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90th Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 12-June 3, 2007
Stage 2 - Sunday, May 13: Tempio Pausania - Bosa, 205 km
Rockin' Robbie McEwen sprints ahead of greats
World Champ Bettini and Milram train could not stop Aussie
By Gregor Brown and Tim Maloney, with Shane Stokes in Bosa
Australian Robbie McEwen took the 90th Giro d'Italia's first sprint stage. The Predictor-Lotto rider latched on to the wheel of Alessandro Petacchi's Milram train and successfully over-powered the Italian and also kept the emerging World Champion Paolo Bettini at bay. The race leadership moved from Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas) to his teammate Danilo Di Luca.
"I was pretty far back on the climb, there were maybe another 20 riders behind me going over the top," explained an exhausted but happy McEwen in Italian after winning. "But I was maybe 15, 20 positions behind Petacchi, so for me it was just important to come back to the Milram riders by the bottom of the descent. After that, the tactic was simple – I followed Petacchi and his team.
"They did a really good job to pull the sprint. Today I was stronger and I managed to pass Alessandro. I knew that Bettini was there on my wheel, looking for an opportunity, but there were no problems making it to the line."
His Predictor teammates, although not present in the final kilometre, had made sure the 34 year-old was in place for the finale and to take advantage of Milram's work. Brett Lancaster, Mirco Lorenzetto and then Alberto Ongarato pulled for Petacchi but he could not find the strength to deal with McEwen.
The multiple Giro stage winner remained with Ongarato and Petacchi out of the final turn, a right-hander at 300 metres to go. Once Ongarato pulled off McEwen started moving up with Bettini on his wheel. He was able to hold the Quickstep rider in second while Petacchi was left with third position.
"I can't say that the train did not go, it is Petacchi who did not go," said the Milram sprinter of his ride into Bosa. "I did the last climb up with the best sprinters and I thought I would be fine for the finish.
"I am content after my last year of troubles. Maybe I am still a little down in form but I hope to at least be able to win a stage."
The final downhill run into Bosa contained nothing but smooth roads but it was the nervous finish that caused a crash at 1300 metres to go to the line. Andrea Tonti (Quickstep-Innergetic) came off the worst but the crash also held up the Giro's Maglia Rosa, Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas). Although the overnight leader did not go down, he lost his jersey to team captain Di Luca, who had stayed with the front runners. 'Gaspa,' now in second overall, will don the Maglia Bianca of the best young rider.
"It was too bad about the crash in the finale but I am happy to have the Maglia Rosa," said Di Luca after crossing the line. "I never saw the crash because I was up front."
How it unfolded
197 riders left Tempio Pausania for stage 2 at 12:10 on La Festa della Mamma (Mother's Day). Under a bright, warm sun with temperatures in the mid-twenties and a light wind, the race commenced, and after a few kilometres of chatting and visiting amongst the Giro d'Italia gruppo, the attacks started in earnest.
After 25 kilometres on the outskirts of S. Maria Coghinas, a quintet managed to escape; the five riders were Frédéric Bessy (Cofidis), Mauro Facci (Quickstep-Innergetic), Simone Masciarelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and Arnaud Labbe (Bouygues Telecom). The break was cooperating well and after two hours of racing, the average speed was 43.2 km/hr. After the feedzone outside of Sassari, the gap was over six minutes and Liquigas had begun to chase.
In Alghero, an attractive city originally founded by the Catalans, was the Garibaldi intermediate sprint with 72 kilometres to go, it was cyclo-crosser big Arnaud Labbe (Bouygues Telecom) who beat Simone Masciarelli for the six-second time bonus.
Liquigas led the gruppo through Alghero four minutes behind the break, with the day's main climb up Monte Leone to Villanova, and the GPM (Gran Premio Della Montagna) with 48 kilometres to go. The five riders were still working together as they traversed the beautiful, wild countryside south of Alghero, with the two French riders Labbe and Bessy appearing to struggle. Euskaltel-Euskadi joined the pursuit of the front quintet but it was mostly the acid green and royal blue of Liquigas on the front.
Approaching the GPM in Villanova Monteleone with 48 kilometres to go, Labbe had been dropped from the break and was 1'30" behind the now four front runners, who still had a three-minute lead on the gruppo. Brutt was setting a brutal pace for the others.
