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Photo ©: Sirotti

87th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour

Italy, May 8-30, 2004

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Prologue - May 8: Genova ITT, 6.9 km

Superb McGee takes Maglia Rosa in Genova

87th Giro now ready to roll

By Tim Maloney in Genova

Bradley McGee (FDJeux.com)
Photo ©: Sirotti

As he climbed the podium to accept the winner's bouquet and the Maglia Rosa of Giro d'Italia race leadership today in Genova, 28 year old Sydneysider Brad McGee (FDJeux.com) cradled his young daughter Tahlia in his arms. The blonde tot was wearing a pink jumper just like her daddy's new jersey and a beaming McGee was clearly proud to share his special podium moment with his daughter.

"It's great for me - she really understands what's going on, she knows when it's a big day", McGee told Cyclingnews after the stage. "She really encourages me!" His delighted daughter was happily clutching her new Estathe' Giro mascot doll that daddy had won for her in Genova.

Just as he did last year at the Tour de France, McGee gave it his all in the prologue in Genova, collapsing after the finish into his soigneurs from the intense effort. Once he got back his breath, McGee told Cyclingnews that, "It's fantastic for me to win here today. I started my European career in Italy with the AIS squad and the last time I did the Giro was four years ago."

Bradley McGee (FDJeux.com)
Photo ©: Olympia

McGee joked that he had a different jersey the last time in the Giro, the maglia nera, which signifies last place on GC at the Giro. When Cyclingnews asked McGee his how his win today compared to his surprise win in last year's Tour prologue, he responded that, "I think I rode better today than at the Tour. I was the favourite and that brought a lot of pressure, but I was able to respond well so that's great."

Tomorrow the challenge for McGee and his young, motivated FDJeux.com team is to try to defend his Maglia Rosa for as long as he can from the onslaught of the Italian sprinters' squads. With his healthy 35" lead on Cipollini and 38" on Petacchi, McGee will likely be pretty in pink until Monday's difficult Stage 3 with it's mountaintop finish in Corno alla Scale.

Saeco's Gilberto Simoni may have surprised himself today with his fast ride of 9'05" for 15th place, well ahead of riders who might be considered better at a short prologue. Although his form was somewhat of a mystery before the Giro, Simoni has now already gained 11" on his major rival Garzelli, but he lost 15" to last year's third place Yaroslav Popovych. Simoni said that, "Today was hard and there was a lot of wind, but in the end I'm happy with the way I rode."

Gilberto Simoni (Saeco)
Photo ©: Olympia

Last year's Giro runner-up Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) was only 57th today with a 9'16", and he seemed happy to get through the twisty 6.9km percorso without any problems. "I was pretty tense before the race, so what was most important for me today was just to get rid of this tension. Yeah, I lost some time in the turns today but anyway, the Giro starts tomorrow. But I thought I would do better today."

Third place Yaroslav Popovych (Colnago-Landbouwkredeit) was his usual calm self after an excellent effort today. Best of the GC contenders in today's prologue, Popo wasn't even that winded at the end of his all-out prologue effort. "Yeah, I went pretty good today! I'm happy with my ride. I had some problems in that last corner, but otherwise it went well."

In fifth place was Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), who ended 27 seconds down on McGee, demonstrating his excellent form and showing that he is a real chance to take the Maglia Rosa in the first week.

There is only one Mario Cipollini
Photo ©: Sirotti

Super Mario Cipollini was pleased with his 11th place effort at 9'05". Always the flamboyant showman, Cipollini rode in a white and gold skinsuit with the baroque motif of a lion, for which he and his team were fined a total of 700 Swiss francs. His rival for super-sprinterdom at this year's Giro, Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), said after today's prologue that, "It was harder than I thought it would be today. It was difficult to get a rhythm with so many turns but I'm satisfied with my performance.

How it unfolded

Starting from the Arco della Vittoria in the Italian port city of Genova, the prologue of the 87th Giro d'Italia was raced on a tricky, technical course lined with huge crowds that separated the fit from the fakes at this year's Giro. After exiting the start house under the arch, there were three fast turns, then a long slog up via XX Settembre, then past the elegant fountain in Piazza Ferrari. Down the narrow, cobbled via Garabaldi, through Piazza di Santa Sabina and into the headwind along the Porto Vecchio after 2.5km. Then the course climbed up via San Lorenzo, back to Piazza Ferrari and then made a sharp left at the halfway point.

