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92nd Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 9-31, 2009

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Stage 13 - Friday, May 22: Lido di Camaiore - Firenze, 176km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Laura Weislo

10:46 CEST   
A couple of straightforward climbs early on in the stage apart, this is a pan-flat day's cycling that looks guaranteed for a sprint finish. In fact, it would be no surprise to see several of the sprinters pull out after this stage with so few opportunities for them in the last week, which only makes a sprint even more certain.

Firenze is a city of art, but in cycling it is known for the famed Gino Bartali, who comes from nearby Ponte a Ema. It is a stage dedicated to him and it will pass through his city.

10:47 CEST   
Join us at 2PM CET/8AM EST for our live coverage of stage 13.

14:07 CEST   
Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Giro d'Italia. It was incredibly difficult to tear ourselves away from the beach in Lido di Camaiore this morning. It's such a gorgeous summery day and we really need to work on our tan... but alas, duty calls!

14:08 CEST   
The riders also seem to be in a lazy summer afternoon mood. They got underway at 1:15PM local time and were in no real hurry to ride hard from the start. Seems that 60km time trial took a little sting out of everyone's legs yesterday!

14:11 CEST   
Barloworld's Robbie Hunter said that he was hoping for an old-fashioned Giro stage today - 120km of "piano!" and then wind it up for the sprint. However, there were three men who weren't going to follow that plan today.

At km 12, Leonardo Scarselli (ISD), Mikhail Ignatiev (Team Katusha) and Björn Schröder (Team Milram) went on the attack and the peloton decided to let them have their day in the sun.

14:13 CEST   
And a sunny day it most certainly is! 30C, a nice light breeze - a perfect day for a leisurely spin across the Tuscan countryside.

14:15 CEST   
It is stage 13 today, and it is Friday. We're not sure if this counts as a "Friday the 13th", but sprinter Mark Cavendish might be having a little triskaidekaphobia - he had a little crash with Yohann Gene (BBox Bouygues Telecom) earlier. The fall was "without consequence" as they like to say in bike racing, but it is never pleasant to hit the ground.

14:17 CEST    42km/134km to go
We've got a new team to control the front of the race today - the orange and blue of the Dutch Rabobank team will be obligated to do the work today thanks to having the maglia rosa in its midst. Denis Menchov put himself in the position of being first Russian since Pavel Tonkov to win the Giro d'Italia with a superb effort in yesterday's time trial.

14:21 CEST   
While our three men sweat it out in front of the peloton, we'll try to move things along with another chance for our dear readers to win a prize! Would you like a Cervélo TestTeam jersey signed by all of its Giro stars - including Carlos Sastre?

Just head on over to our forum and give us your guess at today's top three finishers. Remember: you must enter before 20km to go and you can only enter once, please!

14:25 CEST   
Today's stage is rather featureless when it comes to the profile. Just one classified climb at km 67.8 in Montemagno. The T.V. sprint of the day comes at km 123.1 in Santa Croce sull'Arno. Other than that, we can expect the break of three we have at the moment to be kept on a tight leash so that the sprinters can have what could be their last chance to win a stage.

14:27 CEST   
Danilo Di Luca may have given up the pink jersey in the time trial yesterday, but the 'Killer' still got some podium time thanks to his firm lead in the points classification. He traded in his maglia rosa for the maglia ciclamino.

14:28 CEST   
Stefano Garzelli has kept his lead in the mountains classification, and with 22 points over second placed Di Luca, he'll have no challenge in that competition today.

14:32 CEST    51km/125km to go
The riders have passed their first hour of racing at a brisk 46.1km/h and have now brought the three fugitives, Leonardo Scarselli (ISD), Mikhail Ignatiev (Team Katusha) and Björn Schröder (Team Milram) back to 3'50.

14:37 CEST   
At these speeds, the riders should reach the finishing town just in time for the evening rush hour! We're heading to the historic city of Florence - the "cradle of the Renaissance".

14:41 CEST   
Today's finish takes place along the famed River Arno, which bisects Florence. It is a straight shot to the line and flat as a Ligurian Farinata. It should be a elbow-to-elbow battle between Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Cavendish today.