Temperatures had reached 30°C degrees for the first really hot day of 2007 European racing and so many riders up front and in the gruppo were drinking a lot of water. At 500 metres before the GPM, Brutt blasted off the front with sheer brute force and pounded away from the riders in the break to take the first Maglia Verde of best climber at the 90th Giro d'Italia.
Norwegian Thor Hushovd had been dropped on the gentle ascent as Tonti of Liquigas led the gruppo through the GPM 2'40" behind.
Labbe was caught in Villanova Monteleone while Masciarelli dropped off the pace and was also absorbed. With 40 kilometres to go on the descent of the Valico di Pedra Ettori, a crash slowed T-Mobile's Adam Hansen who got a front wheel change from his team car and got back after a hard 10-kilometre chase.
Predictor-Lotto had now joined the chase, but the front trio was still going hard with Facci beginning to cramp. With 30 kilometres to go, the front trio had a two-minute lead as they commenced an uncategorized climb of four kilometres, where various riders like Hushovd and Juan José Haedo (Team CSC) were gapped.
Just before the descent to Bosa with the gruppo one minute behind, once again, Brutt gave a demonstration of brute force as he attacked his break companions. Solo, he headed down to the circuit of Bosa, with a 1.9-kilometre climb at 10 kilometres to go.
With 20 kilometres to go, Brutt was riding hard down the descent to Bosa with his blond mullet flowing in the air. The gruppo was now at 45 seconds and closing on the tough Russian.
Facci and Bessy were caught with 10 kilometres to go as the final ascent began, while Brutt still had 20 seconds. Miniscule climber Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) made a perfect counter-move and jumped off the front in pursuit of the Rockin' Russian, as Rebellin, Bettini, Garzelli and Maglia Rosa Gasparotto upped the pace behind. Sella got across to Brutt but the Russian hung tough on his wheel, even though the Tinkoff rider had been away for 185 kilometres.
Suddenly Caisse d'Epargne's Pablo Lastras came across with eight kilometres to go and gapped Sella and Brutt, who were absorbed by the chase, while the gruppo split in half.
The lean Spanish speedster had a gap of five seconds as Quickstep led the chase with six kilometres to go and he was caught with 5.5 kilometres to go. Liquigas and Lampre came to the front for Gasparotto and Cunego as George Hincapie also brought his stars and stripes jersey to the front. At 3.5 kilometres to go, Tinkoff's Evgeni Petrov attacked with Sella on his wheel as the Milram train hit the front for Petacchi.
In the hustle and bustle of the finale, Andrea Tonti (Quickstep-Innergetic) got jammed against the right barriers with 1300 metres to go. The crash took down Tim Klinger (Gerolsteiner), Charles Wegelius (Liquigas) and Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and also delayed Maglia Rosa Gasparotto.
Up front, with 500 metres to go, Mirco Lorenzetto (Milram) was on the front. The race made a right turn and Ongarato took over with 300 metres to go. He peeled off at 200 metres to go and Petacchi launched his sprint on a slight uphill. But right behind the Milram man and his lovely lead-out was lurking McEwen.
He lacked the explosive progression that he had before he broke his kneecap in last year's Giro, and he couldn't hold off the Predictor-Lotto man and ended up giving the quick Queenslander a perfect lead-out for the win. Petacchi sat up and was also passed by World Champ Bettini.
Predictor-Lotto's McEwen donned the Maglia Ciclamino with his sprint win, while Russian mullet-man Brutt was first over the day's only GPM and put on the Maglia Verde of best climber.
