88th Giro d'Italia - PT
Italy, May 7-29, 2005
Stage 1 - May 8: Reggio Calabria - Tropea, 208 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from John Trevorrow
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Welcome back to sunny Reggio Calabria
on the southern tip of Italy where we are bringing you the 88th Giro d'Italia
live. After yesterday's 1.15 km aperitif, today we head out on the open
roads between Reggio Calabria and Tropea for a longish stage of 208 km. The
stage winds east around the Aspromonte National Park, cuts back west and after
an easy climb (km 117), there's a tricky, nervous run-in to Tropea on the Gulf
The day's Intergiro sprint is located at km 92 in
Locri, while the categorised climb is at Jonadi (km 168).
weather girl John Trevorrow reports that the conditions are absolutely perfect
for racing. It's 21 degrees and there's not a cloud in the sky. A 15 km/h wind
is blowing that should be behind the riders for most of the day, but there might
be some crosswinds in the final 20 km.
Today's stage started in Reggio Calabria
at the crack of midday with all 197 riders present. That didn't last for long
as a sick Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom) abandoned the race after just 20 km.
A few kilometres previously, the first successful attack was launched with Leonardo
Scarselli (Selle Italia-Colombia) getting away solo. He was joined by Sven Krauss
(Gerolsteiner), Stefano Zanini (Quick.Step) and Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank)
after 38 km, and the break was formed.
That was enough for the peloton,
which quickly settled down into its piano riding, and the break had 8'43 after
the first hour of racing, where 41.2 km were covered. After 53 km, it was 10'35,
and at 72 km, the four leaders had 9'40. Sven Krauss is the virtual maglia rosa,
by a lot. He started the day in 10th position behind Brett Lancaster, with just
a 2 second deficit.
14:45 CEST 91km/117km to go
After two hours,
the average speed is 43.35 km/h! That's extremely fast for an Italian race,
but is a testament to the more international flavour of the field this year.
The peloton has been forced to pick up its tempo and is now riding along 8'01
behind the break.
At the Intergiro in Locri, Krauss took the bonus
ahead of Zanini and Veneberg. The average speed there was still 43.09 km/h.
Cyclingnews spoke with Stuart
O'Grady (Cofidis) this morning, and asked him what he thought about his sixth
place last night on the single speed bike. "I felt good all the way; just the
last 300-400m was a bit heavy," he said. "I'm very pleased with my ride. I had
a week and a half off after Amstel, and I've only been on the bike for a week
and a half. When the team realised it was a short TT, they got all excited and
it put a bit of pressure on me. I'm really not peaking for this race, but will
try to ride myself into some form for the Tour.
14:59 CEST 115km/93km to go
The chase has really
started now, and the four leaders are down to 6'53 of their one time advantage
Intergiro winner Sven Krauss has picked up 6 actual bonus
seconds (there are also Intergiro bonus seconds, but these don't count towards
your GC time) so that means if he finishes with the bunch today, he has a chance
of taking the maglia rosa. But there are also 20, 12 and 8 seconds bonus for
the top 3 in the stage, so that will no doubt affect things. Petacchi is still
the favourite to take pink today, but we'll see.
Krauss also picked up a tidy €1000
for winning the Intergiro sprint. Not bad at all! In contrast, winning today's
climb is only worth €260.
15:11 CEST 121km/87km to go
Like sands through
the hourglass, the four breakaways are losing time to the hungry peloton. At
the last check at km 115, it was 6'15.
In the lead: Leonardo Scarselli
(Selle Italia-Colombia) Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner), Stefano Zanini (Quick.Step)
and Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank). Krauss is the best placed on GC.
While we're on the subject of prize
money, the Intergiro has actually been scaled down a bit - it used to be worth
more than all the other minor classifications, but it's now the same as the
climbers and only half the maglia ciclamina. Presumably that accounts for some
of the drop in prize money that the riders have been complaining about (thanks
15:22 CEST 123km/85km to go
Fassa Bortolo has
assumed the position in front of the peloton, riding down the break. Obviously
Petacchi is not too concerned about the tricky finish today.
average speed after three hours has fallen to 38.95 km/h, which means that they
must have hit a headwind somewhere, or the time keeper is asleep. The gap has
gone up to 6'47 again. No panic to chase.
In front, Scarselli gets a talking
to by his DS Gianni Savio in the car.
Zanini does a strong turn in the
break - he's a pretty handy rider to have up here. Very experienced and very
strong. Krauss is no midget either.
