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90th Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 12-June 3, 2007

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Stage 3 - Monday, May 14: Barumini - Cagliari, 181 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown, with Shane Stokes in Cagliari

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST

14:37 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of stage three of the 90th Giro d'Italia. This is the third and final day of the Grand Tour on the island of Sardinia.

Starting in south-central Sardinia in Barumini, near the famous ancient archeological site of Nuraghe su Nuraxi, Stage 3 loops south-east to the seaside, then races west to finish in Cagliari, where the tricky run-in through the city and the final 400 metres over rough pavé favours yesterday's stage winner, Rockin' Robbie McEwen.

After the stage, it's all-aboard as the Giro d'Italia caravan will transfer to the Italian mainland.

14:42 CEST   
We have a group of five that formed an escape at kilometre four. The young Giovanni Visconti (Quickstep-Innergetic) rocketed off the front and was quickly joined by Alexandre Pichot (Bouygues Telecom), Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff Credit Systems), Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis) and Elio Aggiano (Tinkoff Credit Systems).

By kilometre eight the escape, with two Tinkoff men, had two minutes. This jumped up to nearly four minutes by kilometre 19. In Nurri, kilometre 27.2, they had 4'50".

After the first hour of racing the average was 39.7 km/h and the five-man move had 6'20".

14:49 CEST   
Visconti is only 24 years-old. He is riding with Mikhail Ignatiev who just became 22 years-old last week. At the tender age of eighteen, Ignatiev took Olympic gold for his country on the track in Athens. This year 'Misha' has won a stage in the Tour Méditerranéen and the one-day Italian Classic, Trofeo Laigueglia. Read more about him in Cyclingnews' March interview.

14:58 CEST    31km/150km to go
The gap to the front five is now up to 5'40". Liquigas is leading the peloton.

15:04 CEST    60km/121km to go
The race has entered the town of Ballao the gap is now at 7'05".

15:06 CEST   
If any stage is made for sprinters it is today's. After the first hump at kilometre 20 the riders face a 160 downhill or flat run to the finish. Look for Ale-Jet Petacchi to get revenge today.

15:09 CEST   
David Zabriskie (Team CSC) did not have much to say at the start. "I am doing well. I am in the shape of my life. My goal in the race will be to win a stage," he commented to Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes.

15:14 CEST   
Some people might wonder how Danilo Di Luca got the pink jersey since Gasparotto got the same time.

Here is the rule that I found in the UCI regulations (Paragraph 2.6.015):
"Where two or more riders make the same time in the general individual time placings, the fractions of a second registered during individual time trials (including the prologue) shall be added back into the total time to decide the order."

Which doesn't apply here, but it continues:
"If the result is still tied or if there are no individual time trial stages the placings obtained in each stage shall be added and, as a last resort, the place obtained in the last stage ridden shall be taken into consideration."

Gasparotto didn't lose time but placings.

15:20 CEST   
Gasparotto had to give up his pink jersey but is now in the white jersey of best young rider, called the Maglia Bianca. It is a jersey that has been missing from the Giro for some years and only this year is making its return (at the expense of the blue Intergiro Jersey.)

15:25 CEST    95km/86km to go
Liquigas continues to lead the peloton but soon the sprinters' teams should take over.

Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff Credit Systems) looks so smooth on his machine. His back is parallel with the ground and he is pedalling with the ease that can only be developed on the track. Tinkoff Team Owner Oleg Tinkov will be very pleased with Ignatiev and Elio Aggiano's efforts.

The five are passing through the feedzone in Case Picci after 2 hours and 22 minutes of racing.

15:27 CEST   
Sprinter Graeme Brown (Rabobank) might have his chance today. He commented at the start, "I am feeling good. Yesterday I felt pretty strong, I only got dropped on the last climb and then just rolled in to the end. Personally I went a lot better than the results show; it's not important whether I lose two minutes or five minutes.

"Today should be a sprint. I am definitely feeling good. "

"I think it is a mixture of just racing a lot more," he said when asked how he has stepped up a level in the past year. "with Panaria I did not race that much and now I am definitely racing a lot more – as well as confidence.

"The team is riding for me today, nobody else. So for sure the confidence is high."

15:30 CEST   
Number 151, Di Luca, is back talking to the Team DS Roberto Amadio. Di Luca seems to have taken the shorts as well as the jersey from Gasparotto. He is wearing the pink bottoms that 'Gaspa' had on yesterday.

Gaspa gave his mom a nice gift on Mother's Day. He spent the whole day in pink while his mom watched on TV back at home in the Friuli region of Italy.

