89th Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 6-28, 2006
Results & report
Stage 18 - Thursday, May 25: Sillian - Gemona Del Friuli, 210 km
Complete live report
Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour with additional reporting from Anthony Tan
Welcome to stage 18 of the Giro.
Today is a somewhat easier day between four tough mountain stage. It is slightly
longer at 210km and starts in the town of Sillan before heading into Austria
for a short while and back into Italy to finish in Gemona del Friuli. First
climb is Monte Croce Carnico, with the steep 7km Cuel di Forcia waiting with
55km to go to Gemona.
So far the riders have gone over the
first climb and have completed almost 120km. The early part of the stage saw
alot of attacks and currently we have a group of five riders off the front including
José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), David Lopez Garcia
(Euskaltel-Euskadi), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital)
and Charles Wegelius (Liquigas). There was a chase group of four riders including
Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step-Innergetic), Tadej Valjavec and Francisco J.
Vila Errandonea (Lampre-Fondital) and Johann Tschopp (Phonak Hearing Systems)
but they have since been caught by the peloton. The lead group now has over
five minutes on the field.
After three hours of racing the average
speed for the day is 40.5km/h and the gap between the break and the bunch continues
to grow. The highest in GC out of the group is Gutierrez Palacios and he is
21 minutes down so there is no urgency to chase the break. It's a good day for
the GC riders to rest up a little before the challenge of the Alps coming up
over the next two days.
Coming up in about 10km is the Cuel
di Forcia. The climb is 7-8km long and is quite steep, averaging over 8%. Sections
in the early part of the climb reach a 16% gradient and its gets up to 18% near
the top. So this stage is transitional but certainly not easy.
There are a lot of tired legs out
there today after two and a half weeks of racing and I don't think anyone was
complaining about the changes to yesterday's stage. Basso also said the organisation
made the right decision to shorten and cancel parts of the stage.
The riders is the break are going
over some small rollers now before the main climb and it won't be long before
they reach the base. The gap has come down a little but they still have a 5'40"
buffer going into the climb.
14:54 CEST 132km/78km to go
If the break can
get over this climb they might be a good chance of staying away but the bunch
will still have 60km of relatively flat terrain to chase. We still do have some
sprinters in the bunch waiting for that stage win. Olaf Pollack still hasn't
managed to get up to we might see T-Mobile chase to bring back to break after
the climb. It will depend how Pollack goes over the top.
Two riders didn't finish yesterday's
stage. Baguet (Quick Step-Innergetic) and Marc Wauters (Rabobank) both pulled
out and already today we have a few abandons. Sergej Yakovlev (Liberty Seguros),
Sergio Barbero (Selle Italia), Fabrizio Guidi (Phonak), Peter Mazur (Saunier
Duval), John Gadret (AG2R), and Marco Fertonani (Caisse D'Epargne) have all
The guys in the break are starting
to climb now. Their lead has opened up again a bit to 6'30".
The leaders are climbing well on
the KOM and are 3km from the top. They have actually increased their lead and
now have 6'55" on the peloton.
Back in the bunch things look pretty
relaxed. They are really taking this day as a bit of a rest day. CSC are just
looking after Basso and keeping him safe near the front of the group.
Its really steep right now. Schumacher
leads the break up this last section which gets up to 18%. They are all still
together. They need to stay together to use all the manpower in the final 60km
to stay away.
The road is really narrow, almost
a footpath as they go slightly downhill before the final 100m up to the top.
Schumacher stays on the front over the top and into the descent. The gap is
up to seven minutes now.
On the front of the peloton CSC and
Saunier Duval lead the way. The bunch is spread right across the road and really
not pushing the pace at all. It really is a footpath though this road. Very
narrow. It's probably good that they are not taking it to hard as it would be
a little dangerous on the downhill.
They are all out of the saddle in
the peloton as they reach the really steep part of the climb, but they are going
slow enough that no-one will get dropped. Some crazy spectator tried to run
alongside them but its so narrow that he nearly tripped an fell into the bunch.
The break started the descent but
after a small descent it starts climbing again for a bit. The Gerolsteiner team
car is up with Schumacher at the moment. Not much room for the cars on this
Simoni is on the front of the peloton
in this 18% section now. He rides next to a CSC rider. At the back some of the
riders have almost slowed to a stop up this section. It looks like pain!
A few of them would appreciate a
little push from the people in the crowd. It still looks cold today although
it is dry. Some of them zip up their jerseys to go downhill. The gap as the
peloton reaches the summit if 7'17".
