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83rd Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 13 - June 4, 2000

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Stage 2 - May 15: Terracina to Maddaloni, 225 km

Moreni into muddy Maddaloni

Christiano Moreni wins
Photo: © AFP

By Gabriella Ekström, correspondent

The rain was absolutely soaking down throughout the day and made the riders suffer during the 229 km stage, which they had to ride shivering with cold. At least Fabio Baldato had the luck of being able to stay inside today. The Italian sprinter fractured both his collarbone and his pelvis in the crash that occured yesterday when someone threw away a bidon that bounced back and made several riders hit the deck. Baldato managed to finish the stage, but won't be able to ride again for at least six weeks. Another rider that was involved in the crash was Banesto's Unai Osa, also he a DNS today.

The roads today were not suited for the rainy weather, and the mud that came floating down the hills was the reason for multiple punctures and too many crashes. Not too frightened by the conditions, Mercatone Uno kept the pace up in the peloton, in their chase of a five man break. Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Simone Bertoletti (Lampre), Christian Moreni (Liquigas) and Elio Aggiano (Vitalicio Seguros) started the climb of Monte Taburno with a six minutes gap and had only a mere minute left when they reached the summit. However the riders in the break were more daring in their way of descending in the rain, and they had the advantage of beeing only five instead of 170. The gap started to grow again.

The road was as slippery as a piece of glass, and the teams were nervous as they saw their sprinters and G.C contenders skid around in the gravel. As soon as a rider slipped back with a flat wheel, one or two other riders would sit up and go back for him. Many also took the chance to go back for an extra jacket or a pair of gloves while the pace was low. Even Cipo covered his Maglia Rosa under a red Saeco jacket, but luckily he had the matching shorts, so that you would still recognize him. Hernan Buenahora from Nectar-Selle Italia choosed to neglect the danger of the slippery roads and started a lone pursuit of the front group, and caught them with 50 kilometers to go. Their gap had grown to three minutes by this point.

Linda McCartney already had their fair share of bad luck, and more was to come. The peloton passed through a little village with extremely bad roads when a new crash took place, and you guessed it, a Linda McCartney rider stayed on the ground. In fact, Matthew Stephens was an inch from getting hit by the Banesto team car, dont ask me how they avoided him. Also Banesto's Eladio Jimenez was affected by the crash. After that crash, the peloton looked more than miserable. Three groups of dirty and tired riders followed in the casacades of water spurting from the wheels of the motorbikes. Pantani who made the first group with nearly a full team line-up decide to wait for the others, and no-one had any objections.

Buenahora kept the pace up in the breakaway as they started the next climb, were pieces of the roadside came floating with the streams. Jose Enrique Gutierrez from Kelme and Mapei rider Andrea Noé decided that they would have a go to try and reach the front, and nobody stopped them from doing so.

Meanwhile Karsten Kroon managed to outsprint Elio Aggiano for the second mountain prize of the day, and took the lead in the KOM-competition. The young Dutchman had won the intermediate sprint and then also the mountain prize in Monte Taburno in front of Elio Aggiano. He might be getting on Aggiano's nerves. Saeco had just taken over the front work when Paolo Savoldelli got a flat with less than 12 kms to go. Once again Cipo's red train had to leave him and go and get Savoldelli, so no victory for Cipollini today either.

Jose Enrique Gutierrez and Andrea Noé did reach the breakaway, but the peloton was not far behind, so Christian Moreni decided to go early. After a few minutes it was clear that the peloton were too far away to catch him, but his seven friends from the break could still ruin his plans. Moreni had 50 seconds with five kilometers to go, but had to play it safe and rode very slow through the corners. Fortunately for Moreni, some of the riders behind him were afraid of the thought of facing Matteo Tosatto in a sprint, and therefore did not help.

Tosatto was frustrated and furious, but it didn't help him much as Moreni took the victory and the maglia just three seconds ahead of him.


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