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90th Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 12-June 3, 2007

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Stage 4 - Wednesday, May 16: Salerno - Montevergine Di Mercogliano, 153 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:45 CEST

14:32 CEST    35km/118km to go
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage four, from Salerno to Montevergine di Mercogliano. Today, we should see some fireworks and GC scuffle as it is the Giro's first mountain-top finish or 'arrivo in salita.'

Damiano Cunego in 2004
Photo ©: Olympia

The stage starts south of Naples in Salerno, the capital of Campania province. It will then head due-east on the beautiful, dramatic roads of the Amalfi Coast. It then turns tail towards the west, across the southern hinterlands of Naples, through the Soprano Family's home town of Avellino before the final climb to Montevergine di Mercogliano.

The twisting final ascent over 17.1 kilometres is where Damiano Cunego won in 2004 and once again, the Lampre-Fondital rider could be the man to beat on the day but watch out for Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo). Another recent winner of the climb is Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas). 'The Killer' won here in 2001 and he is another hot-favourite.

Di Luca in 2001
Photo ©: AFP

14:37 CEST   
After the first hour of racing, at 29.3 kilometres/hour, the peloton was still all together, or 'gruppo compatto.' The riders travelled along the Amalfi coast at a gingerly pace to take in the views. Liquigas is leading the peloton.

14:41 CEST    42km/111km to go
The first attack has come via Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r Prévoyance) and Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems). The Russian and Ukrainian, attacking at kilometre 33, were quickly joined by Spaniard Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), kilometre 38.

The current advantage of the trio is 3'00" at 42 kilometres.

14:52 CEST   
The riders, 192, departed Salerno today at 13.09.

Addy Engels (Quickstep-Innergetic), Angelo Furlan (Crédit Agricole) and Alberto Ongarato (Milram) did not waste any time and formed a triple-A crash. They were able to rejoin.

15:02 CEST   
Here is an update on the riders who are no longer in the 90th Giro d'Italia:
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: Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
DNF Stage 3: Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner)

15:06 CEST    61km/92km to go
The three have passed over the Picco S. Angelo at kilometre 51, the first of two GPM's for the day. With 100 kilometres to race the trio has increased its lead to 4'54" on the peloton.

15:13 CEST   
The riders are near Sorrento. This is really a lovely area, a great place for vacationing. It is the land of many vacation homes, including the homes of Clinton and Pitt.

15:20 CEST   
In Montevergine di Mercogliano it is cloudy but dry.

The climb will allow us to see who is going well and who is not. There is a maximum gradient of 10% and an average of 5.2 in the last 14.5 kilometres (from Mercogliano).

15:22 CEST   
The average pace after the second hour of racing is 33.2 km/h.

Brutt is at it again. Do you think he can make it? He tried his luck in stage two but was caught before McEwen went on to win the bunch sprint.

15:25 CEST    72.6km/80.4km to go
The gap to the trio at Vico Equense is 3'45"

15:29 CEST   
Saunier Duval is leading the peloton, after 2:16 of racing, through a tunnel. The ocean is off to its left.

It has the peloton completely lined out. It is likely that the team is is working for Riccò and not its captain Simoni. Riccò has an explosive climb and could win here today. Simoni was the captain of the Saeco team in 2004 when he helped setup the win for Cunego.

If Riccò is to win today it would help the team morale, and the rider from Modena will surely repay Gibo in the third week. Riccò has a chance at winning the Maglia Bianca but he does not have the experience to win the race overall's 'rosa' jersey.

15:33 CEST   
44 riders were checked overnight by the UCI's anti-doping officials and all were declared fit to race.

Brutt races in the mountain's Maglia Verde. He leads this competition with 8 points.

15:36 CEST   
Pietro Algeri is the Directeur Sportif of Saunier Duval. The Italian from Bergamo has years of experience, including helping Simoni win his first of two Giro wins. Pietro is helped by his son, Matteo.

Tim Klinger (Gerolsteiner) on a down hill, left-hander. This was due to a Giro worker standing one-metre in the street.

15:39 CEST    78km/75km to go
There has been another crash. The roads are damp and this is not helping.

Every curve seems to be a crash. Ian McLeod (Française Des Jeux) was involved in one of those crashes.

The place to be is at the front, with the Saunier team, or in the escape of three.

4'28" is the gap at 75 km to race.

15:41 CEST   
"Today is a very beautiful stage. We will have to see," Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas)

"We will try to keep the Maglia Rosa. I will try but we will have to see."

15:41 CEST   
"The favourites will be Di Luca and Bettini," Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital). "I don't think that today will be a stage for me."

