88th Giro d'Italia - PT
Italy, May 7-29, 2005
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Stage 9 - May 16: Firenze - Ravenna, 139 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from John Trevorrow
and Tim Maloney
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
Welcome to the ninth stage of the
Giro d'Italia, brought to you from various places on, above, and off the parcours
by the Cyclingnews blimp, powered by hot air. After the weekend's mildly
damaging stages, today's stage is one of the shortest road stages in this year's
race: just 139 km between Firenze (Florence) and Ravenna, which is just north
of Marco Pantani's former home town of Cesenatico. It's also famous for its
ancient mosaics and tasty seafood.
There is only one climb today,
the Passo di Muraglione (km 51.2), and we can expect a few attacks on it, especially
from Venezuelan climber Jose Rujano, who wants the green mountains jersey that
he lost to Koldo Gil on Saturday. But with 90 mostly downhill kilometres still
to ride, the sprinters' squads should suck up any fugitives before the finish
in Via Di Roma in Ravenna.
The other important point in today's stage
is the Intergiro at Forli (km 104.8). Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) has worn the
blue jersey since day 2 of the Giro, and will be seeking to defend it from Paolo
Bettini and Stefano Zanini, who are in second and third, although it remains
to be seen whether they are actually interested in the jersey. Why not? It's
a nice colour, it's traditionally more prestigious than the points and mountains
jerseys, and the winner of it gets a fair chunk of cash at the end.
A weather update: It's 23 degrees
and a a beautiful sunny day in Florence. There are a few clouds gathered over
the mountains, and a bit of a headwind. It was a pretty relaxed atmosphere in
the village this morning because this is a transition stage. The big question
was whether Alessandro Petacchi will win it if it comes to a sprint finish.
Nine stages without a win for Fassa Bortolo so far...
We talked to
one of Petacchi's lead out men Fabio Baldato this morning. "We're going to try
and put Ale in the best position to win. He's determined to win today," he said.
The stage has been going for a bit
over an hour now, and riders are on the Passo di Muraglione.
rosa Danilo di Luca got a lot of applause from the tifosi who were
gathered in Florence at the start. A lot of people are asking how far can di
Luca take the jersey? He's obviously in tremendous shape, and if he finishes
on the podium in Milan, he'll take enough points to solidify his lead in the
15:02 CEST 49km/90km to go
The stage at 13:42
from Florence, with all 186 riders still in the race signing on and rolling
out. The first attack came in the first kilometre, with Intergiro leader Sven
Krauss (Gerolsteiner) going away with Mads Christensen (Quick.Step) and Erik
Baumann (T-Mobile). There was no interest from the peloton, and the three gained
1'15 in 11 km, which they increased to 3'25 at km 29.
On the climb
of Muraglione, Baumann couldn't hang on to the other two, and dropped back a
bit. The gap between the peloton and the two front breakaways is 3'10, and Krauss
is obviously going for the Intergiro at km 105. That's the blue jersey, by the
way. It's scored by a slightly odd system of bonus seconds (30, 24, 18, etc.,
unless it's a time trial). These bonus seconds are only valid for the Intergiro
competition. But there are also real bonus seconds (6, 4, 2) for the top three
across the Intergiro line, and there are points (8, 6, 4, 2) that contribute
to the Points classification (purple jersey). There's also money.
It's simple, really.
15:06 CEST 54km/85km to go
Tom Danielson (Discovery
Channel) has abandoned the race at the 10 km mark. That's a shame for the young
American, who won the Tour de Georgia last month. He was looking a little disappointed
as he has been plagued by a knee injury, telling us, "My knee's been bothering
me since the last day of the Tour of Georgia. I probably injured it on the climb
to Brasstown Bald, because it was cold."
Christensen was first over
the top of the climb ahead of Krauss, and Baumann follows at 2'00. The peloton
is riding steadily, 3'30 back.
15:15 CEST 60km/79km to go
We spoke to Gilberto
Simoni (Lampre) this morning and asked him whether he was worried about being
2'11 down on GC. "There has only been 6 kilometres of climbing in this Giro.
I'm not worried," he told us.
A Bouygues rider crashes on the descent.
But it's not serious and he gets up and waits for a new bike. Christensen and
Krauss are still 3'30 ahead of the Fassa led peloton, while Baumann trails them
Baumann also crashed on a corner,
but is back on the bike again and riding alone, in no-man's land.
15:19 CEST 62km/77km to go
Krauss leads Christensen
on this long descent - it's essentially downhill all the way to the Intergiro
(don't ask me to explain it in detail! Just imagine the bonus seconds are points,
then it becomes easier).
Baumann didn't actually crash, he just missed
a corner and rode into a driveway! He's back now, but he looks like he's sat
up and waiting for the peloton.
Martias was the Bouygues rider who
crashed on the descent.
