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88th Giro d'Italia - PT

Italy, May 7-29, 2005

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Stage 10 - May 18: Ravenna - Rossano Veneto, 212 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

14:14 CEST   
Welcome back to sunny Italy after the first rest day of the Giro d'Italia, which has given us a chance to replenish our hot air supplies in the Hindenburg IV, from which we are bringing you live coverage of the 10th stage of the Giro.

Stage 10 is a flat, fast ride for the sprinters before the mountains start on Thursday. 212 km from Ravenna, across the Polesine to Rossano Veneto, hometown of Giro sponsors Wilier Triestina and Selle Italia, with three finishing circuits of 5.2km to help separate the men from the boys in the finale. Today's stage has no climbs at all, and the Intergiro is located at kilometre 109 in Rovigo.

There haven't been many changes to the general classification overnight (it's considered poor etiquette to attack on the rest day), so Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) still leads overall, 9 seconds ahead of Ivan Basso (CSC). Di Luca also has the points jersey, while Koldo Gil (Liberty) has the green mountains jersey and Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) the blue Intergiro jersey. For an explanation of the various competitions in the Giro, please see our FAQ.

14:45 CEST   
Today's stage got off just before the crack of midday with all 185 riders signing on and starting. 80 of those have been subject to blood tests in the last couple of days: 41 yesterday (Liberty Seguros, Franšaise des Jeux, Bouygues Telecom, Domina Vacanze and Fassa Bortolo) and 39 today (Illes Balears, Phonak, Cofidis, Selle Italia-Colombia, Euskaltel Euskadi). All riders were declared fit to start.

The stage rolled out at a nice, relaxed pace with 29.5 km covered in the first hour, and the same distance again in the second hour. Those of you with sharp mathematical skills will work out that the average speed was 29.5 km/h after two hours.

There have been no attacks yet. The only thing of interest that has happened so far is an intermediate cash sprint in Argenta, won by Fabio Baldato (Fassa Bortolo) ahead of teammate Massimo Codol and Gilberto Simoni (Lampre).

14:54 CEST   
The last check we had on the bunch was that it was still together after 81 km, as we now approach the third hour of the stage. The Intergiro in Rovigo at km 109 should get things going a bit.

15:07 CEST    97km/115km to go
The speed has increased a tad in the third hour, and the average speed is now 31.6 km/h after three hours of what can loosely be described as racing. There are a lot of 200+ km stages in this year's Giro: 10 in total. The main affect of this is to reduce the overall average speed.

15:10 CEST   
Although it was dry at the start, some rain is predicted for the finish, which will make for a risky finale on the three circuits.

15:17 CEST    103km/109km to go
Ravenna, the starting town of today's stage, was also the final home of 13th/14th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri (Abandon all hope, ye who enter here and all that). His Divine Comedy was written while in Ravenna. Didn't look that bad to us.

The peloton is still together, preparing for the Intergiro. Gerolsteiner is leading with the blue-clad Sven Krauss in 9th wheel. Bettini and Zanini look to be interested in challenging him too.

15:19 CEST    105km/107km to go
Danilo Di Luca takes advantage of the relaxed pace to drop back to the team car for something.

Gerolsteiner has lifted the tempo now with most of the squad working to lead out Krauss.

15:23 CEST    107km/105km to go
The peloton exits the big road and enters a smaller two lane road on the outskirts of Rovigo. We're just a few kilometres from the Intergiro now. Krauss is well placed behind his blue train, then Zanini and Bettini (2nd and 3rd in the Intergiro). Saunier Duval is challenging Gerolsteiner, probably for Pinotti. Discovery is also up there to keep Savoldelli out of bother, and Moreno Di Biase (Selle Italia) is up there. Oh look, here's Di Luca!

The peloton is now completely stretched out.

15:25 CEST    108km/104km to go
Gerolsteiner keep the lead with Markus Fothen doing a strong turn with 2km before the sprint. Saunier seems to be keen to challenge, and Bettini is looking dangerous too. Will the GC riders go for the bonus seconds (6, 4, 2 real bonus seconds).

15:27 CEST    110km/102km to go
1 km until the Intergiro, and it's Gerolsteiner versus Saunier Duval. There's quite a bit of elbow action. Bettini moves up and puts himself on Di Biase's wheel, but the compact Selle Italia rider wins the Intergiro. Zanini second ahead of Lorenzetto, Bettini and Schmitz. Krauss wasn't quick enough.

