89th Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 6-28, 2006
Results & report
Stage 7 - Saturday, May 13: Cesena - Saltara, 236 km
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones with additional reporting from Tim Maloney
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:10 CEST
One week into the Giro d'Italia and
the real hostilities open on this long, tough day through the hinterlands of
the Marche region. The first half from Cesena crosses the Rubicon, traverses
the Republic of San Marino, then challenges the steep climbs of Monte Catria,
Monte delle Cesane and the final ascent into Saltare. Strong riders will reign
here; don't be surprised if the Giro favourites Basso, Cunego, DiLuca and Simoni
are fighting it out for the win.
We're baaaack! It's as if we've never
left, with 460 km of Giro racing kilometres to cover in two days. Today's seventh
stage is the longest of the Giro at 236 km, and it's not an easy one either.
There are several climbs, as noted above, with three of them categorised today:
San Marino (km 42.8), Monte Catria (km 137.5) and Monte delle Cesane (km 196.5).
The last climb up to the finish at Saltare is not categorised, but it will certainly
be decisive: the last 700m have a gradient of over 10%.
Gazzetta" sprint is at Urbino, after 87 km. The youngest rider in the race,
Mickael Delage (FDJ) is currently leading that classification, which is very
similar to the Intergiro competition of years past.
194 riders left Cesena at 10:48am,
and it didn't take long before the attacks started. After 5 km, Bernaudeau,
Clement, Baliani, Albizuri, Navarro Garcia and Van De Walle attacked, but they
were brought back within 10 km. A crash after 23 km brought down Van Hecke,
Lopez Garcia, Luengo Celaya, Navarro Garcia and the luckless Andre Korff, who
crashed in yesterday's finale. Shortly afterwards, Sylvain Calzati (AG2R) and
Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) attacked and got a real gap.
km, they reached the GPM at San Marino with nearly 10 minutes advance over the
peloton, covering 39 km in the first hour. Scheirlinckx was first over the top,
ahead of Calzati. The two leaders kept increasing their gap out to an impressive
17'48 at km 90. Calzati won the 110 Gazzetta sprint ahead of Scheirlinckx, while
both Bertolini and Moreni abandoned the race. The average speed after two hours
was 37.3 km/h.
A large group of riders counter attacked at Urbino:
Matthew White (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team), Vladimir Efimkin, Joan Horrach
Rippoll (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, Luis Felipe
Laverde Jimenez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis, le Credit
par Telephone), William Bonnet (Credit Agricole), Markel Irizar Aranburu (Euskaltel-Euskadi),
Philippe Gilbert, Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux), Evgeni Petrov, Tadej
Valjavec, Francisco J. Vila Errandonea (Lampre-Fondital), Serguei Yakovlev (Liberty
Seguros-Würth Team), Alessandro Spezialetti, Charles Wegelius (Liquigas), Victor
Hugo Pena Grisales (Phonak Hearing Systems), Paolo Bettini, Juan Manuel Garate
(Quick Step-Innergetic), Alexandr Kolobnev (Rabobank), Manuele Mori, Marco Pinotti
(Saunier Duval-Prodir), Sergio Barbero, Gabriele Missaglia, Raffaele Illiano,
Santo Anza' (Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni), Nicki Sorensen, Bobby Julich
(Team CSC), Matthias Kessler, Joerg Ludewig (T-Mobile Team).
15:00 CEST 135km/101km to go
The 30 man counter
attacking group gained a minute on the gruppo maglia rosa, as the average
speed dropped to 36.2 km/h after three hours. The attacking quickly ate into
the time of the two leaders: after the feed zone, the two leaders only had 7'05,
with the peloton another minute and a half back. Discovery Channel had taken
over the pace making from T-Mobile, as they only had Matt White up front, while
T-Mobile had both Matthias Kessler (well placed on GC) and Joerg Ludewig.
