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86th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2003

Main Page     Stage Profile    Start List    Results

Stage 21 - June 1: Idsroscalo-Milan, ITT, 33 km 

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:15 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:00 CEST

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the finale stage of the Giro d'Italia, a 33 kilometre, pan-flat individual time trial in Milan. Today's stage will only be partially decisive for the general classification, as Gilberto Simoni is impregnable in the maglia rosa with an 8'04 lead on Stefano Garzelli, who has fought hard but has clearly suffered from a lack of racing leading into it. 2 seconds behind Garzelli is Yaroslav Popovych, the young and enormously talented Ukrainian from Colnago-Landbouwkrediet, who has his sights on second place overall today if he does a good ride. Popovych beat Garzelli by 43" in the first time trial, so he is the favourite to take over Garzelli's spot on GC.

Also the fourth, fifth and sixth GC positions might shuffle around a little, as both Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner, 5th at 10'35) and Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre, 6th at 11'01) could catch Andrea Noe (Alessio, 4th at 9'49) with strong rides.

The Intergiro point today is at km 20, and the main difficulties in the course are the corners, as there are no hills in this TT. As such, Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo) is probably the favourite for the stage win, although Magnus Backstedt (fakta-Pata Chips) and Serguei Gontchar (De Nardi) could push him all the way.

14:40 CEST
We've been under way for roughly an hour and a half, with 22 riders completing the course so far. In the top two positions are Lampre's Manuel Quinziato and Jan Svorada - the latter who is going for the points and most combative classifications. However at the Intergiro point (20 km), Magnus Backstedt has got the "big dog" wound up and cruised through in 23'19, 1'08 faster than Quinziato and 1'25 faster than Svorada. That means Backstedt is now assured of the Intergiro in this edition of the Giro, not that there was really any doubt after yesterday.

14:52 CEST
Backstedt has done it again, becoming the first rider to go under 40 minutes for the 33 km. The Swede's time was 39'28, an average speed of 50.168 km/h. That's certainly fast, but is it fast enough to hold off the likes of Gonzalez and Gontchar?

At the Intergiro, Bernhard Eisel and Carlos Dacruz (FDJ) are second and third respectively now behind Backstedt.

15:04 CEST
Bernhard Eisel has ridden a strong final 13 km to cross the finish line just 4 seconds slower than Backstedt. Impressive stuff from this young Austrian sprinter, who has been knocking on the door throughout the Giro for a stage win. He won't get it today though.

15:13 CEST
Eisel's teammate Carlos DaCruz is home now, 1'06 behind Backstedt, who still has the quickest time. DaCruz is quick enough for third place however for the time being.

15:32 CEST
48 riders have now finished their ride, almost half the field. Magnus Backstedt (fakta-Pata Chips) still has the fastest time, followed by FDJ's Bernhard Eisel and Carlos Dacruz at 4" and 1'06 respectively. We've still got the fastest riders to come, especially the top 20 on GC.

15:40 CEST
As we wait for some of the quicker riders to come through and try and knock Backstedt out of the "hot seat", as it's called in time trialing, we'll take a brief look at the classifications, and who's winning what.

Maglia Rosa: Gilberto Simoni, who has shown himself to be superior in every mountain stage, with three stage wins.

Points (ciclamino): Again Gilberto Simoni, who took over after Petacchi's untimely withdrawal. Petacchi was easily the best sprinter with six wins, but was eliminated in stage 18 after missing the time cut.

Mountains (green): Fredy Gonzalez (Selle Italia), who often went on the attack early in the mountain stages to pick up as many points as possible. He has been aggressive in the mountains, although Simoni is clearly the better climber.

Intergiro (blue): Magnus Backstedt, who battled with Moreno Di Biase and Jan Svorada for the second half of the Giro, taking the lead after a very strong performance in the time trial in stage 15. Backstedt is a good sprinter and time trialist, and certainly deserved the Intergiro.

