89th Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 6-28, 2006
Results & report
Stage 15 - Monday, May 22: Mergozzo - Brescia, 189 km
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones with additional reporting from Anthony Tan
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:10 CEST
This dead-flat sprinters' stage to
Brescia is probably the easiest stage of the 2005 Giro and the last chance until
Milano for the fast men to fire. With Petacchi and McEwen out, T-Mobile's Olaf
Pollack will undoubtedly be looking for a win to secure something for his efforts
so far in this year's Giro.
Welcome to today's 15th stage between
Mergozzo and Brescia, a small oasis in the mountain stages to come. There are
no climbs today, and the 110 Gazzetta sprint point is at km 89.4 in Cesano Maderno,
just north of Milan.
14:35 CEST 78km/111km to go
Today's stage started
at 12:50 with 167 riders. Axel Merckx (Phonak) didn't sign on. The early attacks
resulted in Christophe Edalaine (Credit Agricole) jump clear after 23 km, joined
by Ivan Mayoz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Gustav Larsson (Française des Jeux) and Gabriele
Missaglia (Selle Italia). The group covered 45.3 km in the first hour, building
up a lead of 3'40 at that point.
Paolo Bettini's Quick.Step men
have been riding on the front, allowing the gap to grow to 1'14 after 73 km.
14:49 CEST 87km/102km to go
The four leaders
increase their advantage to 5'15 after 80 km, but as they approach the Gazzetta
sprint, it's come back to 3'35.
None of these riders presents even
a remote threat to Ivan Basso and the CSC team, as Gustav Erik Larsson is the
best placed on GC at 1:14:55 behind. But it's up to Quick.Step and perhaps T-Mobile
to do the work today, as it's a good chance for Bettini and Pollack.
15:01 CEST 92km/97km to go
Mayoz comes across
the line in Cesano Maderno to win the Gazzetta 110 sprint ahead of Edalaine,
Larsson and Missaglia. The group's lead is now 4'02, having covered over 90
km in the first two hours.
15:12 CEST 100km/89km to go
The temperature and
conditions are perfect for racing today. It's expected to reach a maximum of
25 degrees, with winds from ESE at 7-15 km/h, which means a light head all day.
Quick.Step has got the four leaders pegged at 3'45.
T-Mobile and Milram are also assisting
the chase behind the four in front.
Big Gustav Larsson rolls through
for his turn, keeping the tempo up in the break.
15:17 CEST 105km/84km to go
Danilo di Luca drops
to the back of the peloton for a chat and a bidon from his team car. Meanwhile,
the sprinters teams of Quick.Step, T-Mobile and Milram have the situation well
under control. Garrido chats to his captain Bettini, who has a musette draped
over his shoulders.
15:22 CEST 116km/73km to go
The peloton is quite
strung out as it rides through the outskirts of Vimacarte, having allowed the
leaders 4'28. With three teams chasing, the chances of this break staying away
are near zero. What we need is a train crossing!
15:28 CEST 120km/69km to go
In the break, Missaglia
takes time to refuel with an energy drink. He's one candidate to take over in
the Trofeo Fuga Piaggio classification. That rewards the riders who are in breakaways
for the longest, with the points scored equalling the number of kilometres spent
in a break (as long as the break isn't too big). The winner of that gets a scooter.
Missaglia has 146 points, but the leader of this classification on 207 points
is Christophe Edalaine, who is also in the break. Maybe the Frenchman wants
to do more motorpacing after the Giro.
Three T-Mobiles take their turn on
the front - Rabon, Ludewig and Davis, then Ghisalberti for Milram.
Patrick Calcagni (Liquigas) is sitting on about 70% of his maximum heart rate,
travelling at 46 km/h.
15:33 CEST 124km/65km to go
Ongarato (65% of
max) and Pinotti (71% of max) are also not finding it easy in the peloton, which
is quite strung out in pursuit of the break. It's a little early for a full
on chase, but the front 20 riders are all in one line. Maglia rosa Ivan Basso
looks serene, as usual.
15:37 CEST 127km/62km to go
With Rujano out of
the race, Selle Italia is now working for Loddo (sprint) and Belli (GC). They
move Loddo up to the front.
Juan Manuel Garate is riding with a bandaged
right elbow and knee, a result of a crash in recent days.
15:39 CEST 128km/61km to go
The gap has come
down to 3'42, from 4'28. The peloton is probably putting the pace on to get
the break back to between 1 and 2 minutes, then it can leave them out there
until the final 10-15 km and increase the tempo to a) chase down the leaders
and b) stop any others from attacking.