15:36 CEST   
Nicholas Roche (Crédit Agricole) commented on the nature of today's stage, "There will be twenty hard kilometres at the start. Then I think they might let a group go before a bunch sprint at the end."

15:38 CEST   
Steve Morabito (Astana) is looking after Il Falco Bergamasco. "Everything is good for now. This will be a stage for the sprinters so that is good, things will be more tranquil in the bunch.

"My role here in the race is mostly for the team, looking after Savoldelli. Maybe there will be a possibility in the last few stages to go in a break."

15:42 CEST   
Pietro Caucchioli (Crédit Agricole) is back talking to the team car. The rider from Verona chose to race for the French team so that he could always be the captain of its Giro squadra. His highest placing in the overall was a third in 2002 with Alessio.

15:46 CEST   
The five are rotating in a counter-clockwise fashion. The pressure will be on the two Tinkoff riders when the crunch time comes. They will have to take control because they have the numbers in the five-man move.

The gap is now at 6'18".

"Today the finale will be difficult with the wind and pavé," said Robbie McEwen before the start.

15:54 CEST   
"Yesterday was not an arrival for me. I will see what happens over the next days but I won't put the pressure on myself for the win on Montevergine Di Mercogliano [stage 4] even though everyone mentions my name because I won there before," said Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital). He won there in 2004 on the way to winning the overall of the Giro.

"The race will start with the fourth stage to Montevergine Di Mercogliano," said Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir).

15:54 CEST   
Commesso is now at the back of the peloton. He was checking with the team car but had a hard time getting back on because the peloton is now all lined-out due to the work of Liquigas and Saunier.

15:57 CEST   
"It was a nervous finale," said Bettini today at the start. He is in a special jersey, "you can find it on eBay!" Il Grillo Livornese will have a certain number of the jersey's auctioned for a charity.

The first one that was auctioned went for €600.

Today is the birthday of Bettini's teammate, Matteo Tosatto. Buon Compleanno!

15:58 CEST   
Shane Stokes reports from the finish that "It's very warm here today, as has been the case so far on the race. Although it's mid-May, temperatures are in the mid to high twenties °C ..probably 27 or 28 out there today, although a bit cooler at the finish in Cagliari due to the sea being so close."

"There is a nice breeze coming off it. The skies are cloudless."

16:01 CEST   
The race will move from Sardinia to the Italian mainland tonight and tomorrow morning. The teams and some of those working on the race will fly tomorrow, while the remainder will take the all-night ferry to Napoli. The Cyclingnews' reporters en site hope the beds are comfortable there.

Tomorrow is a rest day, more so for logistical rather than physiological reasons. A rest day after three days of racing is not really needed. The riders will doubtlessly get out on their bikes for a couple of hours tomorrow, keeping the legs moving.

16:02 CEST   
Totò is talking with The Killer... In other words, Commesso is talking with Di Luca. The former has made his way up to the front where 'The Killer' is riding.

16:11 CEST    124km/57km to go
Youngsters Italian Visconti and Russian Ignatiev have put in a move at kilometre 115. They have 33" on Alexandre Pichot (Bouygues Telecom) while Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis) and Elio Aggiano (Tinkoff Credit Systems) are moving towards the peloton. The front two have 5'30" on the peloton.

16:19 CEST    131km/50km to go
The last time the race arrived in Cagliari was in 1991 when Mario Cipollini won.

The pace is picking up on the chase. Milram leads and it has just caught the three escapees that were dropped from the front Russian-Italian duo.

16:28 CEST   
The front duo as five minutes.

16:33 CEST    144km/37km to go
Giovanni Visconti (Quickstep-Innergetic) rode with De Nardi as a stagiaire in 2004 before starting his pro career in 2005 with Domina Vacanze. His first win came last year, when, with team Milram, he won the the Coppa Sabatini.

Visconti hails from Palermo in Sicily where he goes back once a year, but now his life is in Tuscany. He calls San Baronto home and thinks of moving even closer to his mentor Luca Scinto, who lives about 5 km away in Quarrata.

16:36 CEST   
An update on Andrea Tonti (Quickstep-Innergetic). He ended his 2007 Giro d'Italia with a fractured nose.

In the rush to the line in Bosa Tonti hit the deck at 1300 metres to go, a crashed that also involved Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) and Tim Klinger (Gerolsteiner).

Tonti was talking to the hospital in Bosa and then transferred to Nuoro so that a CAT scan could be performed.

"I was on the roadside. The barriers slightly came into the road and I could not avoid them," summarized the 31 year-old Italian to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

16:41 CEST    148km/33km to go
There are not many Sardinians who have raced as professionals. Currently, there is only Alberto Loddo for Selle Italia. His team was not selected to ride this year but he is here in Sardinia to watch the race pass.

