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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

91st Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2008

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Stage 7 - Friday, May 16: Vasto - Pescocostanzo, 180km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:00 CEST

14:35 CEST   
Hello and welcome to today's live coverage.

14:37 CEST   
Today we are crossing the Apennine, from east to west, on a never-before run into Abruzzo's Pescocostanzo. The 187 riders are slated for a 180-kilometre romp that will be highlighted by the final 22 kilometres that feature a 9.2-kilometre rise to Pietransieri and the final 2.85-kilometre kick to Pescocostanzo.

The race will not be won today, but it could be lost if one of the GC contenders are not attentive.

14:37 CEST   
The Corsa Rosa left Vasto at 12:09 under cloudy skies. Bielorussia's Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems), 26, broke clear of the gruppo at kilometre 8.

14:40 CEST    96km/84km to go
After some reshuffling, we had a group of seven, which now leads the race. Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare), Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne), Fortunato Baliani (CSF Group Navigare), Simon Spilak (Lampre), Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Barloworld), Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) and, the original man, Kiryienka.

With 100 kilometres remaining, in Castelverrino, the seven had 4'14" over the trailing 18 and 8'15" over the gruppo maglia rosa being led by Gilberto Simoni's Diquigiovanni team.

14:44 CEST   
Kiryienka's team-mate, Alberto Loddo, and Yauheni Hutarovich (Française des Jeux) abandoned the Corsa Rosa at kilometre 70.

14:46 CEST    109km/71km to go
We are now taking a break, parking the Ferrari, as the riders pass through the feed-zone in Miranda.

14:47 CEST   
From here the race dips down, and then hits its first climb of the day – The Valico di Macerone, kilometre 118.1.

14:54 CEST   
These men are in the second group, we are trying to get the full composition.
Daniele Pietropolli (LPR Brakes)
Nicolas Rousseau (AG2R La Mondiale)
Maxim Iglinsky (Astana)
Assan Bazayev (Astana)
Steve Cummings (Barloworld)
Pablo Lastras (Caisse d'Epargne)
José Rujano (Caisse d'Epargne)
Yann Huguet (Cofidis)
Filippo Savini (CSF Group Navigare)
Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Lilian Jégou (Française des Jeux)
Ruslan Ivanov (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli)

Ivanov and Lastras tried to move free, but were brought back by the other 16.

Through the feed-zone they are 3'08" back, and the main peloton is at 6'20".

Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

14:58 CEST   
Look out for Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) today. "I will try something beautiful; I want to arrive solo," he said of the finish in Pescocostanzo.

15:06 CEST    116km/64km to go
The riders are two kilometres from the GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna) of Macerone.

Aitor Galdos (Euskaltel-Euskadi) abandons the race.

15:08 CEST   
Swiss Patrick Calcagni (Barloworld) abandons too!

15:08 CEST    118.1km/61.9km to go
The leaders top the Valico di Macerone.

Emanuele Sella (CSF Group)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:10 CEST   
Sella, Cárdenas and Baliani, in that order, led over the Category three GPM of Valico di Macerone. They are 3'10" over the next chase.

15:12 CEST   
These are the riders who have left the Giro so far:
Stage 1 DNS: Maximiliano Richeze (CSF Group Navigare)
Stage 2 DNS: Igor Astarloa (Team Milram)
Stage 2 DNF: David Zabriskie (Slipstream Chipotle - H30)
Stage 3 DNF: Bradley McGee (Team CSC)
Stage 4 DNF: Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC)
Stage 4 DNF: Dominique Cornu (Silence-Lotto)
Stage 4 DNF: Tom Stubbe (Française des Jeux)
Stage 5 DNS: Nick Nuyens (Cofidis)
Stage 6 DNF: Enrico Poitschke (Team Milram)
Stage 6 DNF: Kevin De Weert (Cofidis)
Stage 6 DNF: Rene Mandri (AG2R La Mondiale)
Stage 7 DNF: Alberto Loddo (Tinkoff Credit Systems)
Stage 7 DNF: Yauheni Hutarovich (Française des Jeux)
Stage 7 DNF: Aitor Galdos (Euskaltel-Euskadi)

15:13 CEST   
Simon Spilak (Lampre), professional since 2005 and Spring Classics surprise, looks in difficulty.

15:14 CEST   
We are now ten kilometres from the GPM di Rionero Sannitico. The chase group is 3'00" back.

Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne) also looks bad.

15:16 CEST   
Eros Capecchi (Saunier Duval-Scott) is today's numero nero. (Read: The maglia nera returns as a number)

15:17 CEST   
Five are now leading the race, with Simon Spilak (Lampre) and Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne) in trouble.

15:22 CEST    124km/56km to go
Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare) looks strong in the mountain leader's maglia verde. Saunier Duval and Diquigiovanni are leading the main group.

