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88th Giro d'Italia - PT

Italy, May 7-29, 2005

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Stage 12 - May 20: Alleghe - Rovereto, 178 km

Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from John Trevorrow

Complete live report

14:33 CEST   
Welcome to the live coverage of stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia. Today our blimp hovers over the Dolomiti between Alleghe to Rovereto, the two towns between which the race travels today. The course starts out with the tough climb of Passo San Pellegrino after 26km, but then travels gradually downhill in the south east direction for the next 150km to a possible sprint finish in Rovereto in the Adige River valley.

So far today riders have reached the Category One mountain sprint with Jose "The Incredible Hulk" Rujano (Selle Italia) going over the top first, just ahead of Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole) and two other Selle Italia rider Rafaele Illiano and Ivan Parra. Paolo Bettini crossed the GPM line in fifth place 44" down on the group.

14:34 CEST    39km/139km to go
The group of four maintained their lead for a while but eventually Rujano and Halgand were caught by the bunch and Illiano and Parra remain up the road with a 50" lead on the peloton.

14:36 CEST   
On the descent, there was a crash involving a tourist, who ended up with a nasty gash in his head. He was being looked after by the police/ambulance. It wasn't part of the race.

14:41 CEST   
The peloton are taking it easy at this point. The Lotto boys were putting their jackets on at the top of the climb to keep warm on the descent. The road descends steeply for a few kilometres and then flattens out to a gradual downhill all the way to Trento at the 115km mark after which it is flat and the sprinters teams will be preparing for a possible stage win.

14:44 CEST   
Cyclingnews caught up with a few of the riders before the start to see how they were feeling today after hitting the mountains yesterday. Russell Van Hout from Selle Italia was not too concerned about today's stage.
"I got through [yesterday], and had a good night's sleep," he said. "I do feel a lot better today. There's only that one hill at the start. I just have to stay in the gruppetto, get to the finish, and get this day out of the way. It's going to be a big weekend, so I'm just going to hopefully get through that, then I can have some more breakaways and get out there next week."

14:49 CEST    45km/133km to go
The two leaders Illiano and Parra have been caught and its gruppo compatto.

14:54 CEST   
We also caught up with Henk Vogels (Davitamon) who looked a bit tired in yesterday's stage.

"I had to dig really deep," he said, "but I've had a really good night's sleep. I feel OK this morning. I've gotta get up that first berg, and try to stay there for so we can be there at the end."

As for today he said, "If they race full gas up the San Pellegrino, maybe there's no coming back, so if they try and ride regolati, we're in with a chance."

So it seems the Davitamon team will be in stage win mode now as the damage on the climb wasn't what it could have been.

14:56 CEST    50km/128km to go
After almost two hours of racing the average speed is 27.4km/h.

14:59 CEST   
Brad Wiggins of Credit Agricole was feeling good on the start line.
Of the mountains in yesterdays stage he said, "They're hard, but I was comfortable in the gruppetto. I don't think that was the case with everyone - a lot of the Aussies were suffering. I didn't try to get into the next group up, because it doesn't make much difference if you finish 20 or 30 minutes down. I'm confident I can finish this Giro. I'd like to really do something in the latter part of the Giro."

15:03 CEST   
Cooke has been suffering from his crash in the first week, but he was able to get through stage 11 intact. On the start line he told us "They worked on me and got me right. I give myself a bit of a chance today. Hopefully we'll get over this 'thing' this morning and we'll have a good crack at it."

Cooke said he went out of alignment after his personal physio went home, and it "just killed my breathing. The day Robbie won, I couldn't even sprint...I got someone to whack me into place the night after and yesterday I was fine. I'm up for it today."

15:08 CEST   
We spoke to a few more Aussies on the start line. Trent Wilson who rides for Selle Italia had his plan worked out for today. "Today, my plan is to have a few coffees in the village so I can get over that first one. Once we get over the first one, I reckon it'll come back together. I'm more worried about tomorrow. I've got a bit more confidence after yesterday. But you never know in these grand tours. One day you're feeling good, one day you can hardly feel your legs."

15:12 CEST   
The race is still all together at this point. The riders will be wanting a slight rest after yesterday as its going to be a big weekend in the mountains. Today is a bit of a refresher and has also turned out to be another chance for the sprinters.

15:14 CEST   
Despite the fact the climb didn't really split things up today, riders were definitely prepared for it. We spoke to Matt White of Cofidis who filled us in on how he is feeling half way through this giro.

"I had a good night's sleep; we were in a nice little hotel up in the mountains, nice fresh air. It'll be a good one today."

For the climb, White said, "We've got the 25s on. It's 17 percent in places -some have said 20. It really could blow to pieces up here. Ideally we'd just like to ride up nice and easy, but that ain't gonna happen. It's supposed to be the last day for the sprinters, but I got a feeling it'll be a breakaway day today.

