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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

91st Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2008

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Stage 6 - Thursday, May 15: Potenza - Peschici (Circuito del Gargano), 231.6km

* Stage was shortened from 265km on May 14. Read Giro stage six shortened.

Complete live report

Live commentary by Susan Westemeyer

Live coverage starts: 14:20 CEST
Estimated finish: 16:20 CEST

14:17 CEST   
Hello and welcome back, as we continue to work our way up north, in a stage which has been shortened by the race organisers after consulting with the riders. It is no longer a whopping 265 kilometres, but a more reasonable 231.6 kilometres. It is still the longest in this year's Giro, just topping Stage 19, which has 228 kilometres.

14:21 CEST    145km/86.6km to go
The group picked up a lead of over a minute when Mandri crashed at kilometre 76 and was unable to continue. The other 11 continued on and by kilometre 145 they have built up an incredible lead of 15'28!
The guys aren't fooling around today, they seem to be in a hurry. The first hour they averaged 46.8km/h and 48.8 km/h after two hours.

14:25 CEST   
We started out with 190 riders this morning and have now lost three already on the stage. Here is the rundown of who is no longer in the race:

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)

14:28 CEST   
Here is our highly technical description of today's stage: lots of ups and downs, but more downs that ups, at the beginning, followed by a long flat section and then lots of bumps at the end. It still ends with a nasty climb up to the finish line, just to make things fun!

14:31 CEST   
Giro d'Italia Director Angelo Zomegnan said yesterday that they would eliminate the closing Gargano circuit. The shorter stage will allow the riders to get to their hotels a little earlier and let them catch up on their much-needed rest. High Road' Bradley Wiggins told Cyclingnews that he hasn't been to bed before midnight because of long transfers.

14:34 CEST   
Today's weather report says it will be cloudy most of the day, with no rain expected. The sun could come out near the end of the stage, with temperatures reaching a pleasant 22° to 24°.

14:38 CEST   
The start was pushed back half an hour this morning, so that instead of getting off at the ungodly hour of 10:15, the peloton was scheduled to take off at the slightly less ungodly hour of 10:45. Hope the riders are all duly grateful for the extra half hour of sleep.

14:42 CEST   
We bring you sad news. This morning the news was made officially to the riders about the death of Daniela Nocentini, the older sister of Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale). The Italian, 30, took to the start as normal this morning. Tuttobiciweb.it reports that she had been in a coma for the last six months. She leaves behind her husband and two children, 20 and 14 years old. Cyclingnews.com sends our condolences out to Rinaldo and his family.

14:46 CEST    170km/61.6km to go
The lead is down to 15'05 now, and after four hours of racing the average speed was 44,3 km/h.

14:50 CEST   
Let's take a look at some of the members of the escape group.

'Big Maggy' Backstedt used to ride for GAN, Crédit Agricole and Alessio. He has won Paris-Roubaix and Tour de France Stages. The Swede from Linkoping has a Welsh wife and lives in Wales.

14:54 CEST   
It is not Carlos Ochoa of Diquigiovanni in the break, but 24 year-old Paul Martens of Rabobank. The young German served as a stagiaire for T-Mobile in 2005, but then rode with the Professional Continental Dutch team Skil-Shimano in 2006 and 2007 before signing with Rabobank this year.

14:57 CEST   
The final circuit may have been removed from today's stage, but that doesn't make the finale any easier. 1130 metre from the end, the final ascent starts, and the final kilometre has an average gradient of 7.9% – just the thing for those tired legs...

15:00 CEST   
Nardello, 35, rode for Mapei for a long time and also had a spell at T-Mobile. He rode for LPR last year before joining Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni. He also has a Tour stage win under his belt, and won the Züri Metzgete one year. In 2001 he was national road champion.

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

15:03 CEST   
If you are in the area you have to try this special Pugliese dish orecchiette con cime di rapa (ask Leonardo Piepoli, he's from here.) It is made with cime di rapa, which is like a Swiss chard, anchovies and hot peppers with the special pasta shaped as 'little ears.' Last time Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown was in the area two years ago, he made sure to try his favourite dish in its homeland.

15:07 CEST   
Iglinsky, 27, is one of eight Kazakhs on the Astana team. He was national road champion in 2007 and national time trial champion in 2006. He has one win to his credit so far this year, a stage of the Tour de Romandie.

15:08 CEST    51.6km/180km to go
It looks like this group will make it clear to the end. They still have a lead of 14'40. Which of the bunch do you choose to be the best in the end? Let us hear from you.

15:14 CEST    190km/41.6km to go
The planned 265 kilometres may have been an exceptionally long stage by today's standards, but it wouldn't have even come close to being the longest ever. That title goes to a 430-kilometre stage from Lucca to Rome in 1914. By the way, it was won by Costante Girardengo.

Barloworld has now moved up to take over the lead work in the peloton.

15:18 CEST   
Here’s another in today’s group: Jason McCartney, from the US, rides for Team CSC. The 34 year old has been a pro since 1999, and gathered his first big time experience with Discovery Channel in 2005-2007. He won stage 14 in last year’s Vuelta a España, and has been three times “King of the Mountains” in the Tour de Georgia.

15:22 CEST   
24 year-old Matthias Russ is a third-year pro with Team Gerolsteiner. In 2006 he won a stage and the Best Young Rider jersey in the Regio Tour.

