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Photo ©: Bettini


86th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2003

Main Page     Stage Profile    Start List    Latest Live Report

Stage 14 - May 24: Marostica-Alpe Pampeago, 162 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 12:15 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:00 CEST

Coverage starts 14:30 CEST.

Welcome once again to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Giro d'Italia. Today's stage 14 is another big day in the mountains as the riders reach the Dolomites. The 162km route will begin with a long steady drag up to the first climb, the Passo di Rolle. Two more climbs follow immediately, without any real respite between each descent and the next rise. The Passo di Valles and Passo di San Pellegrino come in quick succession, before one final plunge and the finishing test up the Alpe Di Pampeago.

Race leader Gilberto Simoni lost a bit of his advantage over Stefano Garzelli yesterday after Garzelli finished with an impressive sprint to take 3rd place and some valuable bonus seconds. Simoni leads Garzelli by just 36", while third place Andrea Noe sits 2'23" behind.

14:30 CEST - 76 km / 86 to go
This morning 149 riders took the start. Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) did not start, as he planned, preferring to shift his focus to final preparation for the Tour de France. Also not on the line was Nicolas Fritsch of FDJeux.com. In the first two hours of racing, two riders have also abandoned: Gabriele Balducci (Vini Caldirola) and Luca Mazzanti (Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo).

At the 12km mark, a group of 16 riders went clear in the day's first break. In the group were Wladimir Belli (Lampre), Leonardo Giordani and Michele Gobbi (De Nardi-Colpack), Fredy Gonzalez and Ruber Alverio Marin (Colombia-Selle Italia), Ruslan Gryschenko (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Paolo Lanfranchi (Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo), Denis Lunghi (Alessio), Bo Hamburger, Hector Mesa Mesa, Giuseppe Muraglia and Rinaldo Nocentini (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave), Fabio Sacchi (Saeco), Bradley Wiggins (FDJeux.com), Julian Winn (Team fakta), and Alexis Rodriguez and Constantino Zaballa (Kelme).

Ruber Marin was dropped from the leading group, and the remaining 15 built an advantage of over 4 minutes by the first InterGiro sprint, which was taken by Julian Winn ahead of Nocentini and Gobbi.

The race is off to a fast start, and has averaged around 40km/h thus far.

Ief Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo) has also abandoned.

14:40 CEST - 78 km / 84 to go
The lead group of 15 is now on the first big climb of the day, the Passo di Rolle. Julian Winn is already in difficulty, as they hit the slopes. The group's advantage at last check was 4'08".

Another abandon to announce: Gerolsteiner's Marcel Strauss.

14:55 CEST - 90 km / 72 to go
The climb is taking its toll on the break, which has quickly begun to fall apart as first Giordana, then Hamburger, Rodriguez, Gryschenko, and Sacchi are tailed off. Mesa Mesa is also in trouble.

As it stands, the lead group now consists of Belli, Gobbi, Lanfranchi, Gonzalez, Lunghi, Nocentini, and Zaballa. Their advantage over the group of Maglia Rosa Simoni is 4'45".

Yet another rider has called it a day: Sergei Lelekin of Tenax.

15:02 CEST - 93 km / 69 to go
The gap for the leaders (over Simoni's group) is up to 4'50", and Fredy Gonzalez has moved out alone, 2km from the first GPM points of the day.

15:10 CEST - 96 km / 66 to go
Over the summit of the Passo di Rolle, Gonzalez took maximum points, with an advantage of around 25" over Zaballa, Gobbi, Lanfranchi, Lunghi, Belli, and Nocentini.

15:15 CEST
After three hours of racing and the first major climb of the day, the leaders have averaged 35 km/h. The main group of Simoni passed the summit of the Passo di Rolle 5'22" behind Gonzalez.

15:21 CEST - 103 km / 59 to go
Gonzalez continues alone with a 30" lead over the first chase group. Further behind, remnants of the 15 man break trail by another 2 minutes, stuck between the first chase and the peloton. This second group includes Giordana, Hamburger, Mesa Mesa, Gryschenko, Rodriguez, and Sacchi.

The leaders have made the quick descent and are now climbing the second mountain of the day, heading for the Passo di Valles.

15:26 CEST - 105 km / 57 to go
Gonzalez looks good in his pursuit for still more points in the mountains classification, which he has been leading convincingly in this year's Giro.

Saeco is setting the tempo in the main field, with Simoni comfortably up front. No attacks yet from the favourites, they'll likely be waiting for the third and fourth climbs. Nobody up ahead is of any great threat to the general classification.

15:30 CEST - 107 km / 55 to go
At the summit of the Cat. 1 Passo de Valles, Gonzalez takes the points, still alone out front. Behind, in the first chase, the GPM points are rounded out by Zaballa and Lanfranchi.

Pavel Tonkov (CCC-Polsat), appears to be trying a move ahead of the Simoni peloton.

