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89th Giro d'Italia - Stage 21 Live Coverage
 
By Staff
Date: 5/28/2006
89th Giro d'Italia - Stage 21 Live Coverage
 

89th Giro d'Italia - Stage 21 Live Coverage
Starting in Belgium with the last Stage of the Tour of Belgium and then on to the Giro on the road to Milan.

Welcome to our two-part ticker with the final (sprint) stages of the Tour of Belgium and the Giro d'Italia!
Stage map and profile below. Please click for larger images.

Stage 21 Museo del Ghisallo - Milano 140 km Live Coverage
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We start off with the final kms of the last stage of the Tour of Belgium which will -no doubt- end in a sprint which Boonen will probably win.

The current race situation is just as you could expect on a flat final stage like this: there's a 5-rider break with Roger Hammond as the most important name that has a 35-second lead over the peloton led by the Quickstep-guys with 27km to go and a strong QST team this is working out just as everyone expected.

The team Boonen has around him here is pretty much the 'sprinter setup' of QST. In the Tour he'll have to split a part of the team with Rujano, but he already has made a few demands today he said he definitely wanted Pozzato, Tossato and De Jongh on the team

Nuyens, Cretskens and Van Impe at the front of the peloton controlling the break. 24 km to go and 32 seconds the gap. Sad news: earlier in the stage today, Björn Leukemans, Lotto rider, crashed and broke his collar bone.

The leader of the Tour of Belgium is young gun Maarten Tjallingii who became leader after he was surprised himself to win the 2nd stage, holding off the entire QST team...then he beat most of his GC opponents in the ITT (8th) and held on and out Boonen on time.

19km to go...29 seconds the lead, very stable. QST still holding the peloton in check. The names of the leaders which will probably not ring any bells except for Hammond: Hammond, Neirynck, Vercammen, Van Braeckel, Van Mingeroet a Unibet man moving up to lend QST a hand now for Cooke...while we see Tjallingii in his black leader's jersey in Boonen's wheel  who's wearing the yellow points jersey.

 Unibet must be rubbing their hands after the Spanish doping news...in case Liberty or Communidad Valenciana drop out, that spot is theirs at the Tour I mean. The irony of it all is that the central figure of this case, Manolo Saiz, was one of the major forces behind the strict doping enforcement within the ProTour and just to show that Armstrong's ghost keeps haunting cycling I'd just like to mention that he's driving the pace care in Indianapolis today...and no, that has nothing to do with this race or the Giro. Or cycling in general.

14 km to go, the lead still 25 seconds Unibet and Lotto leading the chase now...but behind them is a 7 or 8-man QST armada waiting to take over and do a Fassa

10 km to go..13 seconds the lead Hammond is taking the pressure off Van Heeswijk's shoulders in the peloton. Attack Marlon perez in the peloton, he's jumping towards the 5 leaders it seems he's with them, 6 leaders with a 7 second lead over the QST-lead peloton so: Hammond, Neirynck, Vercammen, Van Braeckel, Van Mingeroet, Perez 3 leaders left: Hammond, Perez and Van Braeckel but they have just 20 metres on the peloton

4.5km and gruppo compatto...The peloton getting ready for the sprint...QST, Lotto and Unibet there two days ago we saw that QST tore the peloton into pieces when Rosseler took over...see if we get that again

3km to go Pasamontes leading the peloton for Unibet and Cooke Van Heeswijk is in Boonen's wheel, Tjallingii is near Van Bon is bringing Steegmans near Boonen it's like a Giro sprint with Boonen = Petacchi

1.5km to go, it's 5 QST guys leading out for Boonen now...who can still come over them? A Unibet train is riding next to them now, Hunt and Cooke are throwing themselves in the train but Boonen bumps them away Van Bon gets bumped by a Unibet guy, leaving Steeggmans to his own devices 2 QST guys left, Boonen third position and Van Heeswijk in his wheek
De jogn leading out for Boonen, Steegmans comes from the left, there goes Boonen but STEEGMANS WINS

What a massive sprint from Gert Steegmans!! He surprised Boonen and the Quick Step train and was strong enough to keep his sprint going...boonen and Van Heeswijk couldn't come over him, the heli view shows that Steegmans starts sprinting from 300m out, he goes beside and over the QST train + other sprinters, and keeps the lead to win.
Frisian Dutchie Maarten Tjallingii takes the overall!! He's looking completely unreal...like "what the heck I won?"  Skil/Shimano's Maarten Tjallingii is hugging his girlfriend with tears in his eyes  his world must be upside down right now.

