88th Giro d'Italia - PT
Italy, May 7-29, 2005
Profile and Start Order Start
Prologue - May 7 : Reggio Calabria ITT, 1,150 m
Commentary by Jeff Jones
Complete live report
Welcome aboard the Cyclingnews live commentary blimp, the Hindenburg
IV, which we have anchored, using a suitable
mass, just off the shore of Reggio Calabria, where the 1.15 km prologue
of the 88th Giro d'Italia is set to begin at 18:45. Unfortunately, we lost the
Hindenburg II in a freak thunderstorm a couple of months ago, while the
Hindenburg III, a.k.a. the Oxygen Transfer, suffered a stranger
fate. Suffice it to say that it involved two bottles of gin, an amber rod, and
a very surprised cat. It was all very humane and the cat wasn't surprised for
long. Oh, the felinity. If anyone can come up with a better fuel than hydrogen
to power a zeppelin, I'd be very glad to hear it.
There is not much to be said about the parcours of today's prologue. It's 1.15
km long, making it the second shortest grand tour prologue in history. It's
pancake flat, straight, with not a single corner. There's also a 10 km/h wind
blowing off the coast, which will be across the riders as they dash from the
start house to the finishing line. Can anyone break 60 km/h? We'll see.
The complete bike
Cyclingnews spoke to Cofidis' Stuart O'Grady this morning to get his assessment
on things. Like a true trackie, Stuey isn't bothering with gears today - his one-off
Wilier fixed gear special is built with one thing in mind: aerodynamics. "It's
a great chance to get a shot at the pink jersey," said O'Grady. "I reckon there
will be about ten guys within about one second. So it'll be an all out effort.
I rang up Shane Kelly to get some ideas on gears etc. This is his caper after
all. I've got four gear ratios ready to go and I'll make my decision before the
Photo ©: Wilier
We asked him whether he would put a 100 inch gear on. "Nah, bigger than that,"
was the response.
Looking beyond today's stage, Stuey said, "I'm very happy with my form and I'm
going all out for a stage win." He still has his mind set on the Tour and will
likely exit the Giro before the Dolomites.
The first rider officially off today is Luca Mazzanti (Ceramica Panaria), who
will exit the start ramp at 18:46. But before he goes, there will be a special
guest appearance from Mario Cipollini, who has coloured plenty of prologues
with his inimitable style. He'll set off at 18:40, and we'll try to get an update
on his time and his skinsuit, not necessarily in that order...
No sign of Cipo! Maybe he went half an hour early...
Luca Mazzanti sets off for his ride, slowly, battling the headwind. He finishes
in 1'26 - not bad, given the wind. Next off is Fassa Bortolo's Volodymir Gustov,
who ends in 1'28. Then Trent Wilson (Colombia-Selle Italia). Trent is a bit
slower than the first two, and finishes in 1'37. It's not easy today!
Cipollini will in fact set off last, we have confirmed.
Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi) starts fifth, and rockets to the line in 1'24,
setting the new best time. Mazzanti is second with CSC's Brian Vandborg on the
same time (1'26).
10 riders in now, with Di Luca still holding the best time of 1'24 for the 1.15
km course. His average speed is 49.285 km/h, which gives you an idea of how
hard it is. Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) is in second place at 1 seconds, followed
by the day's first starter, Luca Mazzanti (Panaria).
Tom Steels now comes in with a time of 1:26, which puts him in third overall
behind Di Luca and Fothen. 18 riders home now.
The weather is absolutely fantastic here in Reggio Calabria - it's about 20
degrees, with a moderate breeze blowing, and not a cloud in the sky. Except
one above Mt Etna in the background. Hopefully it won't erupt in the next three
Russell Van Hout (Colombia-Selle Italia) is about to finish his ride. He'll
probably be quicker than his teammate, Willo, who is occupying the last position
in the intermediate standings with a time of 1'37.
A new best time has been set by Mirco Lorenzetto (Domina Vacanze), who pushes
Di Luca into second place. He's also on 1'24.
Van Hout finished in 1'31, and told Cyclingnews that he'd overgeared
and blew up in the final section. Easy to do in a short event like this!