14:47 CEST   
The gap to our leaders is still wavering above and below four minutes. Right now it's 4'16. It seems as if the bunch is just letting them dangle out there.

Today's stage is special because it finishes in one of Italy's oldest cities, but also because Florence was the home of one of the country's most famous bike racers, Gino Bartali. Or at least, he was from the nearby town Ponte a Ema, which is just southeast of Firenze.

If you want to know more about Bartali, you can read Les Clarke's feature on him and fellow legend Fausto Coppi.

14:52 CEST   
We'd like to wish a happy birthday to Garmin-Slipstream's Christian Vande Velde. He's not in the race anymore having crashed out on stage three. We reported earlier this week that scans found more broken bones - so we also wish him speedy healing!

14:55 CEST   
It is also the birthday of Saxo Bank's Kasper Klostergaard who turns 26 today. Vande Velde is 33 and says he's "old" on his Twitter feed... we'd like to think of it as "seasoned"!

14:56 CEST   
Heading up the day's climb, the category 3 Montemagno, the leaders have extended their advantage to 4'45. Once again, the escapees are Leonardo Scarselli (ISD), Mikhail Ignatiev (Team Katusha) and Björn Schröder (Team Milram).

14:59 CEST   
As we said before, today's stage may well be the last day of this Giro which will favour the sprinters. If you look ahead to the rest of the stages you'll see that just about every one is either finishing on top of a mountain or has a climb close enough to the finish that it will be difficult for our fast-twitch crowd to get to the line at the front.

15:02 CEST   
Even the relatively flat penultimate stage has a little kicker of a climb to the line, so we could very well see the likes of Tyler Farrar and Mark Cavendish packing it in today.

We wonder, Petacchi has been climbing quite well so far - will he stick around to try to either help Di Luca? Certainly with so many mountain finishes he is not going to contend for the ciclamino jersey?

15:06 CEST   
While our trio extends their lead to 5'20, let's get to know a little bit more about them, shall we?

Björn Schröder, 28, is a native of Berlin, Germany. He has been with Team Milram since 2006. Last year was a big year for him, as he was in a long escape in the second stage of the Tour de France and ended up missing out on the polka-dot jersey by only a few centimeters.

In August, he took his first career stage race win at the Regio-Tour. He has ridden the Tour twice, but this is his first Giro.

15:08 CEST   
We saw Leonardo Scarselli in the breakaway on stage two. The ISD rider spent about 100km off the front on that sprinter's stage. He's back at it getting publicity for his team but sadly, we fear, he and his companions will have little hope of surviving off the front today.

15:11 CEST    80km/96km to go
With that long break on stage two, we'd think that Scarselli would be higher up on the Fuga Cervélo classification. But indeed, Björn Schröder is the top of our breakaway in that competition in 11th.

The Fuga Cervélo is measured by kilometres spent off the front of the peloton.

15:13 CEST   
Of course we see Ignatiev in this breakaway. It's his favourite place to be. Indeed, he's practically a modern day Jackie Durand and simply cannot stand to be riding in the bunch.

In 2007, Ignatiev won the Fuga classification in the Giro d'Italia, but was not successful in winning a stage that year.

15:16 CEST   
Like Durand, Ignatiev's breakaways are rarely successful, but he has won an Olympic gold medal in the points race, so when he makes them work, they really count!

15:18 CEST   
The pace in the second hour has been a slightly more reasonable 44.9km/h, but they still aren't taking a leisurely tour through this beautiful countryside. They're skirting the quaint town of Lucca at the moment, but are avoiding the city center.

15:20 CEST   
We'd expect to see the orange and blue of Rabobank at the head of the peloton, but they're getting quite a bit of help from the similarly colored Garmin-Slipstream team. They are looking to get Tyler Farrar his first Grand Tour stage win.

15:21 CEST   
While we wait to see what will happen in today's stage, why not head over to our forum and give us your guess at today's top three finishers? You could win a signed Cervélo TestTeam jersey!

Remember: you must enter before 20km to go and you can only enter once, please!