Results
Tour of Belgium - Stage 5
1) Steegmans
2) Van Heeswijk
3) Boonen
4) De Jongh
5) Cooke

GC:
1) Tjalinggi
2) Rosseler
3) Van Heeswijk

4) Boonen
5) Khalilov
6) Steegmans
7) Eeckhout
8) Nys

Pretty fitting we cover the last stage of the Giro with the ticker starting at the Tour of Belgium where the Giro launched three weeks ago.

Ok, welcome to the 21st stage of the Giro d'Italia!

Today's stage is 140 kms long (short?) and ends traditionally in Milano. Oh, and there AREN'T any mountains!! Anyway, the current state of affairs: a lone escapee with some 3 minutes of a lead, his name is Gabriele Missaglia the only event worth mentioning so far is that Paolo Bettini won the Gazetta 110 sprint and reduced Basso's lead in the points  ranking for the Ciclamino Jersey to three points...which means that he'll take the jersey if he gets 12th place in the sprint. Should be possible.

Missaglia's lead is down to just over a minute now. we get a shot of QST's Garrido, who holds the current world record in carrying water bottles 21 to be precise. We won't tell you where he had to stick that 21st. Suffice to say, his teammates wouldn't drink out of it after.

Gabriele Missaglia is on a mission to win the "Fuga piaggio generale" from Christophe Edaline who leads him by 51 points in breakaway time... a bit of honor and a cash prize at the finish.

Km 88: The riders start the first of eleven circuits around Milan. The crowd roars as the peloton passes over the finish line for the first time all for the new Italian hero, Ivan Basso.

Henk Vogels, the Aussie who rode in the U.S. circuit for a few years, has had a fall. Vogels a veteran of the Mercury/Viatel team, Mercury and then Saturn is a man who could do a good sprint and threaten for the win today, actually. CSC still leads the peloton through the circuits. No major attacks yet. Vogels has remounted and regained the peloton.

Davide Bramati gets an honorary ride in front of the peloton now, the old warrior will become a DS for QST starting the Tour de Suisse other than 'Brama' getting his moment de gloire nothing is happening though...ah, now the third and last part of the recap start on the TV broadcast. Of course, Bramati is retiring but he isn't the oldest guy in the peloton. That would be 40-year-old wonder (and relic of the Soviet era) Viatcheslav "Eki-Mullet" Ekimov. The Discovery veteran is still able to hammer, and he's finishing yet another grand tour today. Salut Eki!!

So has Basso spent all his bullets in this race? Does he have anything left for the Tour de France? The Tour this year will have a few interesting side notes. The first is that Jan Ullrich is the only man in the current pro ranks to ever win the Tour de France...and it's been ages for Ullrich too... and Basso looks like he could ride another three Giro's...and probably won't have any troubles at the Tour

Ulle won in 1997, then came 2nd in 1998 to an Italian climber who did the Giro-Tour double. Of course that was Marco Pantani. So can Ullrich dominate like he did in 1997, or will he fall victim to another Italian climber doing the Giro-Tour double?  Ullrich has learned to descend since then, so that weakness is gone... but has he lost the edge on his climbing?
Whatever the case, he can still whup some butt in the time trials, as he showed us in this Giro. The other interesting bit of trivia is that the last time Ullrich won the Tour, his biggest teammate and ally was... Bjarne Riis who is now the coach of Ivan Basso. If anyone knows Ullrich's weaknesses, it is Riis, who was alongside Ullrich when Pantani dismantled him in 1998.

17:00 CEST - 33 km left. The CSC men are still driving a disinterested peloton on these parade laps.  the heart rates of the riders are 51-60% now, last couple of stages that was 80-99%  The riders are just hanging out still, likely still shell-shocked after that last week of mountains. Julich is cracking his neck in second position in the peloton...looking chill. If someone at the side of the road just shouted "Pordoi!" half the peloton would probably get dropped.
Bobby Julich on point now, enjoying being on the team of a grand tour winner for the first time in his career. Julich, of course, was 3rd in the 1998 Tour de France, taking the final place on the podium that included Pantani and Ullrich. That Tour ride was the high point of his career, until perhaps his win in Paris-Nice last year and the win in the Eneco tour.

1710 CEST -28 km left. The peloton is a bit strung out now. The pace is slowly going up all the time, but it's still not Milram-fast yet. The CSC men keep working their sweet Cervelos off at the front of the pack.

24 km left. The peloton is getting stretched out a bit now. So who are the favorites (as in, what sprinters are left)? Bettini of Quick Step is the favorite. Pollack (T-Mobile) and Vogels (Davitamon) were at the back of the gruppetto yesterday, but they are still in the race. Both can win this. Of course, Vogels hit the deck already today, and that could slow him. Forster of Gerolsteiner is here.  Duque of Cofidis, Ongarato of Milram If Cunego gets a wild hair, he can sprint on occasion.

