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85th Giro d'Italia (GT)

Italy, May 11-June 2, 2002

Stage profile    Start list    Results

Stage 11 - May 23: Benevento-Campitello Matese, 140 km

Start time: 13:08 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:00 CEST

Complete Live Report

14:35 CEST

Welcome to the live coverage of the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia, the second mountain top finish of this year's race. Today's stage from Benevento to Campitello Matese is a little easier than stage 5, in that it doesn't have a steep cat. 3 climb just before the long finishing climb. Instead, the riders climb for the first 50 km of the stage up to Sella Canala. The profile is then gradually up and down before the final climb starts at km 126. Then it's 13.5 kilometres up to the finish, at an average gradient of 6.8%.

169 riders started today, the only absentee being Robbie McEwen, winner of yesterday's stage 10. McEwen abandoned the race as he had planned in order to keep himself fresh for the next big appointment, the Tour de France.

14:45 CEST - 50 km/90 km to go

The stage currently has two leaders: Steve Zampieri (Tacconi Sport) and Renzo Mazzoleni (Colpack) who attacked after 19 kilometres, and have built up a lead of 4'45. The peloton is not in a great hurry to chase yet, especially in these very humid conditions.

14:56 CEST - 62 km/78 km to go

Zampieri and Renzo Mazzoleni have now picked up speed again, and are heading along a gradual descent for the next 20 kilometres. Their advantage continues to increase, and is now 6'05.

15:11 CEST - 71 km/69 km to go

The leaders cross the halfway point with a 6'50 gap to the peloton, which is now being led by Telekom. Jens Heppner doesn't have to worry about these two riders, as Renzo Mazzoleni is the closest to him on GC: 119th at 45'24 behind. It's more the riders behind him that he will be concerned with. But don't be too surprised to see him still in pink at the end of today.

15:23 CEST - 78 km/62 km to go

The average speed after two hours is 36.1 km/h, as Zampieri and Mazzoleni's gap has stabilised to 7'14. Telekom is leading the pack, controlling the gap. There are still nearly 50 kilometres to go before the start of the final climb to Campitello Matese. Then the race for the general classification will begin in earnest.

15:36 CEST - 88 km/52 km to go

The leaders have passed Campobasso, still with over a 7 minute advantage. Zampieri and Renzo Mazzoleni attacked after 19 kilometres and have been away ever since.

An update on Gilberto Simoni and the cocaine test: Simoni has obtained a certificate from his dentist dated April 24, which the Saeco team distributed photocopies of after stage 10. The certificate, signed by Simoni's dentist Dr Bruno Grosselli read: "The patient Gilberto Simoni today underwent urgent orthodontic treatment with the local anaesthetic containing Carbocaine two percent with adrenaline."

Upon receiving this, team manager Claudio Corti described himself as "more optimistic" that this whole affair is an accident.

However, Carbocaine (1-methyl-2,6-pipecoloxylidide monohydrochloride) is not the same substance as Cocaine, and it's already been established that traces of Cocaine and its metabolites were found in Simoni's urine. The case goes on, but it's unlikely to be resolved until after the Giro.

15:48 CEST - 91 km/49 km to go

The breakway pair of Renzo Mazzoleni (Colpack - not to be confused with Eddy) and Steve Zampieri (Tacconi) have increased their lead again to 8 minutes, with 50 km to go. Surely they must be considering a stage win now, as the kilometres are running out and there is no great need to chase them.

Zampieri's team leader Dario Frigo was in the news again today, in relation to the substances he was carrying during last year's Giro. Frigo was caught with a vial of testosterone (banned) and another two vials labeled "Hemassist", a blood substitute that hadn't made it through clinical trials because too many people died. He was thrown off the Giro and sacked by his team while lying in second overall. He also served a nine month suspension for possession of banned products, although he claimed that he never took them.

Interestingly, the vials of "Hemassist" were finally analysed and were found to contain saline solution(!), which probably would have helped Frigo more than the original product. This scenario as actually quite believable as cyclists will try just about anything if someone tells them it will make them go faster.

16:02 CEST - 105 km/35 km to go

The leaders are on the final long downhill run before the finishing climb, which starts at km 126. Fassa Bortolo has now taken over the chasing in the peloton, trying to set up Casagrande for a possible pink jersey tonight. However, they'll have to put over 4 minutes into Heppner on the final climb, and that's no eay task as this is one tough German.

15 kilometres to go until the Intergiro sprint. The lead is now 7'31.

16:11 CEST - 110 km/30 km to go

The pack is closing in, but will they have enough time to get Steve Zampieri and Renzo Mazzoleni, who have been in the lead since kilometre 19? The gap now is 6'42 as the peloton passes through Vinchiaturo.