15:43 CEST   
Alessandro Spezialetti (Liquigas) and Frédéric Bessy (Cofidis) were also involved in those crashes.

15:44 CEST   
About 25 riders just crashed! Including Petacchi.

15:44 CEST   
Saunier is slowing down the pace. Brian Vandborg (Discovery Channel) is involved. Ian McLeod (Française Des Jeux) again. Steve Zampieri (Cofidis) and Axel Merckx (T-Mobile). Also Bettini and Gasparotto!

15:46 CEST    84km/69km to go
Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic) is getting a bike change. There are two teammates with him. The Maglia Rosa of Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas) is near by, and now is re-starting.

These crashes will help the the chances of the trio.

15:48 CEST   
The road straight but the road conditions are like ice. One rider's wheels just slipped out from under him and the rest came down like dominoes.

Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff Credit Systems) is riding at the front to get the peloton to slow down.

15:48 CEST   
'Gaspa' is rubbing his left hip, let's hope he is fine.

15:51 CEST   
Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r Prévoyance) is leading the escape trio, followed by Brutt and Irizar. Their gap is 5'53".

15:52 CEST   
Lampre leads the peloton. The news has come to Cyclingnews that Cunego has also crashed. He changed his bike and is being paced back to the front.

15:54 CEST   
"Up to now we really don't know much," said Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) at the start. "I will try to do the best I can but without much press."

"On the first day with a mountain climb you have to be attentive," Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir) noted before the start.

"We will have to see how it goes and who is there in the finale. I think there will be some surprises," noted Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir).

16:03 CEST   
Leonardo Scarselli (Quickstep-Innergetic) is pacing Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic) back up to the front. The World and Olympic Champion does not look good.

Saunier still leads the peloton. 'Litu' Ángel Gómez Gómez is up at front doing huge pulls.

16:07 CEST    93km/60km to go
We are in the feed-zone. The gap here, at 92.9km, is 6'40".

Limoncello is a lemon liqueur produced in this region but we assume the riders will not be taking any on board. If you get a chance you should try this drink. It is made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water, and sugar, and tastes sweet and lemony.

Our readers from Bologna think that Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r Prévoyance) will win today. We will see.

16:10 CEST   
Oleg Tinkov, the owner of Tinkoff Credit Systems, has been riding the course everyday from the start to the feed-zone. He is a huge fan of cycling and a racer himself, up until last year. He will be proud of his rider Brutt.

Cycling is grateful to Tinkov's personal contributions; he is bank-rolling this yellow-black team.

16:17 CEST   
Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) is riding up front with the yellow squad of Saunier Duval-Prodir.

Saunier Duval is from Spain and it produces heating and air-conditioning units that are sold all over Europe while Prodir sells pens throughout the world, made in Switzerland.

16:17 CEST   
The World Champion is back with the peloton after a long chase.

16:25 CEST   
"It is a climb that suits me well. I will try something in the final kilometres," Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) noted at the start.

"Maybe I will try something with Di Luca," said Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) in the Maglia Bianca

"Today is great stage. I have good sensations and I hope to be with the best. I know the stage well, I have done it twice before. I think that Di Luca will go well. If I have good legs maybe I will be there too," noted Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r Prévoyance).

16:28 CEST    113km/40km to go
The sun is shinning now and the roads have seemed to have dried up. The gap to the front three, just outside of Castel S. Giorgio, is 4'30" with 40 kilometres remaining.

16:33 CEST   
Emanuele Sella and Julio Pérez will have have their chances today for Ceramica Panaria-Navigare. Also Luca Mazzanti. The young rider from Bologna had a good start to last year's Giro.

Jurgen Van de Walle (Quickstep-Innergetic) was also in those crashes. The Belgian took a hard hit.

Joan Horrach (Caisse d'Epargne) is holding on to the doctor's car. He took a bad fall and his right thigh is swollen. There is a bump the size of a tennis ball on his leg. The Spaniard is past Giro stage winner and has 12 wins as a pro.

16:37 CEST    123km/30km to go
The roads are turning upwards and the fans are here in Celzi to cheer on the riders.

In 13 more kilometres the true climbing will begin.

16:43 CEST   
Ian McLeod (Française Des Jeux) has abandoned. The 26 year-old South African is reported with a fracture to his collarbone. He has riding with the French team since 2005 and he has yet to recorded a pro win.

Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas) rides along with a scraped left elbow.

16:47 CEST    128km/25km to go
Teammates David Zabriskie and Andy Schleck (Team CSC) ride along. The Luxemburger is riding on the wheel of the American. Recall that Dave won the TT stage two years ago?

The gap is at 3'08" with 25 kilometres to go.

