89th Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 6-28, 2006
Results & report
Stage 2 - Sunday, May 7: Mons - Charleroi Marcinelle, 197 km
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones with additional reporting from Anthony Tan,
Les Clarke and Brecht Decaluwé
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:00 CEST
A fast, flat stage for the sprinters
from Mons to the grimy industrial burg of Charleroi, with a wide open last 2km
on Avenue E.Mascaux that should be perfect for Ale-Jet Petacchi and Rockin'
Robbie McEwen to fight it out for the victory.
Welcome back to Wallonia for the
second stage of the Giro d'Italia, which is opening with a very Belgian flavour
this year. Today's 197 km leg started in Mons, in the province of Hainut, and
will finish in Charleroi, in Namur. It's a suitably grey day for such a stage,
with a little rain falling this morning and temperatures around 15 degrees now.
As noted, today is a classic sprinters' stage, with just one small climb at
Silenrieux after 144 km. The Intergiro point is at Morlanwelz (km 98.4). This
year the scoring system appears to have changed back to a points score for the
blue jersey, which makes more sense than the time bonus system.
The man in pink after a pretty impressive ride in yesterday's time trial is
Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), who will have the task of defending the
jersey today. But for the most part, it will be the sprinters teams of Milram
and Davitamon who will cancel any breakaways.
14:44 CEST 85km/112km to go
At the moment, with
84 km covered at an average of just over 39 km/h, we have a breakaway of four
riders clear: Gabriele Missaglia (Selle Italia), Mickael Delage (Française des
Jeux), Beñat Albizuri (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Arnaud Labbe (Bouygues Telecom).
The four, who attacked after 23 km, have a lead of 5'55, which puts Missaglia
in the virtual maglia rosa by over five minutes, as he started the day
in 60th place at 43 seconds.
14:51 CEST 88km/109km to go
The group had a maximum
lead of 6'18 after 65 km, but Discovery has been controlling things for their
There have been a couple of cash primes along the
way too, with Missaglia taking the first one after 55 km and Albizuri the next
at km 81.
The lead has increased again, out
to seven minutes, as these four riders make good their escape. None of them
are any particular threat for the GC, so Discovery could quite happily give
them 10 minutes and let one of them have the pressure of the jersey. Of course,
Milram and Davitamon probably have other ideas for today's stage.
15:10 CEST 100km/97km to go
The leaders have
reached the "110 Gazzetta" (which has replaced the Intergiro) point after 98
km, with Delage taking the points ahead of Albizuri and Missaglia.
Paolo Bettini sits at the back of
the peloton, chatting to Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis). Meanwhile, Matthias
Kessler (T-Mobile) strips off his leg warmers with apparent ease.
The four leaders navigate a roundabout with Delage leaving a small gap, but
chasing back on.
Most of the riders are still in leg
warmers. The predicted maximum of 25 didn't really happen today. Oh well, it
is Belgium after all.
15:20 CEST 108km/89km to go
The leaders are now
back on wet roads, as the peloton behind them continues to be led by Discovery,
Davitamon and Milram. Also on wet roads. They tackle a wet cobbled corner through
Morlanwelz and the gap has come back to 4'35.
An Italian military band is playing
a rousing tune at the finish.
15:25 CEST 112km/85km to go
Missaglia looks the
most nervous of the breakaways. They are all working well together, doing 10-15
second turns. They're now out in the countryside again, where there is a certain
hint of greyness as they pass the fields.
Paolo Savoldelli is sitting in about
10th wheel, behind a host of blue jerseys, with the odd red, yellow and white
Davitamon jersey as well.
There's a bit of an age difference
in the break: Mickaël Delage is only 20 years old, while Missaglia is 35. The
latter looks to be the strongest and Delage has to close another little gap
as he takes it easy on the wet roads.
Paolo Bettini is munching on
a snack, keeping his energy levels up. It's vital to do that every day in a
three week tour.
The Italian military band is now jogging up the
finishing straight, still playing...
15:32 CEST 118km/79km to go
The leaders pass
through the feed zone at Merbes-le-Château, still on a 39 km/h average pace.
15:35 CEST 120km/77km to go
for his team car (that's getting close to an anagram) and obtains some refreshment.
Meanwhile, they have kept their advantage to 4'42 as they ride through crowds
of very damp Wallonians.