Meanwhile the riders in the break
are still on the descent on these very narrow roads. It's twisty and quite pretty
through this tree covered section but they have to take it fairly easy around
the bends as there's not much room for error.
A lot of people have commented that
it's strange that Gadret has pulled out as he has such good form. We've since
heard that he was involved in a crash at the 90km mark and has a suspected broken
The break goes around some tight
hairpin turns ont he way down the descent. The road not is very well paved and
almost dirt in parts. The peloton is all strung out in one line on the descent
as it's safer that way.
Things have split up in the break a little
bit as Lopez Garcia and Charles Wegelius are a bit slower around the corners
on the descent.
Yet another hairpin and the other
three break members have opened up quite a gap. It is likely they will wait
up a little at the bottom as they need the numbers.
Schumacher is flying down the descent
leaving the rest for dead. When they get to the bottom of the hill they have
50km to go. On the way home they have a couple of little pinches that look tough
but it's mostly flat.
Schumacher looks to be enjoying this
descent but Gutierrez makes a point of overtaking him before one corner.
The descent seems to never end but
they must be getting close to the bottom. The break is definitely two groups
at the moment with Lopez Garcia and Charles Wegelius still off the back.
15:42 CEST 160km/50km to go
Lopez Garcia and
Wegelius have 25" to make up now as they reach the bottom. The leading trio
are driving the pace. They have 7'28" to the field and about 50km to ride.
Wegelius and Lopez Garcia are managing
to bring back some time. The gap is now 14".
11 seconds now. It looks like they'll
make it back on to the front three pretty soon.
The break is back together now and
not in a hurry to get organised. They'll have to sort it out soon. Back in the
bunch there has been some near crashes on the tight hairpin turns.
Wegelius has a heartrate of 157 in the break. That is 82% of his max.
The view is absolutely gorgeous as the valley opens up. You can see snow peaked
mountains in the distance across the green fields. Phonak has a couple of riders
on the front of the field setting tempo now as the peloton reaches the bottom
of the descent. They are working pretty hard actually. The gap has come down
The peloton is now on a bridge crossing
a river. Basso looks comfortable in the bunch on the wheel on one of his teammates
and the bunch is really quite strung out with Phonak on the front.
Perhaps Phonak is trying to protect
their lead in the teams classification. Liquigas has a rider in the break and
they are 9 minutes down on Phonak in the teams classification. The break is
finally organised and the gap has opened up a little to 7'14".
Rumour has it that Liberty Seguros
has pulled their sponsorship of the team in response to the Manolo Saiz incident.
That is bad news for the team members.
16:05 CEST 175km/35km to go
The gap is coming
down now. It's 6'22" now. Schumacher is back at his team car picking up a bottle.
The guys is the break are still working well together but the Phonak team has
really put on the pace behind. The riders in the break go under the 35km to
Liberty Seguros has pulled the money
as of today. Quite a lot of bike riders out of a job now.
is down to 5'03" now and the bunch is traveling at 50km/h along this very flat
section of road through the fields.
16:14 CEST 180km/30km to go
The break goes under
the 30km to go banner. Schumacher is back at this team car again. He seems a
little upset about something. Perhaps the co-operation within the break isn't
as good as it could be.
There is another small GPM coming
up and the gap is rapidly coming down now. The latest split was 3'44" and it's
pretty clear that the break will get caught. They'll have to really get organised
to stay away now. A day for the sprinters today it seems.
The riders are going through some
very nice roads now through a small village. When they get to the climb it's
going to hurt. The grade at the bottom is 18%. It's only a couple of km long,
but it will hurt. The break have reached the climb. They are all out of the
saddle getting over the steep pinch.
A lot of spectators line the road
on the way up. Bruseghin leads the way right now. Ouch - this looks hard. You
can pretty much see the whole climb when you're on it and it's not a pretty
They are all staying together in
the break but it's still very steep. They are out of the saddle the whole way.
Wegelius at is 87% of his max on the climb. Meanwhile the peloton has just reached
the bottom. Phonak is on the front with Basso right up there. They are not hammering
the climb but already some of the guys at the back are suffering.
16:26 CEST 185km/25km to go
The riders in the
break are just reaching the top of the climb. 700m from the top they see the
25km to go banner. Bruseghin leads the break over the top and looks back to
make sure everyone is still with him as they start the descent.
The peloton is reaching the top of
the climb now. Some of the guys at the back are really hating life on this steep
thing! Olaf Pollack is near the back and hurting. We'll see if he can recover
for a possible sprint finish.
Bettini is up near the front so perhaps
it will be another day for him if this break gets caught.