"Zabel is climbing the best of all the sprinters. If he's in a group clear of all the others, T-Mobile could get on the front and try to hold the gap. It'll probably be Robbie, Cookie and Stuey's last day too, so this is their last chance for a while."

15:16 CEST   
Currently the pace is still steady as they ride through the typical rocky, forest of the Dolomites. Riders are taking the time to go back to their team cars to get food and fluid.

15:17 CEST   
They are currently out of the saddle going up a small rise in the road. A good chance to stretch out their legs.

15:19 CEST    55km/123km to go
Most of the riders are looking very relaxed as they sit in the peloton chewing the fat with the riders next to them. A couple of Fassa riders have hit the front and have started to pick up the pace a little.

15:21 CEST   
Ivan Basso is looking good in pink and is currently chewing on some type of energy bar.

15:26 CEST   
After speaking with so many Australians this morning we spoke with Shayne Bannan who is the Australian National Program director and has worked with quite a few of the Australian riders who are currently racing in this Giro in their development years. We asked him what we thought of the performance of the Australian riders so far and Robbie's three stage wins. "It was pretty special, but besides Robbie's three stage wins and Brett's prologue win, the fact that there are twelve Aussies here shows the quality of Australian riders, plus many others who have yet to appear in grand tours this year like Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers, Allan Davis and so on. You turn on the TV and the commentators are talking about this being the Italians versus the Australians. That's pretty satisfying, isn't it?"

15:27 CEST   
There is an attack. It is Selle Italia again, Philippe Schnyder to be exact. This team have been very active today.

15:29 CEST    73km/105km to go
He has a good gap and looks very smooth through these nice twisty roads along the valley. The bunch is moving along fairly quickly with two Fassa riders on the front. The CSC team are all lined up behind them with Basso tucked in behind them.

15:32 CEST    76km/102km to go
Schnyder's gap is 46 seconds right now. The view of the peloton followed by the caravan is spectacular from up here. Just a line of colour between the greenery.

15:34 CEST   
Schnyder's lead in increasing and now sits at 1'20". He goes into a tuck to keep his speed up on this slight descent and now gets out of the saddle as it flattens out.

15:38 CEST    80km/98km to go
A heart rate update from the peloton. Matt White (Cofidis) is sitting at 171/180. This is pretty high. Perhaps he just went back to the team car to get some bidons and had to move his way back up the bunch to hand them out. Domestique duties!

15:41 CEST   
Schnyder's gap has increased a touch to 1'30". CSC and Fassa are sharing the lead in the peloton, mainly Fassa. The road is twisty and is relatively flat but has some slight ups and down gradients. The road is very smooth and fast through this valley. The moto has just come back with the latest time gap which is 1'28".

15:47 CEST   
Schnyder is sitting 176th in GC after stage 12 and is an hour and a half down on Basso so there is definitely no threat in his being away which is why there is no real chase at the moment. The Fassa team will be wanting to keep the time gap under control so as to save them too much of a chase later when they attempt to set Petacchi up for a stage win.

15:50 CEST    92km/86km to go
The gap has increased again to 1'55: as they go through the town of Cembra. The peloton is moving at a steady pace but as they ride past a nice old church on the side of the road.

15:51 CEST   
Schnyder has a good rhythm as he takes a drink. He looks comfortable.

15:54 CEST    96km/82km to go
Obviously Schnyder took the intermediate sprint in the town of Cembra.
The average speed has now increased to 31km/h.

15:57 CEST    100km/77km to go
We are just approaching the feed zone in the town of Lisignano as the riders take their feed bags

16:00 CEST   
We'll reach Verla in a couple of kilometres and the road will descend for a while dropping 290m in the following ten kilometres.

16:01 CEST   
one of the Lampre riders is stopping to say hello to his friends and family who are standing on the side of the road. He'll say a quick hello and jump back on the back of the peloton.

16:03 CEST   
Schnyder is on the descent which winds along the mountainside with a valley of vineyards below.

16:04 CEST   
The lead of Schnyder is now 2'20".

16:06 CEST   
Danilo Di Luca is sitting comfortably in the bunch today after his tough day yesterday. Through this very high powered telescope, I can see that he has a smile on his face.

16:07 CEST    112km/66km to go
Schnyder has reached the town of Trento and is powering along still looking very smooth. Two Fassa riders are still manning the front of the peloton.

16:09 CEST   
It was Simoni who stopped to say hello to his family. I remember a few years ago when I was racing in Italy that we stayed in the tiny town where Simoni grew up. I can't remember the name, but it was a gorgeous little town up on a hill with only a few houses and a church.

