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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

90th Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 12-June 3, 2007

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Stage 11 - Wednesday, May 23: Serravalle Scrivia - Pinerolo, 198 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 18:00 CEST

14:28 CEST   
Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the Giro's stage 11. Today is a transition stage away from the Ligurian coast, across the rolling hills of the wine region of Langhe to finish in the ancient crossroads city of Pinerolo. With the first mountains starting the next day, it wil be a classic struggle between a breakaway and the sprinters' trains.

14:30 CEST    74km/124km to go
We are 74 kilometres into affair and there is an escape group with 4'42" on the peloton.

14:32 CEST   
The escape group is one rider, Frenchman Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis).

14:37 CEST   
The escape group is one rider, Frenchman Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis).

To recap...
171 riders started this morning at 12.02. Flèche Wallonne Champion Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) did not take to the start line.

Through small Italian cities, like Novi Ligure, the riders stayed 'gruppo compatto' (meaning the peloton was all together).

After the first hour of racing the pace was at 30 kilometres per hour. Shortly after this first hour there was an attack by Lilian Jegou (Française Des Jeux) and Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom). The former got the sprint at the line in Cremolino.

14:43 CEST   
The duo was absorbed by the the peloton and, by kilometre 38, there were to more riders off the front, Frenchmen Carl Naibo (Ag2r Prévoyance) and Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis). Two kilometres later Naibo was gone and his compatriot had 50" in hand. This time gap turned into 1'48" by kilometre 45.

In Acqui Terme, km 50.8, the lone rider had 3'55", and by Bubbio, km 68.3, he had 5'10" (down from a possible maximum of 5'15" at kilometre 57).

The pace was 32.5 km/h after two hours of racing, a lot slower than yesterday's start.

14:48 CEST   
The gap is now 5'10"

14:54 CEST   
Here is an update on the DNSs and DNFs so far in this Giro:
DNS Stage 1: Carlos Da Cruz (Française Des Jeux)
DNS Stage 2: Michael Barry (T-Mobile)
DNS Stage 3: Adam Hansen (T-Mobile)
DNS Stage 3: Andrea Tonti (Quickstep-Innergetic)
DNF Stage 3: Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner)
DNF Stage 3: Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
DNF Stage 4: Ian McLeod (Française Des Jeux)
DNS Stage 5: Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne)
DNS Stage 6: Thomas Ziegler (T-Mobile)
DNS Stage 6: Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole)
DNF Stage 6: Leon Van Bon (Rabobank)
DNF Stage 7: Timothy Gudsell (Française Des Jeux)
DNS Stage 8: Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)
DNF Stage 8: Cyrille Monnerais (Française Des Jeux)
DNF Stage 8: Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC)
DNS Stage 10: Alberto Ongarato (Milram)
DNF Stage 10: Gregory Henderson (T-Mobile)
DNF Stage 10: Juan José Haedo (Team CSC)
DNF Stage 10: José Joaquín Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne)
DNF Stage 10: Alexei Markov (Caisse d'Epargne)
DNF Stage 10: Paride Grillo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare)
DNF Stage 10: Sergio Ghisalberti (Milram)
DNF Stage 10: Arnaud Labbe (Bouygues Telecom)
DNF Stage 10: Yohann Gène (Bouygues Telecom)
DNS Stage 11: Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)

15:02 CEST   
Follow Paolo Bettini's progress on Cyclingnews as he crosses Italy in his rainbow jersey. Read the World Champion's diary.

15:06 CEST   
28 year-old Buffaz has won the mountains competition in the 2005 Boucles De La Mayenne and 2006 Tour De La Region Wallonne, as well as taking the 2003 Prix des Moissons in his first year as a professional. That year he was riding with Jean Delatour, a French team sponsored by a chain of jewellery stores. Remember its cool kits?

His birthday was only two days ago!

15:15 CEST    95km/103km to go
Today the race is heading almost directly west, just south of Torino. The temperature is reported at 30°C and clear. The riders are taking on lots of water.

We are at 95 kilometres into the race, at Bivio di Benevello, and the gap is now at 8'14"! The first feed-zone is coming up.