There were Raimondo Marini, who in the 1940s won four small races, and Giovanni Garau. Garau is the only pro from the island who has ever finished the Giro (in 1961) but he never won a race.

Then there was Giacomo Fois who was a pro for only one week in 1978.

News on the race. There are 33 kilometres to go and the front duo has 4'30". Graeme Brown (Rabobank) has abandoned the race.

16:46 CEST    151km/30km to go
The front duo has a chance. Visconti will likely get worked-over by the cagey Ignatiev. They have just passed 30 kilometres to go and we can expect an attack from the Russian with about 20 kilometres to go.

Milram continues to lead the peloton around the Gulf of Cagliari.

16:52 CEST   
Visconti started racing at eight years-old. He arrived last in his his first race but, with the persistence of his dad, he kept racing and now he is challenging for a Giro d'Italia stage.

16:54 CEST    156km/25km to go
The gap is now at 3'08".

16:55 CEST   
Please have a look at our stage map to see where the race is heading.

16:58 CEST    161km/20km to go
Milram, Liquigas and Euskaltel are leading the chase here.

Cycling can be a cruel sport and the two leaders could be caught in the finale but then we could witness a beautiful sprint.

On the other hand, if the duo survives then that would be something special. It was Visconti that started the move today at kilometre four.

16:59 CEST   
The gap is 2'44" at -20 km, the duo lost 30" in the last five kilometres.

17:05 CEST    166km/15km to go
Two minutes is the gap at 15 kilometres to go. This will be very, very difficult for the duo. It lost 44" in the last five kilometres. Look for Mikhail Ignatiev to attack soon.

There are some Predictor riders lending a hand to the chase.

17:08 CEST   
There is a lot of gesturing as the sprint teams get into position.

17:10 CEST    171km/10km to go
The Russian and Italian are exchanging words. Maybe they are saying "what should we do?" The gap is at 1'18"

Liquigas is riding up front to protect the overall lead of Di Luca. Soon it will get washed away by Euskaltel, Milram and Lampre.

17:10 CEST    171.5km/9.5km to go
Milram is adding more coals to the fire with 9.5 km to go.

17:14 CEST    173km/8km to go
Visconti and Ignatiev are trading turns at equal length but it seems as though they are going to get caught here in Cagliari. They have 53".

Milram has three men on the front.

17:14 CEST   
Visconti is looking really tired.

17:15 CEST    175km/6km to go
It could be possible but it will be really close for them. Ignatiev looks very sore. They have 42"

17:17 CEST   
The faces of Visconti and Ignatiev show countless pain.

Milram has the chase lined-out. Acqua e Sapone is there too for Balducci.

17:17 CEST    176km/5km to go
Julian Dean (Crédit Agricole) is up front too in his New Zealand national jersey.

17:18 CEST   
They look to be caught...

17:19 CEST   
The peloton has the duo in its view. It is now 'gruppo compatto.'

17:19 CEST   
Matteo Tosatto (Quickstep-Innergetic) puts in an attack. It is his birthday.

17:20 CEST    178km/3km to go
Rabobank is moving up.

17:20 CEST   
Bettini is on Dean's wheel, and Petacchi is behind Bettini. Milram lost control of the lead-out.

17:21 CEST    180km/1km to go
Gerolsteiner is moving to the front for Robert Förster. Now Milram has a rider back on the head.

17:22 CEST   
Gregory Henderson (T-Mobile) is up there.

17:22 CEST   
Nicholas Roche (Crédit Agricole) puts in a dig.

17:22 CEST   
He is leading out here with -700.

There is a crash!

17:22 CEST   
The race comes down the right side... then left.

17:23 CEST   
Petacchi gets it!

17:23 CEST   
Yohann Gène (Bouygues Telecom) looks hurt as does Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole). They crashed at 600m to go.

17:25 CEST   
Roche got caught with about 300m to go. Petacchi ran it down the left side with Napolitano on his wheel. Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) tried hard to come up the inside, between Ale-Jet and the barriers.

Cunego and Simoni also crashed.

17:27 CEST   
Cunego is reported to be fine.

17:30 CEST   
Thanks for joining Cyclingnews on our coverage of the Giro's third stage. It was a fun time here in Sardinia. We will provide a race report, today, and a rest day wrap tomorrow.

Provisional Results

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram
2 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
3 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
General classification after stage 3
1 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas
2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas
3 Andrea Noè (Ita) Liquigas

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