down on Basso. He's already lost his 3rd place on GC to Di Luca at that first check.

At the 15.2km point, Fassa Bortolo's GC man Marzio Bruseghin is third, 0'59" down on Basso. One of the best time-trialists in Italy, Bruseghin has had a good race, especially considering he had to do some donkey work for Alessandro Petacchi in the first ten days. Next through will be Simoni (Lampre-Caffita).

Here comes the G-Man into the 8.7km check... 9th best, 24" down on Basso and just a second faster than Di Luca. But Dario David Cioni is going faster than Bruseghin! He immediately nabs that third place at the top of the climb, just 0'30" down on Basso. Time to hurtle downhill, Dario...

Halgand (Credit Agricole) hears the chants of "Avanti!" from some Italian ladies, but alas, his time is not a good one at the finish... 69th or so. The last man to go through the first check is Savoldelli - and he's 7th at 0'19". "Shaggy" Karpets is 2nd at 15.7km only 26" back! Tadej "Mahol" Valjavec (Phonak) has a good time... 4th at 46'44".

After crossing the line, Ivan Basso gave a brief interview to RAI, and gave us some tidbits, also talking of the hard time he had on the ascent, as he couldn't drink after he lost his bidon after 8-9 km. Thankfully for him, he got a huge help from Panaria's Paolo Tiralongo, who gave him his bidon as Ivan passed the Sicilian on the false-flat section. "And I have to thank Paolo for that. He's done a huge favour to me," Basso said.

Also explaining the reasons of his "slow pace" on the descent: "I had some unpleasant experience on that same downhill, as I fell there while racing the Milan-Turin in the past. So I decided not to take any risks". More on his race - "I think I had a good ride today anyway, regardless of the final result. Of course having a good result today would be a great thing, but it would be also a huge moral boost for the upcoming Tour de France. Bjarne (Riis) always wants us to work on our TTing abilties, as they are fundamental if you want to win a big stage race some day". And last but not least, some words on tomorrow's stage: "It's a tough stage, but I think I can do well."

"Tighty Whitey" Di Luca is trying to fight his way back onto the podium today. He's already taken enough time from Rujano to pass him, but he wants a bigger gap so that he'll have a nice cushion on the climbs tomorrow.

1647 CEST - An Orange Flash, Samuel Sanchez, finishes seventh at 2'11". Pretty good for the Euskaltel man, who is their best man overall, lying sixteenth overall. Honchar keeps losing time to Basso, his gap to the Italian being 35" at the km. 15.7 check. That's 5th best so far at that point for "Honcho".

Savoldelli is climbing now. He looks controlled and strong. He started a bit slower than last time... let's see if he picks it up on the later sections of the course. And Here comes van Huffel, finishing 17th and setting an excellent time of 48'06".

He and Ardila were setting the pace for a few kilometres as things got steep yesterday - I swear Simoni decided, "This just isn't right, two Davitamon riders in front of me," and went on the attack. Van Huffel has been one of the biggest revelations of the race, considering he was riding for the modest Vlaanderen-T Interim last year.

Speaking of Belgians, Tom Boonen held onto the jersey in the Tour of Belgium despite coming second in the ITT half-stage of the afternoon, won by Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka.

Garate is going well, 6th best so far at 55" back at the 2nd time check. Meanwhile, Ivan Basso is all smiles while chatting with Bettini at the line. Both riders had a great ride today.

They have to sit around the finish area to collect their prizes. Unless someone beats Basso's time, which looks doubtful at this point. Cofidis' Atienza crosses the line in a time of 47'27", losing more than two minutes to Basso. His teammate Bingen would have beaten Basso of course. Okay, maybe not...

Di Luca sets a time of 27'29" at the km. 15 time check, he's more than a minute down to Ivan. Garate is taking some good time out of Di Luca so far. Rujano gets to the KOM Prime at the Superga summit. His time is quite good: 26'56", only 53" down to Basso.

1655 CEST - The Venezuelan lost just 7" to Ivan on the climb, but is making significant gains on Di Luca. Some Americans can be heard in the crowd cheering on Simoni. We have quite a distinct sound... Great time by Markus Fothen, who caught and passed Cunego and finished in 46'40", taking provisional fourth place. The U23 ITT champion two years ago has clearly added climbing to his repertoire as he lies twelfth overall and stands to extend the gap to thirteen-placed Cunego.

49'16" is Cunego's time, while Gibo set a time of 27'01" at the Superga summit - he's 05" behind Rujano, but lost 27" to him on the ascent. Karpets set a great time at the last time check too, by the way.

Here comes Il Falco: 26'47".

Rujano blistered that climb, but will likely fade on the descent and flatter sections of the course. His slight build won't suit him well there.

Il Falco is 0'44" behind Basso, but he's in front of Rujano and Simoni - nine seconds better than Rujano, 14" better than Gibo. Dario David Cioni sets the third best time at the line, 28" behind Basso, and 08" behind Zabriskie.