Peter Luttenberger (CSC) has done a good ride with a 1'25, which will put him
into fourth place overall. His initial time was 1'15, which would have been
very impressive indeed for the Austrian climber. But then the judges realised
Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom) has become the first rider to go under 1'24,
coming in with 1'23 to put him into the lead. Not bad work! Lorenzetto and Di
Luca now occupy the second and third places, with 40 riders home.
Erik Zabel is on his way. The T-Mobile rider should be suited to this sort of
event. It will be interesting to see what the track riders do later: O'Grady,
Renshaw, Escobar, Wiggins, Lombardi...Petacchi's time should be good too.
Petacchi's teammate Alberto Ongarato tries but fails to knock off Martias. He
slots into second place behind the Frenchman.
Martias, who is currently in the lead, hails from Guadeloupe and is 24 years
old. He turned pro in 2003 with Brioches La Boulangère. He doesn't have any
results of note to date.
Martias is doing well, still holding the lead as Gerolsteiner's Thomas Ziegler
comes home in 1'24, which puts him into second place.
Top five so far:
1 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 1.23
2 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.01
3 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
4 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Domina Vacanze
5 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
60 riders home now, of the 197 down to start. They're mostly starting a 1 minute
intervals, except for a few inexplicable 2 and 3 minute gaps now and again.
Even the final riders go off at 1 minute gaps.
Paride Grillo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) and Fabio Baldato (Fassa Bortolo )
both record times of 1'25, which puts them in 6th and 7th for the time being.
No-one has knocked off Rony Martias yet on 1'23.
74 riders down, 123 to go in the prologue of the Giro d'Italia, where a huge
crowd is enjoying the atmosphere on the coast in Reggio Calabria. At the moment,
the fastest time is held by Guadeloupe-born Frenchman Rony Martias (Bouygues
Telecom), which is an impressive start by this young rider. Naturally, all the
big guns are yet to come.
Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Discovery) comes home with a creditable 1'24, one second
off the pace of Martias. That puts him in third behind Martias and Ziegler,
with 80 riders home.
We're halfway through the 197 starters in the prologue of the 88th Giro d'Italia,
and the leaderboard is starting to take shape with Rony Martias (Bouygues) on
top with a time of 1'23. He is followed by Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner) and
Ryder Hesjedal (Discovery Channel) at one second.
A Cipo skinsuit update, because we know you want one. Apparently, according
to radsport-news.com, he will wear a glow-in-the-dark skinsuit. That's why he
wanted to wait until dark.
Dariusz Baranowski (Liberty Seguros) rides in with a 1'25, which puts him in
ninth place provisionally. There haven't been too many changes to the top 10
of late, with 108 riders now home. There are still 89 to come though. And Cipo...
New best time!! Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo) has smashed Martias' 1'23 with
a 1'21 - the first rider to average over 50 km/h in this very short prologue.
Tosatto's 1'21 is well above the rest so far, as Jan Hruska (Liberty Seguros)
comes in with a 1'24 for sixth.
One rider to watch today is Australian Brett Lancaster (another trackie). He's
a 4 km (team) pursuit specialist, but he has done a 1'04 kilo on the track,
so he goes alright. That equates to a 1'13 on a 1.15 km course, assuming the
same average speeds, not much wind, yada yada.
By the way, Mark Renshaw's personal best in the kilo is 1'01(!) So he is definitely
a favourite today. He's off at 22:06, in about 40 minutes from now.
For the fans...Charly Wegelius' finishing time is 1'31, which puts him 10 seconds
behind Tosatto, somewhere around 110th place at the moment.
American Dave Zabriskie (CSC) finishes up in a decent time of 1'24, which puts
him in 6th at the moment.
Kirsipuu looks motivated, he goes all out.
Kirsipuu comes flying home in 1'22.748 - second best time!
Tony Tauler breaks his rear derailleur in the last 100 metres. Oops.
There are quite a lot of people on the course, crossing from one side of the
other. That's crazy, as there is only a minute gap between the riders. Some
close calls already!
Brett Lancaster (Panaria) has the new best time!! He finishes in 1.20.958, just
ahead of Tosatto!
Cioni is next off... The Liquigas-Bianchi rider finished fourth overall in the
Giro last year.
As mentioned above, the parcours is flat, straight, cornerless...you get the
idea. It's a drag strip. I won't go any further with that one.
Cioni comes in with a decent 1'23, for sixth place.
