86th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour
Italy, May 10-June 1, 2003
Stage 5 - May 14: Messina-Catania, 176 km
Complete Live Report
Start time: 11:53 CEST
Estimated finish time: 16:15 CEST
Live coverage from 14:30 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage for stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia. Today
the riders have crossed over to the island of Sicily, where they will face 176
kilometres between Messina and Catania, skirting the volcanic Mt. Etna. This
should be a day for the sprinters, with only the long steady drag up to Portella
Mandrazzi providing any notably difficulty. Will this finally give Mario Cipollini
a chance to arrive at the finish in the lead group and take his first Giro win
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) remains in the pink jersey after yet another
top finish yesterday, when he was second behind Robbie McEwen. Following today's
stage the peloton will get its first rest day Thursday, which comes after an
air transfer tonight from Catania to Naples.
14:30 CEST / 100 km to go
After a tough day yesterday, the peloton has decided to start the day gently,
and 'piano' is the word of the day thus far. The average speed for the first
two hours of racing was a calm 30 km/h, and nobody has disrupted the easy spin
with a breakaway.
Same situation after almost three hours of racing. Or riding, at least. The
peloton is all together, carrying on at a moderate pace approaching the climb
to Portella Mandrazzi. There should be some activity on the climb as riders
start chasing GPM points. Efforts to spoil the sprinters' party today will be
tough to pull off.
Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) will be looking for a second stage win today after
his success in stage 3. "This is like last year," he told La Gazzetta
dello Sport. "I had to wait until the fourth stage to win. Last year I
beat Cipo. Now I beat Maglia Rosa Petacchi."
Race leader Petacchi was surprised by the Aussie's finishing speed yesterday,
but is just as eager to win a stage today in the maglia rosa.
As for the race, they're going even slower, if that's possible. In the last
hour, the average speed was just under 29 km/h.
The race is on the lower slopes of the Portella Mandrazzi, which is a 25km climb,
but is not steep. The climb takes the riders to an altitude of 1,120 metres
before a long plunge back down the other side.
15:25 CEST / 70 km to go
The race has finally started, with the first challenge of the day: the GPM points
at the summit of the otherwise uneventful climb of Portella Mandrazzi. Colombia-Selle
Italia's tenacious climber Fredy Gonzalez took the points ahead of the Formaggi
Pinzolo Fiave duo of Luis F. Laverde and Rinaldo Nocentini.
Kelme's Ignacio Gutierrez helped get an attack going with Gonzalez, and the
two have pressed on to maintain their advantage, which is now 36".
A counter attack by Gabriele Balducci (Sidermec) and Cristian Moreni (Alessio)
has not produced any great fireworks, but the advantage of Gonzalez and Gutierrez
has gone up to 1'15".
Fabio Baldato (Alessio) has also tried a short move off the front of the main
field, but it didn't last long. The peloton is all together, with the exception
of the two leaders (Gonzalez and Gutierrez), who are up to 1'30" ahead
of the field.
15:48 CEST / 49 km to go
The peloton has decided that with such a long distance to the finish, the two
leaders are of no great concern. As a result, the gap between the lead duo and
the field has jumped to nearly three minutes.
15:55 CEST / 46 km to go
Four hours of racing now and the pace is definitely going to steadily pick up
as the finish draws near. Nobody suffered any great damage on the climb, so
this is almost certainly going to be a sprinters' showdown at the end. The gap
to the leaders is three minutes, but the peloton is becoming more stretched
out as the chase slowly gets going.
16:00 CEST / 43 km to go
Fassa Bortolo, the team of race leader Alessandro Petacchi, is now winding up
the chase. Other teams present at the front are FDJeux.com, thinking of either
Jimmy Casper or Bernhard Eisel, and Domina Vacanze. Robbie McEwen's Lotto-Domo
team is also ready to work.
The two leaders now have an advantage of 2'35".