By the time the two leaders were halfway up Monte Catria, they only had 4'40
on the chasers, with the peloton at 5'53. Scheirlinckx rode away from Calzati,
while the chase group reduced to 13: Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes
Balears), Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Rik Verbrugghe
(Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone), Evgeni Petrov, Francisco J. Vila Errandonea
(Lampre-Fondital), Serguei Yakovlev (Liberty Seguros-Würth Team), Charles Wegelius
(Liquigas), Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Phonak Hearing Systems), Juan Manuel
Garate (Quick Step-Innergetic), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Santo Anza'
(Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni), Nicki Sorensen (Team CSC), Matthias
Kessler (T-Mobile Team).
Now, as they approach the summit of the
1368m climb, Calzati trails Scheirlinckx by 2'18, with the Bettini/Kessler group
at 2'45, Santo Anza another 0'15 back, then the maglia rosa Pollack at 7'05.
So Kessler looks like being T-Mobile's man for the day, but Nicki Sorensen (CSC)
is the best placed on GC, just 31 seconds behind Pollack. Bettini is at 1'08,
while Kessler is 4'55 down.
Thierry Marichal (Cofidis) has abandoned.
15:04 CEST 137.5km/98.5km to go
(Cofidis) reaches the summit of the climb alone, and will be the new mountains
leader at the end of the day. But he's being chased by the Kessler group.
Vogondy and Korff have also abandoned.
Korff had to be taken to hospital in Rimini after his crash early in the stage.
15:10 CEST 140km/96km to go
Calzati is second over, then Garate leads the next group over the Monte Catria
at 2'56. Vila is fourth, ahead of Efimkin and Pena. The Discovery led peloton
comes over 4'08, while the maglia rosa Olaf Pollack is still on the climb.
Scheirlinckx nearly loses it on a sharp corner, nearly taking a layer of lycra
off his shorts.
The chase group has reduced in size to the following
riders: Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis,
le Credit par Telephone), Francisco J. Vila Errandonea (Lampre-Fondital), Serguei
Yakovlev (Liberty Seguros-Würth Team), Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Phonak Hearing
Systems), Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step-Innergetic), Manuele Mori (Saunier
Duval-Prodir), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile Team). Everyone else has been caught
by the peloton.
15:13 CEST 145km/91km to go
Of the chasers, Vila,
Pena, Garate are all about 1'30 down on GC on the main favourites (Pollack can
be discounted for today; he's not coming back). So Discovery is keeping the
gap between the bunch and the chasers at about 1'10-1'20.
lone leader Staf Scheirlinckx is only 2'52 down on GC, which makes him the virtual
leader at the moment.
Gilbert has been involved in another crash,
but it's not serious.
A group containing Bettini is being reeled
in by the peloton. OK, I knew they were still there.
The descent is not all downhill,
and it's not all on good roads. The riders are on gravel roads at the moment
as they go uphill again.
15:16 CEST 148km/88km to go
The chase group is
now: Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis,
le Credit par Telephone), Francisco J. Vila Errandonea (Lampre-Fondital), Serguei
Yakovlev (Liberty Seguros-Würth Team), Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Phonak Hearing
Systems), Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step-Innergetic), Manuele Mori (Saunier
Duval-Prodir), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile Team), Sylvain Calzati (AG2R).
Scheirlinckx is not exactly flying on the descent, but he's keeping it upright,
which is the main thing. The roads are pretty narrow in the back country here.
It's Efimkin's turn to nearly lose
it on the descent. He locks up on a corner, but keeps it upright.
Discovery takes it more carefully
on the descent, with Matt White on the front, swapping off with Beltrán. Speeds
of 60-70 km/h are common now on this technical downhill.
15:22 CEST 152km/84km to go
Some heart rate updates:
Franco Pellizotti is sitting at 94/190 (49% of max), at 61 km/h. It is downhill
:-) Angel Gomez is working a bit harder, at 63% of his max.
Discoverys sit at the front of the bunch, which is 4'22 behind Scheirlinckx.
The leader has 2'32 on the chasers, but is suffering a bit as he stretches now.
Patxi Vila assumes a very aerodynamic position on the descent, with his chin
over the front. No-one is working too hard at the moment, using this chance
15:24 CEST 156km/80km to go
It's a gradual descent
for a while now, before the next climb. Scheirlinckx checks the course profile
and is probably thankful there are no more lumpy bits for the time being.
