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87th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour

Italy, May 8-30, 2004

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Stage 13 - May 22: Trieste - Altopiano Carsico ITT, 52 Km

Commentary by Chris Henry

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

14:30 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia. The Giro is now two weeks old and today is a crucial stage, the big individual time trial. The high mountains are stacked at the end of this year's Giro, and will ultimately prove decisive, but today's time trial is an important test for the GC contenders and the results of this stage will set things up for the mountains to come.

Saeco's Damiano Cunego is still in the maglia rosa but he could be put under pressure today. Australian Brad McGee, winner of the prologue, could move himself back up in the general classification ahead of the pure climbers who may struggle with the long 52km parcours. A battle is also brewing between defending champion Gilberto Simoni and Yaroslav Popovych, while the man who finished between them on last year's podium, Stefano Garzelli, seems to have been lacking a little punch on the climbs this year. Can he make up time on Gibo in the TT?

14:39 CEST   
So far today it's the big Swede, Magnus Bäckstedt, leading the standings in the time trial. Fifty four out of the 152 starters have completed the test.

14:50 CEST   
Over such a long parcours, which isn't exactly flat either, the time gaps are bound to be big today. Already among the early starters (the start order is the reverse of the general classification) the difference between the fastest time set by Bäckstedt and last place Corrado Serina is eight and a half minutes...

15:02 CEST   
To recap the standings the general classification, Damiano Cunego leads his Saeco teammate by 16", followed by Franco Pellizotti (Alessio) at 34", Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet) at 40", Giuliano Figueras (Ceramiche Panaria) at 58", and Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) at 1'15.

Meanwhile, Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval) has just bumped Bäckstedt from the top spot, beating the Paris-Roubaix winner's time by 20".

15:16 CEST   
The fast man out of the blocks so far is Fassa Bortolo's Marzio Bruseghin, who has set the time to beat at the first check points. At the 29 km mark he's 37" faster than Bertogliati.

15:21 CEST   
Bruseghin is still on pace to set the best time, clocking in 34" faster than Bertogliati after 44 kilometres. Bruseghin has been a key team rider for Fassa Bortolo and the "silver train", which has delivered Alessandro Petacchi to victory in six out of the twelve stages covered thus far.

However, it's Dario David Cioni who is Fassa Bortolo's best-placed rider in the general classification, sitting comfortably in 7th (at 1'19) at the start of today's stage.

15:32 CEST   
Bruseghin came in to set the fastest time, pushing Bertogliati back by almost a minute. For the moment nobody behind the Fassa Bortolo rider is mounting a threat through the intermediate time checks.

15:35 CEST   
The top favourites are starting now, with FDJeux.com's Brad McGee taking off from the start ramp in Trieste. Besides McGee, another top contender for today's time trial is Serguei Gontchar (De Nardi), who already has a handful of Giro TT victories to his name.

15:39 CEST   
When Cyclingnews spoke with prologue winner McGee on the Giro's first rest day, the Australian sounded excited at the prospect of challenging for the maglia rosa in this time trial, even if he knows the high mountains will likely keep his overall ambitions in check.

"It's something we've talked about... It's a possibility," he said of taking back the jersey which he has held twice so far. "That would be pretty exciting, coming so late in the Giro, to be back in the fight for the jersey. The major climbs come later in the tour, which leaves me still in the fight for now."

15:43 CEST   
McGee, who is clearly riding for the stage win, has taken a bit of a risk and almost overshot a turn. He's through ok, keeping it upright and managing not to smack into a wall in the process.

Rinaldo Nocentini (acqua & Sapone) has inserted himself into the provisional top five, 59" behind Bruseghin's time.

15:47 CEST   
The rain is starting to fall now, which could affect the times of the late starters. McGee is looking smooth as he tackles one of the climbs before the first time check.

Gontchar is in the start house now, about to begin his effort.

15:50 CEST   
Lampre's Juan Manuel Garate has passed through the first time check one second faster than Bruseghin, who during his ride set the time to beat at each intermediate check. Can Garate maintain this speed?

The roads are quite wet now from the rain.

15:55 CEST   
McGee is looking very strong on the bike but has had to take it easy through the turns because of the rain.

On one of the early climbs, with a short stretch at 15%, Gontchar is grinding an enormous gear to get over the hill. The styles of McGee and Gontchar are a study in contrast. McGee is smooth, turning the legs quickly, while Gontchar is all power and big gears.

16:00 CEST   
Confirmation for McGee, who has set the fastest time at the first time check. He's gone through seven seconds faster than Garate.

16:03 CEST   
McGee is on the second part of the long climb. He crests the summit 10" faster than Bruseghin's time at the same point.

Gontchar is really labouring on the bike. He doesn't look fast, but he's a powerful rider and it will be interesting to see his intermediate time.

The final starters are beginning. Garzelli and Popovych are off, Simoni is now taking the start.

16:09 CEST   
Gontchar has passed through the first time check at 4 seconds behind McGee's time. Ahead on the road, Garate has slowed a bit and is behind Bruseghin's time at the next checks.

