92nd Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 9-31, 2009
Results & report
Stage 10 - Tuesday, May 19: Cuneo - Pinerolo, 262km
Complete live report
Live coverage by Laura Weislo
The longest day of the Giro would have been epic had the race organisation not altered the day to stay within the borders of Italy. The change cut out three of the major mountains on the day.
Originally mirrored on the stage Fausto Coppi won by an incredible 11 minutes in the 1949 Giro, stage 10 was meant to include the Colle della Maddalena, Col de Vars and Col d'Izoard, although it won't travel up any of these due to a combination of natural hazards (landslides) and a clash between Italian and French radio frequencies.
It's undeniable that the stage, which was designed to celebrate the essence of the Giro, won't garner the same level of intrigue as originally expected. With no Alberto Contador to dominate proceedings though, it's likely the attacks will be on tap throughout the day, which should compensate for the truncated climbing on offer.
Diquigiovanni manager Gianni Savio warned, "Pay attention, I was informed by one of your journalist friends that that the arrival in Pinerolo the organisers inserted a wall in the final kilometre. It is a small passage, on pavé, in a pedestrian zone that lasts for 400 or so metres at 15 percent. Immediately after, there is the descent with two curves and then the finish. I know this zone around Torino well because I played football here in the amateur ranks when I was a young boy."
The riders get underway at 10AM local time, but air traffic control will not allow the Cyclingnews blimp to take to the skies until 1:30PM. Join us in the Hindenburg VI to follow all the action then!
Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 100th year of the Giro d'Italia! In honour of today's classic stage, we've dragged the Hindenburg V out of storage and patched up the moth holes to bring you the live call for the 262km stage from Cuneo to Pinerolo.
The blimp hasn't seen the light of day since its somewhat tragic demise after the Spring Classics of 2007, but we're confident our patch job will hold up. However, just in case it doesn't, we've got parachutes on board!
13:45 CEST 155km/107km to go
We'll recap all the action from today's stage in a moment, but let's see what the situation is on the road right now.
Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone) has attacked on the first major climb of the day, the Moncenisio, and has gained two minutes on the group of our maglia rosa, Danilo Di Luca.
13:47 CEST 157km/105km to go
Garzelli had a chaser behind him in Mauricio Soler (Barloworld), but the Colombian couldn't shake the group and was brought back into the fold.
Correction - Soler is still out in front of the group of the pink jersey, but only has a minute on them. Garzelli is further ahead bombing down the descent of this mountain. He'll encounter one of those nasty little tunnels on the way down.
OK, now Soler has been caught and Garzelli has reached the bottom of this descent and is heading back uphill on the long, undulating roads to Sestrière.
Now that Garzelli has pulled the gap out to nearly five minutes, let's rewind the stage and see what was going on while we were busily inflating the blimp with hydrogen...
190 riders took to the start in Cuneo under clear skies. It's been quite pleasant weather today - light winds and no rain.
As has been the rule for most of the stages in this Giro, the attacks started at kilometre zero. Today it was Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) who put in the first dig.
Joining Kaisen on the attack was Oscar Gatto (ISD), and the pair were brought back but Kaisen immediately countered his own move. Unfortunately for the Belgian, that move was not successful, and indeed no breakaway could go clear for some 40km.
At kilometre 42, Kaisen, who apparently had eaten his Wheaties this morning, attacked yet again. This time he managed to get a gap of about 18 seconds but then quickly boomeranged (is that a verb?) back to the group.
Shortly after Kaisen's demise, Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre - N.G.C.) went on the attack. He was joined by Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R La Mondiale) for a time, but so many riders felt the need to be in the breakaway today that the rapid pace actually began to form splits in the peloton. 23 riders joined the two men off the front.
The riders covered plenty of ground in the first hour of racing thanks to the incessant attacks. More than 50km! Even 23 men couldn't get it together to put time into the bunch, and the peloton was all back together at kilometre 58 as the passed through Pinerolo for the first time.
