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Italy, May 8-30, 2004

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Stage 5 - May 13: Civitella In Val Di Chiana (Stab. Del Tongo) - Spoleto, 177 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

14:30 CEST   
Welcome to the live coverage of the fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia presented by Cyclingnews. There's a pro team name begging to be used. Today's 177 km stage is from Civitella In Val Di Chiana to Spoleto, crossing from Tuscany into Umbria. It's a typical sprinters' stage, with no cateogrised climbs and an 7.3 km finishing circuit that has to be completed three times. The circuit contains a small climb, and the sprinters will have to be attentive in order not to lose position. The Intergiro point today is at Marsiano (km 104.6).

The weather conditions aren't particularly great, and at the finish at the moment it's 11 degrees and overcast. There is a strong chance of rain during the day. The wind is from the north, which will assist the riders today.

The good news for Mario Cipollini fans is that he did start today "for the tifosi" he said. Cipollini was involved in a nasty finish line crash yesterday and ended up with 14 stitches to his elbow and shin. "Last night was not easy. I had bruises and abrasions all over and I felt a lot of pain. What worries me more, however, is the bruise on my ankle. But I should try for all of the tifosi, it is my duty. I will try to keep riding and I hope to see the end of the stage, to arrive at the finish would really be a success."

14:43 CEST    77km/100km to go
Today's stage has been a little more lively than yesterday's, which didn't really get going until kilometre 108. After covering 30.2 km in the first hour, Colombian Marlon Perez (Selle Italia) took off at the 42 km mark. He was joined by 20 other riders, who were dangling about 15 seconds in front of the peloton for 20 km before they were caught.

In the group were (among others): Bo Hamburger (Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo), Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria-Margres), Andoni Aranaga Azkune (Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf), Fredy Gonzalez Martinez (Colombia-Selle Italia), Giuseppe Di Grande (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'), Mariano Piccoli and Daniele Righi (Lampre), Sergey Avdyeyev (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Nicola Loda and Oscar Pozzi (Tenax) and (surprise) Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo).

14:49 CEST    80km/97km to go
The 165 member gruppo is now compatto again, having covered 71.6 km in the first two hours. The second hour of racing was run at a somewhat brisker 41.4 km/h, due to the attack.

There's now about 25 km to go until the Intergiro in Marsciano. The current leader of that classification (blue jersey) is Alessandro Vanotti (De Nardi), who has a 10 second bonus on Crescenzo d'Amore (Acqua e Sapone) and 14 seconds on Mariano Piccoli (Lampre). The Intergiro competition is scored on bonus seconds, except in time trials where each rider's actual time counts, so long as they're in the top 7. The rest get credited with the same time as the 7th placed rider.

15:03 CEST    85km/92km to go
Mariano Piccoli (Lampre) and Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria-Margres) have attacked, with Piccoli perhaps wanting to get ahead for the Intergiro. They are joined by 17 other riders.

15:07 CEST    86km/91km to go
The peloton is back together, having reached the feed zone in Castiglione della Valle. Just before the pack reached the feed zone, Marcus Ljungqvist (Alessio-Bianchi) crashed.

15:20 CEST    96km/81km to go
Austrian reader Josef Spindler has written in asking about Gerhard Trampusch (Acqua e Sapone), who has been quietly protecting his 5th place on the general classification, without making any spectacular attacks. He finished 4th in the prologue and is the best placed rider on GC for his team, and presumably wants it to stay that way. He was also sixth in the Giro del Trentino, an important lead up race for the Giro d'Italia. This is his fifth year as a pro, and although he has yet to win a race, he has recorded some top five placings in stage races such as the Midi Libre, the Settimana Coppi e Bartali and the UNIQA Classic.

15:22 CEST    102km/75km to go
There have been a lot of attacks in the lead up to the Intergiro, which is now just 3 km away. Lanfranchi and Gasparre tried to get away, as did David Canada, but it's all together at the moment before the sprint.

15:29 CEST    108km/69km to go
The Intergiro sprint is won by Crescenzo d'Amore (Acqua e Sapone) ahead of Massimo Strazzer (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Aart Vierhouten (Lotto-Domo). That should give d'Amore the lead back in the blue jersey competition.

The average speed at the Intergiro point is 37.209 km/h, so they haven't been hanging around for the last two hours. This tailwind has helped though.

