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85th Giro d'Italia (GT)
Italy, May 11-June 2, 2002
Start time: 11:05 CEST
Complete Live Report
Welcome to Cyclingnews.com's coverage of the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia, which at 237 kilometres is the longest stage of the three week tour. The stage takes the riders south from Capannori to Orvieto, over a fairly undulating parcours. There is just one mountain sprint at km 170, and the Intergiro is at km 116. The finish is uphill.
One rider did not start today's stage: Paolo Bettini of the embattled Mapei team. Bettini tore his left calf muscle and could barely walk after yesterday, and his presence will be missed by the remaining seven riders of the Mapei team.
The race leader is still Jens 'Heppe' Heppner (Telekom), who hopes to hold onto the jersey for another few days at least.
14:40 - 142 km/95 km to go
Early on in the stage, Kelme rider Santi Perez Fernandez (10th on GC) was involved in a serious fall with teammate Isaac Galvez, and CSC's Manuel Calvene Gorbas. Perez was taken to hospital and was unable to continue the race.
After 67 km, three sprinters Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Fabrizio Guidi (Team Coast) and Massimo Strazzer (Phonak) attacked the peloton, and were able to get clear. If they had aims of getting to the Intergiro before the peloton, then they will have to ride a lot longer than they first thought, after the Intergiro was moved from 116 km to 191 km.
Currently, the trio has a lead of 4'50 on the pack, which is being controlled by Telekom. Their maximum lead was 5'55 at km 135 (Buonconvento).
14:55 - 153 km/84 km to go
The lead of the break (Petacchi, Guidi and Strazzer) has been cut down to 4'30 as they are now within 40 kilometres of the Intergiro sprint. Strazzer has a handy 41 second lead in that competition, which is decided only on bonus seconds and not on actual time - it's actually very similar to a points competition.
The average speed after three hours of racing was 42.8 km/h.
15:09 - 165 km/72 km to go
The leaders are on the climb of Radicofani, a category 2 mountain sprint. Their advantage has increased again to 5'35, so it looks like they'll be out for some time yet. Fabrizio Guidi is leading the way on the climb.
Some news of the Brescia doping inquiry, which has involved several members of the Panaria team (full report later on Cyulingnews). Former Panaria member Domenico Romano (who this year rode for Landbouwkrediet) has turned himself into the police, after leaving the Giro late last week. Varriale, Chesini, and Perfetto are the other riders involved in the affair, although fingers are also being pointed at Figueras, who is currently serving a six month suspension for possession of insulin.
15:24 - 175 km/62 km to go
Alessandro Petacchi is first to the top of the Radicofani climb, followed by Guidi and Strazzer. The peloton is now making its way up the climb, led by Telekom still.
Paolo Savoldelli (Index-Alexia) punctures, but gets a quick wheel change and is chasing back on.
Average speed after four hours is 42.1 km/h, helped by the prevailing tailwind today.
The gap at the top of the climb was 5'00.
15:39 - 186 km/51 km to go
The three sprinters who have been away for 120 kilometres now are maintaining their 5'00 gap over the Telekom led peloton, with no serious effort being made yet to chase them down. None of them present a real threat to Jens Heppner's maglia rosa, with Guidi the best placed at 37th @ 7'52 down on GC.
It will be an interesting finish if these three stay away, as the final part of this stage is all uphill - not exactly a sprinters' ideal. Maybe that's why they attacked so early...
15:49 - 195 km/42 km to go
It's six riders versus three as Telekom has the numerical advantage over the break. The tailwind is now helping keep the momentum up in the chase, and the gap has diminished to 4'20. The three leaders seem quite determined though, and they still have a good chance to stay away.
There are three kilometres to go until the Intergiro.
15:57 - 198 km/39 km to go
The Intergiro is situated at the top of a small climb, which makes things interesting for Strazzer, Giudi and Petacchi. Strazzer leads, with Giudi on his wheel and that's the way it stays as Guidi doesn't bother about contesting it. Petacchi of course is third as they now aim for the finish.
16:04 - 202 km/35 km to go
The unlikely trio of Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo, Massimo Strazzer (Phonak) and Fabrizio Guidi (Team Coast) have just passed under the 35 km to go banner, with a 4'04 lead to the peloton.
The momentum has temporarily gone out of the chase, as Telekom is no longer up the front. A Saeco rider urges his teammates to do some work, as this is a crucial time of the race. Mario Cipollini's Acqua e Sapone boys are not interested yet, as it's an uphill finish and not certain for Cipo to win.
16:09 - 205 km/32 km to go
Saeco has now got on the front of the peloton along with Lampre Daikin to try and chase these three sprinters down. Cipollini is at the back with his sleeves pulled up working on his tan. The gap is still 4'08.