15:26 CEST 158km/78km to go
Discovery has gotten
off the front of the peloton, where a few T-Mobile jerseys now show themselves.
They have Kessler up front, but he is definitely not the best placed on GC in
that group, so we might see a chase.
Navarro rides up the side of the
peloton, with half a pair of shorts. The other half is flapping in the breeze
after a crash or two.
The peloton is definitely not riding hard now.
Scanlon is on the front, looking relaxed. Pellizotti is still sitting at 95/190,
at 49 km/h.
15:33 CEST 163km/73km to go
Scheirlinckx is not
pedaling too hard at the moment, and maybe wants the group behind to catch him.
He's making a few pedal strokes, then stopping. The gap between him and the
chasers is about 2'00, while the non-chasing peloton is at 5'00.
Gabriele Missaglia (Selle Italia)
crashed after 156 km, and although he's back in the peloton, he's suffering
a bit. He gets some attention from the race doctor.
Scheirlinckx has to avoid some fire
trucks coming the other way. That was close!
15:39 CEST 167km/69km to go
Scheirlinckx is 1'05
ahead of the chase group, because he's soft pedaling and looking behind him
all the time. But the peloton must be cruising, because it's fallen back to
6'20, with no-one taking any responsibility to chase.
group catches Scheirlinckx, then either Garate, Vila or Pena could take pink
Philippe Gilbert is back in the bunch,
chatting to Bettini.
15:42 CEST 162km/74km to go
to eat and drink as he waits for the chasing group. He cuts a long, lean figure
on the bike.
The Italians are out in force today to watch the Giro
go by. It's nice and sunny.
Looks like Missaglia has attacked the
Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel) has abandoned.
15:45 CEST 165km/71km to go
Scheirlinckx is finally
caught and the front group is now: Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes
Balears), Staf Scheirlinckx, Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone),
Francisco J. Vila Errandonea (Lampre-Fondital), Serguei Yakovlev (Liberty Seguros-Würth
Team), Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Phonak Hearing Systems), Juan Manuel Garate
(Quick Step-Innergetic), Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Matthias Kessler
Sylvain Calzati (AG2R) has been dropped.
Pollack is back in the peloton. Impressive! It follows the leaders at 7'12.
Missaglia is off in pursuit of his
teammate Santo Anza, apparently. Or it's just Missaglia alone, 6'05 behind the
Victor Pena does a turn in the break,
pedaling a big gear. Cyclingnews
interviewed Victor recently, and he told us that the Giro was one of his
After five hours, the average speed
is 34.8 km/h.
Missaglia is probably engaged in
a fruitless chase, 6'00 behind the front group, which is rolling over nicely.
The valley here is very green as they ride alongside a river.
The situation now: The nine leaders
are 5'05 ahead of Gabriele Missaglia, and 6'47 ahead of the peloton. They are
heading towards the final climb of the day, the Monte delle Cesane, via the
Gorla del Furlo, a beautiful deep gorge that will provide a bit of relief from
Vila, the best placed rider in the
break, stretches at the back. It's been a long couple of days in the saddle,
and the speed shows it. No-one wants to ride flat out until they have to, at
15:57 CEST 176km/60km to go
Missaglia eats and
sits up. He's wasting his time as Liquigas has started to chase pretty hard.
They're 6'10 behind the leaders.
Missaglia is caught, as Andriotto
and Spezialetti lead the chase. Lombardi and Blaudzun are also there for CSC.
This break ain't going to last, in that case, as the bunch sits on 55 km/h.
16:00 CEST 179km/57km to go
There's no such urgency
among the leaders, who are still eating, drinking and making merrie as they
exit the gorge. They have 5'32 on the bunch as they go through a tunnel.
Kessler is sitting on a bit more now (he was working before). He has the maglia
rosa in the group behind him, so he can afford to miss a few turns. The break
isn't really working well together.