16:08 CEST / 37 km to go
The gap to the two man break of Gonzalez and Gutierrez is falling, but not too
dramatically. They still have around 2'30" on the field, which will should
be driven until the end by the teams of the big sprinters. The rest of the course
is not favourable to any new breakaway attempts, but that's not to say someone
16:11 CEST / 35 km to go
The two leaders are a few kilometres from the InterGiro sprint, as the peloton
chases some 2'20" behind.
16:13 CEST / 33 km to go
The CCC-Polsat team has sent several members to the front of the field, thinking
perhaps of the InterGiro points, even if they'll only be sprinting for third
16:18 CEST / 26 km to go
Gonzalez has taken the InterGiro points ahead of Gutierrez. Behind, as the field
approached the sprint, one of Moreno Di Biase's Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave teammates
hit the breaks ahead of the bunch to make sure it was Di Biase who took the
points and not himself.
Meanwhile, a poorly placed car on the right side of the road has caused a crash
at the back of the field.
The gap between the field and the two leaders is down to 30".
16:22 CEST / 22 km to go
Di Biase is confirmed has having taken third in the InterGiro, which could give
him the lead in that competition.
Mario Cipollini is riding near the front of the field, fueling up for the dash
to the line. Fassa Bortolo and Domina Vacanze are still the two teams doing
the most work to reel in the break and keep the tempo high.
16:27 CEST / 19 km to go
The lead duo of Gonzalez and Gutierrez are still hovering around 30" ahead
of the field, which at this point is probably not too anxious to bring them
back since a counter attack could go away and disrupt the tempo.
Daniele Pietropolli of Tenax has in fact tried a small attack, and he's quickly
bridged the gap to the two leaders. Even as a trio, however, this break is pretty
16:31 CEST / 16 km to go
Twenty seconds is the gap between the three leaders (Gonzalez, Gutierrez, Pietropolli)
and the main field, which is still under the control of Fassa Bortolo and the
pink jersey of Alessandro Petacchi.
16:33 CEST / 14 km to go
There are a few rolling hills in the next few kilometres before a flat run-in
to the finish in Catania. The leaders are giving it their best, as the peloton
just passed under the 15km to go banner. The gap is down to 10", so the
end is near after a 60km break for Gonzalez and Gutierrez.
16:38 CEST / 10 km to go
The break has been caught, and the drag race to the line is truly on. Cyclingnews
diarist Scott Sunderland (Team fakta) is meanwhile smiling at the back of the
field, staying out of trouble and letting the sprinters do their thing. Scott's
providing a daily dose of Giro stories, which can be found here.
16:41 CEST / 8 km to go
The peloton is absolutely flying now, with a possible tailwind combined with
the increasingly frantic pace before the sprint. Speeds have hit almost 90km/h
at certain points. Lotto-Domo and FDJeux.com are mixing it at the front, while
Cipollini's Domina Vacanze squad is preferring to wait until the final charge
to get their train going.
16:43 CEST / 5 km to go
Inside the final 5km now, and this should be a bunch sprint at its finest, with
all the big sprinters present and an infernal pace being set in the field.
16:46 CEST / 3 km to go
Domina Vacanze is now making its push at the front of the peloton. The last
time the Giro finished in Catania, it was indeed Mario Cipollini who took the
In a rather abrupt change, Team fakta has sent two men to the front of the
race, though they've been replaced once more by Domina Vacanze.
There's been a huge crash at the back of the field, and a number of riders
are calling for bike changes. They'll be delayed considerably given the high
16:47 CEST / 1 km to go
Elio Aggiano has tried to launch himself off the front, but the speed is so
high, and Domina Vacanze was on his wheel. There's been another crash just before
the red kite.
Cipo is in perfect position.
16:48 CEST / Finish
Petacchi has been forced to lead out Cipollini, and in a very close sprint it
looks like the race leader Petacchi has managed to hold off Cipollini!
It looked like a perfect win for Cipo, but Lombardi provided a long leadout
with Petacchi on his wheel, and not Cipollini. The world champion was not able
to come around Petacchi on the right hand side of the road. It was down to the
wire, but in a lunge for the line, Petacchi got it.
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze
3 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) FDJeux.com
4 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio
5 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
6 Graeme Brown (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
Mail the commentary team Latest