15:32 CEST    109km/68km to go
After the Intergiro, another 14 riders have attacked, and have a 32 second advantage over the peloton which is being led by Simoni's Saeco men in red.

15:39 CEST    115km/62km to go
The names in the group: Dario David Cioni (Fassa Bortolo), Bo Hamburger and Fred Rodriguez (Acqua & Sapone), Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi), Raffaele Illiano (Colombia-Selle Italia), Luis Filipe Laverde Jimenez (Formaggi), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Andrej Hauptman (Lampre), Christophe Brandt and Ief Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo), Michael Albasini (Phonak Hearing Systems), Uros Murn (Phonak Hearing Systems), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval), Dean Podgornik (Tenax).

Cioni is a danger man, as he is only 52 seconds down on GC in 7th place. The group has about 1 minute's lead at the moment.

15:40 CEST   
The 14 man group has a lead of 1'02 over a De Nardi/Saeco led peloton, which means that Dario Cioni is the virtual maglia rosa at the moment. It's highly unlikely that this group will be allowed to stay away to the finish.

15:43 CEST    119km/58km to go
The peloton is moving along nicely now in pursuit of the 14 leaders, and has reduced the gap to 50 seconds. The cooperation in the break isn't great either.

15:47 CEST    121km/56km to go
There are attacks in the front group now, presumably trying to get rid of Cioni who is causing the peloton to chase. The gap is still 55 seconds as Illiano accelerates...

The weather at the moment is good and is sunny and dry. Much better than yesterday.

15:48 CEST    122km/55km to go
The leaders are back together again, swapping off at a good tempo, 55 seconds ahead of the De Nardi/Saeco led peloton.

15:50 CEST    124km/53km to go
The cooperation doesn't last long, as Illiano attacks again. Brandt chases him down and there's some discussion about the mechanics of making a breakaway succeed. Illiano attacks again, trying to keep the tempo going. Then Ief Verbrugghe counters and rides hard off the front of the disorganised group.

The gap is still 53 seconds.

15:53 CEST    126km/51km to go
Ief Verbrugghe has about 10 seconds on the rest of the group now with 50 km to go. He keeps looking back, and sees them coming. It's back together again, with Illiano leading, signalling everyone to roll over. But Cioni doesn't seem to want to work, and disrupts the rhythm.

Meanwhile in the peloton, Mario Cipollini is riding at the back of the bunch, complete with knee plasters. He looks relaxed though as he signals for his team car.

15:56 CEST    130km/47km to go
Despite being incredibly disorganised, this 14 man break has managed to eke out a 1'12 lead over the peloton, which is being led by De Nardi. Saeco hasn't really started working yet.

The names in the break: Dario David Cioni (Fassa Bortolo, 7th on GC at 52 seconds), Bo Hamburger and Fred Rodriguez (Acqua & Sapone), Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi), Raffaele Illiano (Colombia-Selle Italia), Luis Filipe Laverde Jimenez (Formaggi), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Andrej Hauptman (Lampre), Christophe Brandt and Ief Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo), Michael Albasini (Phonak Hearing Systems), Uros Murn (Phonak Hearing Systems), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval), Dean Podgornik (Tenax).

15:59 CEST    131km/46km to go
Cipollini is still lurking at the back of the peloton, along with most of the Domina Vacanze team. He'll probably stay there today and keep out of trouble. Marcus Ljungqvist (Alessio) is also there, sporting bandages from his earlier crash.

In front, Mori, Hamburger and Backstedt have attacked the lead group.

16:01 CEST    133km/44km to go
Albasini, Podgornik, Mori, Ziegler, Backstedt and Hamburger have a gap now, and the rest of the group is chasing them at 15 seconds. The peloton is at 50 seconds.

16:05 CEST    137km/40km to go
In front we have: Bo Hamburger (Acqua e Sapone), Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval), Dean Podgornik (Tenax) and Michael Albasini (Phonak Hearing Systems).

Chasing them at 20 seconds: Dario David Cioni (Fassa Bortolo), Fred Rodriguez (Acqua & Sapone), Raffaele Illiano (Colombia-Selle Italia), Luis Filipe Laverde Jimenez (Formaggi), Andrej Hauptman (Lampre), Christophe Brandt and Ief Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo), Uros Murn (Phonak Hearing Systems). The peloton is at 1'15.

