88th Giro d'Italia - PT
Italy, May 7-29, 2005
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Stage 14 - May 22: Egna - Livigno, 210 km
Commentary by Roger Hughes, with additional reporting from John Trevorrow
and Tim Maloney
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
13:53 CEST 97km/113km to go
Good [insert time
of day wherever you are] and welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of today's potentially-epic
210 km mountain stage of the Giro.
The story so far: the first of
the day's three big climbs, the steep but relatively short Colle del Frassinetto
(or Verschneidsjoch if you prefer the German version; this is a strongly bilingual
part of Italy) saw an interesting-looking group of 9 riders go clear, including
yesterday's stage winner Ivan Parra - a brave move, last year's overall winner
Damiano Cunego (presumably sent up the road as a stalking horse/super-domestique
for Gilberto Simoni) and green jerseyed José Rujano on the hunt for more mountains
points (he took that climb; no surprise there); with three riders there, the
Selle Italia team are clearly trying to keep their profile high. They pulled
out a maximum lead of 5.30 (making Rujano maglia rosa virtuale, or race
leader on the road if you want me to stop talking foreign, for a while) but
on the long false flat from Meran/Merano to the foot of the Stelvio - today's
main event, the highest point in the race with the traditional prime in memory
of Fausto Coppi at the summit) the main field has dragged them back to a smidgeon
over two and a half minutes clear; maybe they are a bit more worried by the
Selle Italia guys after yesterday's showing.
Leader Paolo Savoldelli
said this morning, "I don't have the strongest team in the race. I came here
to do well in the Giro, but I didn't come to win. However, I'll still do my
best to defend the jersey. Two days ago, Basso was in the jersey, so whoever
wants to win has to take it away from me.
The first three hours
of the race have been run off at 32.7 kph which is more or less in line with
14:14 CEST 105km/105km to go
The lead is still
falling by a few seconds per kilometre, now down to 2.15.
one non-starter this morning - Nick Gates, to whom we spoke yesterday: "I started
yesterday with my chest badly infected, and I had one of the worst days on a
bike in my career. I probably shouldn't have started, and I probably should
have stopped when I could feel I wasn't going to ride out of it, but I definitely
won't be riding tomorrow." Since then, Euskaltel's Aitor González has climbed
off; this is not a race the team will be looking back on with particular fondness,
I should imagine. We are now approaching the main feed for the day, which may
see a few more riders decide not to bother with the 24 km of climbing just up
the road now.
14:38 CEST 120km/90km to go
Approaching the foot
of the Stelvio now. The three Selle Italia riders are the most active in the
lead group, but their lead is still being ground down, and unless there is a
big change in the rhythm (which can't be ruled out, of course) they will be
Volker Ordowski, Vicente Reynes and Olaf Pollack
have decided that discretion is the better part of valour. See you next year,
Happy birthday to Christian Vandevelde (CSC), 29 today.
The weather at the bottom of the
Stelvio is dry but overcast, but there has been rain and a bit of sleet two
vertical kilometres away.
Old stager Wladimir Belli, another one
who was also active in the break yesterday, is the first to lose contact on
the roughly 8% slopes, but he gets back on after a bit. The Selle Italia trio
are still setting the pace, and the lead is stretching out a little bit again
- from 1.05 up to 1.25 again. Discovery Channel have taken up the leading positions
in the main bunch (noblesse oblige and all that) with Savoldelli fourth wheel.
There is an absence of wildlife so far, but we are in a national park and there
must be something close by somewhere...
Cunego is dropped from the break
as is Illiano and then a bigger surprise as Ivan Basso is dropped from the main
field; it looks like game over for him.
Basso is ringed by his team-mates
who need to keep him to a tempo to minimise his losses, which are already something
like 40 seconds. Discovery Channel are still setting the pace that has done
Ahead, Parra and Rujano have split the front group; Atienza,
Osa and Montgomery are those still with them.
CSC's team doctor says
that Basso has stomach problems. He is grimacing and his group is starting to
look like the autobus for the day. 2.45 behind in the time it's taken to type
Di Luca is apparently glued to Savoldelli's
wheel, with three Discovery jerseys in front of the pink in the approved fashion;
Benoît Joachim is towing the train.
Frédéric Bichot has joined the
list of retirements.
Montgomery can't hold the leaders' pace and
is dropped. Tour stage winner Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel) jumps clear of the
main bunch (or what's left of it - maybe sixty or so riders), who are now well
onto the interminable series of hairpins that characterise this massive climb..
Lampre have moved up to the front
of the main pack en masse, as Cunego has now been caught. Savoldelli is still
in fifth wheel, though; just following Simoni instead of Padrnos.
Three of four more hairpins and the
leaders will be above the treeline. Laiseka's little escapade comes to an end.
Still a cluster of Lampre vests, then Simoni, Savoldelli, Di Luca and Garate.
The temperature at the top of the climb - with some lying snow still on the
last few kilometres is around 4°C.
