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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Giro d'Italia Cycling News for May 13, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Stage 5 wrap-up

Double hometown success for Di Luca

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

At the end of the Giro's longest stage, 223 km between Celano and L’Aquila, the treasured maglia rosa changed hands again with Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi) taking it from Paolo Bettini after winning the stage. Di Luca benefited from the excellent work of his green clad teammates, who chased down a dangerous break containing Bettini himself and made sure he was in a good position to contest the tough uphill finish. Fassa Bortolo tried to steal the victory from under Di Luca's nose when Marzio Bruseghin made a very enterprising move at 300m to go, but the "Killer" from Abruzzo hauled him back in and crossed the line with a bike length to spare to celebrate his second win of this year's Giro.

It was mission accomplished for ProTour leader Di Luca, who came to the race to win a stage and wear the maglia rosa once. "I am happy: I've achieved my aim," Di Luca commented afterwards. "I dreamed of winning the stage, but I didn't imagine getting the pink jersey as well. I have to thank the Liquigas-Bianchi team that did a great job for me today and has believed in me since the beginning of the year, treating me as a leader. They deserve that I repay them with such results."

Liquigas played a key role in setting up the stage for Di Luca, with Vladimir Miholjevic and Charly Wegelius playing a spoiler role in Bettini's 21 man breakaway, then chasing it down at the finish, with CSC performing the coupe de grace on the run into L'Aquila.

Di Luca's role in the Giro will change now, as he will work for Liquigas-Bianchi's GC leaders Stefano Garzelli and Dario Cioni.

Stage 5 Full results & report
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Past winners

Bruseghin close

Di Luca has time
Photo ©: Sirotti
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Fassa Bortolo's Marzio Bruseghin came within a couple of metres of claiming the team's first, and greatly desired, victory in this year's race. His pre-emptive attack with 300 metres to go took Di Luca a little by surprise, but the Liquigas man chased him down and won the stage.

"I went at 300 metres, perhaps a little early," said Bruseghin. "I'm not used to doing sprints, but I did well seeing as I was only beaten by Di Luca, who is the number one at the moment in these types of finishes. In the lead up to the sprint, Petacchi came me a big hand and helped my confidence. At least I tried and the result satisfies me.

Basso coming into form

Team CSC's Ivan Basso finished in fifth place in the first really hilly stage of this year's Giro, two seconds behind Danilo Di Luca. His team made sure he was well positioned before the last climb, and he finished ahead of all the main GC riders.

Lombardi and Basso (CSC)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

"As the attacks were launched on the climb, I had a really good feeling in my legs, and once again it was nice to confirm my great shape," said Basso on the team's website, "Usually a short uphill finish like this is not my cup of tea, so it gives me a lot of confidence to be up front in today's stage. If the climb had been a couple of kilometres longer, the result could've been different. The team did an amazing job for me, and I really feel I'm getting the best support possible, when I have to position myself or if we have to increase the pace."

"I'm really pleased about today's stage," added team manager Bjarne Riis. "Both with Ivan and also with the team's performance. Actually I asked Ivan to try to attack, but he was cut off a bit in the steep part of the final climb. Still, we once again proved ourselves to be ready to play an important role in this Giro."

Sutherland's big day out

Rory Sutherland (Rabobank) was one of the first attackers in stage 5, and ended up spending the best part of 170 km front of the peloton. He was caught with 40 km to go and finished 160th at 10'02 down, while his teammate Theo Eltink survived until 5 km to go with the remnants of the break.

Cyclingnews' John Trevorrow spoke to a tired but satisfied Sutherland at the finish in Aquila, where he told us, "It was a hard day. I think it was a hard day in the peloton, but it was also hard in front. I went away with seven guys after 20 kilometres. But across the top of the climb, Bettini and the group come across, which surprised everyone, and from that moment, the group stopped working. No-one worked because they were a bit scared with Bettini there. I know he was probably angry about yesterday, but most of the guys weren't happy with him being there because he was going to hamper how far we were going to go in the race.

"We stayed together until the foot of the last climb. About four kilometres before the climb, no-one was working. I didn't have the greatest legs, so I thought it would be a good thing for me to attack. I'm not a great climber, and if I got a bit of a head start then maybe I could ride my tempo instead of the climbers' tempo. That meant I might be still there to give my teammate Theo Eltink a hand. I got caught with 1 km to go, then dropped off at 500m to go. Over the top I was 100m off the back, which is a long way to get back by myself, so that was my day. I just took it easy to the finish, and tried to recover for tomorrow.

"I must admit it was fun to be up there. Why can't I have a go? Put our name in the race. That's what me and my teammate were doing. Why should that hold us back? Hopefully I can recover to be able to do something in the next week or so."

