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Photo ©: Bettini

86th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2003

Main Page     Stage Profile    Start List    Results

Stage 3 - May 12: Policoro-Terme Liugiane, 145 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:47 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:30 CEST

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the third stage of the Giro d'Italia, run over 145 kilometres between Policoro and Terme Liugiane. Today's stage is flat in the first half, but features a rise to Fagnano Castello at km 107, where king of the mountains points will be on offer. Several hills follow, before a long plunge to the (uphill) finish in Terme Luigiane. This could be a day for the opportunists, and the uphill finale could complicate matters for the sprinters.

Alessandro Petacchi starts the day in the maglia rosa, having survived the climbing in yesterday's stage and arriving in the lead group, where Fabio Baldatto won the stage after the relegation of Robbie McEwen for irregular sprinting.

14:50 CEST
Today's stage start was delayed slightly, and the riders finally got underway at 13:47.

It's another hot and sunny day today, and the riders have not yet grown accustomed to the hot weather. There will be a light wind and temperatures in the upper lower 30's. In the last 45 km of the race with the GPM and the climbing, the route will be following small, twisty roads, great for attacking.

The bunch is off to steady start once more, and the peloton is intact at the moment.

15:05 CEST
Mariano Piccoli (Lampre) was the first casualty of the Giro yesterday, breaking several ribs in a crash. He finished stage 2 some 24 minutes at down, but after doctors found that he had broken a few ribs and his lung was bleeding, the decision not to start stage 3 was an obvious choice.

15:20 CEST
The peloton is still together, most likely anticipating the climbing to come in the second half of the race. Will Alessandro Petacchi be able to stay with the leaders on and after the climb to Fagnano Castello? The Fassa Bortolo fast man has enjoyed a perfect start to his Giro, but his tenure in the pink jersey is not expected to last too long.

15:35 CEST / 80 km to go
In a change from the first two stages, the pace has picked up dramatically in stage 3. An early break went away with some of the sprinters, including Jan Svorada and Jimmy Casper, hoping to get an early advantage before the climbing. The move was short-lived, however, and was pulled back quickly.

Saeco is now driving the pace, with Paris-Roubaix runner-up Dario Pieri providing the muscle.

15:45 CEST / 71 km to go
In another day of 30 degree temperatures, the mandatory use of helmets is sure to ruffle a few feathers. No luck for those who'd rather go bareheaded, however, since today's stage does not finish with a climb of more than 5km.

The pace is still high, although it appears Saeco has eased up a bit and the pack is not as stretched out as it was a few minutes ago.

15:55 CEST / 64 km to go
Mario Cipollini is wearing his blue InterGiro jersey today, having announced early on that he would only swap his world champion's jersey for the pink jersey of race leader. Naturally, he's rolled up his sleeves to work on his tan lines, but evidently Cipo has taken the words of Martin Bruin (UCI commissaire) seriously. Bruin indicated that if Cipollini did not wear the blue jersey, he would be ejected from the race.

16:00 CEST / 61 km to go
Cipollini has moved up in the pack, having returned to his team car for some radio adjustments at the back of the race. Cipo is riding alongside Marco Pantani, who looks a bit unhappy in his helmet. Pantani's Mercatone Uno-Scanavino team did a fair amount of work yesterday, at a time when Cipo was dropped from the lead group.

The pace has definitely taken a dip, as it seems some riders are not too keen to hammer all the way until the day's Cat. 2 climb.

Rinaldo Nocentini (Formaggi Pinzole Fiave) has stopped for a brief mechanical problem, but he took care the the issue himself before the team car managed to stop at the side of the road. He's back in the saddle and should be in the group easily enough.

16:08 CEST / 58 km to go
In the heat and with the long climb coming up, riders have picked up some food and extra drinks from their teams, fueling up for what might be a fairly dramatic finale.

The race is hitting the early slopes of the climb to Fagnano Castello, although the bunch is still together.

16:14 CEST / 52 km to go
There's no single team setting the pace at the moment. Most riders seem to be looking at each other, waiting for the first inevitable attack on the climb. Alessandro Petacchi, race leader since day one, is sitting comfortably (for now) near the front of the group.

16:20 CEST / 49 km to go
The speed is steady but still a bit modest on the gentle slopes of the climb. The question is when the first rider will snap and take his chances with an attack.

The answer has just come. Selle Italia's Raffaele Illiano has jumped off the front, and Team fakta's British champion Julian Winn has decided to follow the move.

16:30 CEST / 45 km to go
The break is forming, with Jordi Riera (Kelme) joining, among others. The move has a gap of 24", and there's no concerted chase just yet in the peloton.

There's been a delay at the back of the field, as two riders seem to have had a slight tangle. Nobody seems to be injured, but there was a major slow up at the back of the field and some others were forced to stop.

The six man break doesn't include any major favourites, but Lampre, Gerolsteiner, Selle Italia, and other teams are included. Hernan Munoz is there for Selle Italia, along with Scholz (Gerolsteiner), Winn, Illiano, Riera, and a rider from Lampre. It looks like Winn has had a bit of trouble keeping pace with some accelerations in this lead group. Illiano has popped as well, but Hector Mesa Mesa has bridged the gap.