Rafaele Illiano (Selle Italia) has attacked right after the Intergiro. He won this competition last year.

15:28 CEST    111km/101km to go
Illiano now has a 15 second gap, but the speed is still up in the peloton. He works hard to increase it.

15:32 CEST    112km/100km to go
Illiano keeps going as Fassa take over at the front of the peloton, keeping the pace at 40 km/h. Nick Gates also moves up for Davitamon-Lotto. At a guess, Volodomir Gustov, Massimo Codol and Nick Gates will spend more kilometres in the wind than any other rider in the Giro.

Illiano has 25 seconds.

15:34 CEST    114km/98km to go
Illiano increases his lead as Fassa lets him go. Di Luca has to change bikes again. He pumps on the pedals for a bit and is up to speed. No panic.

15:36 CEST   
Di Luca gets help from two teammates. Well one now, as one of them pulls off for a natural break.

Codol and Gustov lead the peloton (with CSC next in line) as Illiano extends his lead to 40 seconds. They can see him still, as the road is flat and straight.

15:37 CEST   
The wind is from the south west today at 7 km/h, so it's helping the riders a bit. It's only 16 degrees, but no rain yet.

15:39 CEST    118km/94km to go
Plenty of riders are sporting bandages at the halfway point of the Giro. Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner) has some on his right elbow, and Belgian Roy Sentjens (Rabobank) has his left knee bandaged up.

IVan Basso is very close to the front, sitting behind a couple of teammates.

15:40 CEST    119km/93km to go
Illiano is getting close to a minute's lead, as Fassa continue to exercise a tight grip over the peloton. They'll be gunning for a second win for Alessandro Petacchi, but the other sprinters will want a bit of it too.

15:42 CEST    122km/90km to go
Danilo Di Luca may as well be in bed asleep. His heart rate is at 84 of a maximum of 183. That's not even 50% of his max. The pace isn't exactly hot at the moment.

Illiano now has 1'05.

15:43 CEST   
It's cold enough for the CSC riders to put their arm warmers on. Basso, in fourth wheel, has his rolled down.

15:46 CEST    125km/87km to go
It looks pretty black in front of the riders. They don't really have much choice - they can't turn around and go home or go another way if it starts raining.

Illiano has 1'15 and they can still see him on this dead straight highway.

15:49 CEST    127km/85km to go
Bettini opts to put on a cap under his gold helmet. He chats to Bramati and Di Luca.

1'30 for Illiano, as the two Fassas let him ride for a bit.

15:52 CEST   
Kirsipuu's heart rate is a relaxed 100 bpm/190 max, while Velo is sitting on 114/180. At this intensity, the riders are burning nearly all fat. In general, the higher the heart rate, the higher the percentage contribution of glycogen (carbohydrate).

15:56 CEST    130km/82km to go
Illiano rides through Monselice, quite a pretty town nestled among the hills, pursued by the compact peloton with Volodomir Gustov and Massimo Codol on the front. It's still CSC in the second rank, with Basso well placed. Bettini and Di Luca are further back, chatting about the weather which now looks extremely dark. Now we can invoke Dante! But will Illiano reach Paradise? We'll see in a couple of hours.

15:58 CEST    131km/81km to go
Pinotti is chatting to the doctor at the back of the peloton, as Henk Vogels goes back to get most of his team's kit.

Illiano is now on the drops, getting into a good rhythm as he rides ahead of the race.

16:02 CEST    133km/79km to go
Gustov points to the skies: "Behold! It's going to pour." Most of the riders are taking the opportunity to grab rain jackets. The three Fassas in front all have blue jackets on.

Illiano doesn't. He's still in shorts and no arm warmers. Some drops of rain are falling.

16:03 CEST    134km/78km to go
Illiano is now riding through the feed zone at Battaglia Terme, where the crowd is sheltering under umbrellas. It's raining very lightly now. He has 1'42.

16:07 CEST    136km/76km to go
The race speeds along a canal towards the feed zone, and there is the usual panic to grab feed bags. The first riders do it well, while the latter section of the peloton has to slow down to ensure they get their goodie bags. At least all the teams don't stand in the same place. That would be foolish.

Davitamon-Lotto have nice bright red jackets on. They're easy to spot.

16:10 CEST   
Illiano takes a left hander over a tiny bridge into Mezzavia, passing a roadside emporium selling cheap statues. You can never have too many Cupids in your backyard, after all. We won't even mention gnomes.

