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89th Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 6-28, 2006

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Stage 9 - Monday, May 15: Francavilla Al Mare – Termoli, 127 km

Complete live report

Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour with additional reporting from Tim Maloney

14:32 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews’ coverage of stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia. After a tough mountain stage yesterday where we saw bigger gaps than we thought would occur, today is a shorter, less challenging stage which should provide the GC riders with a bit of rest. Starting in the coastal town of Francavilla Al Mare, the stage travels along flat terrain along the Adriatic coast. After contesting the 110 Gazetta sprint in Vasato the riders will travel another 20km along the coast before heading inland into the hills and then wrapping back around to the coast to finish in the town of Termoli after 127 km of racing.

There is a chance that a break could get away today. We do see some hilly terrain in the last 50km, but it is also very likely that the sprinters will want this stage to end in a bunch kick as it might be their last chance. Robbie McEwen did say before the start of the Giro that he probably won’t go much farther than this.

The last time a stage of the Giro finished in Termoli was in 1987 when Paolo Rosola of Bianchi beat Urs Freuler of Atala in a sprint.

14:40 CEST   
The official start of today's stage was at 2:11pm and it is a gorgeous day in this part of the world. The sun is shining and its a perfect day to be watching the Giro by the beach. Today the wind is coming from the North-West so the peloton will have a tailwind for the majority of the race, until they make the turn inland and then again towards the finish with the last 10km or so will be more of a headwind.

14:55 CEST   
Yesterday we saw Ivan Basso (CSC) outclimb Damiano Cunego in the mountain taking 30 seconds out of him. That puts him 1'34" in front in the General Classification so far in front of José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak). The CSC team was happy with the results but were quick to say that there is still a long way to go in the Giro yet and many mountains to climb. Cunego was also philosophical about the time loss, stating also that he still has chances to make up that time.

14:57 CEST   
This area of Italy is still quite undeveloped and very much like old Italy. It is famous for its special fish soup calle Brodetto alla Tomalese which is a tomato based soup with fish and hot peppers - it has quite a kick to it. Another specialty of the area is the sheep milk cheese - Cacio.

15:05 CEST   
Right now the peloton is taking in the sun and probably enjoying the view as they head along the coast. If this stage does indeed end in a bunch sprint, the last 5km is pretty flat and straight into town. There is a round-a-bout with 700m to go and then the road is has a slight uphill gradient to the line. It finishes on the wide open Via Martiri della Resistenza.

15:07 CEST   
From the finishing town of Termoli it is possible to take a ferry to the Tremiti Islands which are very beautiful and famous for diving.

15:18 CEST   
The 110 Gazzetta spint of the day is after 63.5km of racing in the town of Vasato. Mickael Delage (Française des Jeux) is currently leading this classification by a point. The mountain sprint of the day is at Guglionesi after 104km of racing with Basso leading this classification over Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone).

15:24 CEST   
After an hour of racing we currently have a break of two riders. Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R Prevoyance) and Cyrille Monnerais (Francais de Jeux) are in the break with a lead of 4'12" over the peloton.

15:28 CEST   
The Quick Step team is on the front keeping things under control and in behind them are the CSC guys looking quite relaxed. They are chatting to each other and taking a drink. Basso looking very confortable in pink.

15:30 CEST   
The road is very flat here as they ride through some vineyards. Up front Krivtsov is powering away on the front of the break. The pair is working well, Monnerais takes over now.

15:32 CEST    59km/68km to go
A couple of riders from Saunier Duval have just gone back to their team car to grab bottles, so their jerseys are loaded up now as they make their way back up to their teammates in the bunch.

15:34 CEST   
Back in the bunch Gustav Erik Larsson of Francais de Jeux has a heart rate of 116, which is nice and low, so the peloton is just cruising along at this point. They are in no hurry.

15:38 CEST   
The peloton is going around a huge round-a-bout now with half the bunch going one way around and the other half going the other way.
Cunego also looks very comfortable sitting up in the first half of the peloton. He's surrounded by a few teammates.

15:43 CEST    63.5km/63.5km to go
The gap between Krivtsov (AG2R Prevoyance) and Monnerais (Francais de Jeux) and the peloton has dropped slightly to 4'00". They are currently in the town of Vasato for the 110 Gazzetta sport. Monnerais rolled across the line first. They didn't really contest the sprint, more intent of keeping the rhythm of this break going.

15:46 CEST   
Back to a road right along the water now as they head out of Vasato. A very scenic ride. The Francais de Jeux guys have come to the front of the peloton to keep an eye on things.
On the side of the road a Basso fan has a huge sign for him.