Fassa has four men in front of the
peloton, with Gustov and Codol on the front, so it's fairly obvious what the
plan is today. It's unlikely that anyone will challenge them until we hit the
last 10-15 km. Then it gets tricky.
Baumann is just half a minute
in front of the bunch, cruising along.
Danilo di Luca is well placed
in about 6th wheel.
15:24 CEST 66km/73km to go
Although its downhill,
it's not steep enough to stop pedalling for long.
runs off the road! He runs straight into the back of a car, but fortunately
he had almost stopped. He's now back with Krauss, who waited for him.
Christensen asks for some mechanical
assistance from the Quick.Step team car, but the descent is still too twisty,
and he can't get it.
Krauss is working hard: 163 bpm of a max of
Baumann is caught by the bunch. He was away from kilometre 1,
together with the two leaders.
15:27 CEST 71km/68km to go
Sacchi, Baldato, Codol
and Gustov are driving the peloton at a steady tempo.
looks OK now. He's a young Danish rider in his first year with Quick.Step.
15:30 CEST 74km/65km to go
A couple of CSC riders
signal for their team car at the back, to the annoyance of a couple of FDJ riders
who are in the way.
The peloton is moving fairly quickly, and is
now 2'32 behind the two leaders.
15:36 CEST 77km/62km to go
The Quick.Step team
car pulls up next to Christensen again, but he says "No, I'll be OK." Krauss
is not getting much of a draft sitting behind the small Danish rider, while
Christensen will benefit more from sitting behind the big German. That's how
15:38 CEST 79km/60km to go
Plenty of riders are
dropping back through the team cars to grab bottles now. It's a warmish sort
of a day, and the sun is out.
Krauss is still working at 85% of his
max, on 165/195bpm. In the peloton, Marco Velo is doing it easy: 115/180. It's
like a cocoon, riding inside a big bunch.
15:40 CEST 81km/58km to go
Di Luca looks pretty
comfy in pink as he sits behind a a green clad teammate. Nick Gates has moved
to the front for Lotto, with Brandt and Vogels coming up to give him a bidon.
Gustov and Codol are still there for Fassa.
2'20 to the two leaders.
15:44 CEST 84km/55km to go
A lot of riders have
said that the Giro has been really hard. Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas) said to
us that, "this year's Giro has been much harder than last year because even
when there's been a flat stage, you have to work more."
15:46 CEST 86km/53km to go
Sven Krauss continues
to motor in front of the race, with Christensen sitting in his draft. The blue
jersey wearer looks certain to increase his lead in the Intergiro competition
today, as he rides through Dovadola.
The average speed after two
hours is 42.1 km/h.
15:48 CEST 87km/52km to go
Codol, Gates and Gustov
continue to do their job on the front of the peloton, pegging the two leaders
back to 2'14. Di Luca is sitting behind his teammate Milesi, it looks like.
Smart man, because Milesi is big, and can give Di Luca a lot more shelter.
Lance Armstrong's team works on this principle too - most of his domestiques
are really big guys.
15:50 CEST 89km/50km to go
a bidon and a carton of Extran from the team car and tries to get it into his
throat, rather than his lungs. He succeeds. Krauss' team director gives him
some words of encouragement from the Gerolsteiner car. Just 15 km to the Intergiro,
and then Krauss' job for the day is essentially done.
15:55 CEST 91km/48km to go
Christensen now does
a strong turn, giving Krauss a bit of shelter. The Dane has less to gain from
this break, as Krauss actually has a jersey to defend. Sorry to spoil the suspense,
but there is only a microscopic chance that these two will stay away to the
finish. The peloton hasn't even started working hard, and the gap is around
15:56 CEST 94km/45km to go
Ardila (Lotto) gets moved up to the front by his teammates. He's their GC rider,
but lost a stack of time in the time trial yesterday and now sits in 25th overall.
15:59 CEST 96km/43km to go
Paolo Bettini is at the back of the peloton, chatting to his team director.
Today's not really a stage for Il Grillo, but you never know with him.
the two leaders are less than 10 km from the Intergiro. Krauss' jersey is safe
The situation at the front of the peloton is unchanged: Gustov,
Codol and Gates working, followed by Milesi and Di Luca sheltering. Basso is
a bit further back, surrounded by CSC teammates.
16:01 CEST 100km/39km to go
The two leaders go
under 40 km to go and are now just 4 km from the Intergiro, on the outskirts
The peloton is getting closer, and
at the 40 km to go banner it's 2'05.
16:05 CEST 102km/37km to go
Krauss gets a bidon
from the team car and rejoins Christensen. Wonder if the Quick.Step rider will
challenge for the Intergiro? Probably not, even though his teammates Bettini
and Zanini are in second and third overall. It should be Krauss.
