89th Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 6-28, 2006
Results & report
Stage 17 - Wednesday, May 24: Termeno/Tramin - Plan De Corones/Kronplatz, 133 km
Complete live report
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour with additonal reporting from Anthony Tan
A brutal stage with 50km of climbing
that has a second consecutive mountaintop finish. Starting in Termeno, Stage
17 goes via Passo di Pinei, over Passo delle Erbe to finish atop Plan de Corones
at 2273m., with the last 5.5km up an only recently paved road next to a ski
slope with sections that have a 24% grade! Watch for huge gaps to open on Stage
17's ugly final ascent, with a pure climber destined for victory.
14:32 CEST 20km/113km to go
Welcome back to Cyclingnews’
coverage of Giro d’Italia. After a tough mountain top stage yesterday where
we saw Basso comfortably extend his lead in the General Classification, we are
back for yet another tough mountain stage. The one everybody has been waiting
for in fact. A few days ago there was a rumour that despite the fact that the
road up to the top of Plan de Corones had been completed, the bad weather had
slowed down the drying of the new hard packed gravel and cement layer making
it extremely hard to ride up if it were to rain during the stage. Right now
it is already snowing at the top of the mountain. Our reporter’s car got bogged
and a truck has fallen over delaying everyone trying to get to the top. It is
very likely that this last part of the stage will be cancelled. In any case,
it’s going to be a very interesting stage.
Even before riders reach
this last climb they must first climb Passo delle Erbe which is a 30km climb
at 5% average. A short descent is followed by the ascent of Plan de Corones
which is 16km long and extremely steep. It averages 7.5% with a max of 24% near
Right now the riders are about 20km into the stage. The
peloton is all together. Two riders didn’t start this morning. Honchar and Scarponi.
It's three degrees at the top of
the mountain and our reporter Anthony Tan has abandoned his car after it got
bogged in the mud. He says that the whole last dirt/gravel section has become
mud and if it's not cancelled we might very well see a rider protest during
this stage. So far there is no news of any shortening of the course but we still
have some time left before the riders start this climb.
The start of the race was delayed
because teams were voicing their displeasure with the course, but we'll see
Already the road is going up slightly. Not a lot of
flat or downhill in this stage. When they hit the bottom of the first climb
of the day they hit the steepest sections right away. After about 3km it has
a 10% grade.
The peloton is just cruising along
so far. No-one who wants to finish this stage in one piece will dare attack
before they get to the climbs so I don't think we'll see another solo attack
like we saw with Rubiera Chavez yesterday.
Basso was very happy with his stage
win yesterday. He said "It was a fantastic feeling to win on a mountain wearing
the pink jersey," he said. "I think it's something all riders dream about; certainly
it's always been a big dream of mine ever since I became a pro. Of course all
victories are important, but this one will always be special to me.
"The team set me up perfectly, so I was able to do my bit at the end to try
and finish the job. It's really hard for me to put into words, how I feel, and
I have a very tough day ahead of me tomorrow. But I do feel very happy with
what we've accomplished today. The Giro is far from over and I won't preconceive
me winning, but today is a day I'll never forget that's for sure."
With stages like today, anything can happen and he would have been trying to
get just that little bit of extra time over his opponents yesterday as a safety
barrier for what could come up in the next five days.
According to the official website,
the stage has actually been shortened and will not include the last section
of the final climb. The total distance therefore has been shortened to 126km.
15:03 CEST 37km/89km to go
Nearly 40km into the
race now and the peloton is all together. Another 25km until the bottom of the
first mountain, which starts in the town of Bressanone.
The stage has not been cancelled.
Sorry that was my typo. They have just shortened the stage and cut off the top
part of Passo delle Erbe, which is the first climb, because of the bad weather.
At this point they are still doing the dirt section at the finish.
It looks quite miserable out there.
Saunier Duval is leading the peloton right now. It's raining and all of the
riders have rain jackets on. It also looks cold.
At the top of the mountain when they
finish, the riders can't drive down the mountain to their team cars. They have
to catch a gondola down. Only one car per team is allowed all the way to the
Gonchar didn't start today because
of some knee problems he has had since his crash the other day.
The rain and the cold hasn't stopped
the fanatical cycling spectators at the top of the mountain. The crowds are
gathering with their umbrella's and raincoats.
Benoit Poilvet (Credit Agricole)
and Dario Cioni (Liquigas) are off the front together. The have a small gap
and are working well together.
In the bunch Jose Serpa is at 68%
of his max with a heartrate of 136.
Bettini is calling for his team car.
He's looking quite cold and squinting to see through the rain. The couldn't
have asked for a worse day to do this mountain stage.
Simoni sits tucked in behind his
teammates who are leading the peloton. They are on a wide open highway road.
