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83rd Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 13 - June 4, 2000

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Stage 6 - May 19: Peschici to Vasto, 170 km

Konyshev the soothsayer

By Gabriella Ekström, correspondent
Dimitri Konyshev snags it
Photo: © AFP

55 kilometers to go and nothing much has happened today. Karsten Kroon looks into the camera and confirms that with a yawn! Diego Ferrari from Amica Chips attacks together with Alessio Girelli from Aguardiente Selle Italia (leaving out the Nectar). Dario Pieri from Saeco chooses to follow them without helping.

Today's discussion still concerns Mario Cipollini's behaviour. The man was so obviously pacing up the climb to Matera, where he won, but he's full of excuses. "I was reaching for a ham sandwich," is a good one. Some of the Saeco members are on their way to make themself a few enemies in the bunch. Guiseppe Calcaterrra already earned himself one when he punched Colombian rider Freddy Gonzales in the head. Reason? Gonzales shouldn't be attacking when Cipollini was suffering, pacing, eating a sandwich, whatever...

Mobilvetta are chasing the three riders, but Paolo Valoti has to be convinced. He finds it useless to be the only chasing team, and he shares his thoughts with his friends and the rest of the world. The gap is 55 seconds, and strong sprinter Dario Pieri hasn't moved from the last wheel. Thats one of the reasons this break is going nowhere. They are caught just seconds after passing the Intergiro sprint, which was won by Ferrari because he was the one pulling right then.

Matthé Pronk from Rabobank makes next move, and is joined by Mapei's Paolo Lanfranchi who is keen on getting a good group going. Not right now though. Fassa Bortolo closes the gap. A new attack comes with 25 kilometers to go, it is Raul Montana from Aguardiente Selle Italia together with Eric Dekker from Rabobank. Rabobank haven't showed themselves much until now. Dekker and Montana don't get a big gap, but behind them Elio Aggiano from Vitalicio Seguros and Linda McCartney's Max Sciandri manages to pull off a more successful attack. Saeco and Polti are the chasing teams. Could it be that Jeroen Blijlevens feels good today or will they ride for Martinello?

Elio and Max have reached a little village. Max plays it mad on the tricky streets, he is much too daring to the little Italian. They pass the finish, the sprint will be contested uphill, but not until next lap. From here it is a little more than ten kilometers to go. The peloton seem uneasy, the roads are narrow and tricky. The bunch is streched out. Eric Dekker moves to the front again, increases the speed, he is followed by four riders from Saeco. Aggiano and Sciandri are caught with 4.5 k's to go. Next move is made by Aguardiente Selle Italia's Fortunato Baliano, who moves away at a tremendous speed, and behind him comes David McKenzie from the Lindas. Macca!

Jimmy Casper pulls aside with a flat tire, and at the same moment Kelme's Oscar Sevilla hits the deck. It's never pleasant, and surely not at 60 kph. He reaches for a car that has stopped, and grabs it so that he wont fall again. He looks dizzy and is in great pain. McKenzie is still in the lead, but Secchiari is gritting his teeth to catch him. The Australian cannot stand up to the red train of Mario Cipollini. But where is Mario Cipollini? He's down in 15th wheel somewhere, right behind Blijlevens who rides behind Quaranta. Mobilvetta starts to move closer to the front. Less than two kilometers to go.

Lampre's Mariano Piccoli tries hard to get away on the left side of the road. This is a trick often played by Piccoli, but when he passes under the red flag that means one kilometer to go, it is clear that he will be caught. It just hurt too much. Blijlevens tries to throw in an elbow and a shoulder into the Mobilvetta train, but you have yet to see a yellow rider get pushed away so quick. Saeco's at the front again, it is Pieri ahead of Biagio Conte, but Cipollini himself is nowhere to be seen. The fact that he is gone confuses Conte, who throws his bike to the side and looks behind him. No Cipo' but lots of Fassa Bortolo. Ferretti's team has taken perfect advantage of the situation and Dimitri Konyshev is delivered at the front at the right time. It is still a fair bit to go, but he looks so strong. The only one who can possibly challenge him is Jeroen Blijlevens. Blijlevens is getting closer, but it is too late and he cuts to the right, taking a much longer way to the finish than Konyshev had to do. Blijlevens is missing more than French Fries and mayonnaise this year. He is also missing THE victory.

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