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87th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour

Italy, May 8-30, 2004

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Stage 14 - May 23: Trieste - Pula/Pola, 175 Km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney

Complete live report

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

14:27 CEST   
Welcome once again to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Giro d'Italia. Today's 14th stage is from Trieste, in the northeastern corner of Italy, to Pula, on the Istria peninsula in Croatia. The 175 km stage passes through Slovenia on the way, so that's three countries in a day, and none of them is Luxembourg/Liechtenstein/San Marino! Quelle miracle.

Today's stage is not too hilly, with most of the climbs coming at the start. The only GPM (mountain sprint) is after 54.2 km in Svi Sveti, and Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) will try to pick up a few more mountain points in defence of his green jersey.

The Intergiro point is at km 79 in Pazin, and after that there is just one short, sharp climb in the final 100 km to the finish. The stage ends with two 6.5 km finishing circuits in Pula.

After yesterday's 52 km time trial in Trieste, the general classification of the Giro has been turned on its head, with Yaroslav Popovych taking the Maglia Rosa from Damiano Cunego, who has slipped back to 6th place. Fellow Ukrainian Serguei Gontchar (De Nardi) won the time trial and is just 3 seconds shy of the pink jersey. In third place on GC at 1'02 is Brad McGee, who placed second in the TT. We're certainly in for an interesting final week of the Giro!

14:41 CEST    67km/108km to go
The story so far today: 150 riders started in Trieste, with Zoran Klemencic (Tenax) and Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner), who crashed yesterday, non-starters. After 18 km, there was a sprint prime at Rizana, won by Niki Aebersold (Phonak). Immediately after the sprint, there was an attack by Raffaele Illiano (Colombia-Selle Italia), Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie), Ruggero Marzoli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo) and Andrej Hauptman (Lampre). Giuseppe Muraglia (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave') joined them a little while later to form a lead group of five.

The break got working and covered 42 km in the first hour, building a two minute lead over the Fassa Bortolo led peloton. They are now at km 66, having gone over the day's climb at Svi Sveti. Illiano won the climb ahead of Tonkov and Muraglia. The gap is still around 2 minutes.

14:46 CEST    69km/106km to go
The best placed rider in the five man break is Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola), who is sitting in 21st position at 7'18 down. Tonkov is not at the Giro to ride for the GC - his main role is to help Stefano Garzelli in the mountains, and he has done a good job of that so far, as you might expect from a past winner of the Giro.

14:54 CEST    74km/101km to go
The other happening of note in an otherwise uneventful stage so far was a crash at km 50 involving Robert Foerster (Gerolsteiner) and Daniele Pietropolli (Tenax). The crash happened just before the peloton crossed the border into Croatia. It's not known yet how seriously hurt the two riders are, but they are still in the race, which is a good sign.

14:59 CEST    81km/94km to go
The five leaders are now almost at the Intergiro in Pazin, still holding a gap of 2'05 to the peloton.

Luis Laverde (Formaggi Pinzolo) punctures in the peloton.

15:04 CEST    83km/92km to go
Volodomir Duma and Jacky Durand (both Colnago-Landbouwkrediet) have crashed at the 79 km mark. Not good!

In the break, Andrej Haupman is having problems holding onto the other four.

15:09 CEST    86km/89km to go
Hauptman has been dropped by the break, leaving Raffaele Illiano (Colombia-Selle Italia), Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie), Ruggero Marzoli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo) and Giuseppe Muraglia (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave') in front with a 1'50 lead. Hauptman goes back to the peloton very quickly.

Illiano won the Intergiro ahead of Marzoli and Muraglia. The average speed at the Intergiro was 41.29 km/h.

15:14 CEST    89km/86km to go
The advantage of the four leaders has fallen to 1'35 after 87 kilometres. The most lead they had was 2'45 after 61 km.

15:26 CEST    97km/78km to go
The break is breaking up as Tonkov goes back to the peloton and Rafaele Illiano attacks. The Italian leads Muraglia and Marzoli by 8 seconds, and the peloton by 1'38.

15:29 CEST    99km/76km to go
Illiano is caught by Marzoli and Muraglia again, and the leading trio have 2'50 on the peloton, which slowed down through the feed zone.