15:28 CEST 129km/79km to go
The leaders are descending
after climbing up to 610m. That probably accounts for some of the slowing down.
The peloton is all together, moving well. Di Luca moseys on up to the front
and chats to the Fassa guys.
The gap has come down to 5'05 as
the break continues to work hard out in front. Holding off Fassa Bortolo in
a flat stage of the Giro d'Italia rates pretty highly on the impossible tasks
15:34 CEST 133km/75km to go
75 clicks to go and
the bunch seems to be getting wound up quite early, even though the breakaways
only have 5 minutes. Fassa could erase that in less than 30 km if it wanted.
Brett Lancaster's Panaria team is sitting behind the Fassa train, protecting
him from the wind. Wonder if he'll try to lead out Grillo today? That's what
he normally does.
15:41 CEST 138km/70km to go
Another minute has
been carved out of the breakaway's lead by the Fassa silver train, and the four
leaders have just 4'05 with just under 70 km to go. Gilberto Simoni (Lampre)
is chatting to a teammate in the bunch.
Matt White (Cofidis) and Charly Wegelius
(Liquigas) are also working with Fassa, as is one of the Davitamon-Lotto boys.
There is no way a break can resist that kind of firepower.
15:46 CEST 146km/62km to go
The peloton passes
through the feed zone at Rosamo trailing the break by 3'54. There are plenty
of teams in front chasing, as the Fassa boys have dropped back for a short spell.
The leaders hit the main climb of
the day up to Jonadi, and Krauss looks to be suffering a little. Or maybe he's
just organising his food. The bunch is strung out in pursuit, throwing off musettes
as it goes.
15:53 CEST 149km/59km to go
Wegelius is still
doing a good job for his team on the front of the peloton, as two Fassa boys
join him on the climb. It's not too steep yet, and everyone is still in the
15:57 CEST 151km/57km to go
Ivan Basso is sitting
right behind Danilo Di Luca in the peloton, fairly close to the front. They
don't want to be badly positioned on the climb, because the descent and run
into Tropea is quite technical.
The gap is coming down rapidly to
2'40 as the peloton continues to chase. Cunego and Simoni are sitting next to
each other, looking quite comfy. Lancaster is well placed in the front bit of
16:03 CEST 154km/54km to go
Alberto Lopez de
Munain (Euskaltel) has a brief mechanical problem, but he's back on the bike
again and chasing back on. Further up, Beloki has a chat to Euskaltel's Laiseka,
who is looking at the route card. Just follow the guys in front. You'll be right.
The leaders have 2'25.
16:06 CEST 158km/50km to go
The climb is getting
steeper as Krauss leads Zanini, Veneberg and Zanini. They still have 2'28. The
average speed of the stage so far is 39.42 km/h.
Veneberg attacks! Scarselli chases
him. The other two are gone.
Veneberg punches it up towards the
top of the climb, looking back to see where Scarselli is. The Italian couldn't
close the gap and Veneberg is solo.
16:11 CEST 159km/49km to go
Nick Gates is leading
the peloton, chatting to Davitamon-Lotto teammate Christophe Brandt. Wegelius
is still up there, as is Codol for Fassa.
Veneberg isn't particularly
concerned about that - he just wants to get to the top of the climb and have
a crack at getting to the finish alone. The Rabobank rider looks very good -
3 km to the summit.
16:13 CEST 160km/48km to go
The peloton is still
at 2'30 as Veneberg hits the steep part of the climb. Scarselli is about 30
seconds behind him, with Zanini and Krauss at 45 seconds.
16:15 CEST 161km/47km to go
Veneberg rocks a
little as he gives it full gas to get to the top of the climb. He's still in
the big ring and he's not pedaling slowly, so that's a good sign. He hits a
hairpin, and gets going again.
In the bunch, it's still Gates, Wegelius
and Codol chasing.
Veneberg gets out of the saddle for
a bit as he nears the summit of the Jonadi climb. He will at least win the mountains
jersey today. There are some very big crowds on the side of the road to cheer
Veneberg gets some encouragement
from Rabobank's assistant DS Joop Zoetemelk.
Back in the bunch, still
Gates and Wegelius. Not many riders are being dropped.
16:19 CEST 162km/46km to go
Veneberg is over
the top and wins the €260 prize. Scarselli is next over 22 seconds, looking
annoyed at his derailleur.
Marco Milesi (Liquigas) is in fourth
wheel in the bunch and is sitting on a HR of 175 bpm. His max is 190, so he's
working fairly hard.