16:23 CEST - 117 km/23 km to go

Zampieri and and Mazzoleni will be soon faced with a 13 kilometre climb, and they will need all of their 5 minute plus lead to stay away. The pack is swarming behind them, with Lampre leading the chase.

16:28 CEST - 121 km/19 km to go

The leading pair hit the Intergiro sprint with Mazzoleni taking the bonus seconds ahead of Zampieri. Further behind, Strazzer takes third place from another Phonak rider, with Guidi fifth. The gap has come down to 3'53.

16:31 CEST - 125 km/15 km to go

Just a couple of kilometres before the climb starts, and it's Steve Zampieri and Renzo Mazzoleni who have a handy lead of around 3'30, which may be enough to net them the stage win.

But 100 kilometres in the humidity may take it out of them.

16:36 CEST - 127 km/13 km to go

Fassa Bortolo, with Dimitri Konyshev in the lead, are driving the peloton at the base of the final climb. They are now chasing a three minute gap with 13.5 km to go. Casagrande is the man to watch today, as he is the best placed climber behind Jens Heppner. Also look for Simoni, Hamilton, Evans, Noe...

Zampieri is now on his own, having dropped Mazzoleni.

16:40 CEST - 130 km/10 km to go

10 kilometres to go for Mazzoleni and Zampieri, who are back together again leading the race, but only have 2'22 to the rapidly shrinking peloton.

Simoni is sitting right behind Casagrande near the front of the peloton.

16:46 CEST - 131 km/9 km to go

Marco Pantani is with KOM leader Ruggero Marzoli just off the back of the peloton. Joaquim Castelblanco (Selle Italia) takes off the front, trying to catch the leaders on his own.

Mazzoleni and Zampieri are losing ground, with their gap down to 1'30 now.

16:49 CEST - 132 km/8 km to go

Castelblanco doesn't succeed in getting clear, and the peloton absorbs him. He tightens his shoe in preparation for the rest of the climb.

Now it's the turn of Julio Perez Cuapio, who is one of the few Panaria riders left in the race. He can certainly climb, as he showed last year, but possibly has gone too early.

The leading pair of Renzo Mazzoleni and Steve Zampieri sit up and look behind. Their break is over, having begun at km 19.

16:52 CEST - 133 km/7 km to go

Cuapio goes past Zampieri, but now there's a counter attack from Casagrande. This looks good, and has strung out the peloton behind him. Simoni is right there and will not let him go.

Casagrande drops back.

16:52 CEST - 133 km/6 km to go

Jens Heppner is still in this leading group, which is great news for him. He will certainly keep his maglia rosa today as there are only a few uphill kilometres left of this stage.

Julio Perez Cuapio is pedalling out in front, and is now joined by Castelblanco.

Rik Verbrugghe goes after them.

16:57 CEST - 135 km/5 km to go

Verbrugghe and Sabaliauskus (Saeco) are chasing Perez Cuapio and Castelblanco, opening up a small lead over the peloton where Simoni and Casagrande are playing cat and mouse.

17:01 CEST - 136 km/4 km to go

Heppner is right at the back of the peloton, but is hanging on and that's the important thing for him.

Castelblanco and Perez Cuapio still have a 12" lead to the bunch, which has all the top GC riders in it.

Caucchioli (Alessio) tries to bridge up to the leaders with 4 km to go.

17:04 CEST - 137 km/3 km to go

Simoni and Casagrande bring back Perez Cuapio, picking up the pace in the pack. Evans is right there on Casagrande's wheel.

Caucchioli has come back to the peloton. Gruppo compatto with 3 km to go.

17:07 CEST - 138 km/2 km to go

Hamilton and Heppner are in a bit of trouble, as Simoni and Casagande finally get clear of the front of the group. Will the stage win be fought out between these two?

Behind them, Frigo, Escartin, Noe and a few others are trying to close the gap.

Heppner and a teammate are a little way off.

17:11 CEST - 139 km/1 km to go

Casagrande and Simoni have 50 seconds on Heppner with just over 1 kilometre to go. But the chasing group is trying to close the gap.

They don't succeed, and Casagrande and Simoni fight it out for the stage win.

17:12 CEST - 140 km/0 km to go

Casagrande leads out the sprint, but it's Simoni who gets it. Remarkable performance for a rider under a bit of pressure.

Simoni looks very, very happy with his win. Casagrande doesn't, after spending a lot of time on Simoni's wheel on that climb.

Results

Provisional
1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport           4.03.37
2 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 
3 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio                        0.04
4 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Team Coast
5 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
6 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
7 Joaquim Castelblanco (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia 
8 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio 
9 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca
10 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre-Daikin
...
Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom                               1.05

General classification after stage 11

1 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Telekom
2 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 
3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport   
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia  
5 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio
6 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Team Coast
7 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
8 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo

Results

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