The leaders are now in San Varano,
a suburb of Forli. Less than three kilometres from the Intergiro.
The leaders go under another 40 km
to go banner (that previous one may have been 45 km to go). They are two km
from the Intergiro, in any case.
16:08 CEST 104km/35km to go
Krauss keeps an eye
on Christensen, and they continue to cooperate leading up to the sprint.
16:09 CEST 104km/35km to go
It's Krauss now in
front as they are greeted by huge crowds in Forli.
16:10 CEST 105km/34km to go
rider leads all the way, and Christensen remains in his wheel. Krauss takes
the Intergiro and keeps the blue jersey. Christensen will pick up 24 Intergiro
seconds and 4 actual bonus seconds. There could be a sprint in the peloton for
third place, as there are still a couple of real bonus seconds up for grabs.
16:11 CEST 106km/33km to go
A Credit Agricole
rider takes over in the leadup to the sprint in Forli. The peloton stretches
out in anticipation of the sprint, and it's Zanini who takes it from Di Biase,
it looks like.
The gap is 1'40 at the Intergiro.
The bunch is quite strung out now,
and this means the end of the break is nigh. The two leaders haven't given up,
as they go under 35 km to go. That's odd. The Intergiro was at 35 km to go,
according to the route map. Maybe they're riding at the speed of light.
16:17 CEST 107km/32km to go
The lead pair, who
have been away since kilometre 1, have not given up, although the pursuit is
now in full flight, led by Credit Agricole with Brad Wiggins and Fassa Bortolo.
And Gates and Van Huffel for Lotto.
Heart rate update: Jose Rujano
is sitting on 132 of his max of 196 bpm, while Marco Velo is on 135/180.
The gap is now 1'37, so the leaders
are working well. Krauss has got a huge motor on him.
now swigs down a bottle of red liquid. He'll be shouting snatches of drunken
doggerel next [thanks S. J. Perelman].
16:22 CEST 110km/29km to go
Lotto and Fassa lead the peloton past the 30 km to go banner, 1'17 behind the
two leaders. Krauss blows a kiss as he does yet another big turn on the front
of the break.
16:27 CEST 114km/25km to go
Krauss is still working
at 162 of a max of 195. That's comfortably hard tempo.
The two leaders
are under 25 km to go now.
16:28 CEST 115km/24km to go
Cofidis now has a
man in front of the peloton, looks like Marichal. Codol and Gates are still
working, and Lampre has brought Gibo and Cunego up for a look.
gap is 50 seconds at 25 km to go.
Jose Garrido rides up the side of
the peloton with his jersey stuffed with bidons to give to his teammates.
Krauss and Christensen ride over a small bridge, which is one of the few climbs
in the run into Ravenna. Krauss is a good man to have in a break.
The peloton rides over the same bridge,
passing a "Pantani Vive" banner.
16:32 CEST 117km/22km to go
Paride Grillo (Panaria)
has a heart rate transponder too, and he's sitting at 124 of a max of 200. Four
riders per day have these, and it makes for interesting reading.
Krauss is still at 162/195, and he and Christensen are just about to be caught.
Their gap is 28 seconds.
16:33 CEST 119km/20km to go
The two leaders know
that resistance is futile, but they continue anyway. Gotta love that. They go
under 20 km to go with 20 seconds.
16:34 CEST 120km/19km to go
Marichal tows the
peloton through, and can see Krauss and Christensen just ahead. They are starting
to realise it now, as Krauss looks back. They sit up at last, and Krauss thanks
Christensen for doing so much of the work.
16:35 CEST 121km/18km to go
Now the CSC team
takes over, to keep Basso out of danger. Peron and Blaudzun are there, also
two Liberty riders.
16:36 CEST 122km/17km to go
Blaudzun lifts the
pace, causing Peron to suffer a bit. Meanwhile, Michael Barry brings up Paolo
Savoldelli for Discovery Channel. And Matt Wilson brings up Baden Cooke, who
is hungry for a win today.
The bunch races through Russi with
Blaudzun in the lead in his red Danish champion's jersey. The nervousness is
there now, with the GC riders battling with the sprinters for position.
16:39 CEST 123km/16km to go
Under a railway bridge,
with Marichal taking over in front. Blaudzun is still there for Basso. Now Bellotti
leads for Credit Agricole, so obviously Kirsipuu wants to have another go today.
16:39 CEST 124km/15km to go
Bichot is next up,
with Renshaw and Matt Wilson on his wheel, Cooke in fourth. Francaise des Jeux
is keen to challenge today. More FDJ riders move up.
16:40 CEST 125km/14km to go
Fassa is keeping
quiet now as seven FDJ riders get on the front with less than 15 clicks to go.
Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) is lurking
in last wheel in the peloton. Dangerous, but there are worse places to be.