Brandt, Rodriguez, Cioni and Murn are dropped from the chase group.

16:08 CEST    139km/38km to go
The leading six are now cooperating well with less than 40 km to go. There are still four riders chasing them at 36 seconds, but they will probably be caught. They sit up, and it's over for them.

With Cioni back in the peloton, Fassa Bortolo has put three men in front of the bunch to ride tempo.

16:11 CEST    142km/35km to go
Thomas Ziegler leads the six man break on a small descent, and they're flying along now with 35 km to go. Fassa Bortolo has Sacchi, Gustov, Bruseghin and another rider on the front of the peloton, which is becoming stretched.

16:13 CEST    144km/33km to go
A Saunier Duval rider - Alberto Loddo - is off into the grass with 35 km to go after a push. He'll have to ride backwards, get onto the parcours and chase back on. Oops. He should make it though.

16:16 CEST    147km/30km to go
The leading six: Bo Hamburger (Acqua e Sapone), Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval), Dean Podgornik (Tenax), Michael Albasini (Phonak Hearing Systems) have 30 km to go until the finish. They'll hit Spoleto in 8 km, where they will ride three 7.3 km finishing laps.

16:19 CEST    150km/27km to go
The six have 1'10 on the peloton, and must be starting to fancy their chances a bit. Five Fassa riders area leading the main bunch, followed by a few De Nardi and a few Lotto riders.

16:21 CEST    152km/25km to go
At the moment we have five riders (leading the peloton) chasing six relatively fresh breakaways. Backstedt is having a bite to eat now, which should get him to the finish. Ziegler is doing quite a bit of work in the break, which now has a 1 minute lead.

16:23 CEST    152km/25km to go
Alessandro Petacchi and Robbie McEwen are quite close to each other near the front of the peloton. McEwen said yesterday that being on Petacchi's wheel was the ideal position, but the problem is that everyone wants to be there.

The leaders are entering Spoleto for the first time.

16:27 CEST    155km/22km to go
Lotto has moved to the front to help Fassa Bortolo chase down Hamburger, Backstedt, Ziegler, Mori, Podgornik and Albasini. The leaders cross the finish line with just 30 seconds. There is a narrowing of the road under a railway bridge - that could be dangerous.

Cunego has a mechanical problem. He is 30 seconds behind the peloton.

Three 7 km laps to go.

16:29 CEST    156km/21km to go
The leaders tackle the climb for the first time - it's not that easy, with its steepest section being 8 percent.

Cunego is being brough back by two teammates.

16:31 CEST    158km/19km to go
Cunego is onto the back of the bunch again after his mechanical, and will now try and make his way forward.

The rest of the peloton is less than 20 seconds behind the breakaway in the narrow streets of Spoleto. This finishing circuit is tough - very technical.

16:32 CEST    159km/18km to go
Mori leads the break at the top of the climb over the light cobblestones in the Piazza della Liberta. The peloton is just 10 seconds behind, led by Fassa Bortolo and Lampre.

16:33 CEST   
Albasini and Mori attack the break, but Backstedt brings the rest back, save for Podgornik who is dropped. Now five leaders, with 10 seconds.

Matt Wilson is bringing Philippe Gilbert up to the front.

16:35 CEST    160km/17km to go
The break is now on the flat again with 17 km to go. They're fighting a losing battle against the peloton though, which has Fassa Bortolo pounding away on the front.

16:36 CEST    162km/15km to go
It's all over for the break with just over 15 km to go. The peloton absorbs them with five Fassa Bortolos on the front.

Piccoli has punctured.

16:39 CEST    163km/14km to go
Fred Rodriguez is near the front of the bunch as it goes under the narrow railway bridge with 600m to go until the end of the first lap.

Two laps to go, as a Lampre rider leads them through. Matt Wilson is in fifth wheel, with McGee and Gilbert well placed too.

Piccoli is almost back in the bunch, getting pushed by a neutral mechanic it looks like. Cunego is now up in 25th position.

16:40 CEST    164km/13km to go
Alexandre Moos attacks on the climb, and takes an Acqua e Sapone and FDJ rider with him. It's McGee and Marzoli.

16:40 CEST    165km/12km to go
McGee keeps going as Moos and Marzoli look at each other. They catch back on. Nice move, as it's hard to organise the peloton now.

