89th Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 6-28, 2006
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Stage 11 - Thursday, May 18: Pontedera - Pontedera ITT, 50 km
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones with additional reporting from Anthony Tan
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:10 CEST
A flat, fast individual time test
in the birthplace of the Vespa scooter, dedicated to the memory of Italian cycling
legend Gino Bartali. Stage 11 heads west to traverse the twisty roads in the
centre of Pisa, then heads east with a likely tailwind back to Pontedera for
the finish. Basso must show his power here to take major time from his rivals,
while Cunego, Di Luca and especially Simoni must try to lose as little time
as possible. Jan Ullrich will also try to test his legs in this Thursday time
Welcome to sunny Pontedera, where
we are witnessing the 11th stage of the Giro d'Italia from the Vespa museum.
Today is the second and final time trial of this year's Giro, and it's a perfect
one for the power riders like Serguei Gonchar, Jan Ullrich, Mick Rogers, Ivan
Basso, Paolo Savoldelli and Jose Enrique Gutierrez. It's hard to pick a winner
from these at the moment, but you'd have to say Basso is the favourite, based
on his current form.
As noted, it's dead flat and there aren't too
many corners in today's time trial. There are three intermediate checks, at
14.5 km, 28 km, and 41.3 km.
The weather is pretty well perfect
for time trialling: 24-25 degrees Celsius, and very little wind. We can expect
some fast average speeds!
The first rider to leave today at
11:30 was Andoni Aranaga Azkune (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who has the dubious honour
of being last on GC. He was followed by Carl Naibo (AG2R Prevoyance) a minute
and a half later, and at the moment, 133 riders have left. The last man to do
so was Jan Ullrich, so we await with interest his time.
The top five
at the finish with 87 riders home are as follows:
1 Gustav Erik Larsson
(Swe) Française des Jeux 1.01.10
2 Stef Clement (Ned) Bouygues Telecom
3 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 0.40
4 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto
5 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) AG2R Prevoyance 1.20
The full starting order can be found
The last 10 riders leave at 2'30 intervals, as follows:
Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team)
15:55:00 Giampaolo Caruso
(Liberty Seguros-Würth Team)
15:57:30 Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
16:00:00 Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas)
16:02:30 Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile Team)
16:05:00 Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team)
Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
16:10:00 Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital)
16:12:30 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak Hearing Systems)
Basso (Team CSC)
Dario Cioni finishes his ride just
two seconds shy of Larsson's time of 1'01'10, which is an average speed of over
49 km/h. We'll definitely see the top riders go under the hour today.
Larsson's claim to fame is that he
finished fourth in the World time trial championship in 2004, as well as recording
the same position in the Swedish TT championship that year.
Bobby Julich (CSC) is normally quite
useful against the clock, but he's probably under orders to take it easy today,
with the tough stages ahead. His finishing time is 1:04:10, which puts him in
20th spot for the time being.
Julich's (and Basso's) teammate Jens
Voigt has just started his ride. He'll be followed by Wim Van Huffel (Davitamon-Lotto).
It will be interesting to see the
times that the 'climbers' do today, like Gilberto Simoni, Jose Rujano, Damiano
Cunego, and Danilo Di Luca. They won't want to lose more than a minute or two
to Basso. The latter is in the rather luxurious position of being one of the
best time trialists and the best climber so far. But as we know, things
Slava Ekimov (Discovery) has done
a good time. He crosses in 1:01:15, for third best.
Jan Ullrich is under way, and has
done the second best time after 14.5 km in 17'36. Marc Wauters holds the best
time there at 17'30.
Ullrich takes a swig from his bottle,
rests the legs a bit, and continues. He's pedaling at about 90-95 rpm, his usual
time trialling cadence.
Charles Wegelius (Liquigas) comes
up to the line in a time of 1:04:28, well out of the top 10, but still a respectable
Carlos Sastre is also motoring along.
Let's see what he does to the first check. In the prologue, he was one of the
pacers for Basso.
Ullrich is using a solid disc wheel but (surprisingly)
not a deep dish front wheel. There's almost no wind, so aerodynamics are important,
but obviously he's comfortable with what he's got on today.
Schumacher finishes in 1:03:52.
Ullrich passes the leaning Tower
of Pisa and all its tourist stands, and continues to power along back towards
the start in Pontedera.
Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital)
is also riding. He's a decent rider against the watch. He finished second in
a Giro TT behind Gonchar a few years back.
Ullrich rides alongside the river
in Pisa, with plenty of Italians sitting on the walls lazily watching him go
Francisco Perez (Caisse d'Epargne) finishes his ride in a decent
enough 1:01:55, for sixth so far.
Marco Pinotti has done the best
time after 41 km, and is on track to break the hour. Yes, he does it. 59:49!