15:27 CEST    98km/100km to go
We are now at 100 kilometres to go. The gap has dropped WAY back down 4'46". This drop is because Buffaz was in pain and wanted to stop. He was ready to climb off his bike but his DS convinced him to continue.

15:29 CEST   
It is really hot out here today. The riders, besides, Buffaz, are taking it easy. Maybe a few, or only USA Champ, are humming the Eagles' song 'take it easy.'

15:30 CEST   
Totò Commesso is on the front with his jersey completely unzipped. His family comes from the Naples area so maybe he is used to this heat.

15:32 CEST   
Buffaz is approaching the feed-zone.

Back in the pack, Schleck is looking slick in his new Maglia Bianca of Best Young Rider.

15:33 CEST    106km/92km to go
The gap is now 3'20" to the gruppo of Race Leader Andrea Noè.

15:37 CEST   
Simoni and Riccò are joking about. Simoni is secretly grabbing the younger rider's saddle. A good trick to try with your friends on the next group ride.

15:42 CEST   
Frenchman Buffaz, who was born in Geneva, has a Biology degree.

15:45 CEST    114km/84km to go
Lunch time! Buffaz is grabbing a snack as he heads through the feed-zone. His soigneur has handed him a red purse, or a musette.

15:49 CEST   
Buffaz keeps in contact with his team car. He is looking a lot better after that brief bite to eat. The gap is now back up to 5'40", after passing Alba.

15:55 CEST   
Napolitano, winner of stage 9, is up at the front of the gruppo and chatting to his co-workers.

15:59 CEST   
'Il Falco Bergamasco' is chatting with his former teammate, USA Champ Hincapie. Maybe they are talking about Lance Armstrong? Or, maybe 'Il Falco' is explaining the finish of stage 14, which ends in his home town of Bergamo. The stage will zoom up to Bergamo Alta and then jam back down to Bergamo Bassa.

16:00 CEST    119km/79km to go
Buffaz is having a good time. he is smiling and waving at the camera. The gruppo has not reacted, and its breaks must be rubbing, because his gap is now 7'05".

16:01 CEST   
Now Hincapie is talking to Julian Dean.

16:07 CEST   
Aussie Brett Lancaster (Milram) will be Petacchi's lead-out man today because Alberto Ongarato has gone home. Read more in today's news, Lancaster eyes Tour de France prologue.

16:08 CEST   
The average after four hours of racing is 31.700 km/h.

16:11 CEST   
Bianca and Rosa... Schleck is riding on the left side of race leader Noè.

The accent on the 'e' in Italian means that you say 'No-EH' instead of 'No-eh.' Tune-in tomorrow when we will explain why the Italians don't slice their tasty pizzas.

16:16 CEST    128.5km/69.5km to go
It is 34°C here in Bra. From Bra there are 69.5 kilometres to go. The gap has gone up higher than the pre-crisis gap of 8'14", to 9'15".

16:17 CEST   
Lampre has taken to the front. They will likely be joined by Crédit Agricole, Milram and Predictor as the stage finish nears.

Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

16:18 CEST   
"For me this is great feeling," said Andrea Noè (Liquigas) with his baby girl on his shoulder at the start. "We have shown in these first day's to be the strongest team."

16:19 CEST   
"Second in the classification? I think in the end it won't change anything, I am here for Damiano [Cunego]," Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital) noted.

16:21 CEST   
"It will be difficult to maintain my GC position because Di Luca and Cunego are more experience than me," said David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) at the start.

Buffaz, with a gap at 8'30", has a rear tire change.

16:24 CEST   
Over in Catalunya, we have heard that Erik Zabel did not start today.

16:25 CEST   
"Tomorrow will be a true mountain. I will just stay in the wheels," said Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic) at the start. He was next to Maglia Verde Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas). Di Luca will keep the Maglia because there are no climbs today!

16:26 CEST    140km/58km to go
Milram has added its men to the chase, the gap is now at 6'15".

16:30 CEST    142km/56km to go
Could Tinkoff be planning something? It has its men just behind the Milram and Lampre henchmen. They are 6'40" behind the solo Frenchman.