The riders in the peloton are just trying to take it easy and keep warm. Up
front Cioni and Poilvet are taking even turns and have increased their gap to
Again they are riding past orchards
and vineyards. It would be another beautiful stage if it wasn't for the weather.
Apparently they will not be going up any of the first mountain today and will
instead go around it. No mention of cancelling any of the last climb. Perhaps
this is the organisers way of compromising with the riders.
Anthony Tan reports that the change
in the course eventuated after a heated discussion prior to the stage between
the organisation and the riders. They decided to bypass the first mountain because
of the rain and very low temperatures. The descent from Passo delle Erbe also
has three or four kilometers of quite dangerous roads, so it was the cold and
their safety that the riders were concerned about.
Saunier Duval still has all eight
riders on the front setting the pace with Simoni at the end of the train. CSC
is just behind them followed by Discovery.
15:43 CEST 66km/60km to go
We are at the half
way mark. The first part of the race won't be anywhere near as exciting as it
could have been as it's all relatively flat now until we get to the 17km to
go mark and start climbing Plan de Corones. The lead pair have two minutes on
the field at this point and get out of the saddle up a small climb.
The peloton is also on a small climb
and they are all spread across the road just cruising up.
The Saunier Duval team is still gathered
at the front and have picked up the pace again over the small rise. The road
is flat again now.
At the top it's still snowing and freezing. It
hasn't stopped people going up there though. The crowds are huge, all waiting
there with their signs and rugging up to keep warm whilst they wait.
Aaron Olson has just rolled off the
front after doing a turn on the front. His teeth looked to be jittering. He
doesn't look warm.
A note of the gearing for the riders today. Team
Gerolsteiner has a 34/27 gear ratio for the climb today. That gives you an idea
of how steep this thing gets.
Cioni and Poilvet look a little warmer
than the rest of the riders. Perhaps they have the right idea going in a break
and working a little harder to keep warm.
It has to be said that even though
we said that the roads are flat now leading up to the last climb. This is a
relative term. The roads around this area are rarely flat. More like undulating.
We are also hearing rumours that the last 5km of the course may also be cancelled
bringing the total distance down to 121km.
Serpa's heartrate is still 136 at
68% of his max.
Guttierez has just gone back to his
team car with technical problems. He has six teammates back there with him to
bring him back to the bunch.
The riders are passing a field and
the cows are running alongside them joining the race. One of them is attacking
up the hill. They are quite fast on this steep hill.
It's going to be a mad scramble now
for the organisation to move the finish 5km back down the road. That will give
the crowds at the top something to do whilst they wait. They'll all have to
hike back down as it's official that they have shortened the stage now. They
now finish on Furkel Pass which is part of the Corones and 1739m in altitude.
A CSC rider has just received a wheel
change and will have to chase back alone. It looks like Sastre who did such
a great job on the mountain for Basso yesterday.
A Discovery rider is stopped on the
side of the road and putting on arm warmers and leg warmers. It's Savoldelli.
He is obviously freezing but he's going to have a hard chase back on.
A couple of CSC riders have gone
back to help Sastre back on. A Rabobank riders is also back there with them
after having stopped with a mechanical. The lead duo now have 2'43" on the field.
16:18 CEST 86km/35km to go
Cioni looks a bit
miserable out there but the pair look good and they are both working well over
this undulating terrain.
The latest time gap is 1'51" so the
Saunier Duval team is bringing this back now.
Cunego also just stopped
for a bike change. It could be that they are all stopping to change bikes before
the mountain so that they have their mountain gearing on.
Or because the steep bit has been
cancelled they don't actually need the really small gears anymore so they are
swapping to their bikes with the normal gearing.
Cunego's teammates are pacing him
back on. They are just reaching the back of the peloton.
One of the Saunier Duval riders is
squeezing his hands together trying to get some blood running through them.
Cioni is on the front of the break with his mud mustache. Quite a look he's
got going on there.
They are on smaller roads now as
they get closer to the mountain. The leaders get out of the saddle for another
16:29 CEST 91km/30km to go
About 30km to the
finish now and the gap is 1'38". Saunier Duval seem to have picked up the pace
a little and the bunch is more strung out. They are traveling over one of those
roads built on the side of the mountain with a drop off on one side as they
climb through a gorgeous little valley alongside a stream.
The road is starting to go up and
people are struggling on this foothill that leads up to the final climb.
We are presuming Savoldelli is back
in the bunch although it's hard to tell right now.
The leaders have just gone over a
dodgy bit of road. It was quite rough and there seems to be quite a bit of construction
going on along this section of the road.
16:39 CEST 100km/21km to go
Just over 20km to
the finish now so not long until the start of this climb. Another 8km or so.
