87th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour
Italy, May 8-30, 2004
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Stage 20 - May 30: Clusone - Milano, 149 km
Commentary by Chris Henry
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:30 CEST
Welcome back for the final stage of the Giro d'Italia. Today is a final sprinters'
stage down from the mountain town of Clusone to the finish in Milan, finishign
on ten laps of a 4.8km circuit.
After yesterday's dramatic mountain stage to Presolana, won by Stefano Garzelli,
young Damiano Cunego clinched his first grand tour victory. His Saeco teammate
Gilberto Simoni once more went on the attack (with Garzelli) in a bid to take
back the Giro glory, or at least move up a place on the general classification.
Gibo couldn't answer Garzelli's sprint, and in the end came up just three seconds
short of Serguei Gonchar's second place on the podium. Despite the defending
Giro champion's obvious disappoint at Cunego's runaway success, Saeco still
proved itself to be the top team of the race with Cunego and Simoni in first
Ok, it's not over til it's over, but super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi survived
the mountains and will no doubt look for this Fassa Bortolo team to control
today's finish and set him up for a ninth stage victory.
14:38 CEST 37km/112km to go
All 140 riders left after yesterday's stage took the start today for the final
run to Milan. The peloton is ambling along for the moment. The main jersey winners
of this year's race, besides Cunego in the maglia rosa, are Petacchi (points),
Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner (mountains), and Raffaele Illiano of Colombia-Selle
14:45 CEST 44km/105km to go
At the final Intergiro sprint of the Giro in Urgnano, Mariano Piccoli (Lampre)
took the sprint ahead of Alessandro Vanotti (De Nardi) and Philippe Schnyder
Shortly after the sprint, Marlon Perez Arango (Colombia-Sella Italia) crashed
alone, but is back up without problems and will be back in the bunch.
On the long steady drop from the mountains toward Milan, the peloton is staying
together. No attacks yet, but once the attacks come, watch for the sprinters'
teams- particularly Fassa Bortolo- to keep a tight leash on would be escapees.
15:22 CEST 65km/84km to go
The peloton has averaged around 32 km/h for the first two hours of racing, which
given the steady drop in elevation shows that the riders are keen on enjoying
a bask in the glow after three weeks of racing and the past few days in the
mountains. The speed will surely pick up on the Milano circuit.
15:34 CEST 72km/77km to go
The race is passing through Cambiago, nearing the halfway point for the stage.
Same story, the peloton is still together. There is about 30 kilometres of riding
to go before the field hits the city of Milan and the finishing circuit.
In the top ten of the general classification, there are two sets of riders separated
by just three seconds. Second and third place Serguei Gonchar and Gilberto Simoni,
and seventh and eighth place Wladimir Belli and Brad McGee.
Of these riders, McGee is the most likely to be within any sort of a chance
of taking bonus seconds in a bunch sprint. Whether he will fight to the line
to move back up to seventh place remains to be seen, but theoretically he could
pass Belli before the day is done.
16:08 CEST 98km/51km to go
Gorik Gardeyn of Lotto-Domo was the first rider to try a short attack, but it
didn't last long. As the peloton approaches Milan the Saeco and Fassa Bortolo
teams are starting to think ahead to the big finale, moving to the front of
With sixth place in the Intergiro sprint earlier, Raffaele Illiano clinched
the blue jersey this year.
16:14 CEST 102km/47km to go
The race has entered Milan and things will now start to get serious as the peloton
begins 10 laps of a 4.9km circuit. Fassa Bortolo will almost certainly take
full responsibility for setting a fast tempo and trying to discourage any attacks.
Petacchi's sprint may be blunted a bit by two tough days in the mountains, but
his fellow sprinters will feel the same. Olaf Pollack and Fred Rodriguez are
likely challengers today as well.
The Giro is very much in race mode now on the circuit in Milan, with the peloton
and the large crowd enjoying sunshine for the final day. The peloton is still
intact for the moment.
Saeco is for the moment the team leading the charge with the maglia rosa of
Damiano Cunego tucked in nicely behind his teammates. Next in line is the Petacchi's
Fassa Bortolo team.