16:11 - 207 km/30 km to go
Guidi, who was looking one of the strongest, attacks on this long gradual uphill section. He gets a gap very quickly and goes under the 30 km banner with an 18 second lead. The other two didn't react at all - in fact, Petacchi was chatting with Strazzer when Guidi wnet from behind.
16:16 - 210 km/27 km to go
Guidi has 3'35 lead over the peloton and 30" over Strazzer and Petacchi with 27 km to go. He is riding for all his worth for the stage win, although he is better known as a sprinter than a time trialist. He has won two Giro stages in the past and could be on his way to a third. But it will be very close.
Strazzer and Petacchi are looking quite tired, and are not making any ground on Guidi. The peloton is being headed by Gerolsteiner (for Rebellin) and Saeco now.
16:22 - 214 km/23 km to go
Fabrizio Guidi has another 6 km of steady uphill to go before he gets some relief, then comes the final uphill slog to Orvieto which will be very tough for him. The peloton is closing in on Massimo Strazzer and Alessandro Petacchi, who were Guidi's earlier breakaway partners, while Guidi himself still has 3'30 lead. It might be just enough, depending on how he handles the last climb.
16:26 - 217 km/20 km to go
Guidi continues on in his bid for a solo stage win, and has shown no signs of tiring yet. His two chasers are at 1'05, while the peloton is still closing in, but is at over 3'00. They are really flying now.
Race radio reports that the results of Stefano Garzelli's counter-analysis will be known tomorrow in the early afternoon, while Faat Zakirov and Roberto Sgambelluri's counter-analyses (for nesp) will be known by Wednesday.
16:32 - 222 km/15 km to go
Strazzer and Petacchi give up their efforts, and are reabsorbed by the peloton after 150 km in the lead.
Fabrizio Guidi is now picking up speed again on a gradual descent before the finishing climb. He is running out of lead (2'20) but may have enough to hold off the pack, which has again become disorganised.
16:38 - 227 km/10 km to go
Guidi is really flying now, but has to cope with 4 km of uphill before the end. His precious lead will vanish as the peloton charges up to the finish in the picturesque town of Orvieto.
The Lampre team is now leading the chase.
16:40 - 229 km/8 km to go
With 8 kilometres to go, Fabrizio Guidi's lead over the peloton is just 1'24. It doesn't seem to be enough to get to the finish, unless the peloton stops its chase. To put it another way, he has 80 seconds with 8 km to go, but is losing more than 10 seconds per kilometre.
16:42 - 231 km/6 km to go
6 kilometres left (2 km to the climb) and Guidi has 1'00 over the Lampre-led peloton. The climb is not steep (max 6%) but it will take it out of Guidi at the end of such a long effort.
16:44 - 233 km/4 km to go
Guidi hits the climb with around 38 seconds lead. Can he hold it? It's going to be close. He is cheered by dozens of fans as he makes his bid for victory.
Behind him, the peloton is getting very close.
16:45 - 234 km/3 km to go
Cipollini does a turn for teammate Scarponi, who attacks hard with Heppner on his wheel. Guidi raises both arms and gives up. He wins the stage with 3 km to go :-)
Aart Vierhouten counters, with Popovych on his wheel, but it doesn't go far. Marco Pantani is suffering at the back.
16:48 - 235 km/2 km to go
Popovych counters on his own, and this is a little dangerous for Heppner. However, the World U23 champion has opened up a lead - possibly Landbouwkrediet-Colnago's first success? But he is not clear.
16:49 - 236 km/1 km to go
Franco Pelizzotti (Alessio) counters, with Casagrande and Denis Lunghi going with him. Popovych is caught.
Aitor Gonzalez attacks with 1 km to go. This looks better.
16:51 - 237 km/0 km to go
Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme) has got the jump on them and wins the stage as the peloton sprints for second behind him. Casagrande gets up for second, with Simoni third.
Provisional 1 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 5.47.54 (41.908 km/h) 2 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.04 3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 4 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre-Daikin 5 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio 6 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Formaggi-Trentini 7 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 8 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteine 9 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 10 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia 11 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 12 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei-Quick Step 13 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 14 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio 15 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo 16 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Telekom 17 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Lampre-Daikin 18 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC Tiscali ... 20 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 21 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 25 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto-Adecco General classification after stage 8 1 Jens Heppner (Ger) Team Telekom 41.13.28 2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 3.33 3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 3.43 4 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 3.57 5 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.08 6 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio 7 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 4.09 8 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia 4.27 9 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 4.29 10 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.39 11 J. Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 4.43 12 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Team Coast 4.44 13 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC Tiscali 4.46 14 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei-Quick Step 4.47