16:42 CEST 126km/13km to go
Discovery keeps working
hard for Savoldelli, but it's still FDJ in front.
takes the scenic route via the median strip up the centre of the road.
Now Moreni, Bramati (Quick.Step) in front for a bit, then Blaudzun does a short
turn. It's a bit of a headwind now.
16:43 CEST 127km/12km to go
The peloton slows
and it's Willo - Trent Wilson - who attacks! A suicide move, for sure, but it'll
get him some coverage.
Wilson told us the other day that
he wanted to get in the moves without hitting the wind. He's just realised that
it's a headwind. He's caught.
16:45 CEST 129km/10km to go
Krauss is now down
the back with Thomas Dekker. It's a very flat run into Ravenna. 10 km to go
and no team has really taken control. O'Grady is up there in fifth, then Garzelli.
16:45 CEST 130km/9km to go
Now it's the FDJ boys
bringing their white train up to the front, with Cooke in seventh .They're next
to the Liquigas/CSC train.
Andriotto leads for Liquigas, and
Garzelli is well placed in third wheel. Now an FDJ ride, followed by Milesi.
16:47 CEST 131km/8km to go
Here come the Fassa
boys, but they're just getting ready. Now CSC take over with three riders. It's
constantly changing up in front, like a Tour stage.
16:49 CEST 132km/7km to go
T-Mobile comes up
for Zabel, with CSC still up there protecting Basso. Now Nick Gates gets back
to the front. McEwen is up there in about 10th wheel. The peloton is all across
the road, which is very wide here.
Lampre moving up Gibo and Cunego
Grillo is sitting on 157/200, while
Velo is on 159/180. It's hard work!
16:50 CEST 133km/6km to go
The road narrows again
as another Selle Italia rider attacks - Rafaele Illiano. Less than 7 km to go.
16:50 CEST 133.5km/5.5km to go
Illiano goes under
6 km to go and looks back, he is caught.
Kessler at the front for
T-Mobile, and Gustov for Fassa.
Two Lampres lead the bunch into Ravenna.
Where is the Fassa train?
16:51 CEST 134km/5km to go
Krauss and Zabriskie
are sitting in last wheel in the peloton, where it's a bit easier.
Lampre continues to lead with three
riders, including Tonti and Stangelj. Petacchi's train is coming, massing behind
16:52 CEST 135km/4km to go
Lampre stretches the
bunch out as FDJ and Rabobank move up to challenge them with 4 km to go.
Now Phonak brings up Rast, Murn and
Clerc. Kessler in fourth wheel. Sentjens also up there. Fassa is ready though.
16:54 CEST 136km/3km to go
It's important not
to go too early. Velo is now at 174/180, which might be too much. There could
be a few bpm error.
Four Fassas in front, then Petacchi and O'Grady.
T-Mobile and Fassa are battling for
the lead, with Zabel next to Petacchi.
16:55 CEST 137km/2km to go
Sacchi now leads ahead
of Ongarato, Tosatto, Velo and Petacchi. Zabel is behind Pollack, next to Petacchi.
Where is McEwen?
Petacchi is ready, he has Cooke on
his wheel. Zabel fighting Cooke for the position. McEwen is well back.
16:56 CEST 138km/1km to go
1 km to go and Fassa
is still being challenged by T-MObile. Four riders with 1 km.
McEwen moves up to 10th as three
Fassas lead out PEtacchi, who finally has the rails run.
16:58 CEST 139km/0km to go
Petacchi gets a perfect
leadout from Velo, as Ongarato pulls off. Zabel on his wheel, then O'Grady.
Velo pulls off with 250m to go. McEwen from nowhere but it's Petacchi who finally
wins!!!! Bettini second, Clerc third, McEwen fourth.
Petacchi sprinted up the centre of
the road, drifted right then finished it off in the centre at 67 km/h. McEwen
came at him, but was never going to get him. Bettini came up the right hand
side to nip in for second, and Clerc came on Petacchi's left for third, just
ahead of McEwen. Zabel finished fifth.
Di Luca holds the maglia rosa
(but can't open the Spumante), and there's no changes to the major classifications.
Krauss keeps the Intergiro and Gil has the mountains jersey. The points jersey
also belongs to Di Luca, but both McEwen and Bettini are very close - within
1 point - now.
Thanks for following the ninth stage with us. That
marks the end of the first half of the Giro with tomorrow being a rest day.
We'll be back on Wednesday though.
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 3.15.32
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step
3 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
5 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team
6 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
7 Isaac Galvez Lopez (Spa) Illes Balears
8 Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
General classification after stage 9
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 39.22.19
2 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 0.09
3 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team 0.35
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 1.15
5 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 1.27
6 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 1.35
7 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.38
8 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze 1.39
9 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 2.10
10 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 2.11
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