15:24 CEST   
The second chase is being led by Kanstantsin Siutsou (High Road), Sylvester Szmyd (Lampre), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Silence-Lotto), Alexander Efimkin (Quick Step) and Juan Manuel Gárate (Quick Step).

We have been racing for 3:14' today.

15:30 CEST   
Here is a list of that second group, which is now falling apart.
Daniele Pietropolli (LPR Brakes)
Nicolas Rousseau (AG2R La Mondiale)
Maxim Iglinsky (Astana)
Assan Bazayev (Astana)
Steve Cummings (Barloworld)
Pablo Lastras (Caisse d'Epargne)
José Rujano (Caisse d'Epargne)
Yann Huguet (Cofidis)
Filippo Savini (CSF Group Navigare)
Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Lilian Jégou (Française des Jeux)
Ruslan Ivanov (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli)
Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner)
Kanstantsin Siutsou (High Road)
Sylvester Szmyd (Lampre)
Dario Cataldo (Liquigas)
Andrea Noè (Liquigas)
Alexander Efimkin (Quick Step)
Juan Manuel Gárate (Quick Step)
Theo Eltink (Rabobank)
Mauricio Ardila Cano (Rabobank)
Iker Camaño (Saunier Duval-Scott)
Alessandro Bertolini
Raffaele Illiano (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Silence-Lotto)
Danny Pate (Slipstream Chipotle - H30)
Jens Voigt (Team CSC)
Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC)
Sergio Ghisalberti (Team Milram)
Alberto Ongarato (Team Milram)

Ongarato and Ordowski have been caught by the peloton.

15:31 CEST    130km/50km to go
We are near the top of the GPM Rionero Sannitico.

15:34 CEST   
Sella is leading the charge. The rider from Vicenza, professional since 2004, looks good.

15:35 CEST    137.7km/42.3km to go
Sella and Cárdenas, respectively, lead over the GPM Rionero Sannitico. Remember Sella's great win in Cesena during the 2004 Giro?

15:37 CEST   
Sylvester Szmyd (Lampre) and Kanstantsin Siutsou (High Road) lead a move of four at 1'55" back.

15:38 CEST   
Race leader Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) looks sharp in his red (Italia Champ) shorts and maglia rosa top.

15:39 CEST    135km/45km to go
The next climb is the Pietransieri, which leaves 13.5 kilometres to race.

15:40 CEST   
Voigt is leading a small group over the climb at 5'30". These are riders that were part of the original 32 second chase.

15:40 CEST   
The gruppo maglia rosa passes at 6'20".

15:46 CEST   
If you are in the area try the capretto con formaggio e uova. It is a dish with goat or lamb that is cooked in white wine and water, finished with beaten eggs and grated cheese.

15:48 CEST    140km/40km to go
Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne), Alexander Efimkin (Quick Step) and Mauricio Ardila Cano (Rabobank) have worked their way back to the leading chase of four, making seven at 2'55" back.

USA Champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana), 34, rides along in the Giro d'Italia's stage three
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

15:52 CEST   
Astana is leading the gruppo maglia rosa.

15:55 CEST    145km/35km to go
The gruppo maglia rosa is at 6'20" in Castel di Sangro.

15:57 CEST   
Bosisio, Cárdenas and Sella led over the intermediate sprint in Castel di Sangro. Back in the peloton, Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) of Arezzo leads the points competition and wears the maglia ciclamino.

16:00 CEST   
Astana are leading the chase, followed by Diquigiovanni and Saunier Duval. It does not seem like a day that Gilberto Simoni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) will use to stretch his legs, so why is his team working? However, his former team-mate, Riccò of Saunier, has made it very clear that he aims for this stage.

Likely Astana and Diquigiovanni are leading the race to flex their GC muscles on this demanding stage.

16:03 CEST    155km/25km to go
Riccò calls himself 'Il Cobra' and claims to look his rivals in the eyes before attacking. We are left scratch our heads by this little rocket who has done more talking than winning in his career. But, surely, that win in Sicilia back up some of his fighting words.

16:05 CEST   
CSF Group needs to benefit from this five man move; it has two men – Sella and 'Lucky' Baliani – in the move. Giovanni Savio notes that his team is chasing to protect his team in the GC, saying that there are danger men up the road. "We need to protect our captain," Team Manger of Diquigiovanni said to Rai.

16:08 CEST    157km/23km to go
The category two GPM of Pietransieri starts in Ateleta, the first real climb of the 91st Giro d'Italia. It rises from 743m to 1337m and leaves 13.5 kilometres to race.

16:10 CEST   
Saunier leads the gruppo at the base of the Pietransieri climb, 5'14" back.

16:13 CEST    160km/20km to go
The leading five look good, they might just make it to the finish.

