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6th Giro della Provincia di Lucca - 2.3

Italy, February 24-27, 2004

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Stage 3 - February 26: Lucca-Castelvecchio Pascoli, 176km

Bertolini best of what's left

Field reduced to just 18 riders

Different day, different Alessandro
Photo ©: Sirotti

Alessio-Bianchi's Alessandro Bertolini has assumed the lead of the Giro della Provincia di Lucca after claiming victory in the third stage. Thanks to the decision by local officials in Castelvecchio Pascoli, eager to keep roads closed to traffic for as short a time possible, all but 18 riders in this year's Giro were eliminated from the race. As a result, tomorrow's final stage from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Altopascio has been reduced in length from 188 to 145 kilometres.

Prior to the confusion, the race was run at a fast pace as a number of riders dared to attack and challenge race leader and double stage winner Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). After only 14km, a group of 19 riders had formed, but on the first ascension of the climb to Perpoli, the field managed to pull back most of the move. A new attack went, with several of the initial escapees, this time creating the split that would ultimately shape the race.

The new group of fourteen featured eventual winner Bertolini and Alessio-Bianchi teammate Vladimir Miholjevic, Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Gabriele Balducci and Nicola Gavazzi (Saeco), Nicki Sorensen (CSC), Florent Brard (Chocolade Jacques), Dean Podgornik and Oscar Pozzi (Tenax), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Emanuele Sella (Ceramiche Panaria-Margres), Francesco Secchiari (Domina Vacanze), Nicolas Vogondy (, and Kyrylo Pospyeyev (Acqua & Sapone). The leaders quickly opened a gap of nearly a minute on the field, as four riders jumped clear behind in an effort to bridge across.

With an average speed of 41 km/h, the fourteen leaders pressed on as Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola), Elio Aggiano (Team LPR), Przemyslaw Niemec (Miche), and Igor Pugaci (De Nardi) began to gain ground and leave the peloton behind.

Aggiano leads the break
Photo ©: Sirotti

The second trip up the Perpoli climb eventually put Podgornik in trouble. As the Tenax rider slipped back, and Gavazzi lost a little ground to the leaders, Niemec put in an acceleration from the chasing four. By kilometre 108, the main escape had 50" on Niemec, Tonkov, Podgornik and Aggiano, while Pugaci suffered a puncture and slipped behind the chasers. By this point the peloton had lost all interest in chasing, dropping to nearly 20 minutes behind.

There was no rest for the leaders, who battled each other relentlessly to force a smaller selection. Brard crashed on the descent from Barga to Fornaci di Barga, but rejoined with the help of Sorensen, Vogondy and Secchiari, who had each lost contact on the climb. The lead group was down to nine as Brard's group chased 45" behind, followed by the five man Tonkov group another minute and a half back.

Peloton stopped
Photo ©: Sirotti

On the penultimate descent from Perpoli, Bertolini put in his winning attack, swiftly leaving his companions behind and setting off on a 25km time trial to the finish. The 32 year old Italian was able to maintain his advantage over the final climb, cresting the summit with 13km to race and a comfortable lead of 2'35 in hand over Ziegler, Sorensen, Miholjevic and Tosatto. Mission accomplished for Alessio-Bianchi as Bertolini cruised home to take victory and don the leader's jersey in the process. Ziegler closed to within 1'48 to take second place, while Tosatto won the sprint for third ahead of Miholjevic.

It was at the entrance to the final circuit that the peloton, languishing over half an hour behind the leader Bertolini, was stopped in its tracks by local officials and ejected from the race. An extreme measure, but of virtually no consequence for the general classification, as the big bunch sealed its fate when it let the breakaway go clear on the day's first difficulty.


Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti


1 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                        4.11.58
2 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                    1.47
3 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                   2.48
4 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Alessio-Bianchi
5 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC                                        2.52
6 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Saeco                                        3.15
7 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                       3.48
8 Nicola Gavazzi (Ita) Saeco                                           6.11
9 Kyrylo Pospyeyev (Ukr) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo                  6.34
10 Oscar Pozzi (Ita) Tenax                                             8.02
11 Francesco Secchiari (Ita) Domina Vacanze                            8.20
12 Elio Aggiano (Ita) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL              8.24
13 Florent Brard (Fra) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf                8.29
14 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie               8.31
15 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra)                                    8.33
16 Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol) Miche                                       8.34
17 Igor Pugaci (Mda) De Nardi                                         13.02
18 Dean Podgornik (Slo) Tenax                                         16.16
DNS Angelo Furlan (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
DNS Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
DNS Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre
DNS Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL
DNF Sven Montgomery (Swi) Gerolsteiner
DNF Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL
DNF Renzo Mazzoleni (Ita) Tenax
DNF Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Lotto-Domo
DNF Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Lotto-Domo
DNF Guillermo Bongiorno (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
DNF Russel Van Hout (Aus) Colombia-Selle Italia
DNF Trent Wilson (Aus) Colombia-Selle Italia
DNF Marek Wesoly (Pol) Amore & Vita Beretta
DNF Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco
DNF Serguei Lelekin (Rus) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'
HD Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
HD Crescenzo d'Amore (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
HD Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
HD Bo Hamburger (Den) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
HD Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
HD Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
HD Gerhard Trampusch (Aut) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
HD Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
HD Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
HD Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
HD Ellis Rastelli (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
HD Andrea Tafi (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi
HD Stefano Ciuffi (Ita) Amore & Vita Beretta
HD Ivan Fanelli (Ita) Amore & Vita Beretta
HD Jamie Burrow (GBr) Amore & Vita Beretta
HD Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Amore & Vita Beretta
HD Mateusz Mroz (Pol) Amore & Vita Beretta
HD Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Amore & Vita Beretta
HD Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
HD Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
HD Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
HD Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
HD Scott Davis (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
HD Andoni Aranga Azkune (Spa) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf
HD Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf
HD Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf
HD Dave Bruylandts (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf
HD Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf
HD Zbigniew Piatek (Pol) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf
HD Maxim Rudenko (Ukr) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf
HD Freddy Excelino Gonzalez Martinez (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia
HD Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia
HD Ruber Alveiro Marin (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia
HD Huberlino Mesa Estepa (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia
HD Raffaele Illiano (Ita) Colombia-Selle Italia
HD Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Colombia-Selle Italia
HD Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) De Nardi
HD Simone Cadamuro (Ita) De Nardi
HD Graziano Gasparre (Ita) De Nardi
HD Leonardo Giordani (Ita) De Nardi
HD Michele Gobbi (Ita) De Nardi
HD Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) De Nardi
HD Devis Miorin (Ita) De Nardi
HD Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze
HD Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Domina Vacanze
HD Martin Derganc (Slo) Domina Vacanze
HD Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita) Domina Vacanze
HD Alessio Galletti (Ita) Domina Vacanze
HD Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Domina Vacanze
HD Mario Scirea (Ita) Domina Vacanze
HD Dario David Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
HD Massimo Codol (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
HD Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
HD Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
HD Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
HD Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
HD Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
HD Sandy Casar (Fra)
HD Carlos Dacruz (Fra)
HD Nicolas Fritsch (Fra)
HD Philippe Gilbert (Bel)
HD Mark Renshaw (Aus)
HD Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra)
HD Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'
HD Jure Golcer (Slo) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'
HD Bostjan Mervar (Slo) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'
HD Sulpizi Giuliano (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'
HD Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
HD Uwe Hardter (Ger) Gerolsteiner
HD Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner
HD Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
HD Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner
HD Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner
HD Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre
HD Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre
HD Mariano Piccoli (Ita) Lampre
HD Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre
HD Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre
HD Marco Pinotti (Ita) Lampre
HD Simone Bertoletti (Ita) Lampre
HD Santo Anza (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
HD Sergiy Adyeyev (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
HD Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
HD Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
HD Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
HD Yuri Mitlushenko (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
HD Sereiy Lagutin (Uzb) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
HD Ruslan Gryschenko (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
HD Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Domo
HD Axel Merckx (Bel) Lotto-Domo
HD Ief Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Domo
HD Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Domo
HD Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Lotto-Domo
HD Maurizio Varini (Ita) Miche
HD Fabio Borghesi (Ita) Miche
HD Dmitri Semov (Rus) Miche
HD Balazs Rohtmer (Hun) Miche
HD Antonio d'Aniello (Ita) Miche
HD Massimiliano Martella (Ita) Miche
HD Leonardo Caneschi (Ita) Miche
HD Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco
HD Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Saeco
HD Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Saeco
HD Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco
HD Andrea Tonti (Ita) Saeco
HD Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC
HD Bekim Christensen (Den) Team CSC
HD Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Team CSC
HD Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
HD Brian Vandborg (Den) Team CSC
HD Manuel Calvente Gorbas (Spa) Team CSC
HD Claudio Bartoli (Ita) Team CSC
HD Massimo Boglia (Ita) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL
HD Angelo Lopeboselli (Ita) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL
HD Daniele Contrini (Ita) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL
HD Daniele Masolino (Ita) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL
HD Andrei Karpatchev (Rus) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL
HD Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Tenax
HD Kristjan Fajt (Slo) Tenax
HD Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Tenax
HD Nicola Loda (Ita) Tenax
HD Zoran Klemencic (Slo) Tenax
HD Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
HD Marco Zanotti (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
HD Dario Andriotto (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
HD Oscar Mason (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
HD Andrea Masciarelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
HD Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
HD Marco Milesi (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
General classification after stage 3
1 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                       12.52.13
2 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                    1.51
3 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                   2.54
4 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Alessio-Bianchi                            2.58
5 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC                                        3.02
6 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Saeco                                        3.25
7 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                       3.58
8 Nicola Gavazzi (Ita) Saeco                                           6.21
9 Kyrylo Pospyeyev (Ukr) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo                  6.44
10 Oscar Pozzi (Ita) Tenax                                             8.12
11 Francesco Secchiari (Ita) Domina Vacanze                            8.30
12 Elio Aggiano (Ita) Team L.P.R.-Piacenza Management SRL              8.34
13 Florent Brard (Fra) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf                8.39
14 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie               8.41
15 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra)                                    8.43
16 Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol) Miche                                       8.44
17 Igor Pugaci (Mda) De Nardi                                         13.12
18 Dean Podgornik (Slo) Tenax                                         18.34
* HD= Hors delai (outside time limit)