Karpets is flying - 30 seconds of time to tick away with 600m to go! Here comes Karpets ... in second place: 45'14". Nine seconds behind Ivan. Well well, "Shaggy" has really pulled one out of the bag here... another indication that the young man is a star on the rise.

1701 CEST - But now Ivan can start to celebrate his second stage win in a row, even if The Falcon is flying on the Superga descent. Savoldelli is a wonder to behold, how he perfectly nails the apex of every corner. He's supposed to make some significant gains over Basso there, but then there's the last 6, flat kilometres.

Rujano gets to Pino Torinese, his lead to Danilo Di Luca still a good twenty seconds. Savoldelli is absolutely slaloming downhill, cutting every corner as close as possible. Simoni's giving it everything too. He gained 15 seconds over Rujano in the first part of the descent.

But Il Falco gained on everyone, extending his lead on Simoni to 31".

I believe that the tiny Tour de France winner Jean Robic - almost sixty years ago, mind - used to take bidons of lead on descents to weigh him down. No such tactic for the Venezuelan, though!

1706 CEST - 5km left for Di Luca... he looks like he's riding strong, but that often means nothing in an ITT. Fifth place for Honchar, 45'45". Quite a poor performance for the man - Honchar won't be happy with this time. No, he's better than that - and has proven his class before in Giro time-trials.

Juan Manuel Garate finishes in 7th place, in a time of 46'30". Not bad for the climber! He'll still be in the hunt for the podium, and he's secured his spot in the top five.

This course looks like it suits Savoldelli well. The RAI and the jury motorbikes are having a hard time following Savoldelli in the most difficult part of the descent. Eight minutes of riding left for the Maglia Rosa, who is keeping his cadence high on this technical descent.

Rujano finished the descent too, he's in downtown Turin, on the way to the line. He looks like he's wrasslin' his machine, trying to found power wherever he can.

With 600m, Di Luca only has 20 seconds on Garate. But he is all-out, sprinting for all he's worth. Danilo Di Luca crossed the line and took 12th (so far), setting a time of 47'00". Di Luca will have to try to attack tomorrow.

500m to go for Rujano. He's already past 46 minutes... It's going to be costly for the Venezualan. He's giving it everything, but not doing well on the flats, also because of his wheel choice.

Rujano finishes in a time of 47'04", losing 4 secs to Di Luca, but losing 24 secs to him over the last dozen kilometres. 400m to go for Gibo...Di Luca is still in 4th. That's a great ride by Rujano, really... with one climbing stage left, he's in 3rd place. 46'39" is Gibo's time - he gained 25" on Rujano. But here comes The Falcon ....

Savoldelli's time: 45'28". Basso has won the stage!

Karpets a strong 2nd. But Savoldelli - who finished fourth - gained 01'11" on Simoni. Savoldelli will start the final stage with a lead of 02'09" over Simoni. So this won't be one of Gibo's great time trials, but won't be one of his worst either.

Well, it seems clear that if he hadn't gotten sick, Basso would be running away with the GC now. Second stage win a row for the CSC man. So Basso could make it three in a row tomorrow. That would be something. Yes, and I'd be interested to see who was the last rider to win three stages consecutively.

So Savoldelli wears the Maglia Rosa going into the final stage of the "terrible trilogy" of this Giro. On the podium, another champagne bottle give him trouble - he can't get it open... what is it with the champagne bottles in Italy? The crowd was giving him some good-nature ribbing about it. I'm telling you, Cipo needs to give these guys some champagne opening lessons... he never had any problem with it...

Zanini takes another Blue Jersey for the Intergiro competition. All Italians in the jerseys, except for Rujano in the Green Jersey.

Provisional Top 20 - ITT

1 Basso Ivan Ita Csc 45:05
2 Karpets Vladimir Rus Iba 0:09
3 Zabriskie David Usa Csc 0:20
4 Savoldelli Paolo Ita Dsc 0:23
5 Cioni Dario David Ita Liq 0:28
6 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dom 0:40
7 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas 1:02
8 Garate Juan Manuel Esp Sdv 1:25
9 Bettini Paolo Ita Qst 1:28
10 Simoni Gilberto Ita Lam 1:34
11 Fothen Markus Ger Gst 1:36
12 Valjavec Tadej Slo Pho 1:39
13 Dekker Thomas Ned Rab 1:54
14 Di Luca Danilo Ita Liq 1:55
15 Blaudzun Michael Den Csc 1:58
16 Rujano Guillen Jose' Ven Clm 1:59
17 Sanchez Gonzalez Samuel Esp Eus 2:11
18 Schleck Frank Lux Csc 2:12
19 Atienza Urendez Daniel Esp Cof 2:22
20 Pinotti Marco Ita Sdv 2:38

Full results to come. Thank you for being with us today, and please join us tomorrow - two stages to go, and tomorrow is the showdown! And many thanks to our terrific commentators today - Fabio, Andy McGrath and Locutus!

Full results and classifications here.

 
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