15:43 CEST 132km/57km to go
The peloton rides
across a bridge spanning a river as Marco Pinotti attacks from the bunch. Not
sure why, as the break isn't that close - maybe he's going to meet his family.
Pinotti is having to work for it, sitting on 85% of his max.
15:45 CEST 134km/55km to go
In the front group,
Missaglia gets a bottle from both directors in the Selle Italia car.
Pinotti waves to some fans, so he's obviously on home ground today.
15:47 CEST 136km/53km to go
Pinotti is happy
as he rides past his people, stopping and greeting his partner as the peloton
rolls by. No time for anything more than that. There's a race on.
15:49 CEST 139km/50km to go
Engels, Davis, Scarselli,
Knees, Gonchar, Rabon, and three more Milram riders lead the peloton. Ongarato's
heart rate is now down to 53% of his max at 42 km/h.
chasing back on through the caravan.
The average speed after three hours
is still a brisk 44.8 km/h. The Giro has definitely changed in the last two
years, as the Italian-dominated races tended to do the first two or three hours
at 30 km/h.
Maybe that's why the climbers like Simoni and Cunego
are getting pummelled so much, because the pace is so high on the flat that
they need to use more reserves than the bigger riders to keep up. That's my
theory, given free of charge.
15:55 CEST 141km/48km to go
Jan Ullrich is rolling
along, near the front of the bunch, looking at least as relaxed as Basso. He's
not spinning at the moment though.
16:00 CEST 145km/44km to go
The gap goes down
to 3'25 as the break approaches the final 40 km. Less than an hour of racing
to go, and the peloton is starting to string out again.
16:05 CEST 147km/42km to go
It's under three
minutes now, and we can expect the three sprinters teams to keep the tempo up
from now on. It's still pretty relaxed in the bulk of the peloton.
Discovery moves Savoldelli up to
the front of the bunch, where T-Mobile is still there with their three riders.
The breakaways aren't giving up, of course. They're still working smoothly as
their advantage falls to 2'40.
It's a beautiful day out there as
the bunch rides past endless fields on the flatlands in this northern part of
16:12 CEST 149km/40km to go
The leaders go under
40 km to go, and have less than two and a half minutes lead. There are hardly
even any corners today. It's a classic sprinters' stage.
16:14 CEST 151km/38km to go
The bunch goes under
40 km to go 2'32 behind the break.
Missaglia leads it now, the smallest
man in the lead group.
Jan Ullrich goes to the back of the
bunch to pick up a bunch of bidons for his hard working teammates in front.
He puts one in each pocket, and hands them off as he cruises up the right hand
Der Jan finishes off his job with
a coke for Scott Davis: "Don't want it" Ullrich shrugs and chugs it down.
16:23 CEST 156km/33km to go
The leaders again:
Christophe Edalaine (Credit Agricole), Ivan Mayoz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Gustav
Larsson (Française des Jeux) and Gabriele Missaglia (Selle Italia). They escaped
after 23 km and have been away for 133 km.
The bunch splits on a
roundabout, and reforms.
Savio hands a can of coke to Missaglia.
Koen de Kort (Liberty) sits on 61% of his max at 45 km/h.
16:28 CEST 159km/30km to go
Under 30 km to go,
and the lead is still around 2'15. T-Mobile and Milram are at the front, chasing,
with a couple of Quick.Steps still there. Milram has the biggest presence, trying
to get one of their sprinters, Rigotto or Lorenzetto in the firing line.
16:34 CEST 162km/27km to go
Gonchar and Rabon
are both sporting bandages from crashes. Many riders do at this stage of the
16:36 CEST 166km/23km to go
Ongarato (another good sprinter) is on 116/185 (62% of max) at 44km/h as the
bunch goes under 25 km to go. 2'18 is the gap, but now things should increase
if the sprinters are serious about winning today (and they appear to be).
16:38 CEST 168km/21km to go
Rabon drives the
bunch through Rovato, with Scott Davis on his wheel. Scott is the older bro
of Allan Davis, who is the faster of the two.
16:41 CEST 169km/20km to go
The leaders are now
under 20km to go, and can probably start to believe in their chances a little.
Two minutes is handy, but the bunch has the advantage in this sort of flat terrain
with a headwind.
16:44 CEST 171km/18km to go
Well, the pace has
suddenly increased, and the bunch goes under 20 km to go just 1'36 behind the
If anyone is wondering why Milram has been working in the
sprints, it's because despite losing Petacchi, they've got three half decent
sprinters: Lorenzetto, Rigotto and Ongarato. The latter is sitting on 68% of
his max now. Milram could probably leave all the work to T-Mobile and Quick.Step,
but it's still good training and practice for when Petacchi returns, and that's
what they're paid for. The Milram train hasn't been as good as, say, the Fassa
Bortolo train of years past.