Starting in south-central Sardinia in Barumini, near the famous ancient archaeological site of Nuraghe su Nuraxi, stage 3 loops southeast to the seaside, then races west to finish in Cagliari. A tricky run-in through the city and the final 400 metres over rough granite pavé favours Predictor's Robbie McEwen once again. After the stage, the Giro d'Italia caravan will transfer to the Italian mainland by ferryboat.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 5.07.13 2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 4 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 5 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 6 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2r Prévoyance 7 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 9 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) T-Mobile Team 10 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 11 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank 12 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 13 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 14 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Rabobank 15 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Team Milram 16 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 17 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) T-Mobile Team 18 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Astana 19 Franck Renier (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 20 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 21 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 22 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2r Prévoyance 23 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 24 Julian Dean (NZl) Crédit Agricole 25 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Tinkoff Credit System 26 Alexei Markov (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne 27 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 28 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2r Prévoyance 29 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Team Milram 30 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 31 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 32 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 33 Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre - Fondital 34 Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 35 Dionisio Galparsoro Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 36 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Crédit Agricole 37 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram 38 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 39 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux 40 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 41 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Predictor - Lotto 42 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Liquigas 43 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas 44 Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 45 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 46 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 47 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 48 Andrey Mizourov (Kaz) Astana 49 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 50 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 51 Yoann Le Boulanger (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 52 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 53 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 54 Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 55 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 56 Ivan Ramiro Parra Pinto (Col) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 57 Matthias Russ (Ger) Gerolsteiner 58 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 59 Aketza Pena Iza (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 60 Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Col) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 61 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 62 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 63 David Canada Gracia (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 64 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team CSC 65 Alexandr Arekeev (Rus) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 66 Andrei Kunitski (Blr) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 67 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 68 Mario Aerts (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 69 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 70 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Predictor - Lotto 71 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 72 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre - Fondital 73 Ricardo Serrano Gonzalez (Spa) Tinkoff Credit System 74 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC 75 Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 76 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 77 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 78 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 79 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Astana 80 Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 81 Axel Merckx (Bel) T-Mobile Team 82 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 83 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 84 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) T-Mobile Team 85 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Team Milram 86 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank 87 Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Astana 88 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 89 Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 90 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 91 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC 92 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Crédit Agricole 93 Lilian Jégou (Fra) Française des Jeux 94 Andrea Pagoto (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 95 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 96 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 97 Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 98 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Team Milram 99 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Milram 100 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 101 Marco Pinotti (Ita) T-Mobile Team 102 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 103 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crédit Agricole 1.01 104 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 105 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 106 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval - Prodir 107 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 1.37 108 Iban Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 109 Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 110 Nicolas Crosbie (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 111 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux 112 Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 113 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Crédit Agricole 114 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 115 Hubert Schwab (Swi) Quickstep - Innergetic 116 Brian Vandborg (Den) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 117 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas 118 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 119 Steven Cummings (GBr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 120 Eric Berthou (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 121 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 122 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Liquigas 123 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 124 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Crédit Agricole 2.17 125 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Team Milram 126 Carl Naibo (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 127 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 128 Benoît Joachim (Lux) Astana 129 Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Astana 130 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 131 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 132 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank 133 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank 134 Ian McLeod (RSA) Française des Jeux 135 Steve Morabito (Swi) Astana 136 Pierre Drancourt (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 137 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Crédit Agricole 138 Elio Aggiano (Ita) Tinkoff Credit System 139 Matthew White (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 140 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC 141 Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 142 Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 143 Fabien Patanchon (Fra) Française des Jeux 144 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 145 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 146 Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep - Innergetic 147 Arnaud Gérard (Fra) Française des Jeux 148 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 149 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner 150 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Lampre - Fondital 151 Thomas Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 152 Angel Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 153 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 154 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Tinkoff Credit System 155 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 156 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Predictor - Lotto 157 Dmitry Kozontchouk (Rus) Rabobank 2.25 158 Gregory Henderson (NZl) T-Mobile Team 159 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 160 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC 161 Adam Hansen (Aus) T-Mobile Team 162 Mauro Facci (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 3.19 163 Yohann Gène (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 164 Aaron Olson (USA) T-Mobile Team 4.23 165 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 166 Laurent Mangel (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 167 Joseba Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 168 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 169 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 170 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas 171 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Saunier Duval - Prodir 172 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 173 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 174 Tim Klinger (Ger) Gerolsteiner 175 Nick Gates (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 5.05 176 Martin Müller (Ger) Team Milram 177 Mathieu Heijboer (Ned) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 178 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 179 Nikolai Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 180 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 181 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank 182 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank 183 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 6.42 184 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas 7.40 185 Benat Albizuri Aransolo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 186 Christophe Kern (Fra) Crédit Agricole 8.50 187 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner 188 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 189 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 11.42 190 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Française des Jeux 191 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Gerolsteiner 192 Cyrille Monnerais (Fra) Française des Jeux 12.50 193 Anton Luengo Celaya (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 194 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 195 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic DNS Michael Barry (Can) T-Mobile Points 1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 25 pts 2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 20 3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 16 4 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 14 5 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 12 6 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2r Prévoyance 10 7 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 9 8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 8 9 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 8 10 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) T-Mobile Team 7 11 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 6 12 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 6 13 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank 5 14 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 4 15 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 4 16 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 3 17 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 3 18 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Rabobank 2 19 Mauro Facci (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 2 20 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Team Milram 1 21 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas 1 Mountains Villanova Monteleone - km 156.8