15:38 CEST    105km/70km to go
The three leaders are working well together now, increasing their advantage over the peloton to 3'20. Lotto-Domo is doing the chasing now with Fassa Bortolo.

Jacky Durand, who crashed earlier, is getting attention from the race doctor.

15:44 CEST    107km/68km to go
The leaders are on a long descent before the sharp climb in Lim (km 109). The peloton follows at 3'15, led by Lotto-Domo, who are hoping that Robbie McEwen can stop Petacchi's incredible run of victories. So far out of 8 sprints, Petacchi has won six of them, McEwen one and Rodriguez one. If Petacchi wins today, he will equal the post-war record of 7 stage wins in a single Giro held by Beppe Saronni, Freddy Maertens and Roger de Vlaeminck.

15:46 CEST    110km/65km to go
The three leaders have hit the final (uncategorised climb) with Fassa Bortolo's Massimo Codol now on the front of the peloton together with the Lotto riders. The gap is still around 3 minutes.

15:53 CEST    113km/62km to go
The peloton is starting to get strung out now in pursuit of the three leaders, who have been away since km 16. With Fassa Bortolo and Lotto-Domo both interested in a sprint finish, it's going to be tough for these three to stay away. The last time check was 3'05, but it will probably start to fall soon.

15:56 CEST    116km/59km to go
Yaroslav Popovych (Colnago-Landbouwkrediet) is looking extremely cool in his first day in the pink jersey. This young and highly talented Ukrainian is not someone who gets excited easily, although if he keeps this jersey to Milan we might see him open up a bit.

16:00 CEST    120km/55km to go
The gap has fallen to 2'50 now as the chase gains momentum. The leaders have around 55 km to go to the finish in Pula.

16:06 CEST    127km/48km to go
Muraglia, Illiano and Marzoli are being cheered by thousands of people lining the roads of the Croatian peninsula of Istria. In pursuit is the still complete peloton, being led by Fassa/Lotto. The gap has dropped to 2'38.

The weather is perfect for racing today: sunny with blue skies and temperatures in the mid 20's.

The average speed after three hours is 40.7 km/h.

16:11 CEST    130km/45km to go
The skies are darkening a bit now, but we hope that the stage will finish in the dry. There have been a couple of bad crashes in wet sprint finishes so far in this Giro.

45 km to go for the leaders and Fassa Bortolo has pulled the gap back to 2'18.

16:18 CEST    132km/43km to go
After his good ride in yesterday's time trial (4th), Fassa Bortolo's Marzio Bruseghin is back at work, towing the peloton in pursuit of a breakaway. Bruseghin obviously gets plenty of training riding into the wind.

Marzoli, Illiano and Muraglia in front, as normal. The gap now 2'05 with 43 km to go.

16:20 CEST    135km/40km to go
Simone Masciarelli (Vini Caldirola) signals for his team car - perhaps for a bottle or two for his teammates.

The trio now lead by 1'53, and their advantage is sinking steadily. They should be caught with around 20-25 km to go.

16:25 CEST   
Illiano, Marzoli and Muraglia are flying along now inside the last 40 km. The combined Lotto-Domo/Fassa Bortolo train is looking a little more relaxed, but the peloton is moving quicker than the break.

16:28 CEST    140km/35km to go
Maxim Rudenko (Chocolade Jacques) does a few stretches at the back of the peloton. It's a long day in the saddle for everyone, and it always feels good to do stretch the legs after pedalling all day.

The gap is now 1'22.

16:34 CEST    145km/30km to go
Bruseghin continues his work on the front of the peloton, pegging the leaders to 1'23. Volodomir Gustov is right behind him. The leaders have less than 30 km to go now.

16:40 CEST    148km/27km to go
The leaders are approaching the 25 km to go mark, riding past many fans waving pink balloons. They've been away for 130 km now.

16:43 CEST    150km/25km to go
The gap is still 1'22 to the three leaders, Illiano, Muraglia and Marzoli, with Lotto Domo and Fassa Bortolo maintaining the pace in the peloton.

16:46 CEST    153km/22km to go
153 km raced and the three leaders are within 10 km of the finishing circuits in Pola.

16:52 CEST    155km/20km to go
Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola) is looking comfortable in the peloton. He was actually part of the break, but went back to the bunch after the Intergiro.