16:46 CEST 173km/16km to go
The peloton is strung
out at the back, but there's still a bit of a bunch just behind the front 15
riders. Ullrich sits well back, not getting involved in today's sprint.
Over the autostrada, and the four
leaders are just 1'03 ahead of the bunch.
16:48 CEST 174km/15km to go
The leaders go under
15 km to go as they ride along the main road, two lanes to themselves. Now the
bunch comes through just 38 seconds behind.
16:50 CEST 175km/14km to go
that it's over soon, but the break continues to work.
has crashed, but is OK.
Scarselli, one of the Quick.Step workers,
sits on 158/190 (83% of max) at 47 km/h.
16:51 CEST 176km/13km to go
The leaders exit
one highway and enter another one, bound for Brescia.
(Discovery Channel) punctures. Saunier Duval has moved up to the front.
16:54 CEST 177km/12km to go
The battle for position
begins in the bunch as the break starts to come back very quickly. The gap is
no more than 15 seconds.
White has rejoined the bunch.
16:54 CEST 179km/10km to go
The pace picks up,
with the same riders from T-mobile, Quick.Step and Milram expending themselves.
Under 10 km to go, and the gap is just 9 seconds.
16:55 CEST 180km/9km to go
The leaders exit the
highway and ride along a smaller road towards Brescia, with the bunch breathing
heavily down their necks.
16:57 CEST 181km/8km to go
The break is caught
with around 9 km to go, having been away for 157 km. Larsson, Edalaine, Missaglia
and Mayoz sink back into the peloton, which is now at 56 km/h.
heart rate is up to 91% of max, as one would expect at this speed.
Jan Kuyckx attacks with Garate on
his wheel, but they get about 5 metres as Garate's teammate keeps the tempo
high in the peloton. Garate was there as a stopped for Bettini. It's still 57
16:59 CEST 184km/5km to go
Bettini sits behind
the Milram riders, who have the better train. Now T-Mobile takes over with 5
km to go.
Baguet and Garate are still up there
for Quick.Step, then Ludewig and...Der Jan.
17:00 CEST 185km/4km to go
Baguet a long turn
in front, then Ullrich sits ready.
17:01 CEST 186km/3km to go
Behind, the manoeuvres
are starting for Bettini's wheel. Baguet does a very long turn. Quick.Step have
no real sprinter to lead out Bettini, but they do their work in the final kilometres
to keep the pace high.
Ullrich does a very short turn, then Rabon
empties the tank.
Bettini sits on Ongarato's wheel,
with Pollack close behind. Vogels has moved up to Bettini's wheel too, and Hayman.
17:03 CEST 187km/2km to go
Guidi is up there
for PHonak, and Förster moves up, taking the wind to sit beside the Milram train.
Now Ullrich lifts the tempo with a crushing turn.
17:03 CEST 188km/1km to go
Ullrich swings off
and Sacchi comes through for Milram, with three teammates in tow. Right hander,
then nearly in the final kilometre. Bettini still has Ongarato's wheel. He is
quicker than the Italian.
Ongarato is already on 94% of max
at 55 km/h
17:04 CEST 188km/1km to go
Final kilometre, and
FDJ comes up to the front with Arnaud Gerard.
Around a roundabout, and into the
final straight. FDJ tanks. Milram takes over again.
Milram leads it out for Ongarato,
and Bettini waits on his wheel. Then Loddo, Förster, who jumps first.
17:05 CEST 189km/0km to go
Loddo goes on the
right side, but is boxed in, then Pollack and Bettini go head to head and Bettini
gets it, just. Finally, success for Il Grillo.
Ongarato was going OK until Loddo
came up to him on the inside and pushed him. It was all Bettini and Pollack
though. Förster was third ahead of Vogels. You can see the disappointment on
the Milram riders' faces as their man didn't quite make it.
speed at the finish was 70 km/h.
No changes to the GC, of course.
It's all over, red rover for today.
Bettini wins the stage and increases his lead in the points classification,
but he'll have to work for that, as the next two stages are in the mountains,
and Savoldelli and Basso will take some points back from the Quick.Step man.
Until tomorrow's 16th stage then, ciao!
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic 4.15.42
2 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team
3 Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
4 Henk Vogels (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
5 Axel Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
6 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems
7 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone
8 Alberto Loddo (Ita) Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni
General classification after stage 15
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 59.44.07
2 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 3.27
3 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 5.30
4 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni 7.35
5 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 8.00
6 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 8.01
7 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 8.14
8 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 8.35
9 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 8.58
10 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 10.36
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