15:25 CEST    201.6km/30km to go
With not much further to go, the group still has a lead of about 14 minutes. At this point we are preparing to go out on a limb and predict that the maglia rosa will change shoulders this afternoon.

15:27 CEST   
Peschici is the easternmost tip of Italy and the old town sits high atop white cliffs, a truly beautiful picture.

15:29 CEST   
Peschici is a small town on the Adriatic Sea. Last summer the area was devastated by wildfires which destroyed acres of woodlands and much of the city, driving tourists and inhabitants to find refuge on the each. Sadly, it is believed that the fires were purposefully set to destroy the protected natural areas so that they could be redesign Ted as suitable for development.

15:31 CEST   
The group's maximal lead today was 16 minutes. We had a mountain on the route, too, with the points going to Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare).

15:34 CEST   
Speaking of stage lengths – which we are sure we have done at some point today – eight of the Giro's 17 non-time trial stages are over 200 kilometres. The longest stage is today's with 231.5, and the shortest is stage 17, only 146 kilometres.

Compare that to this year's Tour de France, which has only four stages of 200-plus kilometres out of 19 non-time trial stages. The longest is 230 kilometres (Stage 5) and the shortest is 143 kilometres (21st).

15:36 CEST    211.6km/20km to go
And still more than 12 minutes for the leading group! They are riding through blazing sunshine, fortunately. The peloton has had more than enough rain and wet pavement in this Giro.

15:38 CEST   
Team Milram tells Cyclingnews that Enrico Poitschke, 38, had to drop out of today's stage due to breathing problems, which probably go back to a crash in Stage Three, when a number of riders and/or bikes landed on top of him.

15:41 CEST   
The best ranked in the GC in this group is young Matthias Russ of Gerolsteiner. He came into the stage as 56th, 1'39 down. But Visconti is right behind him, at 1'52.

15:44 CEST   
Russ is not only wearing the virtual pink jersey, he could take over the white jersey for the best young rider, too. He is only 1'31 behind team-mate Morris Possoni in that category.

15:49 CEST   
Jason McCartney tests the water, so to speak, and makes a small escape attempt. He doesn't get away, but Priamo does.

15:51 CEST   
Perez follows Priamo and has now caught him. They have a lead of maybe 12 seconds.

15:52 CEST    221.6km/10km to go
The two in front are climbing as quickly as they can now, to get as far away from the others as possible. Jason McCartney is giving chase, but the two have built up a good lead.

15:53 CEST   
Martens has moved up to join McCartney, and the rest are struggling to stay together.

Behind them, LPR and Saunier Duval are leading the peloton.

15:54 CEST   
Russ may take over the white jersey from Possoni, but of course they aren't team-mates. Possoni is with Team High Road.

15:55 CEST    223.6km/8km to go
Perez and Priamo are flying up they are on the rise to Bosco della Risega.

15:56 CEST    225.6km/6km to go
It looks as if Perez and Priamo will fight it out for the win today. They have quickly built up a sizeable lead over their former breakaway companions.

15:57 CEST    226.6km/5km to go
Their lead is 20 seconds.

15:59 CEST    227.6km/4km to go
The remnants of the breakaway group are not giving serious chase. They are not working well together, and are now 25 seconds back.

15:59 CEST   
Backstedt refuses to give up and takes off out of the group, in chase of Priamo and Perez.

16:01 CEST    230.6km/1km to go
The two are still alone in the lead. Will the big Swede be able to catch them and pass them, especially on the closing climb?

16:01 CEST    230.6km/1km to go
They charge into the last kilometre, and once again it is going UP. That has got to hurt after all those kilometres.

16:02 CEST   
The chasing group has fallen apart. Russ and Visconti are staying very close together – one of the two will take over the leader's jersey in a few minutes.

16:03 CEST   
Perez and Priamo go around yet another hairpin curve. The last kilometre is often the longest...

16:04 CEST   
Priamo opens the sprint, which never really develops. Perez can barely make it over the finish line six seconds later.

16:05 CEST   
Russ finishes as nearly last of the escapees, behind Visconti. So the Italian will take over the leader's jersey by a few seconds, it looks like.

16:10 CEST   
This is a close one – who will take over the pink jersey? We are still waiting for the official word.

And of course we are also still waiting for the peloton to finally arrive at the finish line.

16:10 CEST   
RAI reports that it has been told that Visconti has taken the leader's jersey.

16:12 CEST   
Russ will be disappointed but can console himself with the Young Rider's white jersey.

16:13 CEST   
Nine minutes, and the peloton isn't anywhere near the end...

16:14 CEST   
A race motorcycle was stopped in the middle of the road just around a hairpin curve, causing a back up. No one went down, but a number of riders had to put their foot down. It was within the last kilometre

16:17 CEST   
Bennati leads the first part of the peloton over the finish line. The peloton had fallen into a number of groups.

16:18 CEST   
We now have Visconti confirmed as the new leader, with Russ second in the same time. Nardello has moved up to third.

16:18 CEST   
That was it for today. Join us tomorrow when the fun continues!

Provisional results

1 Matteo Priamo (Ita) CSF Group Navigare
2 Alan Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Slipstream Chipotle - H30
4 Nikolai Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems
5 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank
6 Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana
7 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
8 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre
9 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step
General classification after stage 6
1 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step

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