87th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour
Italy, May 8-30, 2004
Map Stages Stage
Stage 8 - May 16: Giffoni Valle Piana - Policoro, 214 Km
Commentary by Chris Henry, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST
It's Sunday, the Giro has completed its first week, and we're back for live
coverage of stage 8. After the second mountaintop finish yesterday, won by Saeco's
Damiano Cunego, the sprinters should once more be back in action today was the
Giro continues to march southward. Another 214 kilometres of racing will take
the riders from Giffoni Valle Piana to Policoro. One categorised climb and an
Intergiro sprint in the first half will mix things up a bit, but a steady drop
in elevation toward the finishing town will give Alessandro Petacchi's Fassa
Bortolo team plenty of time to return order to the race and set up the fastest
finisher of the bunch for a possible fourth win today.
With his stage win yesterday, Cunego took over the pink jersey from team leader
Gilberto Simoni. The stage finished in a sprint from a select group of climbers,
but the time bonus for the winner allowed Cunego to take his first ever maglia
rosa, and in the process take the pressure off of Simoni until the next major
Two more riders are out of the Giro, including the king of the spring classics,
Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner). Saunier Duval's Juan Carlos Dominguez also opted
not to start, leaving 159 riders left in today's stage.
14:45 CEST 115km/99km to go
After a number of early attacks, and another fast start (40 km/h average), a
small break has managed to extract itself from the main field. Six riders are
currently away with an advantage of over six minutes: Alessandro Bertolini (Alessio-Bianchi),
Julio Perez Cuapio (Ceramiches Panaria-Margres), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo),
Mariano Piccoli (Lampre), Jacky Durand (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), and Marlon
Perez Arango (Colombia-Selle Italia).
The mountain points at Campostrino went to Perez Cuapio ahead of Bertolini and
Piccoli, while at the Intergiro sprint it was Piccoli outsprinting Perez Arango
The average speed is still around 40 kilometres per hour as the six leaders
continue to slowly stretch their lead, topping the seven minute mark.
15:10 CEST 130km/84km to go
The maximum lead for the six man breakaway reached just over seven minutes,
but the advantage is dropping now as the peloton begins to organise behind.
It's going to be a fast finale as the last 100+ kilometres are essentially downhill.
15:28 CEST 150km/64km to go
With 64 kilometres to race, the break's future isn't looking too bright. The
advantage has tumbled in the past 20 minutes, already down to five minutes.
The peloton will only get faster as Petacchi and the other sprinters get serious
for the finale.
Robbie McEwen's Lotto-Domo team is actually leading the chase for the moment,
along with several members of Tenax. Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo team is most likely
waiting to set up its train later on, content to let McEwen's helpers do the
15:37 CEST 162km/52km to go
When you lose a minute in the span of 10 kilometres, the writing's on the wall.
Such is the case for the six leaders, who now have just four minutes over the
Today's stage started quickly, as did yesterday's. The usual 'piano' start in
the Giro d'Italia does get discarded sometimes for a full day of racing.
Some readers have been asking about Jacky Durand and why he hasn't been figuring
in any of his patented solo attacks in this year's Giro. Durand has said his
condition is good and he's motivated, but riding for team leader Yaroslav Popovych
(3rd in last year's Giro) is the top priority. Today "Dudu" worked himself into
the break of six, and perhaps he'll be back at it in future stages.
Tenax and Lotto-Domo continue to lead the chase, quickly closing in on the six
man break. This means two things: first, Lotto's Robbie McEwen will certainly
be looking for his second stage win, and second, if Fassa Bortolo has been able
to sit behind these teams most of the day the team will be ready for an insanely
fast finale to set up Petacchi.
McEwen has said (and shown) that he prefers tricky finishes, whereas Petacchi
is more of a sprinter in the Mario Cipollini mold, simply the fastest man when
the bunch arrives at the end of a long drag race.
Gerolsteiner's Olaf Pollack, who briefly held the maglia rosa and has been among
the leaders in the bunch finishes, is still looking for his first stage win.
He has a very fast finish and if he times his acceleration just right he has
shown that he has the speed to beat Petacchi and McEwen.
16:00 CEST 179km/35km to go
The six leaders are down to just a minute and a half ahead of the main field
with 35 kilometres left to race. For the chasers, timing will still be important
as catching the break too early will just set up a series of counter attacks.