The peloton now passes through the
feed, with Panaria jerseys prominent at the rear. Serge Baguet (Quick.Step)
is also recognisable.
The leaders are now back into the open countryside,
and could be forgiven for experiencing a sense of deja-vu.
The peloton lines out a bit as it
hits a straight section of road.
The four leaders: Gabriele Missaglia
(Selle Italia), Mickael Delage (Française des Jeux), Beñat Albizuri (Euskaltel-Euskadi),
Arnaud Labbe (Bouygues Telecom) are now beginning to climb steadily. The day's
GPM (gran premio montagna) is after 144km.
15:47 CEST 129km/68km to go
heart rate is sitting at 72% of his maximum of 186, which means that things
aren't really hard in the peloton at the moment. The gap to the leaders is still
4'30. And the military band is still playing at the finish. As you can see,
it's all happening.
15:51 CEST 130km/67km to go
Van Hecke is working
on the front of the bunch for Davitamon, with Milram and Discovery still up
there too. It's a bit of a grind today, in the damp weather.
military band has quite an impressive repertoire. They probably need a larger
euphonium section, because you can never have too many of them in a brass band.
Bramati and Bettini are now in conference
with their DS Serge Parsani in the Quick.Step car.
The gap has come down to 3'12 as
the pressure continues in the chase. Finnish champion Jussi Veikkanen (Française
des Jeux) is visible towards the back of the bunch, with his blue cross on his
white jersey rapidly turning grey.
16:00 CEST 133km/64km to go
The bunch rides past
a group of cows (first official sighting of this year's Giro) some 3 minutes
behind the breakaway. Fabio Sacchi (Milram) is on the front, working at 85%
of his maximum HR.
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) is surrounded
by his entire team, about 20 riders back in the peloton.
16:04 CEST 136km/61km to go
Robbie McEwen has
moved up towards the front, staying out of trouble. Two of his teammates are
in discussion in second and third wheel.
Simoni is helped by a couple
of teammates as he increases the humidity in his vicinity at the back of the
16:07 CEST 140km/57km to go
Christian Knees and
Mirco Lorenzetto (Team Milram) lead the bunch now, with Jan Kuyckx and Preben
van Hecke (Davitamon) next in line. They've brought the gap back to 2'45, and
it's slowly but surely coming down. There is very little chance that this break
will stay clear, but maybe a counter attack will make things interesting.
Yesterday's prologue was a small
surprise for Team CSC leader Ivan Basso, who finished 13th, 23 seconds behind
Savoldelli. "I had hoped for more, but I wouldn't exactly say I'm disappointed,"
Basso said to team-csc.com. "Realistically, I'd expected to be about
four or five seconds faster, but I guess today wasn't my day. But there are
a lot of tough stages ahead, and I'm not worried about the time I lost to Savoldelli
today. It's plain to see that he's in great shape, but at the same time he is
a specialist in this particular discipline. The Giro is rolling now and there's
still a very very long way to Milan."
16:13 CEST 144km/53km to go
The leaders are now
on the climb to Silenrieux, and it's Labbe who accelerates with half a km to
go to take the points by a big margin. He does it all in the big ring.
16:15 CEST 145km/52km to go
Delage takes second
ahead of Albizuri and Missaglia, some 25 seconds behind Labbe. The leader sits
up and refuels.
The bunch makes its way up the climb at a solid pace,
with one of the Davitamons leading.
16:18 CEST 147km/50km to go
Kuyckx leads the
bunch over at 2'32 behind Labbe, with one of the Euskaltels getting a small
gap, presumably to commune with nature.
Missaglia discusses matters
with Labbe, possibly relating to his previous attack for the climbing points.
The Frenchman isn't too concerned. He'll have the green jersey at the end of
16:25 CEST 152km/45km to go
The chase is not
hard, but it is relentless. The four leaders have been out in front since km
23, and the cold and wet would have taken its toll. The roads are dry now, but
the legs will be feeling it. The leaders are all pedaling biggish gears, normally
a indication of tiredness.
Gianni Savio is a happy man today.
His Selle Italia team has been prominent in the break with Missaglia, and still
holds the virtual maglia rosa.
Marc De Maar (Rabobank) sheds his
rain jacket and gives it back to the team car.
A reader has asked whether the first
official sighting of cows coincided with Fabio Sacchi's turn on the front of
the bunch. The significance there is of course Sacchi's team: Milram. Maybe
the question should be, were they Milram cows?
