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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 8 - May 18: Rieti-Arezzo, 214 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 11:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 8th stage of the Giro d'Italia, 214 kilometres between Rieti and Arezzo in central Italy. After yesterday's pummeling at the hands of Stefano Garzelli and Gilberto Simoni on the Terminillo climb, today's stage is a much easier affair, containing just one Cat. 3 GPM after 22.5 km (Forca dell'Arrone). The Intergiro is located at Cittą di Castello (km. 167), and it's followed by a gradual climb to Bivio Foce Scopetone (km 201), after which there are 13 km to go to the finish.

With Stefano Garzelli in pink, his Vini Caldirola SO.DI team will be doing some of the tempo work today, until the latter half of the stage when the sprinters teams can take over. That is, unless a breakaway goes. The question that is always being asked is: when is Cipollini going to win a stage? So far he has twice finished second but definitely doesn't look like the Cipo of old. "Yesterday was my rest day," said Cipo of his ride up the Terminillo climb in the 'autobus', which finished nearly 20 minutes down on the winner.

14:40 CEST - 100 km/114 km to go
After a fairly slow start, which saw 64 km covered in the first two hours, we now have a little more action in this eighth stage. A break with Julian Winn (fakta-Pata Chips), Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo), Fortunato Baliani (Formaggi Pinzolo), Julian Usano (Kelme), and Lorenzo Bernucci (Landbouwkrediet) have attacked, and have a small lead to the peloton which is being driven by Vini Caldirola.

A few km later, there was a counter attack by Baldato (Alessio), Giordani (De Nardi), Riebenbauer (fakta-Pata Chips), Barbero (Lampre), Casar (FDJ), Marichal (Lotto-Domo), and Zanetti (Tenax). The two groups joined and there are now 13 riders leading the peloton by some 10".

Earlier in the day, the Cat. 3 climb at Forca dell'Arrone was won by Constantino Zaballa (Kelme), who is now very close to leading the mountains competition. Fredy Gonzalez (Selle Italia) is the current leader. In the Giro, the mountains jersey is green, unlike the Tour, where the points jersey is green.

14:49 CEST - 105 km/109 km to go
The 13 leaders have been caught by the peloton, which is now moving fairly quickly. After three hours of racing, the average speed is 33.95 km/h.

15:09 CEST - 120 km/94 km to go
The riders have now entered the feed zone in Bosco, and everything is together once more. It's still 47 km to go until the Intergiro in this long stage. It's still the Vini Caldirola men doing the work for team leader Stefano Garzelli, who is in the Maglia Rosa.

15:20 CEST - 127 km/87 km to go
The peloton has exited the feed zone, still gruppo compatto, but now slightly heavier. It is of course very important to keep eating in these long stages, even though the pace is not hard yet. Once it gets fast in the final 60 km or so, there is not much time to eat, and that's when you need the energy.

15:35 CEST - 140 km/74 km to go
The status quo has been maintained after the feed zone, with the riders from Vini Caldirola SO.DI in front of the peloton riding a good tempo. Massimo Apollonio is doing most of the work.

15:49 CEST - 149 km/65 km to go
After four hours of racing, the average speed is still a fairly tardy 35.35 km/h, although it is getting slightly higher. It's a long job for the Vini Caldirola boys, who obviously don't want to wear themselves out for future stages.

The Intergiro sprint is approaching soon (167 km) however, so we should see a little more action.

16:06 CEST - 160 km/54 km to go
The gruppo is still compatto as it rolls towards the Intergiro in Cittą di Castello, where the likes of Moreno Di Biase, Elio Aggiano, Andris Nauduzs and Magnus Backstedt will fight it out for the points. After a slow start, Backstedt now has his eyes on the blue Intergiro jersey, which carries a 10,000 plus euro prize at the end. In addition, the first rider to the Intergiro sprint each day gets 1000 euros, which is more than pocket money.

The Intergiro is the Giro's intermediate sprints competition. There is only one sprint per day, and the first rider across gets time bonuses. The scoring is different from most intermediate sprints competitions, which award points for the first three across the line e.g. 3, 2, 1 points. The Intergiro awards time bonuses, and the classification is worked out by these. Even if three riders cross the line several minutes apart, they will all be given the same base time, with the bonuses separating who was first, second, third and so on. There are also small time bonuses that count towards the actual general classification, so sprinters in the early stages of the Giro are often seen going for the Intergiro sprints.

Most people find this one of the most confusing competitions in the Giro.