The Garmin and Xacobeo-Galicia teams set a brisk tempo as the peloton headed out for its enormous circuit of 200km. A small, uncategorized climb, the colletta di Cumiana, caused some pain for the riders and allowed a group to finally get away.
The group included Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo), Alexander Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Matthieu Sprick (BBox Bouygues Telecom), David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne) and Serge Pauwels (Cervélo Test Team).
This group of five came back together on the descent, and there was an unfortunate crash involving Riccardo Chiarini (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini), Blaise Sonnery (AG2R La Mondiale), Jos Van Emden (Rabobank) and Thomas Fothen (Team Milram).
The crash caused the peloton to fracture, with a second peloton losing 1'35 over the next 10km.
Shortly thereafter, there was another attack from the first peloton. This included Hector Gonzalez (Fuji Servetto), Bartosz Huzarski (ISD) Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre), Addy Engels (Quick Step), Francesco De Bonis (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni), Ben Swift (Katusha), and Lars Bak (Saxo Bank).
They were chased by Alexander Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), Giovanni Visconti (ISD) and Ted King (Cervélo Test Team). The two groups eventually came together.
The group began to gain ground, but the Acqua e Sapone team was setting a harsh tempo. The fight to stay away was too much for Swift, who was dropped after 30km as the group headed up the climb of Moncenisio.
Also in the lead group was Johann Tschopp (BBox Bouygues Telecom), and the Swiss rider was indeed the only one who could stay clear on the ascent. He was joined by Garzelli, who attacked from the group of the maglia rosa. The two came together before the 2km mark for the KOM.
Garzelli left the fading Swiss man behind, and Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) attacked to try to reach the raging Italian on the climb, but was unable to do so.
So that brings us to our current situation. Garzelli crested the climb with Soler chasing, but the Colombian was unable to stay away on the descent. Garzelli managed to pull out his advantage to 5'15 at the maximum, but now with about 80km to go, his lead has fallen to four minutes on the group of Danilo Di Luca.
We're not on the "official" climb to Sestrière yet, but that hasn't stopped riders from attacking! Giovanni Visconti and Andriy Grivko (ISD) have waged two-man warfare on the first chase group.
Garzelli is today in the green jersey of our mountains classification. He does not lead this competition - Di Luca does - but he gets to wear the jersey since 'the Killer' is in pink.
Ah-ha! Visconti has attacked for the T.V. sprint in Oulx. He's leading that classification but is actually tied on points with Mauro Facci (Quick Step).
14:43 CEST 180km/82km to go
Once the peloton passes the intermediate sprint, they've got 10km to go to the base of the big climb of the day. They'll still face a long road to the finish after the 2035m high peak - some 61km! And we hear the finish of today's stage has quite a nasty little surprise for the riders.
With 9.7km to go, they'll crest the Pramartino, which rises about 400m from base to top. But that's not all the riders will face. Inside the final few kilometres there is a wall of a climb on a cobbled road followed by a technical little descent.
We should mention that today's stage was meant to mirror that epic day in which the legendary Fausto Coppi won in 1949. But for several reasons, the organisers moved the climbs from across the French border to the Italian side.
The riders were to have a brute of a day - nearly as long but with five gigantic climbs including the Colle della Maddalena, Col de Vars and Col d'Izoard. They still have a very long day in the saddle, and perhaps a more difficult finish to the day.
14:55 CEST 187km/75km to go
Grivko and Visconti have not simply gone for the T.V. points and gone back to the peloton. They are continuing to fight to stay clear as they approach the climb to Sestrière, but only have 10 seconds on the peloton. Garzelli is still 4'40 ahead of the pink jersey group.
Garzelli is soldiering on, but has not even touched the "virtual" pink jersey today. He started the day 6'49 down on Di Luca, but is hoping to pull himself back into contention with this long effort. We must admit the finish suits him quite well.