16:12 CEST    115km/63km to go
Schnyder gets out of the saddle to stretch his legs now. He is approaching the Intergiro which is at 115km in the town of Trento which he is still traveling through. It is quite a big town and there are huge crowds on the side of the road as he crosses the line.

16:12 CEST   
The CSC boys are on the front now, which gives Fassa a chance to rest a little.

16:15 CEST   
Bettini attacks to go for the sprint and Krauss goes on the other side of the line lead out by a teammate. It looks like Bettini took it!

16:16 CEST   
The battle between Krauss and Bettini continues.

16:18 CEST   
We are still in the town of Trento and will be heading out the other side of it soon heading for Romagnano. The peloton goes through a giant round-a-bout and Schnyder powers away all alone a couple of minutes ahead.

16:19 CEST   
In the journey through the town of Trento, Schnyder increased his lead to 2'55".

16:21 CEST   
It seems that it was actually Bettini's teammate Zanini who took the Intergiro sprint out of the peloton. Second after Schnyder.

16:23 CEST   
Greetings to the Italian readers who are reading our live coverage. One such reader, Francesco Grandi has just written in to tell me that Simoni's home village is be Palù di Giovo, the same town where old champion Francesco Moser was born!

16:26 CEST   
Its 2'10" now, the gap between Schnyder and the peloton. Schnyder talks into his radio to his team manager to get a time gap update. He still looks very comfortable but its a hard ride out there alone.

16:27 CEST   
The two Fassa riders still on the front with CSC all lined up behind them looking after Basso.

16:29 CEST   
The average speed has increased again and is 37km/h now. They have been traveling very quickly over the past 20km, which makes up for the fact that they are behind schedule due to the slow pace over the climb this morning.
The gap is falling a little. It is now 2'00".

16:32 CEST    123km/55km to go
The gap is really falling now. Its 1'45". Schnyder still looks good but the bunch is traveling along nicely and the road is flat and fast at this point.

16:34 CEST   
Schnyder gets out of the saddle and takes a peak behind him to see where the peloton is.

16:39 CEST   
The gap is 1'12" now. The road are winding through more vineyards. There are spectators in groups along the roadside. Up front Schnyder is not giving up, still pounding on the pedals.

16:42 CEST   
Still a lot of relaxed riders in the middle of the peloton, chatting away, using these last few kilometres to relax before the action starts towards the finish.

16:45 CEST    138km/40km to go
The gap dips below the minute mark now. It is 58".
Matt White's heart rate is 119/180 now and Antonio Tauler of Illes Balears hear rate is at 102/192, , so they are just cruising along in the bunch.

16:47 CEST    138km/40km to go
The peloton have just gone under the 40km to go banner in the town of Nomi.

16:50 CEST   
Schnyder seems to have increases his lead a little to 1'14". There is no real hurry for the peloton to bring him back now. They are all looking very relaxed as they go through the village of Pomorolo.

16:55 CEST   
Today might be the last day for a few of the riders today. We talked to Stuart O'Grady who is definitely leaving. He said, "the bags are packed."

It is also rumoured that McEwen might be going home too.

16:55 CEST    143km/35km to go
35km to the finish now and Schnyder's gap has fallen again to 45".

16:56 CEST   
Ruslan Ivanov crashed and it waiting for a front wheel change. His team car has stopped and he is back on his bike and chasing.

16:57 CEST   
Schnyder out of the saddle again trying to keep his rhythm going. He is constantly looking back. He knows they are creeping up on him.

17:00 CEST   
Just for the gossip mill, Bruyneel has formally denied the rumours that Armstrong and Crow have split up, which was reported in "Star" magazine.

17:02 CEST    147km/31km to go
Back to the race, Schnyder only has 30 seconds now. The pace in the peloton is still quite fast. He talked into his radio again. He knows he'll be getting swallowed up soon. Its just a matter of time.

17:03 CEST    148km/30km to go
And he has been caught. Another wheel change. This time for Belli of Domina. He's back moving through the caravan.

17:05 CEST    149.7km/28.3km to go
Schnyder moved over to the right hand side of the road to let the peloton past. A Davitamon riders is on the front as they go through the town of Mori.

17:06 CEST   
Fassa take over. Basso looking very relaxed behind his teammates.

17:09 CEST   
Quite a few spectators line the roads here. Still passing through many many vineyards. Volodymir Gustov is on the front at the moment. He has done a lot of the work today.

17:11 CEST   
The green Liquigas jerseys are up near the front, just in behind CSC.

CSC hit the front now. They will want to keep this last part of the race safe for Basso.

17:12 CEST   
Rabobank also has a few riders up there. The pace on not high just yet. Its the lull before the storm.

17:14 CEST    155km/23km to go
Just over twenty kilometres remaining. Moreni (Quick.Step)
regains contact with the peloton after a mechanical.