16:14 CEST   
Back in the main peloton, Tour Champion Alberto Contador (Astana) looks cool as a cucumber in his yellow shades.

16:16 CEST   
Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare), halfway up the climb, looks so good. He rises out of his saddle every now and then to up the pace.

Back in the gruppo Team LPR is adding coal to the chase fire. While race leader Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) looks in difficulty. Team-mate Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) stays at his side.

The second group passes 20 kilometres to go.

16:17 CEST   
LPR Brakes is blowing the group apart. 'The Killer' Di Luca wants to win today.

16:19 CEST   
Juan Manuel Gárate (Quick Step), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) and Kanstantsin Siutsou (High Road) are caught. As is the rest of the second group. There is now only the five up the road.

16:21 CEST   
Visconti is slightly gapped off the main peloton; he is with about seven others.

16:21 CEST   
'Lucky' Fortunato Baliani (CSF Group Navigare) is spit out the back after doing his work for team-mate Sella. There are now four leading the race.

16:23 CEST   
Matthias Russ (Gerolsteiner) looks smoother than Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step), and he will try to take the race leadership if possible today. While Daniele Nardello (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli), who was close on the GC, is being blown out the back like a power bar wrapper.

16:24 CEST   
Up front, Bosisio, will search to give Di Luca a hand if the race comes together.

Piepoli (r)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

16:24 CEST   
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott) opens up the gas!

16:25 CEST   
He is about 3.5km to the top of the Pietransieri.

16:27 CEST   
Leo Piepoli is looking well. He will try to weaken up the race for his team-mate Ricky Riccò.

16:28 CEST   
Di Luca fires! Riccò marks the 2007 winner. Contador is chasing behind.

16:29 CEST   
We have Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott), Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Alberto Contador (Astana). The Spaniard, Contador, is not here in Italy for the wine and food.

16:30 CEST   
Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne) is dropped.

The three pick up Piepoli.

16:31 CEST   
Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare), Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) and Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Barloworld) lead over the top of the Pietransieri climb.

16:31 CEST   
Di Luca has a face of pain on. He sits fourth wheel; leading is the Saunier duo and then Contador.

16:33 CEST    167km/13km to go
Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes), Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Alberto Contador (Astana) cross at 2'38" behind the leading four.

16:37 CEST   
The gruppo maglia rosa crosses at 3'38".

16:37 CEST    170km/10km to go
The front runners are 10km to go.

16:39 CEST   
Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Barloworld) loses contact, leaving three leaders with nine kilometres remaining.

16:41 CEST   
Piepoli is doing the lion's share of the work for the chase of four. While Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) has broken free, and is riding solo. Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems) is chasing.

16:43 CEST   
Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) leads the race with Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems) chasing. Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare) is behind. While Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes), Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Alberto Contador (Astana) are chasing further back at 2'20".

16:43 CEST   
It is reported that Sella had a flat tire.

16:44 CEST    175km/5km to go
Fortunato Baliani (CSF Group Navigare) is caught by the Riccò group.

Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) has five kilometres to race.

16:45 CEST   
Spain's Alberto Contador (Astana) is not contributing to the chase.

16:46 CEST   
FYI Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes), the icing on the cake is a pavé finale!

16:46 CEST    176km/4km to go
Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) looks good on his De Rosa machine.

16:46 CEST   
The Riccò group is 2'34" back.

16:47 CEST   
The gruppo maglia rosa is being led by Bettini.

16:49 CEST    178km/2km to go
Bosisio looks to have the stage. He is in the final 2000 metres, approximately 1000 metres ahead of the Riccò chase.

16:51 CEST   
Bosisio is from Como, whereas his leader, Di Luca, is from this zone, Abruzzo. The fans are cheering this rider on.

16:51 CEST   
Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems), Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare), Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Barloworld) chase, separately, in that order.

16:53 CEST   
Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) has 28" on Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems). He is going to get this stage.

16:54 CEST   
After four hours and 45 minutes of racing, Como's Gabriele Bosisio takes the race win in Pescocostanzo.

16:55 CEST   
Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems), who stared the day's attacks, in second at 42". Sella in third.

16:56 CEST   
Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Barloworld) takes fourth.

Here comes the Riccò group.

16:56 CEST   
Contador lets it go.

16:56 CEST   
Di Luca takes fifth, with Riccò right on his wheel. Then Piepoli.

16:58 CEST   
Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) gets free for some extra seconds. The gruppo maglia rosa comes in at 3'55".

17:04 CEST   
Thanks for following the live coverage today. Please come back for full reporting. Ciao!

Provisional results

1 Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR Brakes
2 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Tinkoff Credit Systems
3 Emanuele Sella (Ita) CSF Group Navigare
4 Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Col) Barloworld
5 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes
6 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott
7 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana
General classification after stage 7
1 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step

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