16:33 CEST 190km/20km to go
to go for the riders in the break now. Before the reach the finish they have
one more steep pinch to get over but its nothing like the previous one. The
guys in the break seem to have it together now and are working well. They're
traveling well on the flat section now.
A Milram rider has a bit of a gap
on the field but he didn't really attack, he just took a few hairpin turns a
little faster than the bunch. He keeps the pace up as the bunch reach his wheel
and strings things out.
The gap is still over three minutes now
and the peloton has slowed significantly as they all come off the mountain.
It will be tough to bring this break back now.
Benoit Joachim (Discovery)
has just attacked the field and livened things up a bit.
A Milram guy led the chase and Joachim
has been caught. CSC immediately go to the front with Basso sitting in behind.
None of the teams are willing to chase at this point.
16:40 CEST 195km/15km to go
15km to go for the
break as they go through a rather large town. Schumacher comes through to do
a turn over a cobbled section of road. That would hurt after 200km in a break
even though the cobbles are fairly smooth.
Back onto road now for the break.
They seem to have stopped working really smoothly together as they are probably
each thinking about when they should make their move now. Woah, David Lopez
Garcia has chosen now to attack. he has a gap on the group as they goes over
the small climb.
He punches it up the hill. It's not
long but its steep and it looks painful again. He is in the saddle forcing it.
He looks back to see how much of a gap he has. Schumacher is leading the chase
but he is dropping the others on the climb. Lopez Garcia has 5 seconds now.
The rest of the break has split up.
Schumacher is next, riding solo. Bruseghin and Wegelius are together just making
it back up to the wheel of Schumacher. Lopez Garcia has increased his lead on
them. He now has 11 seconds and 2'40" on the field.
Lopez goes over the top of the hill
solo. The other four break guys have regrouped. Back in the field Fortunato
(Panaria) has attacked. Voigt leads the rest of the peloton with Basso on his
Lopez is on a descent powering away.
He looks strong and he still has ten seconds on the rest of the break and 2'47"
on the field.
The break is working hard to chase
Lopez but Wegelius is sitting on. They are bringing the gap down.
16:52 CEST 203km/7km to go
Less than ten kilometers
to go now. CSC is on the front of the field. There is no way the bunch will
catch the break now. Lopez is still solo and looks fast. He has 8" on the rest.
He gets out of the saddle to keep
on top of the gear as he reaches Gemona. Schumacher has bridged to him solo
and goes straight to the front to do a turn!!!
Bruseghin leads the chase out of
the other three. Wegelius and Gutierrez look like they can't do anything.
Schumacher leads Lopez. It's slightly
uphill here. Bruseghin seems to be bringing it back. It's about five seconds.
Gutierrez punches it up a cobbled uphill section and goes straight past the
leading two. They hold his wheel though but Lopez gets dropped.
Wegelius is coming back up to Gutierrez,
Schumacher and Bruseghin. It's a game of cat and mouse now. Lopez made it back
and attacked immediately. He has a gap. Gutierrez chases.
16:58 CEST 207km/3km to go
They all looked at
each other and Lopez attacks again from the front and has another gap. Schumacher
attacks to try go across but Gutierrez grabs his wheel.
16:58 CEST 208km/2km to go
Only three kilometers
to go and its all back together again. Gutierrez attacks and Schumacher grabs
his wheel. 2km to go.
They have a gap. Bruseghin is closing
it though. Wegelius counters!
17:00 CEST 209km/1km to go
Bruseghin chases but
looks around Schumacher comes through. Wegelius might have this.
Bruseghin attacks and makes it back
to Wegelius. They are all back together and Wegelius goes again. Schumacher
has his wheel as they comes towards the sprint. Bruseghin goes again, Schumacher
grabs the wheel again and comes around for the sprint. Bruseghin hangs on for
second and Gutierrez third.
Gutierrez actually pipped Bruseghin
for second place. What a finish.
The bunch comes in now with Milram
leading the way. Bettini sprints for points and takes the win out of the bunch
for sixth place. He leads the sprint jersey.
1 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 5.31.33
2 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
3 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
4 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.02
5 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Liquigas 0.07
6 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic 2.43
7 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Team Milram
8 Matthew White (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
9 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems
10 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
11 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole
12 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank
13 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone
14 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
15 Renaud Dion (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance
General classification after stage 18
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 73.30.47
2 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 5.43
3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 10.34
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 10.58
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 12.30
6 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni 13.00
7 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 14.06
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 14.48
9 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 16.40
10 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 17.48
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