Ullrich picks it up a little. He
was third at the 28 km check, 17 seconds off the pace of Wauters at that point.
Ullrich's teammate, world champion
Michael Rogers, is now under way. He's pedaling at a slightly quicker rate than
Ullrich as he heads out through the trees.
Alessandro Vanotti (Milram) finishes
in 1'03'21, well outside the top 10.
Rogers is using pretty much
the same setup as Ullrich. His Giant has a rear disc wheel, and a semi-deep
dish front wheel.
Christian Knees rides up the long
finishing straight to end in 1'04'41, for 38th.
Ullrich is continuing
to ride at the same tempo, as he goes under 10 km to go. We'll see if Der Kaiser
realises a fast time today. It should be much better than his first stage, where
he was 80th.
Ullrich has smashed Pinotti's time
after 41.5 km, by 40 seconds! So he's obviously picked it up in the last 10
km or so. Yes, now he does have the big gear going.
already lost two minutes at the first check, while Jens Voigt is taking it easy
too, losing 2'17 at time check 2 for around 40th position.
Ullrich is working harder now as
he executes his trademark fast finish. Interestingly, Pinotti was well out of
the top times in the intermediate checks, before the last one.
Ullrich has it in what looks like
the 13 on the back, riding well above 50km/h as he nears the finish.
Ullrich takes the corners and hits
the finishing straight. Now it's full bore to the end. He will be close to catching
Paolo Bettini at the finish.
Ulrich takes the last two corners,
and hits the final kilometre. Meanwhile, Bettini is making his way up to the
finish at a slightly more leisurely pace, his gold shoes visible from a mile
off. He finishes in 1:04:07.
Ullrich has done well, finishing
off this time trial in a very strong fashion. His final time: 58'48, over a
minute quicker than Pinotti. But probably not a winning time...we'll see.
Manuele Mori comes up to the finish
in 1:03:28 for 23rd, over four minutes off the pace.
The top five
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 58.48
2 Marco Pinotti (Ita)
Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.01
3 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Française des Jeux
4 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas 2.24
5 Viatcheslav Ekimov
(Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.27
Andrea Noè (Liquigas) gets under
way. He rides off the ramp, chucks it into a bigger gear, and is up to speed.
The next rider to start is Tom Danielson
(Discovery Channel), then Giampaolo Caruso (Liberty Seguros) and Gilberto Simoni
Scarponi is at halfway, riding through the ancient
streets of Pisa, gaining some shelter from the little wind there is today.
Scarponi is just about to be caught
by Mick Rogers. The world champion bears down on him and passes him as they
cross the river.
Caruso is on his way now. The TT
is not his favourite discipline, but he'll try to limit his losses.
Gilberto Simoni is on the start ramp,
looking a little nervous and not particularly happy about riding 50km on the
flat. "Give me mountains!"
Simoni sets off to a big cheer, and
gets it cranking.
Rujano has lost over 2 minutes at the first time
check (14.5 km). That is not good.
Now Di Luca is on the start ramp,
after getting his Bianchi polished by a soigneur one last time.
Di Luca clips in, gets the countdown
and a big cheer of encouragement from his DS just behind him on the start ramp.
Guido Trentin (Saunier Duval) finishes in 1:03:48 for
34th, past the Vespa museum. Just don't call him Trenti.
riders are on the finishing straight together. Voigt is one of them, stomping
along. Nicki Sorensen is the other, losing 3 minutes to Voigt. They are not
working together, which is a good thing in this case!
Voigt has ridden the second half
pretty hard, and finishes in 1:01:00 for third. He probably started easy and
then pushed it home to give something for Basso to ride against.
Now Serguei Gonchar sets off. This time trial is made for him.
Paolo Savoldelli is the next to go.
He's quite good at this discipline, as he showed in the first stage. But on
paper, Basso should be quicker.
Savoldelli goes and sprints up to
speed, getting onto the bars quickly.
Now it's Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas),
the winner of stage 10, who is on the start ramp. He's not the best against
the clock, but he's still a powerful rider, and today will be OK for him. He
crosses himself, drinks from his bidon, and goes off.
the rear disk and very deep dish front wheel happening.
Paolo Savoldelli is riding his Trek
Equinox, and he looks to have his Bontrager Aeolus front wheel on. Difficult
to tell at this speed :-)
Damiano Cunego is now setting off.
Ivan Basso gets ready in his all
pink skinsuit, but white CSC shoe covers. His bike is the Cervelo, with Zipp
wheels (deep front, disc on the back).
Savoldelli has found a nice
rhythm as he heads out into the countryside. Cunego is using a faster cadence,
and also has a good tempo going.
Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak) sets
off, and he should be able to do a good time today. He's a powerful rider, and
got close in the first stage to the win.