Race leader Cunego is awaiting his start, looking very relaxed. He is unlikely to challenge in the stage, but a good ride could perhaps keep him in pink. He's off, beginning what will be a soggy hour of riding against the clock.

16:12 CEST   
The big surprise so far is Stefano Garzelli, who has passed through the first time check 3" faster than McGee. The first half of the course contains the major difficulties, which Garzelli has mastered, but he may have trouble staying ahead in the time checks on the flatter, faster second half.

16:21 CEST   
Stefano Garzelli has had to change bikes. The change was quick and he's rolling again.

Gilberto Simoni has passed through the first time check with a respectable time, just 11" behind Garzelli.

McGee's time is holding at the second time check but he's not yet made a big difference relative to Marzio Bruseghin, who still has the time to beat at the finish. Popovych and Garzelli are both pushing things very close at the early checks.

16:24 CEST   
Simoni has gone down! He's slipped on the slick roads but is back up and getting a push from his mechanic. He was in a huge gear and needed a real hand to get rolling again. His rear wheel slipped out on a painted white arrow on the road.

Garzelli, meanwhile, has lost considerable time by the second time check.

16:28 CEST   
Former Giro winner Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola) has come across the finish line in a modest time of 1 hour 11 minutes.

Cunego has passed through the first time check but he's well off the pace, losing 20" already.

16:30 CEST   
Simoni has a lump on his leg and cuts on his arm from his fall. His skinsuit is ripped and he looks to have fallen rather heavily.

Popovych has passed through the second time check several seconds behind McGee's time.

16:36 CEST   
Simoni is now 50" behind McGee at the second time check. Another rider off the pace is Pellizotti, who is 56" back. His third place in the general classification is very much in jeopardy.

16:40 CEST   
Cunego has lost 57" at the 19km mark and his quickly losing his grasp on the maglia rosa.

Brad McGee is heading into the home stretch and he looks to have taken back time on Bruseghin. Indeed. He comes across the line in a new best time, 26" faster than Bruseghin.

16:46 CEST   
McGee did a good ride in the finale of today's course, taking back considerable time on Gontchar and Bruseghin, both of whom had moved ahead the third time check. Gontchar's time at 29.8 kilometres is still the fastest.

Simoni is 1'07 back at this check, about 10" behind arch rival Garzelli.

16:53 CEST   
Still waiting for confirmation of Popovych's time at the third time check, but the Ukrainian is looking very strong and should solidify his position in the general classification, perhaps taking the maglia rosa in the process. Popovych is the best-placed of the time trial specialists.

Another rider who has had an unfortunate fall is Sven Montgomery of Gerolsteiner. His right shoulder is ripped and he looks to be bleeding fairly heavily. He's lost many minutes and will slide down the GC. Montgomery started the day in 13th place, just over 2 minutes behind Cunego.

16:56 CEST   
Serguei Gontchar has just stormed across the finish line 18" faster than Brad McGee. A nice ride by Gontchar, but it looks as though Popovych will give him a good run for the money.

17:02 CEST   
Sven Montgomery is getting his shoulder iced at the finish, looking rather dejected after his fall and subsequent time loss in the general classification.

Popovych, meanwhile, is still flying and looking quite smooth. The rain has stopped and the roads are drying out, even if the second half of the parcours is much less technical and less dangerous.

17:04 CEST   
Garzelli has come across the line. He's done a good time of 1.09.15, good enough for 11th place at the moment. For a non-time trial specialist, who also had to contend with an early bike change, it's a solid result for last year's Giro runner-up.

17:08 CEST   
Popovych, despite picking up steam mid-course, has just finished 34" down on Gontchar! That puts him in third so far on the stage, but he looks satisfied at the finish, most likely because he should take the jersey by mere seconds over Gontchar.

17:13 CEST   
Simoni is coming home now, more than two minutes behind Gontchar's time.

He finishes 14th on the stage, 2'31 back, and is quickly attended to by his soigneur.

17:16 CEST   
Pellizotti will be the next to finish, having started between Cunego and Simoni to avoid having two Saeco riders starting one after another. Pelizzotti's time is not bad. He finishes 9th on the stage, taking back some time on Simoni.

The last rider to finish will be the maglia rosa, Damiano Cunego.

17:18 CEST   
Cunego is in the final kilometre now, but is without doubt out of the leader's jersey. All things considered, he's done a respectable ride.

17:20 CEST   
Cunego is across the line, making Gontchar the official stage winner and Popovych the new maglia rosa. Gontchar is into second overall, McGee has moved into third.


1 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi                   1.06.45
2 Brad McGee (Aus) FDJeux.com                          0.18
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago      0.34
4 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                 0.44
5 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir        1.32
General classification after stage 13
1 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago  56.39.40
2 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi                      0.03
3 Brad McGee (Aus) FDJeux.com                          1.02
4 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco                          1.27
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi              1.32
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco                           1.48

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