15:00 CEST 191km/71km to go
Garzelli is ticking over the pedals and looking still quite smooth on the bike. He hasn't yet had to face a concerted chase from the LPR Brakes-led peloton. They are on the climb proper now.
The ISD car has been allowed to go up to the two riders Grivko and Visconti - they must have pulled out their gap.
Yes indeed, the ISD pair have pulled out 2'25 on the bunch. Garzelli is really starting to feel the effort now - he's getting in and out of the saddle as he rounds a switchback.
We've got a group of three riders trying to get away from the bunch. Looks like Felix Cardenas (Barloworld) with a Diquigiovanni rider and another.
With the blimp tethered to the grandstand atop the climb, we're having a tough time making out just who is in the main peloton, but we're certain the main favourites are still present.
Looking down the road we see the Acqua e Sapone director come alongside Garzelli to offer some encouragement. Perhaps letting him know the ISD pair are coming across to help.
Looks like the group chasing behind Grivko and Visconti contains Dario David Cioni (ISD), Jose Serpa (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) and Charlie Wegelius (Silence-Lotto) with Félix Cardenas (Barloworld).
Our pink jersey group certainly isn't feeling too eager to chase and now Garzelli has pulled out a whopping 6:23! He's nearly in the virtual lead, but it may not be for long... the peloton is nearly single file now behind the LPR Brakes team.
15:11 CEST 195km/67km to go
The riders are heading toward the snow capped peaks and the temperatures will feel pleasantly cool for the hard effort they'll be giving on this 11.25km climb.
For the benefit of our Blackberry users, we give you the current situation...
- Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo)
- Andriy Grivko and Giovanni Visconti (ISD) at 2.15
- Dario David Cioni (ISD), Jose Serpa (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) and Charlie Wegelius (Silence-Lotto) with Félix Cardenas (Barloworld) at 5.55
- Maglia rosa group at 6.23
Garzelli has just under 2km to go to the top and is holding 2'38 on the ISD duo. There are a lot more fans alongside the roads here to give him courage for the long haul.
We can now begin to see our main peloton, and Leipheimer, Lövkvist (in the white jersey of best young rider) are still here, as are Armstrong, Di Luca - all the big names.
15:17 CEST 199km/63km to go
Garzelli has now passed under the 1km to go to the top of Sestrière and still looking good! He's wearing #1 - not as defending leader but since Alberto Contador has decided not to do the race, the organisers ordered the teams in alphabetical order. Acqua e Sapone was first and as team leader, Garzelli was given bib #1.
The climb of Sestrière offers an additional prize for Garzelli as it's the "Cima Coppi" - the highest peak of the Giro d'Italia. That was originally supposed to be the Col d'Izoard, but since that was buried under snow and the stage was changed, it would then have been the Blockhaus climb. But that stage was shortened, too - so here is our highest point.
15:20 CEST 200km/62km to go
Garzelli crosses the line at the top and now the clock ticks for our chasing groups...
Garzelli has almost 45km of descending to do, but fortunately the way down isn't as precipitous as those in previous stages. We're still awaiting the approach of Grivko and Visconti at the top.
The ISD duo are still more than three minutes behind Garzelli, and are clearly fading fast. Our foursome further down the road are being led by Dario Cioni, perhaps hoping to help his teammates out.
We're passing by the ski jump used in the Olympic Games in 2006 - no snow on them at the moment, but there is plenty of the white stuff still on the surrounding mountains.
As the riders enjoy this long and relatively gentle descent, Garzelli is still nipping at the virtual lead but not quite able to pull it off. The gap is holding at 6'23 as we see the Astana team come to the head of the peloton on the descent.
The two chasing groups are in no man's land - not going forward to Garzelli and not quite being closed in on by the peloton. They're easing along at 70kph in between the switchbacks. Nothing near the white-knuckled 110kph of previous stages.