15:21 CEST   
Also present at the front of the bunch is the Columbia-Highroad team which is trying to keep Cavendish out of trouble for today's sprint. They've got some "traffic furniture" to avoid.

15:24 CEST   
Looking back at yesterday's time trial, we have to say we were mighty impressed with the riding style of Menchov. Throughout the entire stage he looked much stronger than the others. He was sprinting out of every bend and took the nasty climbs with apparent ease.

It's no wonder he put so much time into Di Luca, who was far more labored in his efforts. The two are now separated by 34 seconds. Levi Leipheimer, at 40", is certainly still in with a chance.

15:25 CEST    98km/78km to go
78km to go for our three men up front, a few more for the peloton which is four minutes behind at the moment.

15:26 CEST   
We're wondering, can Menchov borrow a pair of pink shorts from Danilo Di Luca? The orange just doesn't go very well with the pink jersey...

15:28 CEST   
Our three leaders are taking turns pulling in the break - each rider gives an effort for a minute or so and then pulls off. Right now it's Ignatiev with his perfectly aerodynamic position who is leading. He's honed that style of riding through years of effort on the track.

15:30 CEST   
We think that Denis Menchov might not want to wear too much pink - we suspect he is far too macho. But that doesn't stop him from having a nice pink helmet and matching glasses to boot!

15:31 CEST   
Ignatiev is taking another pull at the front, taking over from Scarselli. But this time it's a short pull - he goes back to sit behind the rather dizzying pattern of Scarselli's shorts.

15:32 CEST   
We received an email from April in Chattanooga who says "Orange matches everything!" - kind of like the world orange rhymes with everything??

15:33 CEST   
In the peloton, Dave Zabriskie has taken over the work - he's helping to hold the gap to around four minutes.

15:35 CEST   
The clock tower in Altopasco shows 3:30, and it's tea time for the peloton. The feed zone is pure chaos as riders chuck empty bottles and collect their feed bags. This will slow up the chase a bit temporarily.

15:36 CEST   
Reminder to those who wish to enter the contest for the Cervélo jersey - you must do so in our forum, not via email! Please head on over to our forum and give us your guess at today's top three finishers. Remember: it ends with 20km to go!

15:37 CEST   
While you're in the forum, you can discuss the outcome of stage 12 and just exactly what was with the guy who tried to grab Danilo Di Luca during the time trial anyhow?

15:39 CEST   
We just received an interesting email... it seems Mark Cavendish has written a book about his career to date called "Boy Racer". "With his characteristic honesty and candour, Boy Racer charts Mark Cavendish's remarkable journey to this point" says the press release.

15:41 CEST   
Back to Di Luca, we wonder if, had he made more solid contact with his hit on that fan, the Giro organisers would have ejected him as they did to Vladimir Belli when he socked the Simoni hooligans way back when? Somehow we doubt it...

15:42 CEST   
At the head of the bunch we see Morris Possoni (Team Columbia - Highroad) in an aero tuck. The lead is still hovering at 4'15 for Scarselli, Ignatiev and Schroeder.

15:44 CEST   
Ignatiev is looking quite red in the cheeks from doing so much work up front. Schroeder, in his blue and white cow jersey, is hiding the effort a little better. About 70km to go for the leaders.

15:47 CEST    115km/61km to go
The peloton is encountering a small climb which gives the riders a chance to get out of the saddle. We underestimated how much ground our break has made - only 61km to go! The three leaders are being treated to a nice little descent, and they'll relish the chance to recover a bit.

15:50 CEST   
The lead trio are passing through farm country now in the province of Pisa. Before they exit this province, they'll hit the T.V. sprint at km 52.9. They are now 4'08 on the peloton.

15:53 CEST   
It's safe to say that none of our riders up front are threatening Denis Menchov's overall lead. In order for that to happen, the peloton would have had to have taken a very long lunch break. Scarselli is the best placed on GC - two hours and ten seconds behind.

15:56 CEST   
Our trio up front are still plugging away in their most likely futile hunt for the stage win. The peloton is keeping them right at four minutes. They're approaching the intermediate sprint, and Scarselli takes it ahead of Schroeder and Ignatiev - the three don't even get out of the saddle to sprint.