Basso is the last rider
to go, and he's on the start ramp now. He looks very calm and focused, with
that faint smile that he always wears.
The top 10 hasn't changed,
with Ullrich still leading with 58'48 ahead of Pinotti and Voigt.
Basso is go!
Rujano is 3'30 behind at 28 km. He really doesn't like the time trials.
Savoldelli looks super smooth as
he keeps his solid rhythm. He's not a fast pedaller, but still maintains a cadence
of 100 or so.
Bruseghin finishes his ride in 1:04:45 for eighth best
Jeez, Basso is flying!!
Simoni has already lost 2'09 to Wauters at the first time check (14.5 km), which
does not bode well for him. Also, Caruso has lost 3'29 at the same place. That's
And Di Luca is 2'02 after 14.5 km.
Well, he's close to Simoni, but a long way off Wauters.
Rogers finishes in 1:02:08, off the
pace for 13th.
Gonchar is up to 14.5 km in 18'16
(13th). Apparently, the wind is stronger now, and is blowing against the riders
on the way out. So we'll see better times on the way home.
Paolo Savoldelli is coming up to
the first time check, where the top three are still:
1 Marc Wauters
(Bel) Rabobank 17.30
2 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 0.06
3 Bert Roesems
(Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 0.07
The number one in the Giro crosses in
18'35, which is 1'05 slower than Wauters. He'd better hope the wind is strong
on the way home. But, we'll wait and see what Basso does.
Gonchar has been the best of the
GC favourites so far, with 18'16 at 14.5 km. So he is the reference point for
Axel Merckx (Phonak) ends in 1:05:01,
which is 67th. He had a very slow start too, so maybe the wind is playing a
Basso has got a great rhythm going,
as Franco Pellizotti comes to the 14.5 km check in 19'34, 2'04 behind Wauters.
That's similar to Di Luca.
Unai Osa finishes in 1:08:03, way
off the pace. Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) does much better, with a 1:01:40
Cunego is past 14.5 km in 20'08,
2'38 off the pace of Wauters. Well, he's slower than Gibo and Pellizotti at
the moment. That's surprising, actually. He's already lost one and a half minutes
Gutierrez is better, in 18'26 at 56 seconds slower
than Wauters. He's slower than Gonchar, but not much.
Cunego is sitting on 50km/h at the
moment as he fights the slight headwind. That's a good sign for him. It's never
easy to do 50 km/h into a headwind.
And now, the maglia rosa of
Ivan Basso (Team CSC) passes the 14.5 km check, the last rider to do so today.
His time is 18'11, which is the best of the favourites, and is the 12th best
so far. He's put 5 seconds into Gonchar, 30 seconds into Savoldelli, two minutes
into Cunego, 1'30 into Pellizotti, 15 seconds into Gutierrez, and about 1'20
into Gibo and Di Luca.
At the second time check after 28
km, Simoni is past at 3'12 behind Wauters, then Gonchar comes through just 1'02
behind the best time, having just caught and passed Di Luca. The Liquigas man
is at 3'38 off the best.
Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) is
ending his ride in Pontedera.
Savoldelli crosses the bridge over
the Arno river in Pisa, hits the gutter as he swings left back onto the other
bank. He passes the 28 km check in 34'58, 1'32 behind Wauters, and 30 seconds
slower than Gonchar.
Gutierrez has just passed Cunego.
That can't be good for the morale.
Well it's probably good for Quique's
morale :-) That means Cunego has lost 2'30 to his rival before halfway!
Wauters, who set the best time checks
in the opening half, is holding down 10th on the provisional standings at the
Cunego is now picking up his game, not letting Gutierrez
get too far away.
A Lampre and a Credit Agricole rider
come up to the finishing straight together, trying not to use each other's draft.
It's Szmyd and Halgand.
Halgand finishes in 1:04:18, while
Szmyd comes across a few seconds later.
Cunego rides past the leaning
tower of Pisa, and doesn't even look up at the view. He's more concerned with
not letting Jose E. Gutierrez out of his sights.
Pellizotti and Di Luca are past the
second time check, at over three minutes behind Wauters respectively. Now Gutierrez
comes through in 34'46, just 1'20 behind Wauters. Then Cunego in 37'25, nearly
four minutes slower(!)
Victor Pena finishes off in 1:01:49,
which just puts him in the top 10.
Here comes Ivan Basso, up to the
second time check in 34'24, which is 58 seconds slower than Wauters. That is
the best of the favourites, four seconds better than Gonchar, still 30 seconds
quicker than Savoldelli, and three minutes better than Cunego. Ouch.
Basso, Gonchar and Gutierrez look
to be the only riders who can win the stage today, but Ullrich still has a handy
lead over them going into the final half.
Here comes Tom Danielson, who we
haven't seen yet today. He is on the finishing straight and is on track for
a top 10.