15:35 CEST 212km/50km to go
Just 50km left to go in the stage and Garzelli is still maintaining his lead on the road, but still not taking the virtual lead overall. 6'08 now - 5'08 to the group of Cardenas and 3'28 to the two ISD boys Grivko and Visconti.
We're on a flatter part of the descent where Garzelli takes a moment to get out of the saddle. He has to put some power to the pedals now - slipping momentarily into the draft of the camera motorcycle.
These camera motorcycles have a very dangerous job, and it's extraordinarily sad to learn that one of them was killed in an accident this morning on the way to the start. The driver, Fabio Saccani, was actually the pilot for our own Roberto Bettini at times. A very sad day indeed.
The stage is a pursuit of four groups at the moment: first our solo leader Stefano Garzelli, who has been valiantly trying to gain back lost time for the large majority of the stage. Behind him, Grivko and Visconti of ISD are 3'00 in arrears. Four chasers are trailing them a further two minutes behind and losing time on the main chase containing Danilo Di Luca and many, many others at 5'30 behind Garza.
The group of the maglia rosa stayed quite large over the top of the Sestrière. Menchov. Rogers. Di Luca. Leipheimer. Lövkvist. Cunego. Arroyo. Armstrong. Sastre. All the big names are here and still have plenty of helpers.
15:43 CEST 223km/39km to go
Yikes! Garzelli is on a rough cobbled section of the descent in Fenestrelle. He's forced to slow down quite a bit to get through some tight bends over the rough pavé.
Above the riders is the Forte di Fenestrelle, also known at the "Great wall of the Piemontese". It is high up on the hill and its walls follow the ridge in a manner very similar to the Great Wall of China.
The chasing four riders also had some difficulty with the rough cobbled section of road - fingers crossed the main peloton gets through safely.
15:48 CEST 227km/35km to go
Garzelli is under the 35km to go banner and is losing time on all the chasing groups. 2'28 for the ISD pair, 3'40 for the four riders behind, then 4'50 for the peloton. This is going to be close! The LPR Brakes team is pouring on the gas now.
Garzelli, whatever happens today, has certainly proven a worthy competitor in this Giro d'Italia. Last year his team did not earn an invitation to the race, and he was quite upset about it. Two years ago he took two stages of the Giro and is desperately seeking another today.
Things aren't looking so good for our four riders in the third group - they are in sight of the peloton and sitting up to prepare to be caught.
The ISD pair are now 1'28 behind Garza and he's only 3'30 in front of the maglia rosa group. We'll surely see some fireworks on the last climb with 10km to go.
15:55 CEST 233km/29km to go
The ISD pair are under 30km to go and they've all still got more descending to do before they hit that final climb to Pramartino. After 45km of going downhill, it's surely going to hurt to suddenly torque those quads on this steep little bugger.
The group of four are now caught - Cardenas is the last one to be absorbed by the LPR locomotive.
The ISD pair Grivko and Visconti are actually making up ground on Garzelli. 1'07 now but the peloton is only 2'39 behind.
There is only so much our solo man can do at this point. If he waits for the chasing duo, he could well be attacked. But they're going to catch him and he will hope they'll play nice for a while.
15:59 CEST 237km/25km to go
25km to go and Garzelli looks behind him. The ISD boys are right there and now we have three in front!
LPR Brakes seems to have eased off a bit in the chase. They'll be keeping the three men up front close, but perhaps waiting until just the right moment to make the catch. Delaying the catch prevents (sometimes) attacks from the peloton, giving the team an easier job of controlling things.
Less than two minutes to the peloton with 25k to go for the bunch... the leaders are heading through the town of Perosa Argentina.
In the bunch we see Lance Armstrong coming onto the LPR train. Perhaps he's feeling rested and ready after a day off and will go for the stage win? Maybe he wants to show race director Angelo Zomegnan that his old legs still have explosive power...
16:04 CEST 240km/22km to go
22km to go and now the peloton is entering the same town, Perosa Argentina. There's a nice cafe along the route which is doing booming business today.
