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90th Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 12-June 3, 2007

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Stage 15 - Sunday, May 27: Trento - Tre Cime Di Lavaredo, 184 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown and Tim Maloney in Trento

Live coverage starts: 14:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST

14:09 CEST   
Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the stage of all 2007 Giro stage, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo [insert echo].

14:11 CEST   
For Stage 15, the Giro transitions east to the Dolomiti Mountains for a mythical, monumental Sunday for the big stage, or "tappone" of the 90th Giro d'Italia.

Starting in the Trento, the capital of the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige, stage 15 rolls north through the vineyards of the Adige River Valley for 35 kilometres, then turns right at Ora to ascend to the Val di Fiemme, through Moena and up the first climb of the steep 11.8-kilometre ascent of Passo San Pellegrino, then down to the Val di Cadore, up and over the even steeper (9.4% average) 9.8-kilometre ascent of the 2236m Passo Giau and then down to the world-famous mountain resort city of Cortina d'Ampezzo with 22 kilometres still to race.

Stage 15 then heads northeast from Cortina, first climbing the eight-kilometre ascent of Passo Tre Croci, then making the final assault on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo from Misurina. Only 7.2 kilometres long, the super-steep ascent averages 7.6% with pitches up to 20%. This climb is where the climbers of Saunier Duval, Piepoli and Simoni, will look to gain time on Maglia Rosa Di Luca and Damiano Cunego.

Today’s climbs:
Passo San Pellegrino (km 81.2 to 93.0, average 6.4%, max 14%)
Passo Giau (km 135.7 to 145.5, 9.4%, 14%)
Passo Tre Croci (km 162.1 to 170.1, 7.2%, 12%)
Tre Cime di Lavaredo (km 176.9 to 184, 7.6%, 18%)

Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

14:15 CEST   
It was raining all morning in Trento but thirty minutes before the start the riders nervously were taking off their leg-warmers and capes. Then they rolled out on the wet roads at 11.15 under partly-cloudy skies. The storm front is supposed to be moving to the east, into the Dolomiti mountains, so they might catch up with the bad weather. Not starting with the 146 riders this morning was Wim Van Huffel (Predictor-Lotto).

GIBO GIBO GIBO!!! We heard many cheers for Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir) this morning, 'Vai Gibo' and 'Dai Simoni.' The two-time Giro Champ comes the Trento area.

We noted that the riders looked very nervous, and they should be. This is the fourth hard day of racing in a row. Yesterday was supposed to be a form of a transitional stage but instead it was full-throttle racing.

14:17 CEST   
To recap: The first hour, run off at 42.6km/h, produced the day's first escape. 22 riders moved free at kilometre 21. By kilometre 33 they had 3'00" and that shot up to near four minutes at kilometre 40. Tuscan sprinter Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval-Prodir) called it a Giro and pulled out at kilometre 38.

The 22 riders pushed the gap further as they reached the base of the day's first of four GPM climbs. In Moena (km 81.2) they had 6'52" in hand for the start of the 11.8-kilometre Passo San Pellegrino.

Raivis Belohvosciks (Saunier Duval-Prodir) immediately started putting the icing on the pain cake as the 22 went up Pellegrino. His moves put Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom) and then Loyd Mondory (Ag2r Prévoyance) in difficulty.

14:23 CEST   
Recapping: The average after the second hour was 38.1km/h. Astana and Saunier Duval were leading the peloton with Maglia Rosa Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas). The pace forced a second move off the front (by km 87) with Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) and Ivan Parra (Cofidis).

14:29 CEST   
Serguei Yakovlev (Astana) abandoned the race at km 87.

With five kilometres to go to the top of San Pellegrino the, now, group of 19 had 4'00" on the Piepoli gruppo and 4'30" on Di Luca's group. Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom), who was dropped from the main escape, was picked up by the chase, as it brought the gap down to 2'00" two kilometres later, three kilometres to the summit.