Scarselli gives a wave to the Italian fans.

15:57 CEST   
Scarselli could be considered the local hero of the day since he's from Florence - he sure would love to stroll into town off the front of the peloton. Somehow we doubt the sprinters are feeling generous today.

15:59 CEST   
It's a hot day's work for the three men up front and it's time to call for the team car to get a cold drink. Scarselli gets the ISD car to come up first, and Schroeder is calling for the Milram D.S. We wonder, do they carry milkshakes in the car?

16:01 CEST   
Santa Croce sull'Arno is festooned with pink balloons - and most of the town is out on the sidewalk to cheer the riders along.

16:03 CEST   
The race is now speeding along the highway in an industrial zone, and have passed more than a few fuelling stations - even a tanker or two. The trio look like they could top off their tanks! 48km to go and they'll need all the gas they can get to stay away.

16:05 CEST   
The Rabobank team can count themselves lucky that the Columbia and Garmin teams are so heavily invested in a sprint finish today as they've had to do very little work up front. LPR Brakes, having taken care of the large majority of the work during the first week, is not doing a lick of work for Petacchi.

16:07 CEST   
The Quick Step team has a prime contender in Allan Davis, but they're also taking a back seat in the chase. What other sprinters could surprise today? JJ Haedo? Ben Swift?

16:08 CEST   
We haven't seen a lot from Saxo Bank's Argentinean speedster this Giro. We'd love to see him get up there in the sprint. Up until now, his teammate Matt Goss has been a bit better.

16:10 CEST   
Less than 50km to go and your time is running out to give your guess as to the top three finishers on today's stage! Go to our forum and enter your guess before we hit 20km to go and you might win a Cervélo Test Team jersey!

16:11 CEST   
A signed Cervélo TestTeam jersey that is! They're inside 50km to go and the gap is falling more rapidly now. 3'15 at the last check.

16:12 CEST   
The group of our maglia rosa is heading through the small town of Fucecchio, and Denis Menchov is comfortably riding behind fellow Russian Dmitry Kozontchuk.

16:13 CEST   
It will surely be giving a morale boost to fallen Rabobank rider Pedro Horrillo to see his teammate in the pink jersey. The Spaniard, who crashed into the ravine last weekend, is doing better day by day.

16:15 CEST    136km/40km to go
40km to go and the long, flat, straight highway is leading our men right into the heart of the province of Firenze.

16:17 CEST   
The gap to our leaders has fallen to 2'40 at the moment. We see Giovanni Visconti at the back of the peloton loading up with bottles - two up the front, a few down the back of his jersey. The cold bottles must feel nice as it is quite a warm day for May.

16:17 CEST    142km/34km to go
Inside 35km to go for our leaders! We're seeing a bit of a gap at the front of the peloton as the Garmin boys put in a harder effort than the Columbia guys want to do.

16:18 CEST   
The pace in our bunch has increased dramatically and the 183 rider peloton is single file as far as the eye can see.

16:19 CEST   
Now 35km to go for the peloton and we see the reason for the high pace - looks like Marco Pinotti is at the front driving. He's helped bring the gap down under two minutes!

16:21 CEST    144.2km/31.8km to go
Coming into 32km to go the peloton encountered a nasty little construction zone. There were some little splits as riders had to dodge some dirt and lane markers.

16:22 CEST   
Attack! Schroeder has decided he needs to go now if he wants to win!

16:22 CEST   
The Milram rider has immediately opened up a large gap on Scarselli and Ignatiev.

16:23 CEST    146km/30km to go
His bike says Focus and his face does, too. Schroeder is moving and under 30km to go.

16:24 CEST   
The peloton has bunched up as they try to regroup after that strange construction zone. It's still Columbia at the front but now ISD is attacking.

16:24 CEST   
Oh, it's not an "attack", but perhaps a chance to wave hello to his home town fans.

16:25 CEST   
Cioni is marked by Kjell Carlström (Liquigas), and the pair have opened up a little gap.