15:49 CEST
There are still 40 riders to finish in this final TT stage of the Giro. So far, Sweden's Magnus Backstedt (team fakta-Pata Chips) has the fastest time: 39'28, followed by Eisel and Dacruz. No-one has come close to challenging that yet.

Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo) and Leonardo Bertagnolli (Saeco) have come within 16 and 17 seconds of Backstedt's time at the first time check after 11 km. We'll see what they do at the Intergiro.

15:56 CEST
An interesting point about Backstedt's ride: He wasn't using time trial bars, unlike most of the other riders. Possibly he felt it was too technical, or perhaps there were problems with setting them up.

Unfortunately, although it didn't directly affect the race, a small plane crashed near the parcours, killing two people.

16:00 CEST
After 11 km, we have a check on Marzio Bruseghin and Aitor Gonzalez, who have gone through 3" and 9" behind Magnus Backstedt, who admittedly started very hard.

Bruseghin passes the 20 km point 12" faster than Backstedt, so he is on the way to setting the quickest time. Not far behind is Scott Sunderland, who was 18th at the Intergiro in 25'00. A good ride by Scott, who will be the first to admit that TT's are not his thing.

Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo) finishes in 39'43, good enough for third place behind Backstedt.

16:07 CEST
Gonzalez passes the Intergiro in 23'14, some 7" slower than Bruseghin. Bruseghin could well be on his way to winning the stage, unless he gave it everything to set time checks for Gonzalez.

Leonardo Bertagnolli (Team Saeco) has a great finish to clock 39'22, the quickest so far.

16:12 CEST
Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) has just set off for his 33 km, meaning that there are just six riders to come.

At the finish, Constantino Zaballa (Kelme) takes the last corner a bit too wide, but saves himself from a crash.

16:15 CEST
Raimondas Rumsas, who is 6th on GC, gets ready to go after Frigo. He sets off.

Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo) has smashed Bertagnolli's time, as he crosses in 38'23, nearly a minute quicker than the Saeco rider.

Scott Sunderland finishes behind Bruseghin, in a time of 41'49, a decent ride for the Australian.

16:20 CEST
Serguei Gontchar (De Nardi) has had a great start, going past 11 km in 13'04, that's 6" faster than Backstedt at the same point.

Sandy Casar (FDJ) is also having a good ride, passing 20 km in fourth place.

Here comes Aitor Gonzalez - he finishes in 38'24, just one second slower than his teammate Bruseghin.

16:23 CEST
Andrea Noe has just started his ride, and will try and hang onto his fourth place overall. It's going to be hard, with Rumsas and Totschnig breathing down his neck.

Fassa Bortolo have eight stage wins so far - can they make it nine?

16:26 CEST
Yaroslav Popovych sets off, looking to take back those two seconds from Garzelli, who looks quite nervous in the start house.

After 11 km, Dario Frigo is just 1 second slower than Gontchar, the quickest so far.

16:30 CEST
Simoni starts, three minutes behind Garzelli. He has nothing to prove today, although he'd like to finish off the Giro with a top 10 or better.

Popovych looks strong and smooth as he propels his TT machine along at over 50 km/h.

Serguei Gontchar (De Nardi) has set a great time at the Intergiro: 22'51, which is 16" quicker than Bruseghin.

16:34 CEST
Sandy Casar (FDJ) has a good ride to finish in 39'09, which gives him third place provisionally.

Simoni is riding a completely pink bike, with the exception perhaps of the tyres...He looks smooth on it though.

Pantani finishes in a time of 40'55, provisionally 16th.

16:38 CEST
After 11 km, Popovych is in 7th place, equal to Rumsas at 20" behind Gontchar.

Dario Frigo is second through the Intergiro, 10" behind Gontchar, who is mashing his big gear en route to a fast (fastest?) time.

Belli finishes in 39'42, which is 7th quickest so far.