15:37 CEST - 115 km / 47 to go
Gonzalez is in full tuck, descending after the summit of the Passo di Rolles. Behind him the same chase group is trying to close the gap.

At the summit, Pavel Tonkov was 4'22" behind Gonzalez, and has an advantage of about a minute over the main field.

Not a moment of flat, Gonzalez is already on the next climb, to the Passo di San Pellegrino, which features portions with gradients up to 13%.

15:41 CEST - 117 km / 45 to go
The chase group is now 1'25" behind Gonzalez. The main field is still being driven by Saeco, and Fabio Sacchi, who featured in the early break, has dropped back to join the Saeco train.

15:45 CEST - 118 km / 44 to go
Tonkov is still alone ahead of the field, but well behind Gonzalez and the first chasers. He's taking a bit of a risk attacking so early, but he's not close enough on GC to sound the alarm in Simoni's group just yet. The group of Simoni and the principal favourites has been whittled down to about 40 riders.

15:49 CEST - 119 km / 43 to go
Gonzalez is still well out in front, with an advantage of 1'10" over the Belli group. The Colombian is climbing slowly but steadily as the grade steepens on the Passo di San Pellegrino. The crowds are quite large, and suitably enthusiastic. Exceedingly large cowbells seem to be the noisemaker of choice in the mountains.

No change in the Maglia Rosa group; Saeco is still setting the pace.

15:54 CEST
The first sign of weakness in Simoni's group comes from 4th place overall Yaroslav Popovych, who's not dropped but is at the back and looking to be in difficulty. This could be a long day for the Ukranian if he doesn't rally soon.

15:57 CEST - 121 km / 41 to go
The six chasers are still riding together in pursuit of Gonzalez. Belli is looking quite comfortable in this group, and he may still be a valuable teammate for Francesco Casagrande on the final climb.

Gonzalez passes the summit of the Cat. 1 Passo di San Pellegrino, ever extending his lead in the mountains classification.

16:00 CEST
Zaballa once again sprints for second place over the summit, followed by Lanfranchi. They have lost a little ground on Gonzalez, and the gap is now closer to 1'30".

Gonzalez, however, will have a tougher time staying away now, as there are some 34km between the summit and the foot of the Alpe Di Pampeago.

Belli is getting some advice from his team car and taking on a bit of food for the descent.

16:03 CEST - 126 km / 36 to go
Tonkov's move ahead of Simoni's group has come to seem rather foolish. He will not catch the break, and he has gained little ground over the GC leaders, and remains stuck in no-man's land.

16:09 CEST - 137 km / 25 to go
The race is on the long and very fast descent, approaching the foot of the Alpe Di Pampeago. The roads are smooth and perfect for a swift descent.

Gonzalez now has only 50" ahead of the chasers, who themselves have 3'10" over the main field, which is descending much faster than the lone leader.

16:12 CEST - 140 km / 22 to go
Gonzalez has achieved what he hoped for concerning GPM points today, and is now committed to fighting for the stage win. It will be difficult for him to hold off the GC leaders, who have yet to start their own battle, but he's clearly climbing well.

Tonkov is still in his own race, between the first chase group and the group of the Maglia Rosa. The crowds in the valley (and all along the course) are enormous.

16:16 CEST - 143 km / 19 to go
Tonkov has now decided to sit up, and is quickly back in the main field. Simoni is in good shape, with four teammates in his group. Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo) is sitting on the wheel of the Saeco train, and Simoni is just behind. Pantani has several teammates as well.

16:20 CEST - 146 km / 16 to go
Up front, Gonzalez has been reeled in by the chase group, which is now seven men ahead of the main field. Meanwhile, Marco Pantani is looking happy, joking around with one of the Domina Vacanze riders.

16:25 CEST - 149 km / 13 to go
It looks like Cyclingnews diarist, Team fakta member, and all around good guy Scott Sunderland is in the main field, having a good day in the mountains. A number of the big favourites at the front of the group are stretching and trying to loosen up, in anticipation of the big showdown to come on the Alpe Di Pampeago.

16:31 CEST - 153 km / 9 to go
The seven leaders continue to hold off the main group as they begin the climb. Just to recap: the seven leaders are Belli, Gobbi, Lanfranchi, Gonzalez, Lunghi, Nocentini, and Zaballa. The leaders have removed their helmets and are well onto the final climb.

Saeco continues to do all the work in the main field, with Aitor Gonzalez, Simoni, and Pantani just behind. No sign of Garzelli at the moment.

16:33 CEST - 154 km / 8 to go
The leaders have already hit one of the 9% sections of the climb, and another stretch at 10% is coming soon.

Garzelli has made his presence known at the head of the main field, along with all the GC favourites.