16:42 CEST    166km/11km to go
Mcgee leads Moos and Marzoli to the top of the climb. They have about 10 seconds with a Lampre rider on the front. Petacchi is still in 5th wheel in the purple jersey.

Quaranta has been dropped by the peloton.

16:42 CEST   
McGee hammers on the descent and accidentally drops Moos and Marzoli. He looks around and yells for them to come back. They have 9 seconds.

16:44 CEST    167km/10km to go
The leading three are flying on the descent, with Bruseghin, Hauptman and Sacchi leading the peloton. Petacchi is right up there, as is McEwen.

McGee, Marzoli and Moos are working together now with 10 km to go.

16:45 CEST   
The bunch is completely strung out in pursuit of the leading three, which attacked on the climb last lap. If they can stay away for just a bit longer until the next climb, they will have a great chance.

16:46 CEST    169km/8km to go
Marzoli gives it everything with 1 km to the end of the lap. They have 7 seconds on the peloton. The bunch is breaking up at the back.

16:47 CEST    170km/7km to go
The leaders are hammering now as they come up to the finish line with 1 x 7.3 km lap to go. There are five Fassas in front of the bunch. The gap is only 4 seconds now. They are caught with 1 lap to go.

16:48 CEST    171km/6km to go
It's gruppo compatto (except for Quaranta and his team) with less than one lap to go. The bunch hits the last climb.

16:49 CEST   
Cioni leads the Fassa train on the last climb, really putting the power down. Simoni is well placed, while Petacchi is further back. Cipollini has been dropped.

16:49 CEST    171km/6km to go
Astarloa attacks near the top and takes Moreni with him. It's a small gap.

16:51 CEST    172km/5km to go
It looks like McGee and Cunego have chased Astarloa and Moreni down. McGee must be feeling good. Cioni takes over again - Astarloa counters - but has Eddy Mazzoleni on his wheel. The peloton is more or less together at the top. Petacchi is about 15th.

16:52 CEST    173km/4km to go
There are lots of gaps in the peloton as it speeds down towards the finish. Less than 5 km to go. Mazzoleni leads them. Cunego and Simoni are in second and third wheel.

16:53 CEST    173km/4km to go
Three Saecos on the front but they are overtaken by the sprinters now. Two Acqua e Sapone riders are in front - Ferrigato and Rodriguez.

16:53 CEST    174km/3km to go
Ferrigato does a massive turn but it's a bit early. Petacchi is now in sixth wheel, and has a Fassa teammate with him with 3 km to go.

16:54 CEST    175km/2km to go
Five Acqua riders are setting up a train for Rodriguez or d'Amore. Petacchi is behind three teammates and McEwen is next to him. 2 km....

16:55 CEST    176km/1km to go
Nauduzs has got himself into the Acqua train with 2 km to go. Petacchi is now in 10th position next to McEwen. Gilbert is also there.

16:55 CEST   
They approach the last kilometre with an Acqua and Domina rider in front. Nauduzs in third wheel with 1 km to go. Fassa Bortolo take over with 1 km. MCewen in fourth behind Petacchi.

16:57 CEST    177km/0km to go
One Fassa leads out McEwen. Petacchi is on the left, and gets shuffled out. McEwen eases up. Too early to be in front.

250 m to go. It's Forster(?) from the corner. Then McEwen takes over from third wheel and wins the stage! Usov tried to get around him but failed. Petacchi was too far back with 250m to go.

It looks like Pollack got up for second ahead of Zanotti. Usov fourth ahead of d'Amore. Cipo rolls across the line a few minutes down.

McEwen should take over the purple points jersey as well. Simoni is still in pink, as there are no changes to GC.


1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                                  4.24.57
2 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner                          
3 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie    
4 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak Hearing Systems               
5 Crescenzo D'amore (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo  
6 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco
7 Andris Nauduzs (Lat) Domina Vacanze  
8 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) De Nardi  
9 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo    
10 Alejandro Albert Borrajo (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres    

General classification after stage 5

1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco                                    23.34.35
2 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco                                         0.13
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                    0.21
4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                            0.29
5 Gerhard Trampusch (Aut) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo               0.41
6 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                  0.45
7 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              0.52
8 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi                                    0.58
9 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie          1.05
10 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco                                        1.06

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