16:12 CEST    140km/72km to go
The peloton takes the turn over the bridge and there is a big traffic jam. Some riders even stop and take their feet out of the pedals. It takes half a minute to funnel everyone through. Then it's a mass panic to regroup. Codol and Gustov are up front, which is the best place to be in that situation.

Some sun now, and dry roads for Illiano, who is 1'40 ahead of the bunch.

16:13 CEST   
Illiano rides through Montegrotto Terme, where there are plenty of people out to see their favourite bike race.

16:16 CEST    146km/66km to go
There are four Fassas in front now as the peloton speeds through Montegrotto Terme. Illiano is further up the road in Abano Terme, where he zigzags through the centro storico and out the other side. The roads are a bit wetter here, and Illiano is not too comfy on the corners. He has 1'16.

The Saunier Duval riders have very visible fluoro yellow jackets on.

16:20 CEST    149km/63km to go
Sacchi, Bruseghin, and Ongarato have moved to the front to join Codol and Gustov. It's dangerous when the roads are only slightly wet. It's actually better when it's raining hard.

Bettini's fourth place in the Intergiro gave him two points for the points GC, which means he has taken over the lead from Di Luca. But McEwen is only 2 points behind Bettini (now), and he might be able to take it back at the finish, depending on how things go.

Illiano has now reached wetter roads.

16:24 CEST    152km/60km to go
Di Luca slides up next to the Fassa train, which keeps getting bigger. This is potential crash time, as the roads are soaking wet.

Di Luca's heart rate: still 100/183(max), while Kirsipuu is on 111/190. Illiano has maintained his 1'30-1'40 lead, but he's not getting more than that. He'll need it though, as he gets a motivational speech from his DS Gianni Savio.

16:26 CEST    154km/58km to go
We're in Padova now. Ongarato rides up ahead of the peloton to greet his family on the side of the road. His teammates relax the pace in front of the peloton. He doesn't have a lot of time, but he gives his wife(?) a kiss.

16:29 CEST   
Illiano now has 1'50, his biggest lead. The sun is starting to come out again, which he will enjoy as he rides along the sodden roads through Padova.

16:31 CEST   
Illiano takes off his right shoe cover, which would be soaking wet now.

16:36 CEST    162km/50km to go
Fassa have now taken their jackets off as the sun starts to peek through the clouds. Gustov and Sacchi are leading, while Codol, Bruseghin and Ongarato are also there. Fassa hasn't moved from the front since the Intergiro 50 km ago.

Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) looks happy in about seventh wheel as he chats with another rider.

Illiano is still riding with one shoe cover. Does that mean that one foot is more aerodynamic than the other? Maybe he'll end up with an uneven pedal stroke.

16:40 CEST    162km/50km to go
The situation, for those of you who've been asleep for the last two hours: Rafaele Illiano (Colombia-Selle Italia) is the only rider to have broken away in today's made-for-sprinters stage between Ravenna and Rossano Veneto. He attacked 50 km ago, just after the Intergiro, and since then there have been the blue and white (silver if you like) jerseys of Fassa Bortolo on the front of the bunch, where no-one has crashed. Illiano has about 2 minutes lead.

It rained before, but it's stopped now and looks to be dry-ish at the finish.

16:44 CEST    165km/47km to go
As we get into the final 50 km of the race, Codol and Gustov decide to work a bit harder in front and now the Fassa train is stretched out on the right hand side of the road.

Illiano unwraps a foil covered sandwich and munches on it.

16:46 CEST   
The increase in pace has knocked 40 seconds off Illiano's lead. The flowing haired Italian gets a can of something from his team car and gulps it down. He'll try to stay away until the finishing circuits, but that's really up to Fassa Bortolo at the moment.

16:50 CEST    172km/40km to go
Welcome to our readers from Iceland! Anyone from Greenland out there?

For those asking, the heart rate info that we are getting is being relayed directly to the blimp. As far as I know, there aren't any websites which are relaying the raw data.

42 seconds for Illiano at 40 clicks to go. He's gone. He's drinking like a fish too.

16:51 CEST    174km/38km to go
It seems as though Fassa Bortolo has decided to play it safe and reel the breakaway back well before the finishing circuits. Illiano looks back and sees them coming. "Dang, my plan was perfect."

16:54 CEST    177km/35km to go
It's down to 32 seconds now, and the bunch isn't even chasing that hard. Illiano seems to realise the futility of it all, and might be thinking of Dante's words too.