At one kilometre to go to the GPM, Drancourt further dropped, the chase had 58" on the original escape, and it crossed the top at 1'03" back, the Gruppo Maglia Rosa 3'43" back.

14:33 CEST   
recapping... The front 19, with Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic), Lilian Jegou (Française Des Jeux), Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital), David Cañada (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Daniele Contrini (Tinkoff Credit Systems), hammered down the back side, heading east, towards the feed-zone in Cencenighe Agordino, km 111.5. Piepoli's group was chasing and catching on...

14:37 CEST   
The Piepoli gruppo caught the original escape at kilometre 115 to form a move of 21 riders.

The average after three hours of hard racing was 36.0km/h.

14:38 CEST    119km/65km to go
Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) and Lilian Jegou (Française Des Jeux) are suffering, as too is Parra's teammate, Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis).

14:41 CEST    119km/65km to go
Loyd Mondory (Ag2r Prévoyance) is now caught by the Gruppo Maglia Rosa.. Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval-Prodir), the second Saunier today with Mori, abandons.

14:43 CEST   
The front three over San Pellegrino were Fortunato Baliani (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Josep Jufré (Predictor-Lotto) and Pietro Caucchioli (Crédit Agricole).

American Aaron Olson (T-Mobile) is also in the front move!

14:44 CEST    127km/57km to go
Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff Credit Systems) is also in the front move, pumping along.

14:49 CEST   
David Cañada, Leonardo Piepoli, Riccardo Riccò are up to something here. They will be available to Simoni if he pulls the throttle on the finale climbs.

Riccò is the highest placed GC rider in the escape, at 6'54" behind Di Luca.

Cañada is now pumping hard on the front of the escape.

14:51 CEST   
Here is the complete group of 18: Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic), David Cañada (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital), Josep Jufré (Predictor-Lotto), Daniele Contrini (Tinkoff Credit Systems), Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r Prévoyance), Fortunato Baliani (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Pietro Caucchioli (Crédit Agricole), Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Ivan Parra (Cofidis), Volodymyr Bileka (Discovery Channel), Aketza Peña (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), Christian Knees (Milram), Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff Credit Systems), Aaron Olson (T-Mobile)

14:53 CEST   
Snow is falling at the finish.

14:55 CEST    129km/55km to go
David Cañada is working so hard on the front of this escape as they climb up the Colle di Santa Lucia, the 1435m climb that leads to Giau, at 2236m.

We have word that King Eddy Merckx, a past winner here on the Tre Cime, is at the race today.

14:59 CEST   
We stopped at kilometre 129 and did a time check of the riders on the front 18. Stefano Zanini (Predictor-Lotto) is at 45" back, Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis) are at 2'05", Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) at 3'20" and the Gruppo Maglia Rosa at 4'05".

15:06 CEST    136km/48km to go
We are in Selva di Cadore and the climb to Giau has started. Piepoli leads with Riccò on his wheel. Some of the other escapees are in trouble, like Knees, Bettini and Contrini.

15:07 CEST   
Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital) is also being dropped.

15:08 CEST   
Di Luca has four Acid-green Liquigas men on the front as they start starting the Giau. Alessandro Spezialetti and Charles Wegelius (Liquigas) are driving on the front.

15:09 CEST   
Commesso, Olson and Cañada are being dropped.

15:11 CEST    137km/47km to go
Charles Wegelius (Liquigas) has his arm-warmers down and he is out of the saddle, huffing for Di Luca. He has a cap under his helmet... A perfect professional on the bike. Vai Charley!

15:12 CEST   
The Di Luca group is 3'15" back. Savoldelli is now at the front of that group.

While these riders have been dropped from the front move:
Volodymyr Bileka (Discovery Channel)
Josep Jufré (Predictor-Lotto)
Pietro Caucchioli (Crédit Agricole)
Christian Knees (Milram)
Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff Credit Systems)
Aaron Olson (T-Mobile)
Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic)
David Cañada (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital)
Daniele Contrini (Tinkoff Credit Systems)

15:16 CEST   
Piepoli continues to lead the move.

Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital) and Patxi Vila (Lampre-Fondital) are dropping off the chase group; both Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) and Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) are now without teammates! Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana) and Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) are leading. Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir) is tucked in there.

Garzelli is falling off the pace.

15:16 CEST   
Andy Schleck (Team CSC) is there too, being followed by baby-face Domenico Pozzovivo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare).

15:17 CEST    140km/44km to go
Schleck has a moment of bike problems but continues.

15:18 CEST   
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Fortunato Baliani (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Aketza Peña (Euskaltel-Euskadi) are our front-runners.

15:19 CEST   
Piepoli has further pushed the pace and dropped others. We now have Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Ivan Parra (Cofidis). It is 3'10" back to Di Luca's group.

15:21 CEST   
Riccò is looking back. The COBRA! Riccardo Riccò!

15:22 CEST   
Bruseghin is pumping the pace to re-join. You can see his breath. OH! This is going to be a long day for some!

15:24 CEST   
So far for today Savoldelli looks good. His helmet straps are hanging very low; the mechanics should really trim those up! Come on! He is a two-time Giro Champ.

Bettini is pedalling squares and will be picked up by the Gruppo Maglia Rosa very soon.

15:24 CEST   
It is great to see Parra riding so well after two years of absence.

15:27 CEST    142km/42km to go
Piepoli is asking for water. Parra pushes him on the butt to get him to go again. Vai Leo! They are 3.5km from the 'cima' of Giau.

Hmm... what is Saunier up to?

15:28 CEST   
Bang! White Lighting! Schleck is marking Di Luca. Both of the boys are without teammates but the young Luxemburger is really shaping up to be a dark (white) horse in this 90° Giro.

15:31 CEST    143.5km/40.5km to go
Magic Mexican Pérez makes us laugh! He takes Didi the Devil's trident and pokes Piepoli on the backside! We are laughing here in the Cyclingnews Ferrari.

It is working, the four are keeping 3'28" on a fatigued Di Luca.

15:33 CEST   
Why is Savoldelli helping Di Luca?

Maybe we should flash back to 2005. On the penultimate stage two years ago he was left alone without helpers in the front group on the 7.9 kilometres climb of Finestre, on the 'strada bianca' gravel road. He had also run out of water. It was to narrow for the cars to be right behind. Savoldelli then asked Di Luca for a sip which was granted and Savoldelli could hang on and win the Giro.

15:34 CEST    144km/40km to go
Parra is freezing and grabs his red cape. The superman could jump up in this last kilometre to grab the maximum GPM points.

15:36 CEST   
The Killer is leading a select group at 2'45". With Di Luca is Schleck, Cunego, Mazzoleni, Savoldelli and Signor Simoni.

15:38 CEST   
Piepoli reaches down and pulls up his arm-warmers on his little arms. He is feeling the cold winds here at the top of the Giau.

We don't feel anything. I have the tinted windows rolled up on this Cyclingnews Ferrari with T-Rex playing in the background along with the Race Radio.

15:38 CEST   
Here comes the GPM. Riccò is leading, then Piepoli, Magic Mexicano Pérez and Parra.

15:40 CEST   
Piepoli now is putting on his yellow jacket. What a pro! He is now ready to blast down the descent, almost 20 kilometres of downhill.

The order over the Giau GPM was Piepoli and then Riccò, Pérez and Parra.

15:41 CEST   
Di Luca leads the chase. His skin is the colour of his leader's jersey. He has no arm-warmers on. He better button up for the descent.

15:42 CEST    145.5km/38.5km to go
At -50m to the top he takes a black cape. They cross at 2'28" behind the front four.

15:43 CEST   
Paolo Savoldelli (Astana), Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) and others cross at 3'21"

Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:51 CEST   
Garzelli passes the Giau GPM at 7'57". The rider from Varese is having an off-day after his winning day in Bergamo.