Gonchar is past time check three
in the third best time, 1'06 behind Ullrich. Hmm, he only has 9 km to make that
up. Not enough, methinks. So maybe the wind isn't really helping on the way
Danielson finishes in 1:01:23 for 7th. Quite good from the
Di Luca passes time check three a
whopping 4'34 behind Ullrich. Then Savoldelli comes through just 1'30 behind,
for fifth. That's a good performance from the Discovery captain. He won't lose
much to Basso today.
Simoni has done a good ride today,
and will limit his losses to Basso. He'll be better than most of the other climbers
too, probably the fourth best of the GC riders. His finishing time is 1:03:09,
4'21 behind Ullrich.
Gonchar comes up to the finishing
straight, having passed Caruso. He won't beat Ullrich though.
comes past 41.5 km 4'16 slower than Ullrich, who looks to be the winner today.
Gonchar finishes in 59'57, just under
the hour. So it looks like only Basso can beat Ullrich now, and that's unlikely.
The top 10 at the moment:
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 58.48
2 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.01
3 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr)
4 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 2.12
5 Gustav Erik Larsson
(Swe) Française des Jeux 2.22
6 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas 2.24
7 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.27
Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 2.35
9 Stef Clement (Ned) Bouygues Telecom
10 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 2.52
Di Luca punches his way up the finishing
straight to end in 1:04:01 for 51st, as Savoldelli hits the last km.
Cunego is past 41.5 km five minutes
slower than Ullrich. Well, the German might do it today, it looks like. But
Basso is just 38 seconds behind him at km 41.5!!
in 1:00:07 for fourth.
Basso is the only rider who can beat
Der Kaiser today. He needs to take back 38 seconds in 8.5 km. Tricky... Whatever
happens, he will put time into all his GC rivals today.
Basso looks lightning quick while
Cunego is definitely suffering, now riding a much bigger gear than he was at
Cunego keeps his 50 km/h speed up,
but it's not enough today. Basso is now at 5 km to go, sitting on 54 km/h.
There are going to be some serious
gaps on the GC today. Very serious. Cunego will lose four minutes, as will Gibo,
Di Luca, Pellizotti... Gonchar and Gutierrez will limit their losses to about
a minute, while Savoldelli might lose that too.
Pellizotti rides up the long finishing
straight, keeping his rhythm, but still losing over four minutes to Ullrich.
His final time is 1:03:47.
Basso has caught Cunego(!). That's five
The maglia rosa bears down on Cunego
with 2 km to go, putting in a little sprint. He hasn't quite caught him yet,
but he probably will. Yep, over the bridge and under the railway.
Basso waits until under the bridge,
then powers past Cunego with 1 km to go.
Meanwhile, Gutierrez finishes
in 1:00:30 for fifth. Decent ride.
Basso puts a five seconds into Cunego
in the final 500m, and comes across to take second in the stage in a time of
59'15. Cunego finishes in 1:04:22.
Jan Ullrich wins the time trial!!
As Jan Ullrich opens his first bottle
of bubbly for the season on the podium, looking quite satisfied with himself
for winning today, we can assess the damage on the general classification. Ivan
Basso increased his lead to 2'48 over Jose E. Gutierrez, and to 3'24 over Serguei
Gonchar. Paolo Savoldelli is in fourth at 3'26, then Danielson up from 10th
to 5th at 5'38, then Pellizotti (6'37), Pena (6'54), Cunego (6'54), Simoni (7'13),
Di Luca (7'33) and in 14th Rujano at 9'19.
Well, they've all got
a few mountains coming up to try to take back that time, but the real problem
is that Ivan Basso is also the best climber at the moment.
And that's where we leave you today,
after a slightly surprising result in the flat time trial in Pontedera. Ullrich's
stage 1 time trial position was 80th. He's improved a bit in the last week and
Until tomorrow's hilly transitional stage, ciao!
1 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 17.30
2 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 0.06
3 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 0.07
12 Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC 0.41
14 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 0.43
1 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 33.26
2 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas
3 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 0.17
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC 0.58
11 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 1.02
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile
2 Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC 0.38
3 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.40
4 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 1.06
6 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel 1.30
Finish - km 50
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 58.48
2 Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC 0.27
3 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.01
4 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 1.09
5 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel 1.19
6 Jose E. Gutierrez (Spa) Phonak 1.42
7 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 2.12
8 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Française des Jeux 2.22
9 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas 2.24
10 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.27
11 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 2.35
12 Stef Clement (Ned) Bouygues Telecom 2.40
General classification after stage 11
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 40.28.56
2 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 2.48
3 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile Team 3.24
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.26
5 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 5.38
6 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 6.37
7 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 6.54
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
9 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 7.13
10 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 7.33
14 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni 9.19
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