At the front it is still Rujano
setting the rhythm, with Atienza, Osa and a slightly rocky looking Parra happy
enough to be able to follow.
The race convoy is winding up on
to the bare slopes now, terrain of scree and scrub. A watery sun is shining,
but certainly not enough to cause anyone any problems.
is riding at clubrun pace, albeit a fairly good class of clubrun. The contrast
with the effort on the face of Patxi Vila, still grinding out the tempo for
Simoni, is striking. That could explain why Basso has now lost 10 minutes.
The gap between the four leaders and the gruppo maglia rosa (now 25 or
so strong) is steady at around two and a half minutes, and Rujano has not seen
any need to oblige his companions to take any turns on the front.
Simoni, Savoldelli and Di Luca are
having a contest to see who can look the most grimly determined, although none
of their expressions are in the same league as the annoyance on the face of
Andrea Peron, back with Basso.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the ProTour,
Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) has taken final victory in the Volta a
The leading quartet have now reached the first banks
of grubby snow; it's whiter further up, though.
Belli is mopped
up by the maglia rosa after a long time in no-man's land. Somewhere behind,
Moreni and Bruseghin tangle and end up in a heap on the road. Di Luca passes
Savoldelli a bottle, Coppi/Bartali style; should have waited until there was
just two of them for the photograph, though.
Savoldelli waves at his team car
and has a chat on the batphone. One of his team-mates - who haven't been seen
at the front of the group for some while now - drops back to the car to get
something for him
The four leaders still a steady 2.20 ahead; Parra
is now taking a turn on the front. Atienza has been hanging very tightly on
Rujano's wheel; there's a bit of cash to be won up here
the summit, there is a light covering of snow on the road. Atienza moves to
15:47 CEST 146.5km/63.5km to go
Parra takes Rujano
off Atienza's wheel and the green jersey takes the Cima Coppi money/points,
amidst big crowds who will have been up this rather inhospitable mountain for
a fair while to get the good places. Osa is dropped by an insignificant few
Di Luca and Garate lead the maglia rosa group over the top,
2.40 or so down, into a scrum of soigneurs handing up jackets for the long cold
The leaders take the descent fairly
steadily, while a steady stream of riders comes over the summit; the race is
in bits and pieces. Still waiting for the Basso group, 12 minutes and counting.
Osa is leading the descent, with
Rujano, a good climber/bad descender in the traditional mould, trying to follow
his line and sometimes succeeding. Parra has dropped back a bit, but gaps can
be deceptively small at this speed, although there looks to be a bit of a headwind
stopping it from being a really quick descent.
Joachim come over the top with a certain amount of crowd assistance. 17 minutes
and still no Basso.
Basso comes over 18.40 behind Rujano
and the best part of 16 minutes behind Savoldelli; he stops and Bjarne Riis
brings him extra clothing from the car before he sets off again.
16:09 CEST 167.5km/42.5km to go
Alexandr Kolobnev has set out on a counter-attack on the descent; he's pedalling
so it's not that fast, although there are still a few people having a bit of
trouble with the bends.
Osa calls up his car 1 km before the Intergiro.
16:15 CEST 168.5km/41.5km to go
Parra leads Rujano,
Atienza and then Osa through the Intergiro, in a token sprint, and then it's
straight onto a stiff little climb that would undoubtedly be worth a few points
on a flatter stage.
A few riders have rejoined the maglia rosa group,
bringing it up to 30 or so. Kolobnev is still ahead of them, and Bettini and
Moreni have come up from behind and also set off on a counter-attack.
16:29 CEST 177km/33km to go
Over the top of the
uncategorised climb, and Kolobnev has been joined by Emanuele Sella. The four
leaders are unsurprisingly looking a little ragged and the duo have closed to
1.30 behind the leaders.
In the maglia rosa group Di Luca has two
team-mates setting the pace now.
CSC Team Doctor Piet Daneels said
that Basso drank a lot of cold water on Friday; which really upset his stomach.
He started having problems with the digestion the same evening and had to go
to the bathroom quite a few times that night.
Yesterday after the stage,
he threw up in the team bus.
To put sporting matters into some
perspective, Davitamon-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant has let the Belgian
TV know that Mauricio Ardila, unexpectedly in the Basso group, had some really
bad news yesterday. Having lost his father years ago in a killing, his stepfather
back home in Medellin was also killed yesterday.
16:38 CEST 183km/27km to go
The riders are now
on the foot of the day's final climb, the Passo di Foscagno, 15 km of climbing.
Sella is going strongly, and having shed Kolobnev is now within a minute of
the leaders. Behind Kolobnev we have Moreni, Valjavec and Sanchez in a second
counter-attacking group, while the group with all the remaining favourites does
not appear to be coming back, although there's a chance that some attacks will
go on this final climb.
Sella has them in sight now
Atienza and Osa briefly drop the
two Selle Italia riders, but they are soon back. The chasing groups have all
disintegrated; there are four or five individual riders chasing now.
Atienza attacks, and Rujano is definitely looking in a bit of trouble as the
other two counter. He almost gets back, but it's too much; he's cooked.