We may never
16:33 CEST 157km/40km to go
The riders are now
on a two lane highway, with the big peloton closing in on the four breakaways.
They are all getting tired now, missing some turns. Delage looks right and sees
cows. At least they'll get a tailwind now.
The average after four
hours: 39.3 km/h
16:36 CEST 158km/39km to go
The leaders are under
40 km to go now, as they hold 2'03 over the peloton. They've just passed an
old military plane museum.
Delage attacks to take a sprint, but then
realises rather foolishly that it was the 40km to go banner...
Nick Gates (Davitamon) is leading
the bunch, with a couple of Milrams in tow, then many Discoverys. 1'53 to the
four out in front.
The finish today in Marcinelle was
the scene of terrible mine disaster on August 8, 1956, where a fire took the
lives of 262 mine workers 50 years ago.
Also, today is Paolo Savoldelli's
birthday! He was given a cake at the stage start in Mons today, toasting his
33rd birthday, although it wasn't surprising to see him pass it off to one of
the Discovery Channel soigneurs after blowing out the candles. Mmm...cake...
16:41 CEST 162km/35km to go
The leaders pass
through Florennes and under a railway bridge. The peloton continues to get closer,
splitting and reforming around various traffic obstacles. The gap is only 1'24
now, and the bunch is in a line.
16:44 CEST 164km/33km to go
Delage munches on
an energy bar, looking pretty relaxed after such a long day in the saddle. Missaglia
is back with his team car, asking for guidance. He rides past the other three,
who don't bother to chase him.
Albizuri was on the front when Missaglia
rode by (it was only a stealth attack), and the two Frenchman weren't particularly
interested in closing the gap. Now Albizuri is chasing Missaglia alone.
16:47 CEST 167km/30km to go
Missaglia gets some
protection from the crosswind by the moto sitting next to him. Meanwhile, Albizuri
gets nothing except the wind. However, Missaglia waits for him, somewhat impatiently.
16:48 CEST 168km/29km to go
Albizuri is finally
back with the Italian, after a hard chase. Now Missaglia accelerates and the
Basque has to hurt a bit to hold his wheel. The bunch is still over a minute
behind the two leaders: 1'37 with 30 km to go. The chase has died a bit.
Delage and Labbe are now absorbed
by the agglomeration of riders behind them.
Miholjevic is sitting
at 51% of his maximum, after the pace eased off there for a bit.
16:51 CEST 171km/26km to go
Albizuri is looking
a bit knackered, but he comes through for a turn. Missaglia is definitely the
strong man today. They enter Mettet, and it takes them a few minutes to pass
16:53 CEST 172km/25km to go
25 clicks to go and
we still have two leaders: Gabriele Missaglia (Selle Italia) and Beñat Albizuri
(Euskaltel-Euskadi). They have a minute and a half over the peloton, which will
now up the tempo to bring them back with 10-15 km to go.
16:54 CEST 174km/23km to go
CSC has moved up
Basso to the front of the peloton, just behind the combined Milram/Davitamon
chase. There are only four riders working, but that's all that's necessary with
a small group in front.
The tall Alessandro Vanotti is leading
the chase at the moment, with Gates and Kuyckx behind.
16:58 CEST 176km/21km to go
The two leaders hang
a right hander turn and the bunch can just see them. The pace is definitely
on now. Savoldelli sits in the front bit of the peloton, behind a couple of
Knees leads the bunch around the corner, 47 seconds behind
The leaders hit a small climb, and
it hurts now. Missaglia continues to do the work in front.
gets out of the saddle on the climb as the bunch closes in. Van Hecke sits second
wheel. Beltrán is up there too, protecting Savoldelli.
17:01 CEST 177km/20km to go
The lead pair go
under 20 km to go, and Albizuri looks back and sees the bunch just 13 seconds
17:02 CEST 178km/19km to go
Another little climb,
and this could be it for the break. Albizuri rides up next to Missaglia and
thanks him for waiting earlier. They are passed by Vanotti and the rest of the
17:04 CEST 180km/17km to go
Vanotti keeps the
tempo high, and he has plenty of support from the Davitamon riders too. It's
going to be very hard to attack now.