It's a lovely day in Italy - but since it's a work day, there are few fans outside of the towns. Ivan Basso would surely like to see some more of his tifosi as he rolls along in the main bunch.
The three leaders - Garzelli, Grivko and Visconti - pass by a donkey. Or is it a mule? Fortunately it's tethered as the last thing we need is the beast running through the peloton.
16:06 CEST 242km/20km to go
Basso has now sent his Liquigas team to the front to bring the leaders back. They've got seven men up front to do the work and LPR has gladly taken a back seat.
Inside 20km to go and the gap to our three leaders is coming down to the minute mark. Soon we'll see the follow cars disappear from the gap.
Correction - we received a spurious gap. It's 2'02 - much better situation for the three men up front.
16:09 CEST 245.5km/16.5km to go
It's been six long hours on the road for the riders today. Averaging 40.596km/h, they've made short work of this monster of a stage. The leaders take a sharp and narrow left hand turn to start the climb to Pramartino.
The climb is very narrow and shaded by tall trees on one side. There's a stone wall on the other - keep the knuckles away from that!
Grivko, Garzelli and Visconti are working together to stay clear, but we see Grivko struggling.
The finish today is a good one for Di Luca, but also for Pellizotti, who is sitting behind his Liquigas team at the front.
Menchov is right behind them, followed by Arroyo and Leipheimer. There are only two men together at the front now...
Back in the bunch we see Scarponi and Sastre - and another Cervélo rider - all sitting close to the front.
16:14 CEST 247km/15km to go
The last few kilometres will be pretty dicey - there's a sharp, short climb on cobbles on narrow roads with two downhill turns that could be dangerous at high speed.
Our leaders pass under 15km to go.
It's still all green and blue at the front as the gap starts to come down more quickly. Garzelli is giving everything up front and Visconti isn't able to help.
16:16 CEST 248km/14km to go
One minute is the gap to the peloton.
Danilo Di Luca is isolated now behind the Liquigas train. Looks as if Rogers also is lacking teammates. Astana has several. Simoni is here. Soler is also present.
The riders are enjoying the dense shade of this ascent. The road is barely a cycling path - less than 2m wide at points but fortunately the peloton is single file in pursuit.
Pellizotti comes to the front and lifts the pace causing riders behind to sprint to handle the acceleration.
We doubt there are any sprinters in this peloton as we see the climbers at the back of this group suffering. The chase of Liquigas has brought the leaders to 22 seconds!
Pellizotti has a gap - he looks back and continues to pour on the watts.
Pellizotti has caught and passed Garzelli!
The Liquigas rider isn't waiting around. Di Luca himself has taken up the chase - Pellizotti is only 1'35 behind on GC.
Garzelli digs deep and sprints up to Pellizotti, but Visconti can't do it.
Soler now takes the chase with Di Luca on his wheel.
16:22 CEST 251km/11km to go
Di Luca has to go now and he's stringing the pack along. Leipheimer, Menchov, Soler, Arroyo, Sastre - all there.
Pellizotti has cracked Garzelli and is now alone in the front! The climb is getting steeper here...
Nearly to the top now, and in the peloton Armstrong has opened a gap and caught Rogers out.
Lövkvist is struggling to get up to Sastre, Leipheimer and Di Luca.
It's a group of only seven or eight behind Pellizotti, and Garzelli is holding onto the back of it at the moment.
Garzelli is being put into difficulty by a surge from Di Luca.
16:26 CEST 252km/10km to go
Pellizotti under the KOM banner and has less than 10km to go but the chase group is hot on his heels.
Armstrong, Rogers and Lövkvist are chasing a few seconds behind the group of the pink jersey.
Pellizotti bombs down the tiny roads which have had the sides painted with a thick white line so that the riders can see the edge of the road.
Behind Pellizotti, Basso is marking Di Luca who has to do the work in the chase group. However, Soler and Leipheimer were second and third over the climb taken by the lone leader.