16:22 CEST - 170 km/44 km to go
The Intergiro in Cittą di Castello is taken out by French sprinter Jimmy Casper (FDJeux.com), who has been fairly anonymous in the bunch sprints so far. Second place went to Backstedt, followed by Intergiro leader Di Biase.

Di Biase will keep his lead in the competition, probably followed by Andris Nauduzs and Backstedt, who is now 18 bonus seconds off the lead of Di Biase.

16:30 CEST - 184 km/30 km to go
Immediately after the Intergiro, a group of six riders attacked. Leonardo Zanotti (De Nardi), Carlos Dacruz (FDJ), Elio Aggiano (Formaggi), and Ignacio Gutierrez (Kelme), Sergiy Adyeyev (Landbouwkrediet), and Mirko Marini (Tenax). They built a 40" lead quite quickly, but are now being chased by the peloton.

The road is gradually uphill now until 13 km to go.

16:38 CEST - 190 km/24 km to go
The gap is now down to 20", with Fassa Bortolo, Domina Vacanze and Lotto-Domo leading the peloton charge. A bunch sprint looms in Arezzo, and everyone is wondering whether the Tuscan Mario Cipollini will be able to win this one.

16:45 CEST - 195 km/19 km to go
Five of the six breakaways have now been caught, leaving Sergiy Adyeyev out in front alone. He will surely succumb to the unstoppable momentum of the sprinters trains. Maglia Rosa Stefano Garzelli is also keeping out of trouble at the front of the bunch.

Domina Vacanze and Fassa Bortolo have their men on the front, trying to close the 17" gap to Adyeyev. Lotto-Domo have also put men up there.

16:48 CEST - 197 km/17 km to go
Adyeyev rides smoothly on this slight uphill, but is gradually losing time to the peloton. Saeco and Vini Caldirola are also near the front of the bunch, helping to keep their leaders out of trouble.

16:51 CEST - 200 km/14 km to go
Adyeyev shows remarkable persistance, but is eventually caught by the peloton with 15 km to go, after Mercatone Uno and Saeco got to the front. It's now one big bunch, heading down into Arezzo.

Adyeyev was away for a total of 32 km, attacking after the Intergiro with five others.

16:52 CEST
Marco Pantani's team is now on the front, taking the pressure off the sprinters teams momentarily. FDJ and Saeco are also there.

16:56 CEST - 204 km/10 km to go
Saeco and Mercatone Uno continue to work on the front, with the sprinters clustered close behind them. Cipollini is well placed, next to Isaac Galvez.

16:58 CEST - 206 km/8 km to go
Kevin Van Impe (Lotto-Domo) breaks the Mercatone Uno train, but doesn't last too long in front. Petacchi has Cipollini's wheel, and the two sprinters are very close to the front.

16:59 CEST - 207 km/7 km to go
The peloton now has just seven kilometres to go before the finish, and is gradually winding up the pace in preparation for a mass sprint.

Now Domina Vacanze has increased the speed, and it's very fast. Kurt Arvesen and Frank Hoj are also up there, trying to lead out Backstedt.

17 :02 CEST - 209 km/5 km to go
Five kilometres left, and the pace is now quite high, with Domina Vacanze, fakta, and Fassa Bortolo moving into position.

17 :03 CEST - 210 km/4 km to go
Fred Geusdon (FDJ) ups the tempo on a bridge, but is overtaken by the Lotto and Fassa Bortolo riders.

17 :04 CEST - 211 km/3 km to go
Petacchi is still on Cipo's wheel, who is now on the back of the Domina train, which has five riders. McEwen now takes Cipo's wheel from Petacchi, and the two start a bit of a nudging match.

17 :05 CEST - 212 km/2 km to go
Domina Vacanze have four riders left, with Cipo in 5th place. Petacchi is now behind Nauduzs, but gives him a shove and takes Cipo's wheel. Backstedt is also there.

17 :06 CEST - 213 km/1 km to go
One kilometre to go, and Cipollini is well placed on his train, as are Robbie McEwen, Alessandro Petacchi, Isaac Galvez and Angelo Furlan. The leadout is good. Lombardi pulls off after an incredible leadout. Petacchi goes early....

17 :07 CEST - 214 km/0 km to go
And the winner is .... Mario Cipollini!!! Finally he's done it, winning his 41st stage in the Giro. He held off Robbie McEwen, Magnus Backstedt and Alessandro Petacchi for an impressive win.


1 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron          5.29.46
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
3 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Team fakta-Pata Chips
4 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo

General classification after stage 8
1 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-SO.DI        
2 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco                         0.31
3 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio                                0.44
4 Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu) Team Saeco                     1.28
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio                          1.36

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