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86th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour
Italy, May 10-June 1, 2003
Stage 12 - May 22: San Dona-Monte Zoncolan, 185 km
Start time: 11:40 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia, the second mountain stage and one of the hardest stages in the race. Today's finish is atop the 13.3 km climb of Monte Zoncolan, a very steep mountain averaging 9 percent, with sections of up to 22 percent. The last 3.7 km of this climb averages nearly 12 percent, which gives you an idea of how tough it is. Most riders will be using a 38 or a 39 tooth chainring on the front, or even a triple chainring. On the back, many are opting for a 27 or 28 tooth rear cog to get up this monster.
But before that they have two more climbs to overcome: the first at Fuessa (km 129) is another very steep Cat. 1 climb, taking the riders up to 1012 metres. The second is the Cat. 2 climb of Sella Valcalda (km 162) which is not quite as steep, but will still hurt. The Intergiro today is located at km 73.8, before the climbs really start.
The weather today is good: It's sunny and windy, and there's a strong tailwind blowing the riders up the Alpe Carniche. That should make life a little easier, but it won't really help on the climbs.
14:28 CEST - 118 km/67 km to go
The peloton was down to 158 riders at the start, as neither Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze) nor Isaac Galvez (Kelme) signed on, after they crashed yesterday on the last corner with 150m to go.
14:35 CEST - 121 km/64 km to go
14:46 CEST - 127 km/58 km to go
In the peloton, which is closing in on the leaders, there was a crash at the base of the climb: Moreni, Guesdon, Tiralongo, Carlos Garcia Quesada, and Muraglia all came down, with Moreni and Tiralongo forced to abandon the race.
In front, we have Fortunato Baliani, Bo Hamburger, Constantino Zaballa, Sergiy Adyeyev and John Fredy Garcia, who are being chased by Adolfo Garcia (Kelme), Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio) and mountains leader Fredy Gonzalez Martinez (Selle Italia). However, Adolfo Garcia is in trouble on the climb.
The average speed after 3 hours is 42.25 km/h.
14:58 CEST - 133 km/52 km to go
15:06 CEST - 134 km/51 km to go
Bruseghin is one of Fassa Bortolo's better placed riders in this Giro: he's currently 22nd at 8'05. Only Marco Velo is ahead of him (10th at 4'01).
15:12 CEST - 134 km/51 km to go
Simoni's Maglia Rosa group is at 2'13.
15:18 CEST - 139 km/46 km to go
Cyclingnews spoke with Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre, 7th on GC at 2'06) this morning before the start. Rumsas is Lampre's best placed rider on GC, although Casagrande is 9th at 3'23). "I'm feeling good," he said. "I feel like I can do something in this Giro. Everything between me and Casagrande is pretty good. Casagrande is good on a day like today with the real steep climbs.
On the issue of Lampre being excluded from the Tour de France, Rumsas said. "That's the way things happen. It's given me a bit more motivation to show what I can do in this year's Giro."
15:27 CEST - 145 km/40 km to go
15:32 CEST - 148 km/37 km to go
Michele Gobbi (De Nardi) has attacked the peloton and caught the 10 chasers.
15:39 CEST - 155 km/30 km to go
Bruseghin is now on the second climb of Sella Valcalda.
15:49 CEST - 161 km/24 km to go
The Saeco led peloton is gradually disintegrating on the climb, and is at 2'25. It contains all the main GC riders, including Simoni, Garzelli, Casagrande, Rumsas and Pantani.
Wladimir Belli and Adolfo Garcia Quesada have dropped their companions, and are now in pursuit of the leader. That is until mountains leader Fredy Gonzalez catches them just before the top of the climb.
15:58 CEST - 163 km/22 km to go
Saeco is getting some help from a Domina Vacanze rider at the front of the peloton, as it heads to the top some 2'30 behind Bruseghin. Caucchioli, Casar and Brozyna are 1'40" in front of the peloton.
16:04 CEST - 170 km/15 km to go
Belli and co. are caught by Caucchioli, Casar, Faresin and Brozyna, to form a group of seven riders 47" behind Bruseghin.
16:07 CEST - 172 km/13 km to go
The peloton starts shedding helmets and riders, at a similar rate.
16:11 CEST - 174 km/11 km to go
The maglia rosa group is down to about 25 riders, and has just dropped Aitor Gonzalez. Scott Sunderland is there in the middle, as are Rumsas, Popovych, Casagrande, Garzelli and Simoni.
16:13 CEST - 175 km/10 km to go
Belli has almost caught Bruseghin. He does so, just after the 10 km to go banner.
16:15 CEST - 176 km/9 km to go
16:17 CEST - 176 km/9 km to go
16:20 CEST - 177 km/8 km to go
Gasperoni is going most of the work at the front of the bunch for his teammate Pantani.
The chasing bunch has closed to within 40" of Belli, and has caught Bruseghin. Gasperoni, Pantani, Garzelli, Casagrande, Rumsas, Simoni, Perez Cuapio, Popovych, Noe, Gontchar are all there.
16:26 CEST - 178 km/7 km to go
Aitor Gonzalez is also in the peloton, obviously having a better day today.
16:29 CEST - 179 km/6 km to go
Gasperoni finally finishes his job, and Mazzoleni takes over for Garzelli. Simoni doesn't look as though he has any teammates, but it probably doesn't matter.
16:32 CEST - 180 km/5 km to go
Simoni looks extremely comfortable.
16:35 CEST - 181 km/4 km to go
Belli takes the left hand turn and hits the steep part with 25" lead.
16:37 CEST - 182 km/3 km to go
Simoni attacks with 3 km to go, and Casagrande, Popovych and Garzelli struggle to hold his wheel.
Simoni looks behind and sees what the damage is. Pantani and Scarponi are close behind him. Simoni and Casagrande catch Belli, who can't hold them. Garzelli is next on the road.
16:40 CEST - 183 km/2 km to go
Simoni still looks comfortable, and will probably win this stage.
Garzelli is riding well though, and is now with Casagrande. Pantani has caught them. Impressive stuff.
16:42 CEST - 184 km/1 km to go
Casagrande is caught by Popovych, and the pair are about 5" off the back wheels of Garzelli and Pantani. Simoni still leads by 10" and is on his way to the stage win.
With 1 km to go, Simoni has 22" on Pantani and Garzelli and 30" on Casagrande and Popovych.
Pantani and Garzelli are giving it everything to try and close the gap, and Pantani lifts the pace on a really steep section in the last 700m. Garzelli holds him. The pair, who look like teammates still, can see the maglia rosa tantalisingly 25" in front of them.
Popovych and Casagrande haven't given up though, and have nearly caught Garzelli and Pantani.
This is an incredibly steep climb, and Garzelli is suffering all the way up. The gap to Simoni is now 30". Pantani can't hold Garzelli any more.
16:50 CEST - 185 km/0 km to go
Perez Cuapio came in just in front of Noe in sixth, while Aitor Gonzalez (9th) had a much better ride today. Scott Sunderland came in just out of the top 20.
The general classification remains with Gilberto Simoni, who now has 44" lead on Garzelli and 2'23 on Andrea Noe. The Giro is definitely not yet decided.
Unofficial 1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco 5.10.29 2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI 0.34 3 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre 0.39 4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 0.42 5 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno - Scanavino 0.43 6 Julio A. Perez Cuapio (Mex) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 1.05 7 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio 8 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI 9 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 1.30 10 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo General classification after stage 12 1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco 2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI 0.44 3 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio 2.23 4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 3.00 5 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre 4.14 6 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre 4.20