Liberty gets in amongst it

Liberty Seguros went on the attack in today's stage, placing three men in the main break of 21: Koldo Gil, Rene Andrle and Dariusz Baranowski. All were eventually caught by the hungry peloton, with Gil surviving until 5 km to go. "The cooperation wasn't good during the whole stage, because nobody wanted to work with Bettini," said Gil. "It was not in the best interests for Liberty Seguros-Würth, neither for Liquigas and Lampre. It was a nuisance that he was in front."

Gil said that he attacked "because I knew that while Bettini was there, we were not going to succeed, so I sought to create a smaller group, which had the possibility to stay away." But it didn't succeed: "No, I was not lucky in the final kilometres, but I felt good and I am satisfied with my work. Now I must think that the Giro is still very long and that I have to recover from these efforts."

Team manager Manolo Saiz was pleased with the performance of his team. "Today it was not really known what was going to happen, whether Bettini's team would work or if Lampre would do it," said Saiz. "It was the first medium mountain stage and, if it was going to be hard on the first category climb, it was better to have riders ahead. With Bettini in the breakaway, it was impossible that it would succeed, but the most important thing is that the team is OK, has confidence and a great ambience among the riders. I see them with desire to do good things and motivated to help Scarponi. I am satisfied with how everything is going."

At the finish, Liberty's leader Michele Scarponi and the rest of the favourites lost 2 seconds to new leader Di Luca, and Scarponi also lost a position on the GC, moving down to eighth at 41 seconds. Scarponi was buoyed by a visit from his fans: Approximately 50 tifosi, led by Bucco Fabio, the president of the ' Scarponi Fan Club, came to the finish at L'Aquila to cheer Scarponi and promise to return in the Dolomites.

Selle Italia keen for green

The Colombia-Selle Italia team was well represented in the 21 man breakaway today with two riders: Venezuelan Jose Rujano and Colombian Ivan Parra. Both made the whittled down nine man version, with Parra getting into the final four man break that was caught with 5 km to go. Along the way, Jose Rujano collected enough mountain points to take over the green jersey. "For me it mattered that we wear the maglia verde, a jersey that is very important for our team," said Selle Italia's manager Gianni Savio. "We won this special classification in 2001 and in 2003, and from tomorrow we will defend the green jersey of our talented Rujano."

Cooke still sore

Baden Cooke (Francaise des Jeux)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Cyclingnews' John Trevorrow spoke to Baden Cooke this morning before the start of stage 5, and the Australian was in surprisingly good spirits as he oversaw his new bike being set up. He was a bit concerned that it was done to perfection, as he is quite meticulous. "The injuries aren't too bad," he said. "But my neck is bloody sore and I see why when I looked at Gazzetta dello Sport this morning. The photo shows my neck at right angles to my body.

"I smashed the bike, smashed the forks, broke the seat...Hopefully it's not too far out. You don't want to go up the hills with slightly the wrong position. You can blow up a knew or something. Trying to get the plumb bob on the side of a hill doesn't make much sense.

Cooke said that he hadn't spoken to Bettini this morning, although just after we interviewed him, the Italian came over and Cooke ignored him. Bettini then went over to the FDJ officials and explained his point (that his chain slipped and he didn't know Cooke was there).

"He's not giving an inch," said Cooke. "He will not admit he's wrong. A few Italian journalists asked me if I'll shake his hand today. I'll shake hands with him when he admits he put me into the barriers. One minute he's saying my chain slipped, next he's saying he didn't do anything. So which is it? Chain slipping or didn't do anything?

"Some of the Italian media are saying he didn't do anything wrong. Silvio Martinello is quoted as saying 'Cooke's wrong. The rules are clear; a rider can't change their line in the last 200m, but Cooke made a mistake to try and pass on the inside' I was just trying to get around him! What was I going to do? Go up on the footpath? Anyone who says I chose the wrong side...there was only 20 centimetres in it. We were almost in the middle of the road. If anything, the road was bending the other , so I've really come around the outside. There was no wind. I didn't go for any advantage there. I could have gone left or right. I only had 20 centimetres more on the other side - there was no difference."

After the 223 km stage between Celano and L'Aquila - the longest of this year's Giro - it was a different story when we caught up with him in the early evening. "I'm in agony," he said. "My back was tight, my neck was buckled, I was pedaling in squares. I had some strength in my legs, but everything was out of whack, so it was hard to get the power down. I'm lucky that my personal physio turned up and is working on me now. But I'll have to make a big improvement to give it any shake tomorrow."

When asked, Cooke said that he still hasn't spoke to Bettini.

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