16:46 CEST 185km/25km to go
seems to have faltered; he's having trouble closing the last 20 seconds of the
gap, even on Rujano.
Oddly, it's now Wladimir Belli and Wim Van Nuffel
setting the pace in the maglia rosa group; the big names are perhaps more concerned
with watching each other than with worrying about the race for the stage.
Sella kicks, picks up Rujano, and brings him back up to the leading trio under
the 25 km to go banner.
16:50 CEST 187km/23km to go
Sella tests the lead
group, lifting and dropping the pace a bit to see how the more tired riders
deal with the break in the rhythm.
But Parra attacks, and Sella looks
to be having trouble in going with it, albeit not as much trouble as the other
Cunego has taken the lead in the 15-strong maglia rosa group,
and Cioni is dropped. British readers may want to know that Charlie Wegelius
is in that group still.
Parra is now un uomo solo in comando,
alone in the lead in the footsteps of Coppi. Well, sort of. He has 22 seconds
lead on the remaining four.
17:02 CEST 190km/20km to go
and Kolobnev are still alone in that order between the chasing quartet and the
maglia rosa group.
Under the 20 km to go banner Parra's lead has
climbed to 47 seconds; this is looking quite good for back to back stage wins,
although I wouldn't want to put the mouth on him at this point in the race.
17:10 CEST 195.5km/14.5km to go
The pace in the
gruppo maglia rosa is enough to shed weaker rider, but not enough to make any
impression on Parra, who is still pulling away from them with a couple of kilometres
of the final climb to go (although there's a couple of km of uphill during what
would otherwise be the last descent as well.
Valjavec makes it up
to the chasing group and goes straight to the front; only Rujano tries to follow.
Parra crests the climb, back up at 2300m asl, straightens up his racing vest
and sets out on the descent. He had a bit of a run in with a spectator on the
last pitch and took a hand in the face, although I think that it was accident
rather than malice.
Valjavec crosses the summit with
Rujano still hanging on, and with every incentive not to come through with his
team-mate in front and 165 km of breakaway riding in his legs. He is also still
a good 2.30 up on the maglia rosa group and in a position to move up to 4th
or maybe even 3rd on GC.
The other chasers are all over the shop;
Kolobnev is caught by the group just before the summit.
17:17 CEST 200km/10km to go
Parra is out of the
saddle again on the last little climb, while back on the straight, dry descent
a few minutes behind him, the bunch are clocked at over 100 kph.
Rujano is still hanging on with Valjavec,
and they come under the 10km banner 1.40 behind Parra, who has now crested this
climb; downhill all the way from here.
Lobato is setting the pace
in the maglia rosa group; Simoni attacks and is chased down by Van Huffel and
Garate; Di Luca and Savoldelli aren't there, though.
17:24 CEST 204km/6km to go
Van Huffel can't hold
on, and Simoni now has only Garate for company. Di Luca is now jumping across
the gap. He's made it. Savoldelli is waiting for the descent, or else he's just
Di Luca, Garate and Simoni are riding
bit and bit with 8 km to go, while Parra is now within a pursuiter's ride of
the finish. Savoldelli leads Caucchioli, Karpets and Gonchar in an attempt to
close the 20 second gap opened by Simoni's attack.
17:30 CEST 209km/1km to go
Di Luca is trying
to sit on his own back wheel on one of the steeper pitches; Savoldelli's group
are mopping up ex-chasers as he uses all his technical abilities to bridge that
Parra is under the red kite and on his way to take his second
stage in as many days. Jersey straightened, kisses blown, two fingers held aloft.
Valjavec leads Rujano in, and the Venezuelan sportingly
(or stuffedly) does not contest the sprint. Osa comes over alone in fourth.
Di Luca leads Simoni, Garate and Sella over the line; Savoldelli finishes 10th
and limits his losses to 28 seconds on Simoni; enough to hang on to the pink
jersey for today at least. Rujano has strengthened his grasp on the green jersey
and moved up from 8th to 5th on GC, a good day's work.
Thanks to you for spending the afternoon (morning, late night) with us in the
observation bubble of the Hindenburg IV, and thanks to the Selle Italia
team for livening up the day's action. It will be a while yet before all the
riders are in; the time limit will be around an hour today and Parra is already
opening his spumante while only twenty or so riders have actually crossed the
line so far...
1 Ivan Parra (Col) Selle Italia-Colombia 6.46,33
2 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.50
3 Jose Rujano Guillen (Ven) Selle Italia-Colombia
4 Unai Osa Eizaguirre (Spa) Illes Balears 2.51
5 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 3.15
6 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
7 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir
8 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
9 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3.42
10 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team
11 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto
General classification after stage 14
1 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Tea 67.21.28
2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.25
3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 1.48
4 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 2.11
5 Jose' Rujano Guillen (Ven) Selle Italia-Colombia 2.18
6 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Credit Agricole 3.25
7 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze 4.05
8 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 5.50
the commentary team
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