17:17 CEST   
Its all Fassa and CSC at the front. The pink jersey sitting in about 15th wheel.

17:19 CEST   
Marco Velo's heartrate is 140/180. I'm pretty sure that might pick up pretty soon. Gustov still on the front, with Nick Gates up there representing Davitamon.

17:21 CEST   
The battle will be on between the sprinters. McEwen, Cooke, Petacchi will all be looking for the win. Both Cooke and McEwen will probably be leaving after this stage, along with O'Grady. Its their last chance.

17:22 CEST   
Dekker working in front for De Jongh.

17:24 CEST   
The peloton is just about to cross a bridge (Fiume Adige) over the river.
Rasmussen (Rabobank) is near the back, along with Engels (Quick.Step)

17:25 CEST    163km/15km to go
The pace is picking up. David Zabriskie (CSC) is on the front. Only 15km to go now.

17:28 CEST   
The pace has really picked up now. The pink jersey looking good. Di Luca also in good position look good. Robbie McEwen tucked in behind a few teammates. Liquigas going down the left to move up.

17:30 CEST    168km/10km to go
Pavel Padrnos (Discovery) moves Savoldelli to the front now, as the fight for position begins on the fast run into town. It's Zabriskie on the front again, riding hard ahead of two CSC teammates.

17:30 CEST   
Savoldelli looks very comfortable in the top bit of the peloton. Vierhouten is behind him, looking for McEwen. Schaffrath is sitting out in the wind with Zabel following.

17:32 CEST    170km/8km to go
The big Luxembourger Benoît Joachim has his turn on the front with two Discovery teammates behind him. The Fassa train starts at about 10th wheel.

17:33 CEST    172km/6km to go
Cruz and Padrnos do their turns, then Baranowski takes over for Liberty. They are really flying now. T-Mobile well placed in fourth wheel.

17:35 CEST    173km/5km to go
Matt White does a turn on the right, looking for O'Grady. But he ain't there. White is sitting on 183 of a maximum of 180, so in theory he is not with us any more. At the very least, he shouldn't be looking around! We think there may be an error in the maximum :-)

17:35 CEST   
Now the Fassas mass near the front, with an FDJ and Phonak in there. Rony Martias (Bouygues) is trying to hold his position near the front.

17:36 CEST    174km/4km to go
Bruseghin (who is Fassa's token GC rider this year), strings it out at 4.5 km top go. Velo is ready, sitting on 166/180 max HR. Tauler is on 164/192.

17:36 CEST   
Robbie McEwen is still a fair way back, near Vogels.

17:37 CEST    175km/3km to go
Fassa has all their men on the front now with 3 km left. Baldato does the turn with three km to go. Then another five Fassas. Velo is on 168/180 bpm.

17:38 CEST    176km/2km to go
Bettini has latched himself onto Petacchi, with Zanini behind, then Zabel and Cooke. O'Grady and Kirsipuu are up there. McEwen is moving up behind Leukemans and Vogels.

17:38 CEST    177km/1km to go
McEwen is aiming to get up on the left as Lancaster brings Grillo up. Bettini still has Peta's wheel with 1 km to go.

17:39 CEST    177km/1km to go
McEwen is too far back now, it looks like. Three Fassas, then Petacchi, Then Zabel, Murn.

17:39 CEST   
Murn takes over to lead out Clerc!

17:40 CEST    178km/0km to go
But Fassa gets to the front with 500m to go and two men lead out Petacchi. Clerc has his will, then Grillo goes very early but Petacchi destroys him with a strong sprint to win his second stage!! Good win there - that wasn't easy to control.

17:42 CEST   
Grillo hit out very early and Petacchi got his wheel straight away, then just powered away to win by a couple of lengths. Galvez was third, and McEwen got up there for fifth. Kirsipuu, O'Grady and Forster were also there.

No changes to the GC, and Basso keeps pink.

17:49 CEST   
That's all from the Hindenburg IV for another day, but we'll be back with tomorrow's very tough 218 km mountain stage from Mezzocorona to Ortisei, with five categorised Dolomite monsters! Until then, ciao from the blimp.


1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                        4.50.00
2 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                
3 Isaac Galvez Lopez (Spa) Illes Balears                    
4 Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner                            
5 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Credit Agricole                          
6 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                            
7 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis-Le Credit Par Telephone          
8 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                
9 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) Domina Vacanze                         
10 Baden Cooke (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux                        
11 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                  
12 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Domina Vacanze                        

General classification after stage 12

1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                     53.55.20
2 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team         0.18
3 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                             1.04
4 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita                              2.27
5 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze                              3.45
6 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              4.34
7 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team                 4.48
8 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                          5.25
9 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare                    5.58
10 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                 6.10

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