15:56 CEST    154km/30km to go
Our leaders have passed the -30km marker. Il Falco has pulled back 50" in six kilometres of free-fall descending; he is now back up with Maglia Rosa Di Luca. Mazzoleni is where with him.

Di Luca is back 3'00" on the Piepoli. He has lost about 30" on that 8.5km of descending.

16:01 CEST   
We have not seen Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir) all day. We believe he is a few minutes behind the Di Luca/Simoni gruppo.

Imagine the on-the-job skills young Riccò is learning from master Piepoli. Leo is rocking (likely to T-Rex's Jeepster) and The Cobra is latched right on.

16:01 CEST   
Savoldelli and Teammate Mazzoleni turns the screws on Di Luca. Il Falco flies and they catch up with Baliani and Rasmussen! Amazing!

16:04 CEST    163km/21km to go
Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir), in that order, go through the Garibaldi sprint at km 162.1 in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

16:06 CEST    164km/20km to go
The gap is 2'33" from the leaders to Savoldelli and Mazzoleni and 3'02" to the Gruppo Maglia Rosa.

But wait, Il Falco seems to be suffering.

Rain has started to come down on our freshly waxed Ferrari.

16:09 CEST   
Petrov and Arroyo lead on the start of the Tre Croci. They are 3'14" back.

16:18 CEST   
Mazzoleni, pro since 1995, is at 1'10". He really looks tired but he keeps closing the gap to the front four on this 7.9-kilometre climb. Did you know that he was named 'Eddy' because his parents loved the Belgian Eddy Merckx?

In the Maglia Rosa Di Luca gruppo, at 3'29", at the start of the Tre Croci, are Cunego, Schleck, Simoni, Petrov, Arroyo, Domenico Pozzovivo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) and Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Josep Jufré (Predictor-Lotto).

Simoni is back near the team car and talking with DS Pietro Algeri.

16:19 CEST    168km/16km to go
We are about two kilometres from the top of the Tre Croci.

Arroyo is leading the chase.

16:25 CEST   
Eddy is pumping along. He is hoping to close this gap to the front four but they likely don't want the Bergamasco for company.

What is Gibo up to? Well, he is going to save his bullets for the Col Sant'Angelo and the following Tre Cime. Buckle your seat belts because there will be some blasts.

16:27 CEST    170.1km/13.9km to go
The order over the Tre Croci is Piepoli, Riccò, Parra and Pérez. Parra and Pérez must be thinking of the stage win, they are not going after the mountain points.

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

16:29 CEST   
The chase has nine riders, Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas), Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital), Andy Schleck (Team CSC), Evgeni Petrov (Tinkoff Credit Systems), Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne).

Di Luca tried a little dig but he then sat up.

16:31 CEST   
Gruppo Di Luca is losing time; it is at 4'00"!

16:34 CEST   
Parra puts in a light attack as the Col Sant'Angelo starts but he is pulled back by Piepoli.

Eddy M. is spraying water on his face. Maybe his glasses are fogging?

16:37 CEST   
Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana) is now only 1'24" behind the front four. The group of Di Luca is falling back. It is 4'36" behind the lead four. Eddy is about to take the Virtual Maglia Rosa.

Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir) attacks at the base of the final climb!

16:38 CEST    177.5km/6.5km to go
Riccò is on his own!

16:39 CEST   
Parra is pulling back Riccò. Piepoli is on the Colombian's wheel.

16:40 CEST   
Piepoli comes up to the front for this light descent in Misurina.

16:42 CEST   
Mazzoleni is the Virtual Maglia Rosa! He started the day 3'15" behind Di Luca and he is now 3'30" up on the Rider from Abruzzo.

Di Luca is leading the chase with White Lighting Schleck on his wheel.

16:42 CEST    179km/5km to go
Piepoli and co. are five kilometres from the top of Tre Cime.

16:43 CEST   
Rain is falling on the climb. This is epic. Little Pérez leads the four-man move.

16:45 CEST   
The crowd is THICK on this 7.16-km climb. They are cheering Eddy Mazzoleni towards the Maglia Rosa.