The prologue
Photo ©: Sirotti

Via Fieschi was next, a steep 400m climb lined five deep with screaming tifosi and no barriers - it resembled a major mountain climb. At the top, it was a left hand bend through Piazza Carignano, then back down Corso Andrea Podesta, a loop back through Largo Pertini and then the final sharp left hand corner back onto via XX Settembre for the fast final kilometre.

Early fast man with 9'11" was Australian Brett Lancaster (Panaria-Fiordo), world team pursuit champ, who told Cyclingnews that "I felt alright today, but could have gone better on the cobbles then I did."

Photo ©: CN

Lancaster's time lasted until Domina Vacanze's Andrus Aug came across 1" faster and knocked him out of the hot seat. The next fast times were set by Dario Cioni and then Marzio Bruseghin of Fassa Bortolo at 9'00 flat, but when Gerolsteiner's Olaf Pollack crossed the line at 5:48pm, his speedy 8'40" was the first under the formidable bar of 9 minutes.

Pollack's time held and held for more than an hour until Brad McGee stopped the finish line clock at 6:27pm with 8'30", powering to the stage win at 48.705 km/h average, taking the first Maglia Rosa of the 87th Giro d'Italia.

Stage 1 - May 9: Genova-Alba, 143km

The Giro's first road stage heads west along the coast, then climbs up into the Ligurian and Langhe hinterlands before the finish in the truffle and wine capital of Alba. This stage could be a dangerous one for the Giro favourites because a break could go away early, but with the last climb 50km from the finish, look for the sprinters to have their say in truffle-town. Stage 1 finishes with four 5km finishing circuits in Alba.