16:53 CEST    133km/20km to go
The front three are at 20 kilometres to go. (The gap is at 2'49").

Axel Merckx (T-Mobile) and Benoît Joachim (Astana) have been involved in another crash. The Belgian, in his final year, does not look good. He picked up his Giant bike and threw it back down on the ground.

Nicholas Roche (Crédit Agricole) was also involved in the crash.

Rain is falling at the finish.

16:55 CEST   
Alessandro Cortinovis (Milram) has just gone on the sidewalk, around a tree and back into the peloton.

The riders are fighting for position.

16:58 CEST   
Brutt is looking fast as the climb starts. However, his hair could use a trim. His mullet-style cut is flying in the air, which must be slowing the talented rider down!

16:59 CEST    138km/15km to go
The gap is 2'05". Acqua e Sapone has taken over the chase for Garzelli. This is a clear sign the the Varesino is feeling good.

17:04 CEST   
Maglia Verde Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems) has ridden away from the other two. He is using a 39-15 gearing.

While Maglia Rosa Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas) is in trouble. He is suffering as the climb starts. Apparently the crash took it's toll.

World Champ Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic) looks a lot better and is up at front.

Maglia Bianca Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) is up front with the Acid Green Liquigas squad.

17:07 CEST    141.5km/11.5km to go
Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas) is riding with teammate Alessandro Vanotti and Stefano Zanini (Predictor-Lotto). Di Luca is the virtual Maglia Rosa. The rest of the Liquigas team has taken over control of the peloton. Charles Wegelius and Alessandro Spezialetti are riding strong for captain Di Luca.

Brutt is pedalling in squares!

17:12 CEST    143km/10km to go
Brutt will be caught in any minute now. He could lose the Maglia Verde today.

The fireworks should begin as soon as the Russian is captured.

17:12 CEST    144km/9km to go
Frantisek Rabon (T-Mobile) throws down the first attack. He is followed by Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare)!

17:13 CEST   
The Mexican tried here in the past but had some chain problems.

17:14 CEST   
Liquigas forfeits control to the attacks.

The escape trio is caught at eight kilometres to go.

17:17 CEST   
Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) catches the trio in a right-hand switchback and now leads.

Steve Zampieri (Cofidis) attacks from the peloton and quickly takes over the race lead.

17:17 CEST   
Giovanni Visconti (Quickstep-Innergetic) and Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital) are chasing.

Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto) attacks too!

Perez leads.

17:20 CEST    147km/6km to go
Ricardo Serrano (Tinkoff Credit Systems) crashes.

17:20 CEST   
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir) leads the chase.

17:21 CEST    148km/5km to go
Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) is at five km to go. He may have gone too soon. He has 24".

17:23 CEST   
Andrea Noè (Liquigas) is leading the chase.

Alexandr Arekeev (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) tries a small move but it comes to nothing.

17:24 CEST   
Julio Pérez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) last win came with the 2005 Giro del Trentino. He is using a 53x29 gearing.

Nibali, Pellizotti and Di Luca look very strong.

17:25 CEST    150.2km/2.8km to go
Bettini is fading back.

17:26 CEST   
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir) is still leading. He looks smooth on his all white Scott steed.

17:28 CEST    151km/2km to go
Piepoli is followed by Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare). What work he is doing here! Sella is playing a defence role but we don't expect much from him.

Pérez is not a threat to the overall but he would just like to take a stage. He is a pureclimber.

17:28 CEST   
Pérez checks over his shoulder.

17:29 CEST    151.7km/1.3km to go
Pérez has 15" seconds with 1300 metres to go.

Rebellin has lost contact with the favourites.

17:29 CEST   
The front group has around 20 riders.

17:30 CEST   
Pérez looks to be in trouble. Look for Di Luca to counter.

17:30 CEST    152.2km/0.8km to go
Pérez gives up. Liquigas leads. Cunego is there, and so is Riccò.

17:31 CEST   
Sella and Garzelli are there. Will Riccò follow-through with the work of Saunier?

17:31 CEST   
4:22 of racing so far today.

17:31 CEST   
Di Luca goes at 200m!

17:31 CEST   
Riccò follows

17:32 CEST   
Di Luca gets the win over Riccò, Cunego and Schleck.

'The Killer' should also get the Maglia Rosa.

Savoldelli has lost time.

17:46 CEST   
Di Luca has won again on the climb he first conquered in 2001. Liquigas looked very strong today and keeps the Maglia Rosa in the team.

Thanks for joining Cyclingnews today for this spectacular stage. Look for a full report and results to follow.

Ciao! A domani!

Provisional Results

1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas
2 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
General classification after stage 4
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas

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