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88th Giro d'Italia - PT

Italy, May 7-29, 2005

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Stage 6 - May 13: Viterbo - Marina Di Grosseto, 153 km

Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from John Trevorrow

Complete live report

14:36 CEST   
Welcome back to the live coverage of Stage Six of the Giro d’Italia. The Cyclingnews blimp has moved slightly north overnight and we are now looking down towards the rolling hills of Tuscany. Today’s stage is quite a bit shorter than yesterday, starting in the town of Vetero and traveling North East, passing into Toscana and finishing in the coastal resort of Marina Di Grossetto after 153km.

14:48 CEST   
Very early in this stage Bettini went on the attack again, and was away with Moreno Di Biase (Selle Italia), Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole) and Benot Joachim (Discovery). They attacked at the two kilometre mark and came back after six kilometres. Di Biase’s teammate Trent Wilson attacked at 12km and was away for a few kilomters before getting reeled back in and finally Selle Italia went again with Raffaele Illiano, but he too has been caught.

14:50 CEST   
The weather has been dry today and so far the average speed has been 40km/h. We have about 90km remaining in the race.

14:55 CEST    54km/99km to go
We have about 10km remaining until the the Intergiro, which is in the town of Manciano. Its an uphill sprint where Bettini will be looking to take a time bonus to narrow the 0'03 gap to new maglia rosa Di Luca.

14:58 CEST   
The final half of the race will likely see a lot of attacks but it will be tough to stay away with the finish being very much a sprinters event. We will finish with three circuits of six kilometers each. Its likely to be very fast and nervous.

15:00 CEST   
Cyclingnews spoke to Trent Wilson this morning, who has already been very active this morning. He talked about his 'day five legs' yesterday.
"I've had better days than yesterday. The dreaded day five legs, you know," he said. He added that he would definitely try to get it some early moves today but that he mainly wanted to save his legs. "I'll try to go in the moves without hitting the wind."

15:09 CEST    69km/84km to go
Bettini has taken the Intergiro sprint and we have attacks immediately.

15:10 CEST   
Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Rabobank Saunier Duval - Prodir) has 23" advantage on the peloton.

15:15 CEST    74km/79km to go
Acebo has increased his lead to 35 seconds at this point. Meanwhile Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Selle Italia) has retired from the race.

15:18 CEST   
Acebo is powering away up front and its Fassa Bortolo sitting on the front of the peloton right now as they rolling through the winding green countryside.

15:19 CEST   
As we go past a nice farmhouse, the residents are out waving the race by. Its a nice day to watch a bike race.

15:23 CEST   
Freddy E. Gonzalez Martinez (Panaria) didn't start today.

15:25 CEST   
The pace is fairly quick in the peloton right now as Fassa keep this break under control. They will be aiming for this stage as it is a good finish for Petachi.

15:26 CEST   
Acebo powering as he goes up a slight climb. CSC are also very present at the front.

15:29 CEST   
We caught up with Robbie McEwen before the stage who is not feeling the best today. He said "yeah I'm OK, but I've got a bit of a twinge in my hamstring so I hope it doesn't hurt too much today. It was hard yesterday, I just strained the inside hamstring a bit. I had it worked on last night and this morning by
the physio. I'll still try and get amongst it though. Sprinters don't get
many chances in this Giro."

15:31 CEST    83km/70km to go
Acebo continues to increase his lead with the gap now sitting at 1'27". He looks good as he heads up another slightly uphill drag.

15:32 CEST   
The temperature out is 22 degrees and there is not much wind to speak of. Acebo has a beautiful view of the valley below. Not that he'd be interested at this point.

15:33 CEST   
At the front of the peloton its still Fassa setting the pace with Davitamon Lotto tucked in behind them. The sprinters teams are making sure this stays together today.

15:37 CEST   
Not quite a sprinter but saving his legs for work later in this tour is younf Tom Danielson (Discovery). We talked to him this morning. After his big win at TOur de Georgia last month, he's excited about his learning experience at this tour.

"I'm feeling good. It's my first grand tour, he said. "I've been told to sit back and relax for the first week, try to learn. The smart thing to do is not to go for every second, but stay out of it, try and learn not to waste all my
energy in the first week and then have nothing left. It's more important
that I'm there at the end for Paolo, to be strong enough to be there at the
finish, and learn from it.

"In the future I'd like to make this my job. For now I'm taking my time,
learning, and working for Paolo. He's the leader and he's riding very well.
I don't really know how I'm going to feel and what the last week is going to
be like. I think those stages will suit me really well, I had really good
form a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if that's going to go up, or go
down, or what. I have to make sure that Paolo gets to the mountains in good
condition. Because now there are a lot of good riders that can climb well
and it's important that he gets there stress free."

About whether a stage win in on the cards, he said "if the situation presents itself, we'll see, but I'm not even thinking about that. I'm just thinking about doing the tour,finishing strong, just trying to do things right.

15:40 CEST   
Its gorgeous countryside right now and the riders pass one of those very typical hill top villages, now riding through south west Tuscany.