16:21 CEST 164km/44km to go
Quaranta is being
dropped. Now there's a surprise.
Zanini and Krauss cross at 1'42.
They'll be caught soon. One of the Fassa boys comes up with bidons to give to
Codol and co. Wegelius leads the bunch over at 2'24. Veneberg holds steady.
16:25 CEST 168km/40km to go
Veneberg has now
assumed the customary Rabobank time trialists position, back nice and flat,
hands on the hoods, elbows bent at 90 degrees. He has 2'28 with 40 km to go.
That's hard to hold.
Scarselli has sat up for a bit, but he keeps
going. Krauss and Zanini already have been caught.
Still Codol, Gates
and Wegelius (eating) on the front of the bunch.
16:27 CEST 173km/35km to go
Veneberg motors under
35 km to go, rock solid in his aero position. He definitely has a chance. The
descent hasn't really started yet, but he shouldn't lose too much there.
Scarselli goes under 35 km at 2'00
behind Veneberg. He'll be swallowed by the bunch very soon.
16:30 CEST 175km/33km to go
to work hard in front, wanting this descent to come soon. Aha - here it is.
He has two minutes on the bunch, which has caught Scarselli.
16:30 CEST 176km/32km to go
The descent starts
for Veneberg, and he still has to work fairly hard. There are plenty of bends,
but the road surface is very good.
Gates and Wegelius lead the bunch
at the start of the descent. It twists and turns a lot now, but so far everyone
is still upright.
16:34 CEST 178km/30km to go
Veneberg is making
good use of the road, trying to maintain his two minute gap. He'll need more
than that though, we think.
Gates adopts a Graham Obree style chest
on the handlebars descending position. This is quite fast, I can attest. Vogels
is also up there for Lotto now.
The road narrows as Veneberg flies
through the deserted streets (well it is Sunday) of Vibo Valentia.
16:36 CEST 181km/27km to go
Celestino is up front
with Gates chasing, or perhaps getting ready for an attack?
is losing the battle: 1'35.
The bunch snakes down this descent,
still intact, as Veneberg reaches the foot. But he's got more than 25 km to
go with just a 1 km lead.
Veneberg rides next to the railway
for a bit, then over a bridge down into Vibo Valentia Marina. Behind him there
are 196 riders in pursuit. No major ruptures in the peloton.
Veneberg has got back up to 1'55
thanks to his descending skills. He chugs down a bidon and tosses it away.
Jason McCartney (Discovery) is chasing back onto the peloton after that descent.
16:41 CEST 185km/23km to go
The Fassa boys are
starting to mass near the front of the bunch. Simoni is up there too.
Zoetemelk gives Veneberg some more encouragement.
Lampre has quite a few men in front
of the peloton too, protecting Simoni and Cunego. This is the nervous end of
Veneberg is maintaining a nice tempo, and has 1'45. It's
a big ask, but he's getting closer...
16:44 CEST 188km/20km to go
The road opens out
a bit now, and that will help the chase. Some more Lottos are moving to the
front, while Wegelius is still there for Liquigas. Marco Milesi now at 169 bpm
(of a max of 190). It's not easy in there!
Quick.Step is moving up too with
Bettini and Moreni. It's very nervous - a lot of teams are fighting for position.
Lancaster is about three quarters of the way back.
Veneberg is suffering
and losing time, but his style is still good. He scores points for that.
It's less than a minute as Veneberg
goes under 20 km to go. Alas, he has no chance of holding the bunch off.
16:48 CEST 189km/19km to go
The bunch swarms
under the 20km to go banner just 37 seconds behind the Dutchman, who is being
passed by the neutral cars. One of the Saunier riders looks around and nearly
causes a crash as he overcorrects.
16:50 CEST 190km/18km to go
Fassa has now got
most of its men near the front, along with Lampre.
not given up yet, but he'll likely have to face reality soon.
16:51 CEST 191km/17km to go
Veneberg fights all
the way, but it's not possible. If the bunch wants to catch you, it will. He
looks back and has five seconds. It's over.
Now its T-Mobile in front, getting
Zabel in position. Schmitz does a big turn. Zabel in fifth.
cuts through the bunch like a knife. He's now at the back.
16:54 CEST 193km/15km to go
It's a nervous fight
for position, but Lancaster is looking good in 20th wheel. T-Mobile is still
on the front with Baumann and Schmitz working against the wind.
16:56 CEST 194km/14km to go
They go under 15
km to go and various teams are working to get to the front. Lancaster uses his
height to good advantage as he can spot where the gaps are opening up and move
into them. Fassa has dropped back a bit, but they'll be back. It's T-Mobile
at the moment.
