Giro d'Italia - Stage 14

Stage 14, Racconigi-Cervinia, 232 km:

  1. Ivan Gotti (Ita) Saeco                  7.06.32 (33,761 km/h)
  2. Nicola Miceli (Ita) Aki              	0.39
  3. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno 	1.20
  4. Josi Jaime Gonzalez (Col) Kelme      	1.46
  5. Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Mapei             	1.46
  6. Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Refin         	1.46
  7. Alexander Chefer (Kaz) Asics         	1.46
  8. Axel Merckx  (Bel) Polti             	1.50
  9. Daniele De Paoli (Ita) Ros Mary      	3.12
 10. Giuseppe Guerini (Ita) Polti         	3.14
 11. Luc Leblanc (Fra) Polti              	3.16
 12. Marcos Serrano (Spa) Kelme           	3.16
 13. Filix Garcia Casas (Spa) Festina     	3.16
 14. Josi Luis Rubiera (Spa) Kelme        	3.48
 15. Sergei Gontchar (Ukr) Aki            	4.06
 16. Wladimir Belli (Ita) Brescialat      	4.33
 17. Dario Frigo (Ita) Saeco              	4.33
 18. Francesco Secchiari (Ita) Scrigno    	4.33
 19. Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Mapei       	5.13
 20. Alberto Volpi (Ita) Batik            	5.13


  1. Ivan Gotti (Ita) Saeco                  65.54.38
  2. Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Mapei             	 0.51
  3. Luc Leblanc (Fra) Polti              	 3.02
  4. Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Refin         	 3.28
  5. Alexander Chefer (Kaz) Asics         	 3.40
  6. Nicola Miceli (Ita) Aki              	 3.45
  7. Axel Merckx  (Bel) Polti             	 5.52
  8. Giuseppe Guerini (Ita) Polti         	 6.17
  9. Marcos Serrano (Spa) Kelme           	 7.41
 10. Giuseppe Guerini (Ita) Polti         	 7.56
 11. Filix Garcia Casas (Spa) Festina      	 8.08
 12. Wladimir Belli (Ita) Brescialat      	 8.17
 13. Sergei Gontchar (Ukr) Aki           	10.04
 14. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno	13.11
 15. Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Cantina  	13.15
 16. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Roslotto     	14.39
 17. Josi Luis Rubiera (Spa) Kelme       	15.17
 18. Evgeni Berzin (Rus) Batik           	15.24
 19. Roberto Conti (Ita)  Mercatone Uno  	15.41
 20. Alberto Volpi (Ita) Batik           	15.45

Stage 14 Report

Ivan Gotti snatched the race lead in the Giro d'Italia on Saturday after winning the mountainous 14th stage from Racconigi.

He raced home alone to finish one minute 46 seconds clear of Russian Pavel Tonkov, who had worn the leader's pink jersey for 11 days.

Gotti's victory earned him a time deduction of 12 seconds which, with his advantage at the 2,008-meter mountain resort gives him the lead by 51 seconds over Tonkov, who was fifth.

Gotti attacked 34 kilometers from the finish and shook off Nicola Miceli, the last of his four co-leaders, three kilometers from the end of a 232-km stage lasting more than seven hours.

Tonkov's pursuit of the Italian broke the challenge of Frenchman Luc Leblanc, who was 41 seconds behind the Russian overnight. Leblanc is now third overall, 3:02 in arrears.

Gotti has given Italy new hope in the Giro d'Italia but he was the forgotten contender when the race opened two weeks ago in Venice.

"No one took me seriously. They did not invite me to the pre-race press conference with the other leading hopes," he said after pulling on the pink jersey of Giro race leader on Saturday.

"Then they thought the Giro was finished for Italy because Marco Pantani was out but I showed them what was possible."

It took Gotti six years to score his first professional victory when he won a Giro stage at Aprica last year.

However, he has felt the glow of glory. In the 1995 Tour de France he spent two days in the yellow jersey of leader.

In the past he has been the work-horse for Giro winners Gianni Bugno and Russian Evgeni Berzin. But this year the rider from San Pellegrino is the leader of his team.

The four victories of team mate Mario Cipollini took Giro minds off Gotti's potential until Saturday and Italy's focus had been on Pantani until he crashed out a week ago.

"This year my convictions are stronger and I have a better team," said Gotti who was fifth in the 1996 Giro. "In the past I did not believe in myself and neither did anyone else."

On Saturday his name was on the lips of thousands and splashed in pink paint along the final kilometers to this high-point in his career.

Italian cyclist Ivan Gotti, who was annoyed at being omitted from the Tour of Italy's opening press conference, won the 14th stage of the Tour of Italy here on Saturday and took the overall leaders pink jersey off Pavel Tonkov of Russia. The 28-year-old Gotti, fifth in the 1995 Tour de France and fifth in this race last year, came home alone with Tonkov trailing in 1 minute and 46 seconds behind while Frenchman Luc Leblanc, second overall overnight, was more than three minutes behind.

Gotti, who beat compatriot Nicola Miceli into second place on the stage, leads Tonkov, last year's winner, by 51 seconds. Tonkov admitted to making a mistake in covering Leblanc instead of going after Gotti when the Italian broke away four kilometres from the top of the second of the three climbs. "I misjudged the situation. I thought Leblanc was the dangerman but I am happy that it is Gotti who is ahead of me overall and not the Frenchman," Tonkov said. Leblanc, fourth in the 1994 Tour de France, said he hoped to recover from a lacklustre day. "I was lacking something today. I didn't feel strong enough and I had to stop my attack on the first climb when I realised my legs weren't up to the task. I just hope that I can re-establish my challenge," Leblanc said. Tonkov's compatriot Piotr Ugromov, 12th overnight, failed to start the stage and was taken to hospital suffering from a fever, doctors said that he would be kept in for the next two days.