16:02 CEST 180km/56km to go
Garate urgently signals
for assistance from his team car. His quads look extremely lean. Maybe he needs
16:03 CEST 181km/55km to go
Garate finally gets
the assistance he wanted from Serge Parsani. He actually wants to study the
next two climbs in detail, so Parsani shows him the map. It looks tough.
The bunch has gone from being totally relaxed to totally strung out in a few
km, as it races through the gorge at 55-60 km/h.
16:06 CEST 186km/50km to go
Flat tyre for one
of the Rabobank riders: Ardila.
Verbrugghe does a turn in the front
group, then Kessler rolls over. Then Garate. The nine are hanging together now,
but plenty of riders don't want to work. Mori tries to pull out of fourth wheel,
Gerolsteiner is now leading the chase with Liquigas and
16:07 CEST 187km/49km to go
The leaders are almost
in Fossombrone, at the foot of the Monte delle Cesane. Their advantage has shrunk
dramatically thanks to the chase, and it's now 3'54.
16:10 CEST 188km/48km to go
Basso and Savoldelli
move up to the front of the peloton as it continues to chase. The leaders pass
by a high, arched bridge through Fossombrone, 3'35 ahead of the peloton.
16:10 CEST 189km/47km to go
The leaders hit the
climb of Monte delle Cesane now, and it starts to hurt. It's 10 km long, and
pretty darn steep in bits.
The climb averages just under 7 percent,
and the nine leaders have just 3'10 over the peloton as Kessler, Garate and
Pena take the front positions. Scheirlinckx is dropped almost immediately. He
did his work for Verbrugghe.
16:13 CEST 190km/46km to go
This is nasty: 18%.
Garate leads Kessler and Verbrugghe. Yakovlev is dropped.
rides a bit ahead of the peloton, which starts to break up on the climb.
Seven leaders: Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse
d'Epargne-Illes Balears), Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone),
Francisco J. Vila Errandonea (Lampre-Fondital), Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Phonak
Hearing Systems), Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step-Innergetic), Manuele Mori (Saunier
Duval-Prodir), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile Team).
Pellizotti's heart rate has risen
to 176/190 (92%) and he's only doing 14 km/h! That gives you an idea of how
tough this climb is.
Bellotti rides about 10m ahead of
the bunch, which slowly makes its way up the steepest part. Jan Kuyckx is a
fair way back, with Philippe Gilbert.
The leading break is still
led by Garate.
16:18 CEST 191km/45km to go
Bellotti is caught
by the CSC led peloton, which is still fairly big: 50-60 riders and a long tail.
A group of riders on horseback watch the race go by.
Basso in the bunch. Savoldelli is right there, with Scarponi, Cunego.
Efimkin attacks the front group!
Pollack is also dropped from the
bunch, but that's no surprise.
16:20 CEST 192km/44km to go
Cunego is also up
there with Basso and Savoldelli, but not looking like attacking. The tempo isn't
super hard in the bunch, but the steepness climb is making it hard enough. You
get barely any advantage from sitting on.
Efimkin has a nice gap
now, as he reaches the gravel section of the climb. He has 0'15.
16:22 CEST 193km/43km to go
Di Luca is one of
the last riders in the bunch. That's not a good sign for the Liquigas captain.
Meanwhile, CSC and Lampre have control of the front. Jose Enrique Gutierrez
is up there for Phonak. Di Luca gets support from Noè as the road goes down
for a bit.
Efimkin pedals in his lowest gear up a slightly less steep
section of the climb, on a very narrow road.
The bunch continues to sit 2'45 behind
Efimkin, getting smaller all the time. The Russian is therefore doing very well,
and he looks good for the moment. But there's still a bit of riding to come.
16:25 CEST 194km/42km to go
Di Luca is really
struggling now, but he's holding onto the shrinking peloton in about last wheel.
Cuesta is up front for Basso, then Tiralongo for Cunego just behind, then Rubiera
for Savoldelli, and Gonchar.
Efimkin is caught by Garate and co.
The Spaniard gives the Russian a small glance.
Di Luca and Wim Van Huffel are fighting
it out for last position in the bunch of 50 on the Monte delle Cesane, which
gets easier now.