Images by Olympia Photo

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com


1 Bradley McGee (Aus) FDJeux.com                                  8.30 (48.705 km/h)
2 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                 0.10
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                 0.20
4 Gerhard Trampusch (Aut) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo            0.24
5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                              0.27
6 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                            0.30
7 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                  0.32
8 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Alessio-Bianchi                              
9 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                           0.33
10 Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir               0.34
11 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze                           0.35
12 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJeux.com                                 
13 Kyrylo Pospyeyev (Ukr) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo                
14 Massimo Codol (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                  
15 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco                                        
16 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                              
17 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                        0.36
18 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com                                  
19 Ondrej Sosenka (Cze) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo                  
20 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Saeco                                   
21 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                        0.38
22 Andris Nauduzs (Lat) Domina Vacanze                            0.39
23 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi                                    
24 Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia             
25 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                    0.40
26 Alessio Galletti (Ita) Domina Vacanze                              
27 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                     
28 Giuseppe Muraglia (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'                    
29 Andrus Aug (Est) Domina Vacanze                                    
30 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                      
31 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                    
32 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco                                     0.41
33 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Alessio-Bianchi                            
34 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie              
35 Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                  
36 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre                                         
37 Russell Van Hout (Aus) Colombia-Selle Italia                       
38 Crescenzo D'amore (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo           0.42
39 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                                     
40 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie          0.43
41 Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Lampre                               
42 Florent Brard (Fra) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf               
43 Denys Kostuk (Ukr) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf                
44 Sven Montgomery (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                 
45 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Saeco                                        
46 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'                   
47 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Alessio-Bianchi                      0.44
48 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo                  
49 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                  
50 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo               
51 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                  
52 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie       0.45
53 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Saeco                                        
54 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco                                         
55 David Canada Gracia (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                     
56 Matthew Wilson (Aus) FDJeux.com                                    
57 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie      0.46
58 Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf           
59 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                         
60 Franc Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre                             0.47
61 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                                   
62 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                  
63 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJeux.com                                    
64 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                              0.48
65 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                        
66 Mariano Piccoli (Ita) Lampre                                       
67 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto-Domo                             0.50
68 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                         
69 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                        
70 Jan Van Velzen (Ned) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf              
71 Gianluca Sironi (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie           
72 Ellis Rastelli (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                           0.51
73 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) FDJeux.com                                   
74 Mario Scirea (Ita) Domina Vacanze                                  
75 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Lampre                                         
76 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) De Nardi                                  
77 Johan Verstrepen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                     
78 Nicolas Fritsch (Fra) FDJeux.com                                   
79 Freddy Bichot (Fra) FDJeux.com                                     
80 Charly Wegelius (GBr) De Nardi                                 0.52
81 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo                           0.53
82 David Derepas (Fra) FDJeux.com                                     
83 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                     
84 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Colombia-Selle Italia                     
85 Uros Murn (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                             
86 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                        0.54
87 Jacky Durand (Fra) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                         
88 Andoni Aranaga Azkune (Spa) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf       
89 Daniel Schnider (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                   0.55
90 Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Lotto-Domo                                   
91 Bostjan Mervar (Slo) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'                       
92 Juan Gomis Lopez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                        
93 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie         0.56
94 Philippe Schnyder (Swi) Colombia-Selle Italia                      
95 Fredy Gonzalez Martinez (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia                
96 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo                
97 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak Hearing Systems                    0.57
98 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi                                
99 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Saeco                                           
100 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre                                       
101 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo                
102 Mauricio Al Ardila Cano (Col) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf    
103 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Domina Vacanze                         0.58
104 Sergey Avdyeyev (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                     
105 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie           
106 Luis Filipe Laverde Jimenez (Col) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'         
107 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                            0.59
108 Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Lotto-Domo                                    
109 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Lampre                                   
110 Ief Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                   
111 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Domo                                    
112 Dean Podgornik (Slo) Tenax                                    1.00
113 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                  
114 Marco Fertonani (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems                      
115 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              
116 Gianni Faresin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                                 
117 Massimo Strazzer (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                   1.01
118 Trent Wilson (Aus) Colombia-Selle Italia                          
119 Michael Albasini (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                 1.02
120 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                       
121 Nicola Loda (Ita) Tenax                                       1.03
122 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre                                          
123 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie       
124 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres             1.04
125 Renzo Mazzoleni (Ita) Tenax                                       
126 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Saeco                                  1.05
127 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Saeco                                
128 Massimo Iannetti (Ita) Domina Vacanze                             
129 Igor Pugaci (Mda) De Nardi                                        
130 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Domina Vacanze                            
131 Bo Hamburger (Den) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo               1.06
132 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Gerolsteiner                               
133 Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Tenax                                   1.08
134 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems                      
135 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf             
136 Oscar Mason (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie          1.09
137 Martin Derganc (Slo) Domina Vacanze                               
138 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Lampre                                  1.10
139 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Lotto-Domo                               1.11
140 Volodimyr Duma (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                      
141 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                           
142 Alejandro Albert Borrajo (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres          
143 Mario Manzoni (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'                       
144 Marcel Strauss (Swi) Gerolsteiner                             1.13
145 Oscar Pozzi (Ita) Tenax                                           
146 Julio A. Perez Cuapio (Mex) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres         1.15
147 John Gadret (Fra) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf                
148 Scott Davis (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                   1.16
149 Zoran Klemencic (Slo) Tenax                                   1.17
150 Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                  
151 Michele Gobbi (Ita) De Nardi                                      
152 Ivan Quaranta (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'                   1.18
153 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) De Nardi                                    
154 Nick Gates (Aus) Lotto-Domo                                   1.19
155 Raffaele Illiano (Ita) Colombia-Selle Italia                  1.20
156 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Lotto-Domo                             
157 Ruben Lobato Elvira (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                    
158 Ruggero Borghi (Ita) De Nardi                                 1.21
159 Ruber Alverio Marin (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia                   
160 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Tenax                               1.24
161 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres                     
162 Maxim Rudenko (Ukr) Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf              
163 Leonardo Giordani (Ita) De Nardi                              1.25
164 Domenico Gualdi (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'                     
165 Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) Tenax                                  1.33
166 Giancarlo Ginestri (Ita) Tenax                                1.36
167 Corrado Serina (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave'                  1.37
168 Alberto Loddo (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                          
169 Graziano Gasparre (Ita) De Nardi