Cunego looks very concentrated in the line, undoubtedly somewhat nervous as
he must feel so close, yet so far from his first Giro win. His only job for
the day is to stay up front and out of trouble.
The average speed for the first lap of the circuit was 44 km/h, a notable increase
from the earlier average of 30-33 km/h in the first two hours of the stage.
Emanuele Sella (Ceramiche Panaria) has had a puncture but with the help of a
few teammates he's back in the bunch.
16:41 CEST 116km/33km to go
There are seven laps to go as the field begins to stretch out, still under the
control of Saeco and Fassa Bortolo.
16:50 CEST 124km/25km to go
Now it's the turn of Fassa Bortolo to set the pace as Saeco's victory laps of
sorts come to a close. The first fifteen or so riders in the field are in single
file coming out of the turns but the long straights of the finishing circuit
allow others to move up and improve their positions throughout the race.
There's a lot of discussion within the Fassa Bortolo camp as they start to get
the train rolling. It's often a fine line for the sprinters' teams to walk,
as they have to work hard enough to prevent riders from attacking, but not wear
themselves out completely before the crucial closing kilometres.
Dean Podgornik (Tenax) has put in a strong attack and is alone in front right
now. He has a few seconds on the field but Fassa Bortolo won't let him get far.
17:00 CEST 130km/19km to go
Four laps to go now and Podgornik is hanging on rather well to his slim advantage
over the field.
17:06 CEST 134km/15km to go
Trent Wilson (Colombia-Selle Italia) is trying to bridge the gap to Podgornik
now, but at the same time the peloton is steadily reeling in the break. Three
laps to go.
Podgornik and Wilson are both back in bunch now. Fassa Bortolo is still in control
with the peloton stretched out behind.
17:12 CEST 140km/9km to go
Massimo Codol is the man leading the train for Fassa Bortolo, with his team
in perfect formation and Petacchi sitting at the end of the line. No major battle
for Petacchi's wheel just yet, but soon the would-be sprinters will start jostling
for position around Ale Jet.
Two laps to go.
Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) is moving up in the bunch now, just a few wheels
behind Petacchi. Pollack has figured in many of the bunch sprinters but has
been unable to top Petacchi thus far.
17:18 CEST 144km/5km to go
One lap to go now and Fassa Bortolo is really revving it up. The entire peloton
is almost single file and the battle for position is going on behind Petacchi's
Mario Manzoni (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave) tries to accelerate past Fassa Bortolo
but he's caught right away.
Dario Cioni gives his last big pull for Petacchi now as Petacchi is getting
another perfect delivery to the stage finish.
Alexandre Usov (Phonak) and Angelo Furlan (Alessio-Bianchi) are both trying
to get onto Petacchi's wheel. Rodriguez is moving up too.
Petacchi has three men left now on the front. Pollack, who was sitting a bit
behind, is back in position now behind Petacchi.
17:22 CEST 148km/1km to go
Final kilometre now and the big leadout begins. There's a lot of pushing going
on to get behind Petacchi.
Down to two for Petacchi... Down to one as he gets ready to jump.
Petacchi starts the acceleration and it's all over. Ninth stage win for Ale
Jet with virtually no contest!
It's all smiles for Petacchi's teammates who have achieved an incredible result
Cunego crosses the line and gets pats on the back from his teammates as winner
of his first Giro d'Italia.
Thanks to everyone who has tuned in for Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Giro
during the past three weeks. The next major rendez-vous is, of course, the Tour
de France in July.
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.07.01
2 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
3 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Domo
4 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5 Alejandro Albert Borrajo (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
6 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak Hearing Systems
7 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
8 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) De Nardi
9 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 0.03
10 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Alessio-Bianchi
11 Crescenzo d'Amore (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
12 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Domo
Final general classification
1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco 88.40.43
2 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) De Nardi 2.02
3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco 2.05
4 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.44
5 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 5.05
6 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie 5.31
7 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre 6.12
8 Bradley McGee (Aus) FDJeux.com 6.15
9 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems 6.34
10 Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Lampre 7.47
the commentary team Results