15:41 CEST   
We have an attack. Credit Agricole rider Dmitriy Muravyev has a small gap on the peloton.

15:41 CEST   
He has been joined by another rider which has provoked action in the peloton. Three others are trying to bridge.

15:42 CEST   
Acebo's gap is now at 1'35".

15:43 CEST   
Acebo is now on the only categorized climb of the day. Its a cat 3 climb and climbs up through the town of Scansano.

15:45 CEST   
Four riders have broken away back in the peloton, all trying to go for mountain points no doubt. Cofidis rider Thierry Marichal is up there with Dmitriy Muravyev as well as two others.

15:46 CEST    93km/60km to go
Acebo goes over the top of the climb without too much difficulty. Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank) come through as the first of the four chasers to take second place in the mountain sprint.

15:50 CEST   
Jos Rujano Guillen (Selle Italia), Muravyev, Venerberg, Thierry Marichal (Gerolsteiner) and Sascha Urweider (Phonak) are the five riders chasing Acebo. They are 45" down at this point.

15:51 CEST   
Acebo has been caught by three of the riders. Rujano Guillen and Muravyev sat up and were caught by the peloton.

15:53 CEST   
So currently we have a break of four consisting of Acebo, Venerberg, Marichal and Urweider. They have a lead of 21 seconds.

15:55 CEST   
A long descent at the moment. Marichal hanging off the back of the break on the descent as they fly down the sweeping roads.

15:56 CEST    103km/50km to go
On the front of the peloton is still Fassa Bortolo and well as some Quick Step riders.

15:58 CEST   
The four leaders are working well together at the moment, each doing their share of the work at this point as the road flattens out.

16:01 CEST   
We spoke to Russell Van Hout (Colombia-Selle Italia) this morning about his ride yesterday. "It bothered me yesterday because I had a really bad day," he said. "I was sore from the break, stiff from the crash, and I just want to get through the next couple of days until the time trial. But when you're out there,
unfortunately the adrenaline starts flowing and you can't help yourself
trying to get in some of those breaks."

16:03 CEST   
We also spoke to winner of the prologue Brett Lancaster (Panaria) and asked him how his knee was holding up. "I could feel it, but that's bike racing. Grillo is pretty
motivated for today. He took it easy yesterday.

"I felt alright yesterday, I even did a bit of a job at the end. It's a bit dangerous today with three laps at the end. I'll be up there taking Grillo up - it'll be a bit like the Bay Crits. Tomorrow, finishing in my home town, I really want to have a go at that. There's a 2 km hill, not far out, really steep. The way these guys are going, I probably won't be able to get away,
but I'll give it a go."

16:04 CEST    100km/53km to go
The lead of the four riders is at 26" at the 100km mark. Fifty three kilomters remaining.

16:05 CEST   
Di Luca in pink is looking comfortable in the bunch.

There has been a crash. A Discovery rider and a Saunier Duval. Both are up and look ok.

16:07 CEST   
Its Ryder Hesjedal (Discovery) and Ruben Lobato Elvira (Saunier). They're both up and moving now.

16:08 CEST   
Erweider leads the break now and gets up to stretch his legs out and push the pace. Veneberg takes over for his turn.

16:10 CEST    115km/38km to go
To sum up, the four riders in the break are Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank), Thierry Marichal (Gerolsteiner) and Sascha Urweider (Phonak), Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Saunier Duval). They have just gone through the feed zone.

16:13 CEST   
Back in the bunch, McEwen looks relaxed as he chats to a CSC rider. The Francaise Des Jeux riders are all together looking after their sprinter, Cooke.

16:14 CEST   
As the riders come out of the feed zone the gap is 48 seconds.

16:17 CEST   
We spoke with Ryder Hesjedal before the stage about yesterday. "It was pretty hard actually. A lot of guys were fried, we were going all day. The only soft part was the first 10 km. The first climb was pretty hard, the pace was on. Today is a pretty straight. sprint stage I think. I imagine it'll be pretty active again. We'll just keep Paolo [Savoldelli] in good position, make sure he doesn't lose any time, and get ready for the time trial in a couple of days."

16:19 CEST    122km/31km to go
We've reached the town of Grossetto and from here head West to the coast before starting the ciruits. The bunch is really strung out as they sweep through town.

16:21 CEST   
The crowds are huge and lining the streets all the way through town. The riders in the break are really pushing the pace trying to keep the momentum going. The gap is 44 seconds.

16:21 CEST   
Hesjedal has rejoined the peloton after his crash.

16:22 CEST   
Three hours of racing have been completed now. The road is very flat and this last part of the race will be very fast. Less than 30 kilomters remaining in the race.

16:24 CEST    125km/28km to go
The advantage only 27 seconds now. The peloton not needing to panic at all. They will just reel them in slowly.

16:27 CEST   
Acebo - also known as Cobo, is no longer in the break and has gone back to the bunch. The gap to the other three is dropping quickly.