16:35 CEST / 41 km to go
Marco Pantani has decided to put his team to work at the front of the main group, and they're quickly reeling in the first break. The climb is not particularly steep, but at 11km long it can still do some damage.

Munoz is currently driving the break, but the field is almost in contact with the rear of this lead group.

16:39 CEST / 35 km to go
The composition of the lead group has changed a bit, and as it approaches the GPM points, current mountains leader Fredy Gonzalez (Colombia-Selle Italia) is in position and looking to pick up some more points.

Gonzalez gets through and takes the full points, consolidating his lead in the green jersey.

16:46 CEST / 30 km to go
The climbing is not done, but there has not been any great damage done in the main field. There is a small gap between the main group and a number of riders who are starting to lose ground, including Mario Cipollini.

Alexis Rodriguez of Kelme has started a new attack from the main group, after the first break was pulled back. Kelme started the Giro with only eight riders, but even if they have a slightly weaker team than usual, they're anxious to remain aggressive. Rodriguez has 10" over the field.

Roberto Conti (Mercatone Uno) is setting the pace in the main field. The Panaria team is also working hard, thinking of Giuliano Figueras, who is not far off the race lead.

16:54 CEST / 23 km to go
The lead group is constantly changing, as Alexis Rodriguez has been joined by several riders, including Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze). At the other end of the race, Lombardi's teammate and leader Mario Cipollini is chasing to rejoin the main field.

Sandy Casar (FDJeux.com) is in the lead group, which has 16" over the main field as the race descends from the main climb. Denis Lunghi (Alessio) is in the move, as is Luca Mazzanti of Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo. The front group includes nine riders in total.

16:56 CEST / 22 km to go
Saeco has put Fabio Sacchi into a second group off the front of the main field, as small moves are spread across the road on a twisting descent. The situation is constantly evolving.

17:00 CEST / 17 km to go
Cipollini's group off the back is not making up ground, and the world champion is now 1'21" behind the leaders. He's going to have to wait once again for his chance to take a stage, even if few people would have given him a chance today.

The descent is fast and winding, with some incredibly tight hairpins. The main groups are coming back together as the race descends, and Fabio Sacchi is remaining active at the front of his group.

Petacchi is in good position in the main group, as are most of the race favourites.

17:06 CEST / 13 km to go
Riders in the main group don't seem to be taking too many risks on the descent. The break of nine was indeeed pulled back at the beginning of the downhill run, so there's a medium-size lead group with most of the big names, followed by the Cipollini group, which remains over a minute down.

Robbie McEwen is obviously feeling a bit energized after the relegation in yesterday's sprint, and the Aussie sprinter is forcing the pace now and even getting a small gap on the descent.

17:10 CEST / 9 km to go
McEwen is on his own with just under 10km to go. This is an audacious move by Robbie, who's trying to shake things up and provide an unexpected finish. Fassa Bortolo is now chasing, with Petacchi well placed up front.

McEwen has 10" over the chasers, but he'll need more time in hand to tackle the final rise to the finish in Terme Liugiane.

17:14 CEST / 6 km to go
Giovanni Lombardi is still up front and in with a shout, assuming Cipollini is out of the action and unable to contest the sprint. After the row reported following Gent-Wevelgem, when Cipo accused his teammates of not helping him rejoin the leaders, the other Domina Vacanze men will likely check with the team directors before getting too anxious at the front of the race.

Yesterday's stage winner Fabio Baldatto (Alessio) is at the back end of the front group. Fassa Bortolo is still setting the pace, and now they're reeling in McEwen.

17:17 CEST / 4 km to go
The final climb to the finish line is not going to be easy for the sprinters, so it'll take a strong man to take today's stage. McEwen may have used up too much energy with his solo flyer, and Fassa Bortolo is still controlling things and looking confident for Petacchi.

17:19 CEST / 2 km to go
The lead group is descending once again on what has been a very technical final half hour of racing. The roads are very smooth, but the hairpins are tight and there are a number of tunnels to ride through as well.

17:20 CEST / 1km to go
The Domina Vacanze team has taken over for Fassa Bortolo, indicating Lombardi is going for the win. Petacchi is still in good position, while Cipollini is far from the action.

17:21 CEST / Finish
The final rise is slowing down the pace and riders are hesitant to start the sprint too early.

Domina Vacanze is still setting the pace and getting it started, but Petacchi is right behind.

But from the group, Stefano Garzelli has come through as the sprinters began to fade, and he's taken the stage win with a perfectly timed surge. Francesco Casagrande was also up in the hunt.

1 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-SoDi         3.34.38
2 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre                         0.02
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio
5 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron             
6 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
7 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco
8 Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) De Nardi-Colpack
9 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio
10 Graziano Gasparre (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack
11 Bo Hamburger (Den) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave
12 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron
13 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner
14 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre
15 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
16 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno - Scanavino            0.07
General classification after stage 3
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo               13.37.08    
2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Caldirola-Sidermec-SoDi            0.17
3 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre                       
4 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron       
5 Graziano Gasparre (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack                
6 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio                           0.32
7 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco
8 Denis Lunghi (Ita) Alessio
9 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio
10 Bo Hamburger (Den) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave


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