16:41 CEST
Garzelli comes through 11 km in exactly the same time as Popovych! The Ukrainian will buy those 2 seconds dearly, as Garzelli is a determined customer.

Eddy Mazzoleni finishes in a time of 39'54, after a big sprint to the line. He is in 9th spot.

16:44 CEST
Gontchar has the best time! The Ukrainian clocks 38'04, an average speed of over 52 km/h. No-one, except Frigo perhaps will beat this.

16:48 CEST
Simoni is still cruising along at a nice pace on his all pink bike. 3 and 6 minutes in front of him, Stefano Garzelli and Yaroslav Popovych are duelling it out for 2nd on GC. Popovych passes the Intergiro in 23'31 (7th fastest).

Pellizotti finishes in 40'23, meaning that he will lose his 8th place to Gontchar on GC.

16:51 CEST
Frigo has done a good time, but won't be good enough to beat Gontchar. He finishes in 38'30, provisionally 4th.

Garzelli has lost 1 second to Popovych after 20 km. He can lose 2. This is the closest battle in this stage by far.

16:54 CEST
Raimondas Rumsas is now home, having completed a solid time trial to finish in 39'07, 5th on the day. It might be enough to overtake Noe. He won't get Totschnig though, who finishes in 39'25.

Simoni is looking good, but isn't riding as fast as he did in the first TT. He passes 20 km in 18th place, over a minute slower than Gontchar.

17:00 CEST
Garzelli is struggling, while Popovych still looks smooth. It's going to be extremely close between these two. Popo has 3 km to go.

Noe has had a good ride, and finishes in 39'53 for 13th place. He'll keep fourth on GC, while Totschnig and Rumsas will be 5th and 6th.

17:03 CEST
Here comes Popovych, taking the last corners quite tightly. He finishes with a sprint, in a time of 39'23, 8th place on the stage so far.

Garzelli will be next, then Simoni.

17:06 CEST
Garzelli has 1 km to go, and the clock is at 38'00. That means he needs to ride the last kilometre in 1'25 (preferably a bit less). He should do it.

He is very careful around the last corner, and sprints home to finish in 39'20. He is second on GC! He may even take the ciclamino points jersey from Simoni.

17:09 CEST
Garzelli will get 9 points for 7th place, so will probably equal Simoni. However, Simoni has won more stages, so will probably get it.

Speaking of Simoni, here comes the maglia rosa now, pedalling smoothly around the last corners to finish in a time of 40'18 (18th place). He blows a kiss to the crowd as he finishes. People are excited.

Garzelli rode well today to keep second, while Popovych certainly has more in front of him with a third place on the podium.

A postscript for Backstedt fans: The fakta rider had a puncture with 8 km to go, which is why he finished on his regular bike. His final place was 11th, behind winner Serguei Gontchar, who defeated the Fassa Bortolo three pronged attack.

Thanks everyone who followed our live coverage of the Giro d'Italia. We hope you enjoyed it, and we'll be back for the Tour de France, if not before then!

Provisional results

Finish - 33 km

1  Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi-Colpack          38.04
2  Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo              0.19
3  Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo        0.20
4  Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                   0.26
5  Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre                     1.03
6  Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJeux.com                      1.05
7  Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola             1.16
8  Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Team Saeco             1.18
9  Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Colnago-Landbouwkrediet   1.19
10 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner                1.21

Intergiro - 20 km

1  Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi-Colpack          22.51
2  Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                   0.10
3  Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo              0.16
4  Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo        0.23
5  Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Team fakta-Pata Chips      0.28
6  Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre                     0.34
7  Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnag    0.40
8  Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI       0.41
9  Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJeux.com                      0.43
10 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner                0.48

Final general classification

1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco               89.32.09
2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI        7.06
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago    7.11
4 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio                          9.24
5 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner                 9.42
6 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre                     
7 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                   10.50
8 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi-Colpack           14.14
9 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio                   14.26
10 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI        19.21

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