18.5 km left. Four laps left for the peloton. Then Bettini might be the red hot favorite, it's possible that he won't want to take too many risks in order to make sure he wins the points jersey, he just needs a 12th place anyway but he's a champ so he probably will sprint for the stage win. Pollack will be hampered by the dearth of teammates with big engines. Still not much happening: CSC leads the peloton, which is a bit strung out, but not too badly.

13.5 km left. 3 circuits to go before Cunego finishes in 4th,. Apparently Lorenezetto, one of the Milram dudes, has crashed...that could hamper Milram's leadout for Bettini. With Boonen losing in today's Tour of Belgium, Quick Step will really want a win, so the pressure is on Bettini. The Lactose Lads of Team Milram will still be after a victory, despite Lorenzetto being off the back after that crash.

10km to go The roads in Milano are dry and fast, and the corners are not so bad, so this is a fast circuit. The final two circuits will probably be blistering... as CSC leads the peloton. These final stages are really the start of the post-GT criteriums, but that's insulting the crits cause a lot more happens there. A Danish flag waves in the crowd. They must be saluting Riis, the CSC team director and the Danish CSC squad.

1730 CEST - Only 8.5 km left. The riders are on the penultimate lap. The burning question is, will Savoldelli be able to defend his Blue Jersey? Okay, maybe that isn't the burning question. But a nice prize for Savoldelli, taking the Combination Classification.

Last year in the Tour, Vinokourov jumped the field and spoiled the party for the sprinters. It could happen.
Just picked this tibit up from the media: if Vino can't compete in the tour on Liberty, the Khazaki government is gonna personally look for a sponsor for him and the fact that this is still a nice tidbit with 5km to go says a lot about the stage.. Nicki Sorenson is now setting the pace. He's Danish, so that flag could also be for him.
Abandon Lorenzetto sucks to have to abandon in the last 10km of the GT.

Last Circuit 4.8km to go 10 minutes before the Giro is over! Bettini and Pollack are visible near the front of the pack. It is single-file now as the bell rings. The pace is full gas now. Di Luca and Savoldelli are off the back already... oh wait, that's just mountain stages.

4km to go and still CSC leading  Is CSC leading this out for Lombardi? Or are they just making sure that Basso gets home safely? it would be quite the shock if Lombardi won this last stage still; and now the Milram boys are going to the front and start to work for bettini...or wait, they're attacking! t's Cortinovis! One QST man is chasing but there are 3 Milrams on the man's wheel
Pollack is behind the Milram train, Bettini and Vogels behind him.  CSC had their fun today Savoldelli was up on the front for a second. Milram leading now with Gerolsteiner The group is bunched up a bit again, but the gas is still on.

Last km!! but there's still like 7 guys between the leadout and Bettini and co Attack from Milram!! one of his teammates opens the gap Milram! They attack again! it's Ongarato!! Gerolsteiner bridges up to him and neutralizes the attacks. Forster starts sprinting!

Forster WINS!!!!!!

Richeze second, Pollack 3rd Where is Bettini? Bettini was closed in by Forster but he takes the points jersey Bettini was near the barrier...Forster shut the door Bettini was 4th. Duque 5th.
Bettini makes a "bah" gesture but he doesn't seem very disappointed because he knew he took the jersey  Bettini sat up and made some gestures for sure when Forster shut the door; his facial expression was like "oh well..." not really angry Bettini is a very worthy Points Competition winner for sure! This is a real high point in his career.

Results (Unofficial)
1) Forster
2) Richeze
3) Pollack
4) Bettini
5)Duque
6) Rigotto
7) Krivtsov
8) Krauss
9) Dion

GC:
1. Basso
2. Gutierrez @ a long ways
3. Simoni @ even further

4. Cunego @ that speck in the distance.

 Simoni and Bettini are having a friendly chat getting ready for the podium. Don't see Simoni and Basso chatting though.  Basso takes the stage while the pink confetti is falling down,  Basso wins with the 2nd biggest post-war difference (Adorni in 65' is the biggest)

This concludes our live coverage, of the 89th Giro d'Italia. Thanks for joining us today. Join for us upcoming live coverage of the Dauphine Libere.

Discuss the race in and cycling with Tifosi from around the world in the  Daily Peloton Chat Room. Comment and debate cycling topics, race tactics and your favorite riders on the Daily Peloton Forums.
Full official results, rider interviews and photos to follow.
 

 

 
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