16:31 CEST   
An update on Hincapie where-abouts; he is next to the Maglia Rosa of Andrea Noè.

16:32 CEST   
"Tomorrow will be another war," said Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir) at the start, referring to the Di Luca attack of yesterday.

16:35 CEST    147.1km/50.9km to go
Pulling up next to the peloton in our Cyclingnews Ferrari, in the city of Savigliano, we can't find Aussie William (Willy) Walker. But we know he is in the 'gruppo.'

16:36 CEST   
"It will be a deciding stage," said Cunego of tomorrow's stage.

16:40 CEST    151km/47km to go
'Testa della Corsa' Buffaz is rolling along smoothly. His hands are in the drops and he is pedalling circles. He is on top of a Time carbon frame, a natural black machine that is highlighted with white-wrapped handlebars and a white saddle.

The Cofidis kit has really changed this year from the past years. Recall, for many years it was a white, red and blue affair? This year it is mostly red.

The gap is now at 6'44".

16:41 CEST   
Clouds and some rain is being reported in Pinerolo.

16:48 CEST    149km/49km to go
The gap is 5'35" to Buffaz.

"I will try to day in the sprint. I am tired a bit but you will see me at the Tour," said Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto).

A Lampre rider leads the chase, followed by a Predictor and then Martin Müller (Milram). Müller is leading for Maglia Ciclamino Petacchi.

16:51 CEST    158km/40km to go
At 15.15 today Buffaz had stopped for three minutes. He was crying in the arms of his directeur while the cameramen did their jobs, taking photos. It is uncertain why and how the Frenchman cracked but now, at -40km, he looks a lot better.

The Garibaldi sprint is approaching (Buffaz should get it).

16:58 CEST    159.9km/38.1km to go
The peloton passes the Garibaldi sprint in Saluzzo at 4'13" back on Buffaz.

16:59 CEST   
The riders are dodging traffic furniture.

Rain has started.

17:03 CEST   
The final five kilometres to the finish line in Pinerolo is almost all downwards. The sprinters will have to negotiate a U-turn at -3800 metres, the highest point (411m elevation), before entering the final run. There is a curve to the right at -3100 metres to put the race on Via Giustetto.

Another bend to the right at -1800 metres puts the race on Stradale di Fenestrelle for the finale. It is then dead straight, save for a slight bend to the left at -250 metres. The line is at an elevation of 374m.

17:07 CEST   
The rain has really started to fall at the finish. That U-Turn will be a tough one at 3800m to go. The U-Turn and rain could make this run-in one for Aussie Robbie McEwen.

The gap is now 3'40".

17:09 CEST    168km/30km to go
Salvatore Commesso and Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff Credit Systems) are near the front. So is Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC). Look for a Tinkoff rider to launch once Buffaz is brought back.

The gap is now 2'42".

17:15 CEST    173km/25km to go
It is still Milram, Predictor and Lampre on the front. Hincapie is in about seventh wheel but without teammates.

17:18 CEST   
Buffaz keeps rolling along here. According to our calculus he leads the Fuga Gilera competition. Surely, because of this, we will see Tinkoff on the attack tomorrow.

Buffaz is waving at the camera and indicating that the chase is turning the accelerator.

17:20 CEST   
The gruppo has Buffaz in its sites. If it catches him too soon there will be counter-attacks.

17:24 CEST    179km/19km to go
We have entered the province of Torino. Soon this race will turn 'gruppo compatto.'

17:27 CEST   
Lancaster will have his work cut out for him today on these slick roads. He will have to safely guide Ale-jet through the that -3800m U-turn. It will be a risky affair.

17:27 CEST   
It is grey skies and green fields here in Osasco.

17:29 CEST    183km/15km to go
Lampre 'leads' but the race is not lined-out. It appears that the gruppo noticed that it was catching Buffaz too quickly. The gap is down to 24".

17:32 CEST   
Buffaz continues to wave. This time it is an official wave goodbye. He enjoyed 135 kilometres of freedom.