This descent is tight and technical and Pellizotti is skirting the edge of the road on the bends taking all sorts of risks.
Garzelli, Sastre, Arroyo, Basso, Menchov, Leipheimer and Di Luca appear to make up the first chase. Maybe one more in there we can't quite catch.
The descent has some nasty potholes, too - but they're all through safely and still going downhill now out of the trees.
Someone has attacked on the descent! Is it Di Luca? It is!
16:30 CEST 255km/7km to go
Di Luca nearly loses it in a bend, but he has the mad skills. Leipheimer is taking up the lead on the descent behind. Di Luca has reached Pellizotti.
Sastre is now in the lead of the chase with Menchov on his wheel. It's not Arroyo, but his teammate Rodriguez in this group.
Leipheimer is not keep to take such risks. He's opened a gap to the leaders- now it's Di Luca and Pellizotti up front being joined by Sastre, Menchov and Rodriguez.
Oh drat. It is Arroyo with Menchov and Sastre! OK, we've got our numbers straight!
16:32 CEST 257km/5km to go
5km to go for the leaders... Rogers is chasing with Armstrong and Rodriguez - which caused our confusion.
Five men in front now with the pink jersey, and four men chasing just behind - Leipheimer, Basso, Garzelli and Soler.
Sastre is looking quite punchy as he passes Arroyo, who is getting dropped on this steep little climb.
Di Luca has gone alone! He's taking this ramp at top speed!
It's a kicker, and the pink jersey is all out - gritting his teeth with the effort.
16:35 CEST 259km/3km to go
3km to go and the maglia rosa is alone in the front and ready to take on the tricky descent alone!
Di Luca is holding his gap over Menchov, Pellizotti and Sastre... Arroyo is gone...
The streets are so narrow you could almost touch the buildings on either side! Di Luca is holding his lead.
16:36 CEST 260km/2km to go
Two kilometres to go for Di Luca - the three chasers can't quite close it down.
Sastre is doing the work now as they are now on flat roads.
16:37 CEST 260.2km/1.8km to go
Rogers is losing time and Lövkvist is further back. Di Luca is simply crushing it in this finish!
16:37 CEST 261km/1km to go
Left turn to the 1km to go banner and the three chasers cannot catch our flying pink jersey now!
Di Luca is going to get this one - Pellizotti is sitting on the back behind Menchov and Sastre.
The speed of the maglia rosa is incredible! He's sprinting into the finish as hard as he can to gain precious seconds.
He gets it! Di Luca takes the stage.
Pellizotti takes the sprint for second ahead of Menchov and Sastre. Arroyo in fifth.
Armstrong rolled in not too far behind. He's escorted after the line by team spokesman Philippe Maertens who has to sprint to keep up.
Lövkvist lost 1'39 or so - not good for Columbia.
It looks as if Rogers will be Columbia's man for the GC, and he's got a good advantage as a multi-time world champion in the time trial when it comes to Thursday's stage.
Groups are still coming to the line in dribs and drabs. That was a very cruel finish for a 262km stage, but our maglia rosa has proven himself to be worthy of wearing that shirt. What panache!
When Di Luca attacked before the top of that climb, Basso could not hold the wheel. Sastre, in his usual spot at the back, was too slow to react. Di Luca took huge risks on the descent to gain his advantage, nearly crashing for one brief moment but holding it up through sheer force of will.
Menchov now trails Di Luca by 1'20 - with Rogers 13 more seconds behind on GC. Leipheimer is at 1'40. It was a nice try by Di Luca, but considering the length of Thursday's time trial he will probably need more than that on proven time trial experts like Rogers, Leipheimer and Menchov.
Certainly the stage has set up an interesting situation! Thanks everyone for tuning in to our live coverage!
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
3 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
5 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
6 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld
7 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
9 Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
11 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
12 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
13 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
14 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
15 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
General classification after stage 10
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
6 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
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