The road flattens a tad, and Di Luca
and Van Huffel move themselves up, wisely.
The leaders are on another
downhill section of his climb, but it doesn't last long. Garate sets the tempo.
They are 3 km from the summit.
Garate accelerates and gets Mori
for company. Then Verbrugghe, Vila and Pena bridge up. We've lost Efimkin and
Scheirlinckx is caught by the bunch.
16:32 CEST 195km/41km to go
Rujano is now sitting
in last wheel in the bunch, just behind Di Luca. The road is fairly narrow here:
one lane, but it's still quite forested.
Garate continues to drive
the pace in the front group of five.
16:33 CEST 196km/40km to go
The bunch is definitely
not working hard, as it sits 3'18.
There's at least one rider doing
better than Di Luca today: Jan Ullrich. He sits quite relaxed, about 3/4 of
the way down the small bunch.
16:35 CEST 197km/39km to go
The leaders reach
the summit of the Cat. 2 Monte delle Cesane with Juan Manuel Garate towing them
all the way. Verbrugghe sprints for the points and gets them ahead of Garate
It's quite undulating for a climb.
dropped group also has Ardila in it, it looks like. The Rabobank man punctured
at a bad time, just before the climb.
The bunch, which still contains all
the top favourites, hauls in Yakovlev next. There are still seven riders ahead,
but only five in the lead group.
16:38 CEST 199km/37km to go
At the summit of
the climb, the gap is 3'44. Cuesta leads the group over, then Basso, and a couple
of other CSCs. Stangelj, Tiralongo and Cunego are all up there.
Kessler crashes - ouch. How did that
happen? He had just made it back to the lead group too. Maybe it was on a graveled
16:41 CEST 201km/35km to go
The five leaders
reach a more open part of the descent, a big contrast to the heavily wooded
road on the other side. The peloton is taking it easy. Gonchar is right up there,
with Ullrich and Rogers to assist him.
Garate gets a little gap on the descent
as he pushes it. The bunch loses a little time, as CSC is taking it steady.
16:44 CEST 206km/30km to go
CSC is really taking
it slow, but caution is advised on this slightly slippery descent.
The five leaders are back together, under 30 km to go.
16:45 CEST 207km/29km to go
Through Isola del
Piano, and more descending to come before another climb at 14 km to go.
16:46 CEST 208km/28km to go
There's a bit of
discussion among the front riders, with the Spanish speakers exchanging words.
They are laughing now, so it must have been something not too serious.
Kessler is halfway between the leaders and the peloton. Not really an ideal
16:48 CEST 209km/27km to go
Garate gets more
map advice from the Quick.Step team car. The bunch goes under 30 km to go now
16:49 CEST 210km/26km to go
35.3 km/h after six
hours of racing. It's been a long day out. Now, will CSC chase to limit the
damage a bit? The gap is 4'00, and one of Garate, Pena or Vila could well take
the pink, depending on time bonuses at the end. Assuming they stay away, of
16:50 CEST 211km/25km to go
Cuesta and Voigt
swap off on the front of the bunch, keeping the tempo up. The lead five go under
25 km to go.
16:52 CEST 212km/24km to go
Behind Cuesta and
Voigt, there is Basso, then a stack of Lampre-Fondital riders with Cunego well
protected. Ullrich and Gonchar are next to each other too.
16:54 CEST 213km/23km to go
Kessler is caught
by the bunch, as he gets a bidon ready to hand to his teammate. He has blood
pouring down his right leg as a result of that crash (third time this week!)
and is not happy.
The CSC chase is led by Sorensen, and is now only
3'21 behind the five leaders. It's a pretty serious pursuit.
16:56 CEST 214km/22km to go
CSC and Lampre look
to be setting it up for either Basso or Cunego to win today. They have the peloton
strung out, and Lampre in particular has a lot of men up front.
HR watch: 145/190, or 73% of max, at 51 km/h.
16:57 CEST 216km/20km to go
to keep the pace up, while the others aren't really interested. Garate goes
through, and no-one follows him. It's a pretty poor degree of cooperation.