16:57 CEST    179km/33km to go
Illiano's not done yet, as he keeps a meagre 30 seconds of his lead intact as he rides through Curtarolo. He keeps looking back. He's got a tattoo on his right arm that refers to him,

The peloton is almost casual in its chase.

17:01 CEST    181km/31km to go
It's now 24 seconds for the Italian, who is now through Citadella. The average speed after four hours was 33.300 km/h, but after five hours is closer to 36 km/h.

17:03 CEST   
Illiano's tatt reads "Angel". I'll leave the allegory as an exercise for the reader. It's actually his girlfriend's name.

17:04 CEST    182km/30km to go
It's now 15 seconds and falling for the one shoe cover man, Rafaele Illiano (Selle Italia). The peloton is moving inexorably towards him, and will get him very soon.

17:05 CEST   
Illiano sits up just after the 30 km to go banner, his 70 km break cancelled.

CSC now gets to the front.

17:06 CEST    184km/28km to go
Thierry Marichal and Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis) make a brief counter attack for their sponsors, Wilier Triestina. Then Di Luca goes to the front and his HR goes up to 147/183 (which is a bit lower than his real max, we reckon).

The two Cofidis riders keep their position on the front of the bunch.

17:09 CEST    186km/26km to go
The peloton exits the main road, some riders, including Basso and Cunego, go across country because there is a median strip in the way. Basso, with a "what me worry?" look on his face, now finds himself in last wheel. he moves up.

One of the motos actually led them off course.

17:10 CEST   
The bunch rides past the ancient (13th C) city of Citadella, and Vasseur gets to the front with two teammates. It's quite dangerous at the back, with a few traffic islands in the way.

17:11 CEST    187km/25km to go
One of the Lotto riders has a flat - Ardila, their GC man. He's going again now, and will have a bit of work ahead of him to chase. Basso is also off the back of the peloton, looking for his team car.

17:12 CEST   
Basso has a new front wheel - he might have punctured when riding across the grass.

17:13 CEST    189km/23km to go
The peloton is in a very very long line now, and CSC will have to drop back to tow Basso back on. He's still alone, in the caravan. Aha, three riders have dropped off the bunch to help him.

17:14 CEST   
The peloton has eased up a bit as Basso gets four riders to pace him back. It's about 20 seconds, but he should make it OK. A mini-panic for CSC.

17:14 CEST    190km/22km to go
Six CSC riders are now with Basso, as well as the Panaria team car.

17:17 CEST    192km/20km to go
It's a CSC team time trial now with seven riders towing Basso back to the bunch, which has sat up enough to let him get back on. The commissaire waggles his finger at the Panaria team car for helping them. He gets an (index) finger in return.

Cofidis has upped the tempo again and it's one long line with 20 km to go. CSC is bringing Basso up to the front.

17:19 CEST    194km/18km to go
The sun is out as the bunch races through Mottinello, towards the three finishing circuits in Rossano Veneto. Cofidis, Liberty and T-Mobile are in front. Di Luca is always up there.

Heart rate update: Kirsipuu is on 177/190, and Velo on 159/180. Now they're working for sure.

17:20 CEST    196km/16km to go
Cofidis leads onto the circuit where big crowds line the smooth, but narrow roads. It's easily 50 km/h now.

17:22 CEST    197km/15km to go
Nick Nuyens (Quick.Step) is sitting in last wheel, not looking too bothered.

Cofidis leads the bunch up the final kilometre, where there are a few curves but not too many sharp corners. It's also dry. Fassa, FDJ and Lotto are moving up, as usual. Marichal is first over the line with 3 x 5.2 laps to go.

17:23 CEST    198km/14km to go
There's a right hand hairpin bend just after the finish line, but all riders negotiate it OK. Nuyens has to work a bit harder to get back on.

Now it's Matt "The King" White leading, looking for his teammates. They want to try to get O'Grady up today, but it's going to be tricky.

17:25 CEST    199km/13km to go
It's Marichal on the front again. Pozzato has moved up to fifth wheel, then Petacchi with Fassa on the left hand side of the road. Cooke and McEwen are well placed too.

17:25 CEST   
McEwen has nestled himself behind Henk Vogels, his lead out man.

Dmitri Fofonov (Cofidis) takes over in front. Still the four Cofidis riders there, then Pozzato and Kirsipuu.

17:26 CEST    201km/11km to go
Bettini is up behind Pozzato in sixth wheel. White takes over from Fofonov. It's been Cofidis all the way for the last 10 km. McEwen now has Petacchi's wheel, but it's a bit early.