15:47 CEST   
The Francais de Jeux riders contested the 110 Gazzetta sprint to defend the lead of Mickael Delage. They took the points for third.

15:49 CEST   
The water looks very refreshing along this fishing area.

15:51 CEST   
Monnerais takes the time to go back to his team car to get a drink and have a word with the DS. Back in the bunch the Quick Step team is back on the front and seem to have picked up the pace a little now.

15:54 CEST   
They have five riders on the front setting the pace. Basso sits in about 15th place just cruising. Robbie McEwen is chatting with one of his Davitamon Lotto teammates. He also looks very comfortable. No doubt he is going to try for another stage win. If he is not too tired after yesterday he will be confident that he can take his fourth.

15:56 CEST   
The Phonak team car has just stopped to change a wheel for Fabrizio Guidi. It was a very quick change and he is back in the convoy making his way back to the bunch.

16:00 CEST    77km/50km to go
Bettini is sitting at the back of his Quick Step teammates at the front of the peloton. It is a good stage for him the hilly terrain before the finish.
At the back of the peloton a group of riders including Basso and a few of his CSC teammates is making its way back through the convoy after stopping for a nature break. They are grabbing bidons from their team cars on the way through. Meanwhile the break has just seen the 50km to go sign.

16:01 CEST   
It has just been reported that back at the sprint there was a crash near the back of the bunch. All of the riders made it back into the bunch though with no problems.

16:02 CEST   
Quick Step has gradually been eating into the gap to the two leaders. The latest split is 3'08" as they get nearer to the hilly terrain.

16:08 CEST    83km/44km to go
Now we have a new time gap. It has opened up a little again and is now 3'58". The peloton, still lead by Quick Step is spread across the road. They have reached the town of Petacciato Marina and this is where they turn right and head inland towards the hills. Just over 30km now until we see the water again.

16:10 CEST   
Monnerais has lost the wheel of Krivtsov as the road starts going up. They have just completed two hours of racing.

16:11 CEST   
Krivtsov is traveling along solo at 42km/h as he hits a flat spot again.

16:16 CEST   
Krivtsov heads through a small town now. He looks strong and gets out of the saddle to power through a steeper section. The riders in the bunch are also out of the saddle as they reach another steeper section of the road. Quick Step has 6 riders on the front of the peloton with Bettini sitting in behind them.

16:19 CEST   
Krivtsov now has 3'18" on the peloton.

16:22 CEST    87km/40km to go
Bradley McGee is having some sort of trouble at the back of the peloton and is off the back. Up front Krivtsov descends a nice winding descent.

16:24 CEST   
At the finish line a huge crowd awaits the arrival of the riders. Young kids dressed in pink Giro d'Italia T-shirts and bandana's wave signs and flags and sit of their parents shoulders to see above the crowds. Krivtsov is looking very smooth up there alone and has a look of intense concentration on his face.

16:25 CEST   
Monnerais is still out there alone but losing time. He is 2'12" behind Krivtsov now with the bunch moving up on him quite quickly.

16:27 CEST   
Krivtsov's gap has grown to the peloton since he reached the hills and it is now over four minutes. He travels through very pretty rolling, winding terrain.

16:29 CEST   
Monnerais has just been caugh by the bunch and the Quick Step team go flying past them as they lead the way. We are getting higher now and from where they are the riders can see over rolling countryside. Its very green and pretty.

16:30 CEST    92km/35km to go
Krivtsov has just gone under a banner telling him he has 35km remaining in the stage. In 12km time he'll reach the mountain sprint for the day before the road starts going down again.

16:32 CEST   
Now the gap to Krivtsov is really starting to come down. The bunch is moving a lot quicker now and it is all strung out. Suddenly the time gap is down to 1'12".

16:34 CEST   
It's single file in the peloton and a few split have even started forming but they will join up again on this small descent here. Alberto Ongarato of Milram has a heart rate of 162 right now, another sign that the riders in the bunch are having to work a lot harder here.

16:38 CEST    97km/30km to go
Krivtsov has been caught as the bunch hits 30km to go. Immediately the bunch slows down a little and spreads across the road. Basso sits just behind a teammate who in turn sits on the Quick Step train.

16:41 CEST   
The small hills have managed to drop some riders and we have out first laughing bunch off the back. They'll just take it easy now and try and rest up for tomorrow.

Garate has been on the front of the bunch for Quick Step for some time now setting a steady tempo. Bettini is right on his wheel as they hit the major climb of the day.