Miholjevic's heart rate has
moved up to 63% of max, at a speed of 58 km/h. I don't believe that was on a
17:05 CEST 181km/16km to go
The crowds get bigger
as we near the finish. The final part of today's stage is downhill, and with
two teams controlling things, it's going to be very hard to get away.
17:08 CEST 182km/15km to go
The GC riders move
up to the front too, to stay out of trouble. This is always a very nervous part
of the stage. Davitamon-Lotto and Milram have control, with Discovery setting
up a train on another track to protect Savoldelli.
17:09 CEST 183km/14km to go
They're now passing
through Châtelet at a brisk tempo. At least the roads are quite dry now, and
there won't be any extra surprises in the sprint...
64 km/h for Miholjevic at 73% of
his max HR. Imagine how fast he could go at 100 percent?
17:10 CEST 187km/10km to go
Vanotti leads the
bunch under 10 km to go, and the speed is very high. They go over the Sambre.
17:11 CEST 188km/9km to go
Christian Knees hammers
with several Davitamons behind him. The finish at Marcinelle is approaching.
Paolo Bettini has moved to the front
with a teammate. He's spinning a pretty low gear too. Petacchi's train has formed...
17:14 CEST 190km/7km to go
It looks like a McEwen/Petacchi
battle in Marcinelle today, but maybe one of the others can surprise. The front
of the peloton has changed a bit, with Wielinga (Quick.Step) doing a turn. So
Bettini has a cunning plan today...
They funnel through a narrow corner,
then up a hill. The Milram boys are still together, although Petacchi is not
on the back of the train. He's with McEwen, a few wheels back.
17:16 CEST 191km/6km to go
Now Discovery puts
a couple of men on the front with Savoldelli in third, then Bettini. Cunego
moves up, along with Basso.
A Rabobank rider crashes face first:
Kolobnev. Miraculously, he's not too badly hurt and he is up and riding again.
He put out his arms just in time.
17:17 CEST 192km/5km to go
Ekimov now does a
turn as they go under 5 km to go. Now it's a rush to control things.
17:17 CEST 193km/4km to go
leads the whole Milram train, with Bettini right up there ahead of Savoldelli.
17:18 CEST 194km/3km to go
Sacchi is now at 89%
of his maximum, and is definitely in the firing line in front of the bunch.
They go around a roundabout, and through Charleroi. Milram has six riders in
front, including Petacchi. Then McEwen.
17:20 CEST 195km/2km to go
Philippe Gilbert (FDJ)
and Fabrizio Guidi (Phonak) are sitting next to McEwen. Nearly a crash on another
roundabout. That strings it out. No-one fell though, but plenty lost time. Bettini
gives Förster a grope on the behind. Or maybe just a push.
17:20 CEST 195.5km/1.5km to go
The corners are
making it tricky, but the finishing straight is 1.6 km long. They're on it now.
Four Milrams, then Petacchi, McEwen...
17:21 CEST 196km/1km to go
One Milram pulls off.
Brown has McEwen's wheel, then Pollack is up there for
Three Milrams left for Petacchi.
It's the ideal lead out. Two left. Petacchi is still tailed by McEwen. Bettini
tries to move up, as do Pollack and Korff.
17:22 CEST 197km/0km to go
Ongarato leads out
Petacchi until 200m, but Petacchi can't do it. He hits the wind too early. It's
McEwen who does it!!! Pollack second, then Bettini in a very tight finish. Petacchi
took fourth, disappointed.
It was Pollack who pre-empted Petacchi's
final move, and McEwen reacted quickly to jump past and take the stage win by
a bike length. It was very very close for second, but Pollack appears to have
gotten it from Bettini.
The general classification doesn't change,
and Paolo Savoldelli still has the pink jersey with 11 seconds advantage over
Brad McGee (FDJ), and 13 seconds over Jose E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak). Savoldelli
also has the points and mountains jerseys, so Labbe missed out there.
That's all from Marcinelle. We'll bid you farewell until tomorrow, and dream
of brass bands...
1 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 4.51.40
2 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team
3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic
4 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram
5 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone
6 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) AG2R Prevoyance
7 Alberto Loddo (Ita) Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni
8 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9 Axel Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
10 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
11 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner
12 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole
13 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux
14 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas
15 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
16 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
General classification after stage 2
1 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel 4.59.30
2 Bradley Mcgee (Aus) Française des Jeux 0.11
3 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.13
4 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner
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