16:46 CEST   
Di Luca leads Schleck in the chase.

16:46 CEST    181km/3km to go
In the finale of this climb there is an 18% section.

16:47 CEST    181.5km/2.5km to go
Riccò is riding on the left of Pérez. The youngster is digging hard.

16:48 CEST   
Will Gibo attack Di Luca? Will Schleck try? Cunego looks too tired.

16:49 CEST   
Mazzoleni is at 1'15" and the gruppo Di Luca is at 3'54". Savoldelli and Arroyo are blown out the back. There is only Di Luca, Simoni, Schleck and Cunego there.

16:50 CEST   
Cunego punches it. Di Luca follows, then Schleck and Simoni.

16:51 CEST   
The front four are suffering. Heads are bobbing. They are at -1500m.

16:51 CEST   
Rasmussen has been caught by the Gruppo Maglia Rosa.

16:51 CEST    182km/2km to go
Eddy Mazzoleni is 1'27" behind.

16:52 CEST   
Di Luca Blasts!!!!!!!!!

16:52 CEST   
Schleck is chasing with Gibo and Cunego on his wheel.

16:53 CEST   
They looked blown! None of the riders have the glow of a top rider; they all seem to be suffering at the hands of Tre Cime. This is TERRIBLE! So painful to watch.

Di Luca keeps a small gap but is looking back to Gibo, who is closing.

16:54 CEST   
Gibo keeps a small distance to Di Luca. There are 2 kilometres to the finish for Di Luca.

16:54 CEST    182.7km/1.3km to go
Mazzoleni is at -1500m. He could get the pink tonight.

16:55 CEST    182.9km/1.1km to go
Riccò goes and he goes hard!

16:55 CEST    183km/1km to go
Parra counters!

16:56 CEST   
Parra is the expression of pain! Terrible. There is sweat and tears on the dark face of the Colombian. Riccò sticks with him. The young cobra.

16:56 CEST   
Di Luca is on his own. He is trying to close the gap to Eddy.

16:57 CEST   
Eddy looks smooth. Di Luca has that Killer look.

Parra is marked by Piepoli and Riccò. Pérez is gone!

16:58 CEST    183.5km/0.5km to go
One of the three will win the stage. They are riding side-by-side.

16:58 CEST   
Piepoli opens up at -375m.

16:58 CEST   
Riccò follows and Parra can't match the Saunier one-two.

16:58 CEST   
5:46' of racing and the two Saunier men are riding to victory.

16:59 CEST    183.9km/0.1km to go
This is a slow-mo, painful sprint!

16:59 CEST   
Riccò digs away. He will get it. Piepoli waves him on.

17:00 CEST   
It is Riccò, Piepoli, Parra, Pérez over the line.

17:00 CEST   
Eddy is at -200m.

17:02 CEST   
Mazzoleni comes in at 1'29" back. Di Luca is digging to save his Maglia Rosa.

17:02 CEST   
He is going to save it!

17:02 CEST   
Here comes the 31 year-old from Abruzzo. 2'54" back and he keeps the pink jersey.

17:05 CEST   
This was an amazing stage! We will remember it for ever!

17:05 CEST   
Here comes Sella, Savoldelli and Arroyo. They are in all sorts of pain!

Sella leads over the line, then Savoldelli and Arroyo.

17:10 CEST   
Riccò has added his name to the names of Gimondi, Merckx, Fuente, Breu and Herrera. Bravo Riccò!

17:12 CEST   
Thanks for joining Cyclingnews today. Very soon, we will have a full report and photos for you.

Provisional Results

1 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
2 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
3 Ivan Parra (Col) Cofidis
4 Julio Pérez (Mex) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
5 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Astana                          1.29
6 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas                        2.54
7 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir           3.29
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                 3.35
9 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
10 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Astana                       3.36
11 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
12 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas                      7.30
General classification after stage 15
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas
2 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Astana                           1.50
3 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
4 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital

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