Vasseur rides to the front for O'Grady,
who is a chance today. They go up a small climb along the coast. Looks nice
16:59 CEST 196km/12km to go
The Giro plotone
is approaching the last 10 km, riding along the coast towards Tropea in the
Gerolsteiner's Robert Forster gets a puncture and
a very fast wheel change. That's going to be hard to get back on. He's the team
Mike Barry (Discovery Channel) moves
to the front for a bit as one of the Bouygues riders attacks. It's Walter Beneteau.
17:00 CEST 197km/11km to go
The coast is fairly
Forster is almost back on - nice work. And fast!
Beneteau has 5 seconds but is now feeling his legs a bit.
17:01 CEST 198km/10km to go
Forster joins Veneberg
at the back of the bunch, just as Beneteau is caught. Domina has a few men in
front. They go under 10 km to go (hmm...what was that banner before then?)
Milesi is now sitting on 177bpm -
93% of his max. It's still hard.
17:04 CEST 200km/8km to go
Milesi is out in the
wind, that's why.
Bramati is now on the front with a CSC rider.
Baldato is in third wheel. It's not a typical Giro sprint at all yet. But that's
not to say that Petacchi won't win.
Lancaster is very well placed,
in about 5th wheel.
17:05 CEST 201km/7km to go
McEwen has got himself
to the front too, thanks to Nick Gates who has done a very good job today.
17:06 CEST 202km/6km to go
Two Credit Agricole
riders are up there now, looking a bit lost. A Fassa rider - Bruseghin - fixes
that and does a big turn with two T-Mobiles behind him.,
HR is 171/194, so he's not working quite as hard as Milesi.
17:07 CEST 203km/5km to go
Bruseghin lifts the
tempo before the two T-Mobiles relay behind him. Then a whole lotta Fassas.
But Francaise des Jeux (for Cooke) and Liquigas (for Di Luca?) are also challenging.
17:08 CEST 204km/4km to go
Fassa hasn't taken
over yet as the riders prepare to exit the main road. Aha, here they are. Di
Luca in fifth wheel followed by Bettini, then McEwen slots in next to PEtacchi.
17:08 CEST 204km/4km to go
4 km to go and Fassa
leads the bunch off the main road onto a very narrow, dangerous road under a
17:09 CEST 205km/3km to go
It's basically a 270
degree turn! That took some doing. Puncture for Casar. End of his chances today.
McEwen is right on Petacchi's wheel, with Vogels and Bettini following. Lancaster
Bettini sneaks in front of McEwen
and Petacchi, nearly crashing. Fassa has five men, then McEwen and Bettini,
who has dropped back.
17:10 CEST 206km/2km to go
Fassa lines it out
along the coast with 2.5 km to go. It looks good for Ale-Jet.
17:11 CEST 206.5km/1.5km to go
A Francaise des
Jeux rider is up there fighting for position. Is that Cooke?
nudges him back into line. Three silver riders in front.
17:11 CEST 207km/1km to go
Four Fassas with 1
km to go including Petacchi, then Zabel. McEwen is back in 10th, but he's behind
Petacchi's train loses one, then
Tosatto leads it up a steep hill inside 800m. Bettini attacks!!
Petacchi chases Bettini but Bettini
has a good gap.
This uphill finish has really killed
the sprinters. Bettini has got the stage won as he reaches the top. Right hander,
then towards the finish.
17:13 CEST 208km/0km to go
Paolo Bettini wins
the stage!!!! Superb attack at the end. He'll take the pink. McEwen second,
It has to be said that that finish
wasn't kind to the sprinters at all. The uphill was pretty savage with 1 km
to go and Bettini timed it perfectly as he rode the Fassa train off his wheel.
It's his first Giro stage win, incredibly. And of course he also gets the pink
That's all folks from us up in the blimp and on the ground.
We'll be back at the same time tomorrow for the second stage, between Catanzaro
Lido and S.M. del Cedro, which should have no surprises for the sprinters. Until
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step 5.09.32
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 0.03
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.04
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux
5 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team
7 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
8 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Domina Vacanze
9 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
10 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Davitamon-Lotto
11 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel
12 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
13 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quick.Step
14 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
15 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze
16 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
17 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir
18 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
General classification after stage 1
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step 5.10.35
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 0.12
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.14
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel 0.22
5 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.25
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
7 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quick.Step
8 Baden Cooke (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux
the commentary team