17:27 CEST   
White looks very strong as he rides in front, looking back for his teammates. They're still there as he moves to the centre of the road inside the last kilometre of the first lap.

17:28 CEST    202km/10km to go
Bettini is definitely up for it today, as are Zabel, Cooke, McEwen, Kirsipuu, O'Grady and Petacchi. Forster is also there for Gerolsteiner.

Two laps to go and FDJ takes over.

17:29 CEST   
Four Francaise des Jeux riders lead into the right hand hairpin, the best place to be. Cooke is in fifth wheel as the pace lifts. Looks like Da Cruz in front. Yep.

17:30 CEST    203km/9km to go
Petacchi's train is right up there, moving up on the left next to FDJ. T-Mobile and Lotto are also challenging, but it's still FDJ. Now Matt Wilson in front.

Illiano has dropped off the bunch and is now in Purgatory. Not surprising.

17:31 CEST    204km/8km to go
Heart rates: Kirsipuu: 172/190, Velo: 164/180.

T-Mobile takes over from FDJ into a corner as Bram "Stoker" Schmitz leads two teammates.

17:32 CEST   
another right hander, then a tricky left, and it's all T-Mobile. Still Schmitz in front.

17:33 CEST    205km/7km to go
Nuyens is still hanging onto last wheel in the peloton. He should survive OK, although it doesn't really matter for him.

T-Mobile has more men up there as Schmitz continues to do a massive turn. Six purple men. Vogels is moving up McEwen.

17:34 CEST    206.5km/5.5km to go
One lap to go and it's all purple in front. Fassa needs to make its move soon. Kessler leads across the line.

Aha, here comes the blue and white.

17:34 CEST    207km/5km to go
Cristian Moreni is up there for Bettini, who has placed himself next to Alessandro Petacchi. T-Mobile leads all the way to the hairpin for the last time.

17:35 CEST    208km/4km to go
The bunch stretches out again with Pollack leading, Zabel third wheel. Four purple men in front, then a Fassa train is forming. Vogels still up there with McEwen on his wheel. Forster and Krauss for Gerolsteiner.

17:36 CEST   
Fassa takes over with 4 km to go with six men. The battle continues. Petacchi is behind Velo, while Lancaster brings up Grillo.

Velo now on 173/180 bpm. Ouch.

17:36 CEST    209km/3km to go
Fassa finds itself challenged by FDJ, but not for long. Renshaw brings Cooke and McEwen up.

17:37 CEST    210km/2km to go
Zabel just misses crashing as he's very close to the barriers. Fassa with five now with 2 km to go. Zabel is next to Petacchi. Nice save. He's in the wind a bit.

17:38 CEST    211km/1km to go
Petacchi has three men to lead him out in the last kilometre, then De Jongh, Zabel, Cooke, Kirsipuu, Clerc, O'Grady, Grillo (again).

17:38 CEST   
Lancaster takes over with 1.5km to go and does a massive turn. Then Fassa again. The sprint is winding up.

17:39 CEST    211km/1km to go
Tosatto does his turn and pulls off with 1 km to go. Then Ongarato and Velo with Petacchi, McEwen and Zabel. Grillo and De Jongh fighting for position.

17:40 CEST    212km/0km to go
De Jongh and Grillo are really battling. Velo leads out at 400m with Petacchi following, then Petacchi goes with McEwen right on him. McEwen comes at him....he wins!!! Incredibly close sprint, but the Australian got it in the throw. That was one tyre width. O'Grady snuck up for third ahead of Zabel.

17:48 CEST   
That was an extremely impressive win by McEwen, as Fassa had given Petacchi a textbook leadout. Petacchi might have had to go a bit far out (200m to go) but it was then or never. McEwen got over him with his trademark last 50m jump, to take his eighth Giro stage win, and his third in this year's race.

No changes to the GC, with Di Luca keeping the pink. Koldo Gil will keep the mountains jersey and Krauss the Intergiro. But McEwen will take over the points jersey.

That's all from today folks - a good end to a fairly long, uninteresting stage. But tomorrow's mountain stage from Marostica to Zoldo Alto will be a different kettle of fish altogether!


1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                           5.29.21
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                       
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone
4 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                      
5 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step                                
6 Isaac Galvez Lopez (Spa) Illes Balears                         
7 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quick.Step                          
8 AurÚlien Clerc (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                
9 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Domina Vacanze                         
10 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Credit Agricole                        
11 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) Domina Vacanze                    
13 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom              

General classification after stage 10

1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                        44.51.40
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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