Garate now decides to go full gas at 20 km to go. Now they chase...
16:58 CEST 217km/19km to go
Juan Manuel Garate
has been the most active rider today, and no-one seems to want to work with
him. Pena is first to bridge the gap, then the others. In pain.
Pollack has made it back to the peloton again, or
17:00 CEST 218km/18km to go
Kessler now gets
seen to by the race doctor to mop up the blood. The bunch goes under 20 km to
go at 2'45 behind the break.
Verbrugghe's attack went nowhere and
the five hit the second last climb together. It's pretty steep.
The five are on the climb, and it
hurts immediately. But behind, Lampre has taken over with super tempo man Marzio
Bruseghin lifting the tempo.
17:02 CEST 219km/17km to go
This is a steep little
climb! Must be at least 15 percent here. No-one can get a gap though. Pena leads,
staying in the drops.
Bruseghin hammers to the foot of the climb.
This could be fun in the bunch. They turn left, and they are on it.
17:02 CEST 220km/16km to go
Efimkin is finally
caught and passed by the bunch, where Marzio Bruseghin sprints up the first
part of the climb with Cunego and Basso in tow.
Now the steepness of the climb bites.
Bruseghin is still on the front, then Szmyd, Tiralongo, Cunego and another teammate.
Basso is right up there, and Simoni and Selle, and Savoldelli, Scarponi...but
no Di Luca. Gonchar is limiting the damage too.
Di Luca is dropped.
17:06 CEST 221km/15km to go
The five leaders
are still cooperating in the loosest sense of the word.
Di Luca is
suffering. Ullrich gets in the drops and motors up just behind the front group,
passing riders who have blown. He's definitely not in a high gear. It's snowing
flower blossoms too.
1'45 between the peloton and the break.
Pena on the front again on a flatter
section, while behind, it's still Bruseghin driving it for Cunego.
Garate takes over, but can't get a gap. All the five seem as strong as each
Di Luca is hanging onto the peloton, just. With Noè to help
him. Liquigas has Cioni looking a lot better today.
Pellizotti is back at 177/190 (93%)
at 25 km/h. Ouch.
Up front, Mori signals for his team
car. They're past the 15 km to go banner, and the climb has eased in severity.
17:10 CEST 222km/14km to go
The peloton is perhaps
40 riders strong, with all the top favourites there. Lampre has five men in
front, with Basso, Simoni, Gonchar and Savoldelli well placed.
climb steepens for the front riders again, and they opt for the little gears.
Bruseghin continues to power away, and the bunch goes under 15 km to go at 1'36
17:12 CEST 223.5km/12.5km to go
The leaders could
still do it, but it's going to be close. They don't look like taking pink though.
Now Vila does a turn in the break. Then Garate attacks, but is chased.
Rujano and Di Luca are last wheels in the peloton. Doesn't look good on this
first hilly stage for them.
Valjavec can't hold Bruseghin's pace,
and signals for Tiralongo to take second wheel. Then Cunego and Szmyd.
17:13 CEST 225km/11km to go
The leaders are on
the descent now, while Bruseghin leads the bunch over the top of the climb at
1'00. Di Luca and Noè have to give a little just over the top, but they should
get back on. Yep. Just behind the knackered Valjavec.
Pena and Verbrugghe roll through
on the descent, while Mori and Vila sits behind. Garate really wants this break
Four Lampres are leading the chase: Bruseghin, Tiralongo,
Cunego and Szmyd.
58 seconds. Basso sits comfy behind
17:16 CEST 226km/10km to go
The leaders go through
Cartoceto with 10 km to go, still descending. But they hit another little climb,
and the tiredness shows. Garate on the front again, looking back for help. Now
Mori does a turn, then Verbrugghe fights to hold their wheels.
Bruseghin continues to lead the peloton,
1'00 behind the break. It's also on the small climb. Ullrich is still there,
towards the back of the bunch, getting out of the saddle a lot.