16:28 CEST   
The break has lost all hope now as they go through the 25km to go banner. They are still powering away but they know they will be swallowed up very soon.

16:31 CEST    129km/24km to go
Another rider we spoke to this monring is Julian Dean (Credit Agricole).

"Yesterday was pretty hard," he said. "Woke up this morning and felt like I'd really ridden a stage of a grand tour. I hope everyone else is feeling the same.
Today's pretty much a sprinters stage so we'll take it as it comes. We're looking for Fassa Bortolo to join on our lead out in the last five k, then move ourselves around them and make our move when we can."

16:31 CEST   
The break now only has five seconds. Its all over.

16:33 CEST   
The three riders have been caught. The Lampre team have now come to the front.

16:34 CEST   
The pace has slowed down a little now as riders prepare for the chaos of the finishing circuits. It looks like CSC on the front setting the pace as they head for the coast.

16:35 CEST   
Maglia Rosa, Di Luca moves himself up and tucks himself in just behind the leaders.

16:36 CEST   
Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto) also didn't have particularly nice things to say about yesterdays stage.
"I survived yesterday," he said. "It was a bitch of a stage. No-one really wanted to form a gruppetto. But in the team we got third and fourth, so that was
really good. The motivation is high, the team's riding really well. We'll see what happens today with a bunch sprint."

16:37 CEST    135km/18km to go
We have now hit the circuits. The road is quite narrow on this part of the circuit....... yes there has been a crash and most of the field has had to stop to wait to go around it.

16:39 CEST   
Ivan Quaranta (Domina Vacanze) has gone down again!. Julian Dean (Credit Agricole) and also Cristian Moreni from Quick Step went down with it, among others.

16:40 CEST   
The road opens up a little on the back side of the course and there is a long line of chasers still trying to regain contact with the bunch after the crash.

16:41 CEST   
The field has split in two. They will get back on though.

16:43 CEST    139km/14km to go
Liquigas are at the front of the peloton and Francais de Jeux are also moving up there. Race leader Di Luca is safely in the bunch.

16:44 CEST   
Back to the narrow part of the circuit now. The field is pretty strung out with the sprinters teams trying to keep it fast, for safety more than anything at this point.

16:45 CEST   
We go through the finish line with two laps remaining. The crowds are huge. Six deep along the finishing barriers. There is still a large group of riders off the back. All the major sprinters are up front though.

16:46 CEST   
Francais de Jeux really powering at the front now. Six of them all lined up with Baden Cooke tucked in.

16:47 CEST   
The Liquigas guys are also tucked in behind the Francais Des Jeux train.

16:49 CEST   
The circuit is pretty straight forward. The corners are fast and sweeping.

16:50 CEST   
There has been another crash. Walter Beneteau (Bouygues Telecom) is being lifted off the ground. he looks ok but will be sore.

16:51 CEST    6km/147km to go
We are going through the finish line now with one lap to go. Its very narrow and winds left with 200m to the finish.

16:52 CEST   
Matt Wilson is really working hard on the front for Francais des Jeux but Liquigas take over.

16:53 CEST   
All the sprinters are trying to move up now. The Fassa team is coming up the right. Telekom is moving up the center.

16:53 CEST   
Telekom lead the bunch now with a Fass Bortolo rider in second place. Its very fast with the front rider out of the saddle around a bend.

16:54 CEST   
Matthias Kessler still on the front, but being pased by the Fassa Bortolo team. They are all up there and they have started their charge.

16:55 CEST   
Woah, they have overshot the corner and the Fassa team have hit the barriers, a few down. Not Petacchi.

16:56 CEST   
Telokom went around safely and are now back on the front but a couple of Fassa riders are still up there. Where is Petacchi?

16:56 CEST   
Petacchi is out of it - way back in the peloton.

16:56 CEST   
McEwen right up there, as is Kirsipuu.

16:57 CEST   
Davitamon on the front now with McEwen in second wheel.

16:57 CEST   
Nearing 1km to go there is an attack by Davitamon - its Henk Vogels!!!

16:58 CEST   
He has a convincing gap and the riders in the bunch are looking at each other.

16:58 CEST   
Vogels is powering. Can he do it?

16:59 CEST   
No, he was caught and Robbie took over right at the line to take the win!

17:00 CEST   
What beautiful teamwork!!
Taking second was Kirsipuu.

17:00 CEST   
Some of the Fassa Bortolo riders are just rolling in now after their mishap.


1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto                         3.37.17
2 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Crédit Agricole                        
3 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Discovery Channel                   
4 Isaac Galvez Lopez (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne    
5 Henk Vogels (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto                        
6 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone     
7 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner                          
8 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria                       
9 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner                           
10 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile                               

General classification after stage 6

1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step                               29.58.09
2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                            0.03
3 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                    0.31
4 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                         0.34
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita                              0.36
6 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                          0.42
7 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Davitamon-Lotto               0.43
8 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team                0.47
9 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Domina Vacanze                             0.52
10 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita                     

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