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86th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2003

Main Page     Stage Profile    Start List    Latest Live Report

Stage 1 - May 10: Lecce, 201 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 12:23 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:40 CET

Welcome to Cyclingnews.com's live coverage of the 86th Giro d'Italia, the first grand tour of the season. Over the next three weeks we'll see all the top Italian riders and a smattering of foreigners battle it out for supremacy and the famous "Maglia Rosa", the pink race leader's jersey that many aspire to and few obtain.

Last year's champion Paolo Savoldelli will not be on the start line in Lecce, as he now rides for Telekom which is concentrating its efforts on the Tour de France. Similarly 2002 runner up Tyler Hamilton (CSC) is focussing on the Tour, and third placed Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio) appears to be in the Peace Race.

That leaves the race open for the other favourites such as Gilberto Simoni (Saeco), Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola), Aitor Gonzalez and Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo), Francesco Casagrande and Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre) and perhaps even Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno). But it will be a while before we see these riders in action, as the first half of the Giro is more suited to the sprinters, and the climbers will have to wait their turn. Also the time trialists will have to wait until the very last week, as there is no action against the clock until stage 15.

Today's stage is definitely one for the sprinters, a pancake flat 201 kilometres starting and finishing in Lecce. The Intergiro sprint (intermediate sprints competition scored via time bonuses instead of points) is located at kilometre 148. The finish in Lecce is reported to be quite tricky, with a number of twists and turns including a sharp corner with 160m to go, and it will take a really strong and aggressive team to control the race.

The big question that everyone is asking today is: Can Mario Cipollini equal Alfredo Binda's record of 41 stage wins? He'll certainly be trying, and the other sprinters such as McEwen, Petacchi, Brown and Svorada will be trying to stop him.

14:40 CEST - 76 km/125 km to go
There were 169 starters this morning in Lecce, with Alessio's Ruggero Marzoli not starting due to "physical problems". After the blood controls were carried out on Thursday, Marzoli's parameters indicated a "state of fatigue" according to the medical report, which also stated that there were no problems with the anti-doping parameters, such as hematocrit and hemaglobin. Thus he was advised not to start.

The race has got off to a fairly slow start, with just 68 kilometres covered in the first two hours and no attacks. It will no doubt pick up as we approach the last half of the stage, with a fast and furious finale expected.

14:57 CEST - 86 km/115 km to go
The tempo is still fairly pedestrian, with the riders choosing to enjoy the sunshine for a little while longer before cranking things up to race. They've just gone through Morciano di Leuca and are on the way to Patł.

15:10 CEST - 93 km/108 km to go
The peloton passed through Patł gruppo compatto, with no-one wishing to break the mood and attack. The Giro is typically raced like this, as opposed to the Tour and the Vuelta, which are often flat out from the starting gun. Early stages in big tours have the potential to be quite dangerous, so the riders are erring on the side of caution it seems. At the moment that is.

15:21 CEST - 99 km/102 km to go
A note for readers: today's stage in Lecce takes place around the heel of the Italian boot. It's basically a big loop around the coast and the riders have obviously been appreciating the sights so far. The temperatures are quite warm, heading up towards 30 degrees.

15:27 CEST - 105 km/96 km to go
The peloton has passed through Santa Maria di Leuca, the southernmost point of this stage. Now they head up the other side of the coast along the Adriatic Sea.

Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio) has started the Giro, meaning that there is a Caucchioli doppelgänger in the Peace Race, where he was definitely listed in the results yesterday.

15:37 CEST - 111 km/90 km to go
The peloton is still not in a hurry, cruising along as a solid unit along the fairly barren coastline. Plenty of riders are dropping back to their team cars for various needs.

15:47 CEST - 116 km/85 km to go
After a pleasant descent into Tricase Porto, the peloton has passed through the feed zone, with the riders taking their time to grab their feed bags. They've got another two hours of racing in front of them, and want to be fully fueled for the finale.