Saunier Duval still lead. They've been on the front for the entire stage to
give Simoni every chance on today's climb. He had a good race yesterday but
couldn't quite hand on to Basso. He did move up to fourth on GC and will be
aiming to improve on that today. He's only 17 seconds behind Savoldelli on GC
Lampre has just moved up in the peloton
bringing Cunego closer to the front for the start of the climb. They slot in
behind the Saunier Duval guys. The rain seems to have stopped momentarily but
it's still cold. The riders in the bunch are continually trying to warm up stiff
and tight joints.
The gap has fallen to below a minute
now so not long until these two get swallowed up. The latest time gap is 35".
Some of the riders are taking off their raincoats now preparing for the climb.
They don't want to be lugging wet rain jackets up the climb.
A Discovery rider is having trouble
with his bike and has stopped on the side of the road. It's not Savoldelli.
We've spotted him up near Basso at the front.
Iliano has attacked. They have just
started to climb and he has opened up a gap on the field and is coming up upon
the lead pair.
16:47 CEST 112km/9km to go
They have just gone
through the 110 Gazzetta sprint. They have 9km to go!
Iliano caught and passed the leaders
and now has about 11 seconds on the field. The climb is not steep yet.
He's out of the saddle and looks
quite comfortable but his lead is dropping and the climbs winds up past a small
village and through wide open highland fields. Basso has taken off his black
rain jacket to reveal the pink jersey.
Riders have started to get dropped
on the climb. It's splitting up a lot already. CSC has a rider on the front
setting the pace. There looks to be about 30 riders left in the front group.
Di Luca has been dropped and a T-mobile
rider has attacked and has caught Iliano. It could be Scott Davis.
Davis moves in front of Iliano to
do a turn, the field is not far behind. Jan Ullrich is no longer in the lead
16:55 CEST 116km/5km to go
They have gone under
the 5km to go. The lead pair have been caught and Piepoli has hit the front
again and accelerated like he did yesterday.
Piepoli has the group strung out
and more riders are dropping of the back. The road is narrowing and starting
to get steeper. They are riding through a beautiful foresty area. Basso is pretty
much alone as his last CSC rider is suffering. Savoldelli is getting dropped.
He seems to have really suffered in the cold today.
Perez Cuapio is leading the front
group setting the tempo. Noe has been dropped.
Perez Cuapio's pace has caused more
riders to get dropped. He is continually out of the saddle pushing it up this
climb. The group is getting smaller and smaller. Basso sits in second wheel
with Guttierrez on his wheel.
It's cold up here. Guttierez has
attacked but he has Basso on his wheel. Simoni is having trouble at the back
so Piepoli has left him. Simoni probably told him to try for a stage win.
The leaders are Basso, Perez Cuapio,
Gutierrez, Piepoli with Gadret, Simoni, Pellizotti, Caruso and Cunego chasing.
Cunego has been dropped from Simoni's
group now. Up front Perez Cuapio is back in the lead setting the pace. He has
won three stages of the Giro in the past. On his wheel is Guttierrez followed
by Basso and Piepoli. Caruso has been dropped.
17:04 CEST 119km/2km to go
Less than two kilometers
to go now. Its getting steeper and narrower. Simoni is alone chasing now. Pellizotti
has just closed the gap to the front group now and seems to be riding straight
Basso gets out of the saddle now
with 1km to go. Piepoli attacks but Basso has his wheel. Guttierrez looked like
he could go with them but is getting dropped. Basso is pushing the pace now
with Piepoli on his wheel.
The fans are mad running really close
to the riders. Piepoli takes the lead again and Basso moves back into second
wheel. They have a big lead over the others now.
About 500m to go Piepoli leads and
is out of the saddle. The fans are drenched but still jumping up and down on
the side of the road. Basso stays on Piepoli's wheel.
Piepoli sprints and Basso stays in
the saddle and doesn't contest the sprint. Piepoli takes the stage and Guttierrez
comes in for third 15 seconds down. Pelizotti comes in for fourth place.
Cunego came in at 33 seconds and
Simoni at around 50 seconds. He'll move into third place on GC now.
Savoldelli is coming in with a group
of six riders. They are 1'33" down. Danielson leads him over the line.
It's still snowing at the top. It
would have been disastrous trying to go over the new road at the top.
Thanks for tuning in. It turned out
to be a little bit different to the stage we were expecting. We'll be back tomorrow
when the Giro heads east on a transitional stage through the Julian Alps, passing
through Friuli, which was shaken by a major earthquake thirty years ago this
month. The stage then heads into Austria for 30km before moving back to Italy.
The first climb is Monte Croce Carnico, with the steep 7km Cuel di Forcia waiting
with 55km to go to Gemona.
1 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 3.21.26
2 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC
3 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.15
4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 0.19
5 Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 0.28
6 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance 0.37
7 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 0.41
8 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.48
9 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Team Milram 0.58
10 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team
11 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 1.15
12 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Quick Step-Innergetic
13 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Liquigas 1.29
14 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Liquigas
15 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
16 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
General classification after stage 17
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC
2 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 5.51
3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 10.17
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
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