Bruseghin leads the bunch under 10
km to go, at 56 seconds. It will be close, as there is still more descending
17:19 CEST 227km/9km to go
The breakaways start
to believe in their chances, but they will really have to work now. Amazing
they've stayed away for this long.
Vila rolls through for a turn,
while his team chases behind. Hmm....
17:19 CEST 228km/8km to go
Pellizotti is at 151/190
hr on a 70km/h descent. He's in the bunch, 50 seconds behind the break.
17:20 CEST 230km/6km to go
Garate wants it to
work. Vila does a short turn, but maybe he's soft pedaling. 48 seconds at 6
km to go. Very close! Remember the final climb averages 10%.
17:22 CEST 231km/5km to go
The bunch of perhaps
40 riders is in hot pursuit of the break. Cunego is a good chance for the win
today. Vila is probably not happy about his team's tactics, but Cunego is a
Ullrich sits behind Rujano. Not much shelter for Der Kaiser
Verbrugghe attacks on the flat. Smart move!
17:22 CEST 232km/4km to go
But the peloton is
only 35 seconds behind as the Belgian Cofidis rider gets a good gap over his
breakaway companions. He can't climb as well as them, but he looks good now.
17:23 CEST 233km/3km to go
Di Luca has moved
up to the front of the bunch, behind the Lampre train. Can he survive the final
climb without losing too much?
Verburgghe hits 3 km to go and has
43 seconds. Nice riding.
17:24 CEST 233.5km/2.5km to go
Merckx moves up
to the front of the bunch too, then Tiralongo and Danielson start to work.
Verbrugghe has 7 seconds on the rest of the break as the finishing climb starts.
The last 700m averages 10 percent, but the whole climb averages 5%.
17:25 CEST 234km/2km to go
Verbrugghe does everything
he can to hold the rest at bay. Pena, Garate, Vila and Mori are nearly caught
by the bunch, where Tiralongo and Danielson are leading.
Basso looks good near the front,
next to Savoldelli. Tiralongo makes a hard pace.
himself as Mori attacks the chase group.
17:26 CEST 234.6km/1.4km to go
win today. He has a decent lead with 1.4 km to go. More than 10 seconds on the
chase group, with the peloton still at half a minute.
17:27 CEST 235km/1km to go
Verbrugghe is inside
the final 1 km. On the cobbles now. Now it gets steep, but the Belgian doesn't
care. He wants the victory.
17:28 CEST 235.5km/0.5km to go
700m, 600m, 500m.
Verbrugghe is really hurting, and he has 30 seconds on the bunch. They can't
catch him now.
Verbrugghe reaches the steepest part,
and really is giving it gas. 400m. Not there yet.
Verbrugghe starts to die as the four
chasers reach 500m to go. They're 150m behind.
Savoldelli has attacked
Rik Verbrugghe will win the stage,
but Savoldelli might get second.
17:30 CEST 236km/0km to go
Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis)
wins the stage after a fantastic attack in the final 5km. Really well earned,
that one. He's a happy man.
Savoldelli takes second at 14 seconds,
ahead of Mazzanti and Gutierrez and Rebellin. Basso sixth, then Gonchar. Will
Gonchar take pink?
Gonchar will get back into pink again.
Ullrich finishes at 1'05. Not a bad effort by Der Kaiser today. Don't write
him off for the Tour yet.
There you have it. A great ride by
Rik Verbrugghe, who on paper was probably the worst climber in that five man
group. But he attacked at the right time, and held off the bunch on that really
steep final section. Savoldelli looked good for second place, but he couldn't
gap the rest. Di Luca lost a little time, some 15 seconds, to the main favourites,
while Cunego even lost a few seconds.
Tomorrow is a proper mountain
finish. Look out for Ivan Basso...
Until then, ciao!
1 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone 6.42.15
2 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.14
3 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
4 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems
5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.16
6 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 0.17
7 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile Team
8 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
10 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 0.20
General classification after stage 7
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile Team 27.37.08
2 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.05
3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 0.11
4 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile Team 0.32
5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.53
6 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.55
7 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.56
8 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.02
9 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 1.06
10 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 1.09
11 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 1.20
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