16:01 CEST - 127 km/74 km to go
The pace has picked up fractionally, but it's still one big mass of riders cruising along in this first stage of the Giro d'Italia. They have just gone through Castro, one of many spectacular towns along the Adriatic coast. In front of the peloton are the riders from Saeco, Kelme and Colombia-Selle Italia. It looks like Scott Sunderland (Team fakta) is also there, keeping out of trouble.

Scott is writing an exclusive diary for Cyclingnews during the Giro, which you can read here.

16:09 CEST - 133 km/68 km to go
Rene Joergensen and Kurt Asle Arvesen have joined their teammate Scott Sunderland at the front. There are also a lot of Sidermec jerseys there. The Intergiro sprint approaches in 15 km, and that will be hotly contested.

16:17 CEST - 140 km/61 km to go
The race is definitely on now, with the peloton moving at speed towards the Intergiro sprint at Otranto. It's the only intermediate sprint of the day, and carries valuable bonus seconds for both the Intergiro and the overall GC. However wins this sprint will wear the blue jersey tonight.

In front, it's Tenax, Lampre, Vini Caldirola and Fassa Bortolo. Elio Aggiano (Formaggi Pinzolo) attacks and gets a gap.

16:24 CEST - 144 km/57 km to go
Aggiano can't hold off the peloton for long, with Lampre doing the work to swallow him up. They want Svorada up there for the Intergiro. Cipollini is also well placed, about 6th wheel.

A Saeco train is coming up the left hand side, perhaps to keep Simoni out of trouble.

16:29 CEST - 147 km/54 km to go
It's still Lampre on the front, with Vini Caldirola also looking to do something. At the back, Cipollini's teammate Alberto Ongarato has a problem and is waiting for his team car.

There is a crash just before the Intergiro, with Svorada and a Mercatone Uno rider - Ivan Ravaioli - coming down.

16:33 CEST - 149 km/52 km to go
A Polish CCC rider wins the Intergiro sprint: Andris Nauduzs. Second was Mariano Piccoli (Lampre) followed by Fabiano Fontanelli (Mercatone Uno).

Team fakta-Pata Chips riders Scott Sunderland and Magnus Backstedt are on the front again. Until Radoslaw Romanik (CCC-Polsat) attacks and strings it out. Backstedt chases him down, and the pace is now quite high.

Scott Sunderland does a turn, and there's a group of five or six riders off the front. But they don't want to work. Sunderland accelerates as he can see the gap, but there is no cooperation really. The peloton regroups.

16:39 CEST - 154 km/47 km to go
The high speed has caused several splits at the front of the peloton. Fakta's Julian Winn is there, recognisable in his British champion's jersey. There's also a Kelme rider, Julian Usano and Fabio Baldato (Alessio). The main part of the peloton is not far off, with Domina Vacanze and Lampre chasing.

Frank Hoj (Team fakta) and Christian Frattini (Tenax) have counter attacked, and have a couple of hundred metres lead.

16:46 CEST - 159 km/42 km to go
Frank Hoj and Cristiano Frattini now have a 15 second lead on the peloton, led by the big figure of Giampaolo Mondini. Frank Hoj is looking very strong, pedalling smoothly but quickly. Frattini is suffering a little bit more, but is still doing his work.

Ruslan Gryschenko (Landbouwkrediet) drops back to grab a few water bottles from the team car. It's also reported that Ivan Ravaioli (Mercatone Uno) and Jan Svorada (Lampre) have come back to the peloton after their crash.

16:53 CEST - 164 km/37 km to go
Hoj and Frattini are gradually increasing their lead over the mass of the peloton. It's now up to 27 seconds with under 40 kilometres to go, and Hoj is giving it a lot of gas. In front of the peloton, it's Domina Vacanze, Lotto Domo and Vini Caldirola doing the work.

16:58 CEST - 168 km/33 km to go
Frank Hoj (Team fakta-Pata Chips) and Cristiano Frattini (Tenax) are leading the race, having attacked some 15 km ago. They currently have a lead of 36 seconds, which is probably not going to be enough to get them home. But, you never know. Thierry Marichal (Lotto-Domo) is helping out Mondini (Domina Vacanze) with the work at the front.