Just 30 riders to come now, with Cristian Moreni up on the block. What can the
Italian champion do?
But just before he finishes, Baden Cooke (Francaise des Jeux) comes home in
1'24. Not bad, but well outside Lancaster's top time of 1'20.958.
It's now fairly dark for the last riders. Lots of spectators though! No changes
to the leaderboard.
Brad Wiggins (Credit Agricole), the triple medalist from Athens, is starting
Following Wiggins will be Gilberto Simoni. He's looking focused, and the crowd
is cheering. Could this be the start of another Giro victory?
Wiggins: 1'22.945, for fifth place.
The top five:
1 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 1.20
2 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.01
3 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Credit Agricole 0.02
4 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5 Brad Wiggins (GBr) Credit Agricole
Simoni crosses the line in 1'28.221 for a rather modest 80th. But I think he's
quicker than Lancaster in the mountains.
Ale-Jet Petacchi is up next. This could be fast...
Petacchi looks good as he gets up to speed...but he's not good enough. 1.21.681,
which puts him in third behind Lancaster and Tosatto.
Gonchar is next in line. He's good against the clock, but he has a tendency
to ride a gigantic gear. That won't really help him today. Most riders have
chosen a 53x14.
Gonchar doesn't look as quick as Petacchi. He isn't: 1.28.
Garzelli is under way too.
Garzelli's DS is honking his horn behind him. The Liquigas rider finishes with
a creditable 1.26.121 for 40th.
Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile) comes in next, just as Ivan Basso starts.
1'26.334 for Basso, which puts him in 43rd. It's still Lancaster, Tosatto and
Petacchi as the top three.
Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) is a bit better than Basso in 1'24.748, for 17th.
Pollack's time was 1'22.223, which puts the German sprinter in fourth. Nice
Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) is next, and we can't expect a fast time from him.
But the rider after him is Sergi Escobar (Illes Balears), a former world pursuit
champion. He could upset Lancaster.
Escobar has a fantastic start, rock solid like a true track rider.
He's followed by past Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel).
Escobar finishes in 1'22.866 for sixth. Close, but no cigarillo.
Savoldelli hugs the right hand side, unlike everyone else. He finishes with
1'21.923 for fourth - quite good!
One of the top favourites is off now - Mark Renshaw (Francaise des Jeux).
Renshaw sticks to the left hand barriers, getting a good start and winding it
up. He crosses the line in a time of 1'22.853, after exploding a bit in the
last 100 metres.
Paolo Bettini rides a normal bike, on the right hand side of the road. 1'23.794
Robbie McEwen is next in with a time of 1'24.035, which will put him outside
the top 10.
O'Grady is under way, winding up his fixed gear special. Can he beat compatriot
Lancaster? No-one else has so far.
Nope: 1'22.613 for O'Grady.
Just three riders to come: Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom), Pietro Caucchioli
(Credit Agricole) and Damiano Cunego (Caffita). Looks like Lancaster might be
Cunego is wearing all pink, as befits the defending champ.
Cunego doesn't look particularly quick as he sets off.
He finishes in 1'24.507. Brett Lancaster takes the pink jersey!! The Aussies
seem to like the Giro. Not bad going for a rider from one of only two non-ProTour
We can't forget Cipollini - he leaves in his pink (glowing?) skinsuit.
Cipo is all in pink with glowing silver "veins" on his skinsuit, no helmet,
completely pink bike, waving to the crowds for the last time. Obviously, a fast
time is not on the cards. As one of our readers said, "It's all about the glamour."
Cipo finishes his farewell ride, definitely looking the part, as he always has
done. We'll miss him!
Pink jersey winner Brett Lancaster is on the podium, getting a big bottle of
champagne. He looks a bit lost, but now he's opened the bottle and spills it
everywhere. Lancaster gets given the pink jersey from Mario!...Who gets on top
of the podium with him. Now Brett's up there alone, waving his flowers...nice
OK, that's all from us in the Hindenburg IV. It's survived Cyclone Lancaster
(ho ho) so we should be back in it tomorrow for the first stage!
1 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 1.20
2 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.01
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team
5 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team 0.02
6 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis
7 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Credit Agricole
8 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Francaise des Jeux
9 Sergio Escobar Roure (Spa) Illes Balears
10 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner
the commentary team