16:35 CEST - 155 km / 7 to go
Zaballa has attacked the lead group, so the hammer is being thrown down now. In the main field, Perez Cuapio leads the charge, with Garzelli in third position and Casagrande just behind. Pantani has several teammates with him. Raimondas Rumsas is up front as well.

16:38 CEST - 156 km / 6 to go
Zaballa has about 10" over the rest of the break, as Belli appears to have jumped and is working to bridge the gap to the Kelme rider. He's closed the gap quite quickly as the rest of the break shatters on the steep portions of the climb.

Belli now takes over the pace setting and Zaballa gets on his wheel.

Simoni is looking strong at the head of the main field. He better, since his teammates seem to have disappeared.

16:40 CEST
Zaballa has lost contact with Belli, who is now the lone leader with 56" over Simoni's group- which is dwindling rapidly. Rumsas and Pantani were tailed off the back a bit, but Rumsas has dragged the two back up. Garzelli is present, along with Casagrande.

16:41 CEST - 157 km / 5 to go
Popovych, who was looking to be in difficulty on the previous climb, is on the attack now. Simoni has now countered and has a small gap over the rest. He's already caught and passed Popovych, who scrambles to grab the wheel of the Maglia Rosa.

Pantani is having trouble with the accelerations, and is hanging onto the back of the group along with 3rd place overall Andrea Noe.

16:44 CEST - 158 km / 4 to go
The race is on the toughest part of the climb, with percentages up to 16%. Popovych is looking good, along with Simoni. Just behind, Garzelli is in second position, being paced by his teammate Eddy Mazzoleni. Pantani is having trouble holding the pace.

Up front, Belli is still alone, with Simoni chasing quickly and Popovych on his wheel.

16:47 CEST - 159 km / 3to go
Simoni has dropped Popovych and is now in pursuit of Belli, but he's getting caught behind the motorcycles. Garzelli is grimmacing, digging deap to try to limit the damage from Simoni's escape. Rumsas is now alone with Garzelli as Casagrande drops off the pace a bit.

It's a hot day, with temperatures around 30 degrees. Rumsas has his jersey unzipped all the way, and all riders appear a bit strained from the heat.

Simoni has caught Belli!

16:48 CEST - 159 km / 3to go
And just like that, Simoni has left Belli behind and is off on his own. The Maglia Rosa once again leads the race on the way to a mountaintop finish. Belli will probably try to help either Rumsas or Cassagrande, but he might not have much left in those legs.

Popovych is still chasing as well, now being caught by Garzelli and Rumsas. Popovych could be heading for third place overall, since Noe is in more trouble behind.

16:50 CEST - 160 km / 2 to go
Simoni continues alone, looking comfortable. However, he doesn't have an enormous gap. Behind, Perez Cuapio has joined Garzelli, Rumsas, and Popovych. Simoni has 23".

16:52 CEST - 161 km / 1 to go
Popovych is now starting to slip, losing a bit of ground. Garzelli is digging very deep, forcing the pace in this first chase group behind Simoni. Both Popovych and Belli are dropped.

But Noe is coming back! The Alessio rider has caught Popovych and is steadily making up ground, so the battle for 3rd place in the general classification is back on.

Perez Cuapio has taken over the pace setting ahead of Garzelli. Rumsas looks to be struggling now.

16:54 CEST - 161 km / 1 to go
Simoni is hitting the 16% section, still holding a small lead. Now Perez Cuapio is suffering and falling behind Garzelli and Rumsas. Simoni looks back to see where the chasers are, knowing he doesn't have much time to spare.

Simoni cuts through the tifosi and passes under the 1km to go banner. Garzelli is back in the action, rocking his shoulders and trying to get every ounce of power out of his body.

16:55 CEST - 161 km / 1 to go
Simoni has 35" over Garzelli, and looks clear for the stage win. Popovych meanwhile is hanging on, about 100 metres behind Garzelli, Rumsas, and Perez Cuapio.

Simoni gets in the drops and out of the saddle and powers towards the finish.

16:57 CEST - 162 km / Finish
The finish line is slow in coming, but Gilberto Simoni has done it again, extending his overall lead at the top of a mountain. He's too tired for the two armed salute, but he's done is job.

Behind, Garzelli sprints to beat Rumsas for second place. Perez Cuapio is 4th, followed by Popovych and Noe.

Casagrande comes across the line, completely exhausted.

1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco                  4.46.42
2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI          0.35
3 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre                        0.37
4 Julio A. Perez Cuapio (Mex) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo 0.49
5 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago      0.49
6 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio                            0.56
7 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre                    0.59
8 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI            1.17
9 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre                          1.38
10 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner          
11 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo
12 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno - Scanavino       2.02
13 Massimo Codol (Ita) Mercatone Uno - Scanavino
 
General classification after stage 14
 
1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco                 65.45.39
2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI          1.19
3 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio                            3.39
4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago      4.09
5 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre                        5.09
6 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre 


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