17:05 CEST - 173 km/28 km to go
Rik Verbrugghe has come to the front to help his Lotto teammate Thierry Marichal chase. The gap to Hoj and Frattini is up over 40 seconds.

17:13 CEST - 179 km/22 km to go
the gap between the peloton and the two leaders: Frank Hoj and Cristiano Frattini, has fallen to 34" as they approach 20 km to go. If they can get to the final technical section with their lead intact, then they have a chance. It looks doubtful though, as the peloton is now very strung out.

17:16 CEST - 183 km/18 km to go
The kilometres are ticking away rapidly now, and it's still Frank Hoj and Cristiano Frattini versus the peloton. Lotto-Domo and Domina Vacanze are chasing quite hard, and have brought the gap down to 24".

17:21 CEST - 186 km/15 km to go
It's down to 18 seconds with 15 km to go, and Hoj and Frattini are still hammering away off the front. They've been there for the last 30 km, but the peloton is slowly but surely gobbling them up.

The average speed after five hours is around 37.5 km/h.

17:25 CEST - 189 km/12 km to go
Frattini looks as though he's had enough, as he checks where the peloton is. Hoj starts looking back too and it's all over with 12 km to go. Gruppo compatto again. Cipollini is sitting behind five teammates. He is very easy to spot in his rainbow jersey.

17:27 CEST - 191 km/10 km to go
Francesco Secchiari leads the Domina Vacanze train under the 10 km to go banner. The peloton is moving fairly briskly, but there is still another level of speed to come. Kurt Arvesen and Magnus Backstedt (Team fakta) are also right up at the front.

Fabiano Fontanelli (Mercatone Uno) has a flat tyre.

17:30 CEST - 193 km/8 km to go
We now have eight kilometres to go, and it's still a Lotto-Domo/Domina Vacanze train setting up for a bunch sprint. Will it be Cipollini or McEwen, or someone else perhaps?

17:33 CEST - 196 km/5 km to go
Lotto-Domo has taken over from Domina Vacanze, and there are also plenty of Vini Caldirola jerseys getting involved at the front. The road is fairly wide at the moment, but the finale is more technical.

17:34 CEST - 197 km/4 km to go
The peloton has now entered Lecce, with 4 km to go. A couple of CCC-Polsat riders have also move to the fore. Mondini now gets to the front and does a big turn.

17:35 CEST - 198 km/3 km to go
Mario Scirea, followed by Ongarato, Bennati, Lombardi and Cipollini are on the front. The train is going. McEwen and Brown are on Cipollini's wheel. There is a bit of shoulder action going on, as expected between these two rivals.

17:36 CEST - 199 km/2 km to go
Brown is now fighting with Jimmy Casper for Cipo's wheel. Now Scirea does a very big turn. Petacchi now has Cipo's wheel, followed by Brown.

17:38 CEST - 201 km/0 km to go
Lombardi does a big leadout, but it's not quite good enough. Or Cipo isn't. Petacchi gets the stage! Cipo is second. Angelo Furlan (Alessio) is third.

That's a huge win for Petacchi, who has trouble with these high pressure sprints. He also takes the maglia rosa as the first leader of the Giro, along with the ciclamino points jersey. The blue Intergiro jersey goes to Andris Nauduzs (CCC-Polsat). There were no mountain sprints today.

Thank you for following the first stage of the Giro with Cyclingnews. We'll be back at the same time (14:30 CEST) each day with live action of every stage, along with a full report, photos and results afterwards.


1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo          5.16.03
2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze
3 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Alessio
4 Isaac Galvez (Spa) Kelme
5 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
6 Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria
7 Jimmy Casper (Fra) FDJeux.com
8 Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco
9 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre
10 Graziano Gasparre (Ita) De Nardi
12 Werner Riebenbauer (Aut) Team fakta-Pata Chips

General classification after stage 1

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo          
2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze                0.08
3 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Alessio                         0.12

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