It is now 'gruppo compatto' and the pace is around 44 km/h after 5:30' of racing.

17:33 CEST   
With Buffaz caught at kilometre 187 that leaves 11 kilometres to watch for counter-attacks.

17:34 CEST    187km/11km to go
The race now enters Osasco. The roads are dry here but not at the finish.

Hincapie has drifted back, and is now in 25th position.

17:35 CEST   
Just as we reported about Hincapie, he has moved up to the front.

Expect to see a Tinkoff missile fired in the next few minutes.

17:37 CEST    188km/10km to go
Milram and Lampre look to be most confident in their changes. Lampre's Napolitano won the last sprint stage two days ago but Petacchi will want revenge.

Acqua e Sapone is there too. A sprint for Balducci?

17:38 CEST   
Ag2r is moving its men up. Acqua has taken the lead.

17:39 CEST   
That U-Turn at -3.8km is a right-hander. If you take it on the inside you will lose your speed but on the outside you could risk kissing the barriers.

17:39 CEST   
Pink Noè in the near the front, on the wheel of ex-teammate Garzelli.

17:40 CEST   
Garzelli is talking with his team car. More of his teammates move to the front and so does Hincapie.

But what is Hincapie doing? He has no teammates but he could seek something on his own? We shall see.

17:41 CEST    191km/7km to go
There is a rainbow but not in the clouds. Bettini is moving up in the World Champ Jersey.

-3km to that nasty U-turn.

17:42 CEST   
Acqua lead...

17:42 CEST    192.3km/5.7km to go
Petacchi stretches. Bettini is on his right.

17:42 CEST    192.6km/5.4km to go
This is a large street but the race is completely on the right side.

17:43 CEST   
Dean pushes Roche up into the line.

17:43 CEST    193km/5km to go
Will Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff Credit Systems) launch right before that U-turn?

17:44 CEST   
Rain is still falling, the mountains are in the background.

17:44 CEST   
Cofidis moves up.

17:44 CEST   
Predictor moves up, pushing a CA rider back.

17:44 CEST   
Acqua still has this race under control.

17:45 CEST   
Napolitano is taking a deep breath.

17:45 CEST    194km/4km to go
Here comes the curve. ... Tinkoff attacks.

17:45 CEST    194.7km/3.3km to go
The turn is taken easily. Another Tinkoff attack. It is Mikhail Ignatiev.

17:46 CEST   
He is on his own. This could work. Milram has control.

17:46 CEST    195km/3km to go
He is still off the front... but caught now.

17:46 CEST   
Milram have control. Ale-jet in fifth.

17:46 CEST   
We are on the final stretch.

17:47 CEST   
4 Milram men, then Petacchi.

17:47 CEST   
McEwen is right behind Ale-jet.

17:47 CEST    196.4km/1.6km to go
Tinkoff is on the front.

17:47 CEST   
Napolitano and McEwen fight for Petacchi's wheel.

17:48 CEST    197km/1km to go
Bodrogi passes Petacchi

17:48 CEST   
Lorenzetto leads Petacchi.

17:48 CEST   
Lancaster is there too. he is the last man.

17:48 CEST   
Dean fires at -600

17:48 CEST   
Too early but good for Hushovd

17:48 CEST   
-300 Lancaster goes.

17:49 CEST   

17:49 CEST   
Big crash on the line. IT was either McEwen or Petacchi.

17:49 CEST   
Bettini is on the floor! Popo too.

17:49 CEST   
Serrano too.

17:51 CEST   
There were 20 riders who went down.

Ale-jet won.

17:53 CEST   
A Tinkoff rider slid on his own over the line. Bettini, watching the sprint, went down on his own following the Tinkoff rider.

18:05 CEST   
Thanks for joining Cyclingnews on this wet day in Pinerolo. We will have a re-cap of that rough finish in our stage report. Also, you can expect plenty of photos from our men Sirotti and Bettini.

Provisional Results

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram
2 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
5 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
General classification after stage 11
1 Andrea Noè (Ita) Liquigas
2 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
3 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
4 Patxi Vila (Spa) Lampre-Fondital

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