16:25 CEST   

Current situation

  • Björn Schröder (Team Milram)
  • Leonardo Scarselli (ISD) and Mikhail Ignatiev (Team Katusha) at 0.18
  • Peloton at 1.42

16:26 CEST   
Cioni has quite a few supporters in the town of Montelupo Fiorentino, and there are banners hanging from buildings with his name on it.

16:26 CEST    149.5km/26.5km to go
Only a few minutes to get into our competition for that Cervélo jersey signed by the Giro team. Go to the forum now!

16:28 CEST   
The peloton is back out single file as the gap is shrinking rapidly - last check, Schroeder had 18 seconds on Scarselli and Ignatiev with the peloton at 1'42.

16:29 CEST    151km/25km to go
Schroeder is actually looking quite good at the moment as he heads under the 25km to go banner. The battle for position has begun in the peloton - teams are moving together to form their lead out trains.

16:30 CEST   
Cameron Meyer (Garmin - Slipstream) is leading the bunch ahead of Bram de Groot (Rabobank) and Possoni...

Just a minute or two until our forum competition ends! Make your guesses now!

16:31 CEST   
The gap has come out a little for our leaders as the peloton begins its game of cat and mouse. Schroeder is the little mousie who has the cheese and is scurrying to get away with it!

16:33 CEST    153.2km/22.8km to go
The German leader is shaking his head now, the effort clearly causing him great pain. But he's pushing through it - 22.8km to go!

16:33 CEST   
Ignatiev and Scarselli are going visibly slower than the peloton - and indeed are within sight of Cameron Meyer who has the throttle wide open.

16:34 CEST   
Game over for the two chasers - Ignatiev and Scarselli are caught.

16:35 CEST    156km/20km to go
The last of our breakaway, Schroeder, is still continuing on at 1'41 ahead of the peloton. He's gritting his teeth - hands in the drops and riding on the tip of the saddle.

20km to go! Competition over!

16:37 CEST   
Now that we're inside 20km to go, we'll give you our heretofore super secret picks: Cavendish, Hunter and Gasparotto. Wild guess for sure, and most probably wrong.

1'29 for Schroeder!

16:38 CEST   
The honking horns of the lead cars are echoing off the buildings as Schroeder heads through Ponte a Signa. The peloton is waiting to make the catch, prolonging the German's suffering.

16:40 CEST   
One of the lead cars has the La Cucaracha song for its horn and makes us think of the Looney Tunes character Speedy Gonzales for some reason... No Gonzales out front - just a speedy Schroeder!

16:41 CEST   
Schroeder is "on the rivet" as they say, and still going strong. He's holding over a minute still, but can his legs hold out? Garmin, Columbia and now Bouygues Telecom are near the front.... is that Voeckler waiting for a chance to pounce?

16:42 CEST    161km/15km to go
15km to go and the bunch is slowing again. It's still Garmin at the front working for Tyler Farrar.

16:43 CEST   
The peloton is still 1'15 or so behind Schroeder, but by our calculations he'll need 10 seconds per kilometre and won't make it unless something extraordinary happens.

16:44 CEST   
Schroeder is zooming around a traffic circle - this is a very technical section of the approach to Firenze... back in the bunch Petacchi is sucking down a power gel.

16:46 CEST    166km/10km to go
Zabriskie comes to the front to lead the peloton around the circle. Some riders go left, some go right and they all come back together. One rider took the shortest route up onto the curb! No crashes that we could see... phew!

16:47 CEST   
In a somewhat cruel trick, the moto official showed Schroeder 1'25 while his gap was nearly 10 seconds less than that. Getting his hopes up?

16:47 CEST   
Our guess of Hunter might be accurate - we see the Barloworld team putting some riders up front. 1'14 for the Milram man in front.

16:48 CEST   
Farrar is right behind Cavendish, keeping him in his sights. But he shouldn't lose sight of some other fast sprinters!

16:50 CEST    166km/10km to go
Now it's 10km to go for Schroeder! He's got less than a minute on the bunch! They're bringing this down to the last kilometres.