16:54 CEST    160km/15km to go
15 km to go for the leaders, who are still working well together and have really lifted their pace. The peloton hasn't close the gap yet, which means these three should stay away to the finishing circuits in Pola.

Gorik Gardeyn does a strong turn in front of the peloton.

16:55 CEST    162km/13km to go
Two 6.5 km laps to go for the leaders, who are really motoring. But the peloton is now just 25 seconds back... It'll be another bunch sprint for sure.

16:57 CEST    165km/10km to go
Bruseghin does another monster turn on front of the bunch, which is doing well over 50 km/h. The leaders are almost swallowedm but not yet.

16:59 CEST    166km/9km to go
Muraglia, Illiano and Marzoli have just 10 seconds of their lead left. They've done well to hold on this long, and really stepped on the gas with 30 km to go. A smart way to race in a break, if you can!

It's all over for them with about 9 km to go. Gruppo compatto.

17:00 CEST   
The Fassa train has seven men in front with Petacchi well placed as usual. Popoovych in pink is in about 15th wheel. Backstedt is moving to the front too.

17:01 CEST    168km/7km to go
The front part of the peloton is Alessio and Fassa Bortolo. McEwen is once again on Petacchi's wheel.

17:02 CEST    169km/6km to go
The bunch flies through with most of Fassa Bortolo on the front. There's a corner just before the final 400m, which is downhill. This will be a very fast sprint. 1 lap to go!

17:03 CEST    170km/5km to go
We've got four Fassas on the front, while Petacchi is further back in the company of McEwen, Borrajo and Rodriguez. Zanotti is there too, as is McGee it looks like.

17:04 CEST   
Peetacchi moves up as Furlan gives one of the Lotto riders a nudge. It's a real fight for Petacchi's wheeel with 5 km to go.

17:04 CEST   
Rodriguez and McEwen are on Petacchi's wheel as Nicola Loda attacks with 4km to go. A Lampre rider chases him.

17:05 CEST    171km/4km to go
It's not a Lampre, it's Gasparre from De Nardi. Loda looks round and sees the peloton about 50m behind.

17:06 CEST    172km/3km to go
Loda and Gasparre don't last long, but hey, it's worth a try! The peloton masses with 3 km to go

17:07 CEST   
Alexandre Moos comes to the front, but his teammate Usov is nowhere to be seen. McEwen has lost Petacchi's wheel, as Pollack has it now. Rodriguez is up there

17:08 CEST    173km/2km to go
Cioni leads with less than three km to go. An Acqua e Sapone train forms and swarms the Fassa boys. Nocentini leads three Acquas, then Fassa comes to the front again. Domina is trying to bring Nauduzs up. Petacchi, Pollack and McEwen are on the right.

17:08 CEST   
Less the 2 km to go and Fassa takes over in front with three men, Petacchi in fourth then Rodriguez and Furlan.

17:09 CEST    174km/1km to go
Rodriguez and Furlan are really fighting for Petacchi's wheel with 1.5 km to go. Still three Fassas on front.

Now 1 km to go.

17:09 CEST   
Rodriguez has Petacchi's wheel now...

17:09 CEST   
Ongarato leads Velo and Petacchi and Rodriguez, who has D'Amore and Furlan behind him. Crash on the last corner! Cadamuro wipes out.

17:11 CEST    175km/0km to go
Petacchi goes from a loooooong way out and Rodriguez can't overhaul him. He gets second. Velo gets third after a crash wiped out Cadamuro in fourth on the last corner. He gets up and rides to the finish ok though.

Petacchi gets his *seventh* stage win. Incredible. He joins Saronni, De Vlaeminck and Maertens with the post war Giro record. Rodriguez had a good go at him, but not today.

Popovych finished 15th in the sprint and easily keeps his maglia rosa.


1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                          
2 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo              
3 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                 
4 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner                          
5 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak Hearing Systems       
6 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre
7 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Lampre
8 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi             
9 Alejandro Albert Borrajo (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres    
10 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com                     
11 Alberto Loddo (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir              
12 Crescenzo d'Amore (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo  

General classification after stage 14

1 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                 
2 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi                                     0.03
3 Bradley 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
7 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                   2.30
8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie           2.31
9 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                               2.36
10 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre                                        3.09

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