This is where Fassa Bortolo will likely come in with the goal of setting a pace
so fast that nobody can really break clear for more than a few seconds.
16:11 CEST 185km/29km to go
Marco Velo has suffered an untimely puncture and dropped out of the lead group.
He's had a change and is rolling but the group's fate is all but sealed at this
point anyway. Within the final 30 kilometres the advantage is barely a minute.
Velo is chasing 20" behind the five other leaders, and the main field is within
35" just behind.
The breakaway is trying desperately to stay away but it's almost over as the
field continues to nip at their heels. The capture will be made within mere
Meanwhile, fans at the finish are holding signs for Marco Pantani. Il Pirate
is still very much in the minds of the tifosi.
16:20 CEST 195km/19km to go
The peloton is practically single file as it flies to the finish. Fassa Bortolo
has hit the front of the field as Marzio Bruzeghin one more begins to set an
infernal pace to discourage any attacks.
The break is caught and unless somebody can pull off a big surprise... This
stage could have Petacchi written all over it.
Through a series if turns on a long, steady descent, Fassa Bortolo has the race
firmly in hand as the field comes within 20 kilometres of the finish. Riders
at the back of the strung out field are just hanging on for dear life at this
The red Saeco train is tucked in safely within the first 15-20 positions, content
to let Petacchi's team lead the way but hoping to keep maglia rosa Cunego and
team leader Simoni up front and out of trouble.
There are a few lumps in the parcours as the big descent ends, but Fassa Bortolo
is keeping the pace high and keeping Petacchi in perfect position.
16:29 CEST 204km/10km to go
Ten kilometres to go now as the field races to Policoro. For members of the
day-long break, the damage has been done. Julio Perez Cuapio has found the pace
just too high to hang on and he's been discarded out the back of the peloton.
16:33 CEST 209km/5km to go
5 km to go now and Fassa Bortolo's train is being challenged by Acqua e Sapone
(for d'Amore) and Alessio (for Backstedt). But it's not easy.
16:34 CEST 210km/4km to go
4 km left and Fassa has five men with Petacchi in sixth. A mini De Nardi train
is right next to them, and Nauduzs (Domina) is in about 3rd wheel. McEwen is
up there on McGee's wheel.
16:35 CEST 211km/3km to go
They fly past the 3 km to go mark and there are four Fassas left with Petacchi
in fifth. Plenty of riders are trying to challenge, and Nauduzs has lost places.
Quaranta is up there(!)
16:36 CEST 212km/2km to go
Quaranta is next to Petacchi with 2km to go. Three Fassas left as a De Nardi
rider attacks. Graziano Gasparre. It goes nowhere.
Petacchi is in third wheel behind two teammates with 1.5 km to go. D'Amore is
on his wheel, then Pollack.
16:37 CEST 213km/1km to go
McEwen has lost position as they hit the final kilometre. He's too far back.
Velo is in front with Petacchi on his wheel with 1 km to go. Then Pollack and
D'Amore. McEwen moves back up.
16:38 CEST 214km/0km to go
Velo goes from about 500m, focing Petacchi to go from 400m. McEwen challenges
him all the way but can't get around him. Petacchi wins his fourth stage! Pollack
crosses in fourth, arm in the air in protest. Not exactly sure about what yet...there
was a lot of argy bargy going on there.
Pollack slightly anticipated Petacchi's sprint, but once Petacchi got going
there was no stopping him. Pollack was passed by Petacchi, then McEwen, and
he might have been complaining about McEwen, who went fairly close (and also
received a push from a teammate in the preparation for the sprint). But we'll
see what the jury says.
Thomas Vaitkus (Colnago) was third, ahead of Pollack. No changes to the GC.
That's four wins for Petacchi and a bigger lead in the points GC. He had to
do a very long sprint today, but he was still a bike length ahead of McEwen.
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.52.49
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
3 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
4 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
6 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre
7 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak Hearing Systems
8 Zoran Klemencic (Slo) Tenax
9 Alejandro Albert Borrajo (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
10 Alberto Loddo (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
General classification after stage 8
1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco 37.54.37
2 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco 0.10
3 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 0.28
4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 0.31
5 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres 0.52
6 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi 1.08
7 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.10
8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie 1.15
9 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 1.17
10 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco 1.29
the commentary team Stage