16:51 CEST   
Allan Davis is nicely situated near the front, and of course Petacchi is up there. Schroeder is suffering over a bridge and we're told he has just 24 seconds!

16:51 CEST   
Indeed, he is exiting the bridge as the peloton is heading over it. Bad news for Schroeder! It's going to be a bunch sprint!

16:52 CEST   
We've got some narrow roads to negotiate for a brief moment... please get through safely!

16:52 CEST   
Barloworld takes over the chase as the end of the bunch goes through the narrow section with everyone still upright.

16:52 CEST   
16 seconds only for the Milram man! There are lots of roundabouts slowing up the chase.

16:53 CEST    169km/7km to go
Garmin has the lead and we see a Saxo Bank rider looking back for his sprinter. Where's JJ?

16:53 CEST   
Bottles fly from the peloton as they take their last drink... 15 seconds for Schroeder!

16:54 CEST   
Schroeder looks back and he can hear the lead vehicles approaching... Astana takes over the lead - why?

16:54 CEST    170.2km/5.8km to go
It's all over for the Milram man. He sits up and the Astana led bunch comes streaming past.

16:55 CEST   
Columbia is on the right w/ Petacchi on the train. No sign of Farrar? Barloworld takes the pace making.

16:55 CEST   
Quick Step is now pulling up with Farrar tucked in behind Davis.

16:56 CEST   
The Garmin team is moving up en masse now as we head into 5km to go.

16:56 CEST   
They're swarmed by Columbia but Quick Step has the front.

16:56 CEST    172.2km/3.8km to go
Less than 4km to go and we see some bumping... Garmin is fighting hard.

16:56 CEST   
Petacchi looks calm in the midst of the chaos.

16:57 CEST   
Astana is pulling through now - with one rider upping the pace out of the saddle...

16:57 CEST    173km/3km to go
It's still Quick Step at the front with Garmin and one Barloworld rider... is it Hunter?

16:58 CEST   
Garmin finally gets its men to the front - they have three with Farrar.

16:58 CEST   
The pace is not stringing out the bunch and Columbia draws alongside w/ Cavendish.

16:58 CEST    174.1km/1.9km to go
Bradley Wiggins strings things out with 1.9km to go!

16:59 CEST   
Cavendish has Petacchi on his wheel. Davis is there as they round a sharp right.

16:59 CEST   
Millar is now at the front but Farrar has only one man left!

16:59 CEST    175km/1km to go
Last kilometre and Garmin still has the lead but Davis is right in their train.

17:00 CEST   
Julian Dean leads off but Columbia takes over!

17:00 CEST   
Columbia has the lead as they head to 500m

17:00 CEST   
Renshaw comes alongside w/ JJ - but now comes Cavendish!

17:00 CEST   
Petacchi is coming off Cavendish's wheel...

17:00 CEST   
Final 100m and Petacchi can't do it!

17:01 CEST   
Cavendish takes his third stage ahead of Petacchi!

17:01 CEST   
He gives a big hug to his teammates - we think Davis was third.

17:01 CEST   
So much for our predictions - Hunter is fourth.

17:06 CEST   
Stage 13 was certainly not unlucky for Cavendish, who earned his third stage of this Giro d'Italia.

17:07 CEST   
Farrar's train may have taken off too early once again, and after a bit of elbow-touching with Cav, the American lost the wheel.

17:07 CEST   
Petacchi actually came across his front wheel a bit, and Farrar had to ease up. So goes the bunch sprint!

17:11 CEST   
Hunter had a clear shot at the line on the right side, but lacked the power of Cavendish and Petacchi. There was some bunching between Farrar, Renshaw and Haedo - and the Argentinean backed off. Davis had to come from a long way back to get into third.

17:12 CEST   
Once again, thanks for reading our live coverage and be sure to come back tomorrow for an exciting finish! The trip to Bologna is full of lumps and has a real sting in its tail.

Provisional results

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad          
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini    
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step                           
4 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld                         
5 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream                 
6 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank                   
7 Robert Forster (Ger) Team Milram                       
8 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Katusha                           
General classification after stage 11
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank

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