16:42 CEST   
A few riders suffering on the back of the bunch. Its gets quite steep here and a lot of riders are out of the saddle trying to stay on.

16:43 CEST   
Robbie McEwen has been dropped and doesn't seem too intent on fighting to stay on.

16:43 CEST   
The Quick Step team has done a good job of getting rid of the fast man.

16:44 CEST   
Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) has attacked the bunch as they near the top to try and take the GPM points.

16:45 CEST   
Bettini leads the rest of the bunch over the top, he is working hard. McEwen reaches the top 26 seconds back.

16:47 CEST   
Lots of splits in the peloton as they go over the top. José E. Gutierrez Cataluna took the sprint points. Small groups descend now as they head back down to sea level to the coast.

16:48 CEST   
A few nice switchback turns on the way down. McEwen has a couple of teammates with him so it will be interesting to see if they can chase him back on.

16:49 CEST   
The riders are in tuck position going down a fast straight section of the descent. Alot of the small groups have managed to chase back on already. The front group is traveling at 78km/h right now.

16:51 CEST    107km/20km to go
Only 20km remaining in the race now. A CSC rider heads the peloton keeping things strung out and safe for Basso. The group with McEwen is still about 20 seconds back on the front group.

16:52 CEST   
They are on a wide open highway type road now. The peloton has slowed down a little and it looks like the McEwen group will in fact catch the peloton again.

16:54 CEST   
McEwen sits on the wheel of Bert Roesems. A nice wheel to sit on as he is nice and tall.

16:56 CEST   
We have a break of four riders now. In the group is Staf Scheirlinckx who wears the mountains jersey as he is second in the classification. They have 18 seconds.

16:57 CEST   
Scott Davis (T-Mobile), Stef Clement (Bouygues Telecom) and Jose Serpa (Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni) are also up there.

16:59 CEST    113km/14km to go
Scott Davis has attacked solo!

17:00 CEST   
He still has 14km to go but he looks good. Meanwhile McEwen's group has rejoined the peloton. They are going over another small climb now. Serpa has attacked too and is trying to bridge to Davis.

17:01 CEST   
Pellizotti takes a flyer out of the bunch and comes up flying past the other break members.

17:03 CEST   
The other riders have been caught and its the peloton in chase now. The peloton is all strung out.

17:04 CEST    117km/10km to go
T-Mobile is on the front of the peloton now as they go under the 10km to go banner.

17:06 CEST   
Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Scott Davis (T-Mobile) have been caught now. Its all together with McEwen up there in the bunch. T-Mobile on the front, its Jan with a couple of Quick Step guys.

17:07 CEST   
Clement is attacking again but the bunch is flying.

17:08 CEST   
The crowds are huge here and making a lot of noise as we see the ocean again.

17:09 CEST    122km/5km to go
all strung out now. They are going down another descent with Jan Ullrich on the front again. 5km to go!

17:11 CEST   
Ullrich in third wheel and definitely doing a lot of work up front. Perhaps it will be Pollack's chance today. McEwen looks like he's recovered a bit.

17:12 CEST   
We have another attack. Matt White (Discovery) is up there with Pauriol (Credit Agricole). A Rabobank rider is up there too.

17:13 CEST   
Its Kolobnev from Rabobank. They have a good gap at this point but Milram have their train on the front again!

17:14 CEST   
Bad luck, they are getting caught now. The Lampre team on the front with Milram tucked in behind. Now a counter attack.

17:14 CEST    125km/2km to go
But that has also been caught and Lampre and Milram fly by. Its very very fast now. Only 2km to go.

17:15 CEST   
McEwen is in tenth place now on Pollacks wheel. Milram is doing it again.

17:16 CEST   
Bettini is also up there, they start the sprint. Pollack is coming up, Bettini too and its close.

17:16 CEST   
Bettini takes the win just in front of Pollack.

17:17 CEST   
Actually it was Vaitkus from Ag2r taking the win from Bettini and Pollack.

17:18 CEST   

17:18 CEST   
A very close finish and Pollack just missing out again. Bettini actually put his hands up but he didn't get it.



1 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) AG2R Prevoyance                                3.05.13
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic                          
3 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team                              
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                           
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux        
6 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole                        
7 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                          
8 Axel Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare      
9 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone             
10 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas                           

General classification after stage 9

1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                         34.46.30
2 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems               1.34
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                  1.48
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team             2.35
5 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile Team                                   2.43
6 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas                                         2.48
7 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                            3.20
8 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                     3.23
9 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                3.31
10 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team     3.39

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