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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

90th Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 12-June 3, 2007

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Stage 6 - Friday, May 18: Tivoli - Spoleto, 177 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:40 CEST

14:29 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of stage six. Today we are just north of Roma and we will be heading from Tivoli to Spoleto, for a total of 177 kilometres.

14:35 CEST   
Starting from the ancient Roman town of Tivoli, 30 kilometres east of the Italian capital, Stage 6 heads due east through the rolling climbs of Monti Sabini before ascending the tough 21-kilometre long Monte Terminillo at mid-stage, the first of three GPM's in the final 110 kilometres of the stage.

14:36 CEST   
A breakaway of opportunists will certainly hit out on the climb of Terminillo towards Spoleto, site of a world famous opera festival every summer. The finale includes the ascent of the Forco di Serra, 17 kilometres from the finish, where a counter-attack could be crucial.

Will there be changes in the Giro's hierarchy Friday evening? Doubtful, as Liquigas looks too strong to let things get away from them.

14:38 CEST   
The riders have already been racing for two hours.

188 riders rolled out today at 12.26. Unfortunately, not taking to the start line in Tivoli was Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole) and Thomas Ziegler (T-Mobile).

14:46 CEST   
After 21 kilometres and the town of Palombara Sabina, the attacks and counter-attacks started in earnest. Nothing materialized and Oleg Tinkov's Tinkoff boys moved to the fore. (Read an article on Tinkov in today's news.)

Tinkoff was still on the front though the fist hour, 42.5 km/h average, which involved a crash by Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel). The Ukrainian who makes his home in Tuscany is not having a great 2007 Giro. 'Popo' was able to make his way back to the peloton.

14:48 CEST   
Ricardo Serrano (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and Luis Felipe Laverde (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) hit the gruppo at kilometre 50 and they enjoyed a moment of freedom, up to 11", before they were reeled back two kilometres later.

14:50 CEST   
Ricardo Serrano (Tinkoff Credit Systems) hit out again at kilometre 52. The Spaniard was joined by 22 other riders. This gruppetto reached up to 12" but lack of cooperation meant that they were back in the fold at kilometre 60.

14:55 CEST    83km/94km to go
Serrano's work did not go without reward; he had setup a chance for Tinkoff teammate Daniele Contrini to strike with four others at kilometre 61. Joining the Italian was compatriot Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile), Frenchman Christophe Kern (Crédit Agricole), Swiss Hubert Schwab (Quickstep-Innergetic) and Colombian Luis Felipe Laverde (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare).

By Rieti the five had a gap of 1'45". By kilometre 69 they had 2'35 and, currently, at kilometre 83, they have 5'18".

14:56 CEST   
At kilometre 77 Leon Van Bon (Rabobank) abandoned the race.

14:58 CEST   
Here is an update on the DNSs and DNFs so far:
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)

15:04 CEST   
The riders are climbing the Monte Terminillo, 1894 metres. The 21-kilometre climb will leave 83 kilometres to race.

The climb, followed by two more GPM's, has a 6.6% average gradient, with a maximum of 12%.

Bettini looks to be suffering at the back of the Liquigas-led peloton. While up in the front 'Pino' is pedalling with grace. The Bergamasco is the virtual Maglia Rosa.

15:10 CEST    88km/89km to go
Bettini is had his left knee checked out with the race doctor. Now he is talking with his team DS, Patrick Lefevere.

Pino is riding on the front of the sun-drenched climb. The 2005 Italian TT Champion signals with his right elbow for Laverde to come through. (Read Pinotti's dairy.)

With the help of Matteo Algeri, DS with Saunier, Pino turned professional. The two knew each other at high school in Bergamo (northeast of Milan).

15:13 CEST   
Daniele Contrini lives near by Pinotti, in Brescia. Read Cyclingnews' interview with Contrini.

In new team colours
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:14 CEST   
Contrini just road off the road in a right-hand curve. He really looks to be suffering here on this climb of Monte Terminillo.

15:16 CEST    91km/86km to go
The gap near the top is 6'50". Liquigas is gearing up with warm clothes for the descent. Di Luca is wearing a long sleeve maglia rosa.

15:17 CEST   
Pino rides off the front with 500 metres. But the others quickly join the Bergamasco.

15:19 CEST    93,9km/84km to go
Laverde, a stage winner in 2006, takes the KOM points. Schwab and Pino follow.

15:22 CEST   
Di Luca still leads the points for the mountains competition, with 15 points.

15:23 CEST   
The peloton is at 500 metres to go to the summit.

15:26 CEST   
Three Liquigas men lead one Lampre rider over the summit.

Although sunny, there is snow on the side of the road.

Marco Pinotti
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

15:28 CEST   
Pino could find himself in the Maglia Rosa 'vera' if this continues. Liquigas would not mind to lose the leader's jersey to ease the pressure of leading the race, day-in and day-out.

15:32 CEST    103km/74km to go
The leading five riders are zooming down this descent. Coming up next is the Forca Capistrello, at 131.4 km, and the Forca di Cerro, at 159.7 km.

15:33 CEST   
The average after three hours of racing is 33.2 Km/h.

Luis Felipe Laverde
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:38 CEST   
Luis Felipe Laverde (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) won the stage 14 in the 2006 Giro d'Italia, finishing in Domodossola.

He lives in Imola with Mexican Aldape Chavez. Last year he noted, "it is a big city, I like that a lot. I come from a small town in Colombia, out in the country."

"I came here [to Italy] in 2001, raced for an amateur team, so I have been here for six years now. I love Italy.

"I love all of the Italian food. It is the best in the world!"

He is with the break of four, they have 5'57"

15:40 CEST   
Some of the dropped riders, like American Aaron Olson (T-Mobile), have rejoined on the descent. In fact, Olson has spent some time with Pino in Bergamo training. The two rode together in the Saunier Duval squad in 2006 and they both made the switch to T-Mobile.

Pinotti is back with the team car. He is talking with DS Valerio Piva.

15:45 CEST    102km/75km to go
The race is at 75 kilometres to go, heading towards the town of Leonessa, where there is a feed-zone. The gap is currently at 5'57".

15:49 CEST    112km/65km to go
"We will try to defend the jersey but if there is an escape then we will remain calm. I think the next stage for the classification riders will be the Santuario Nostra Signora," said Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) at the start.

The race is now entering the feed-zone, which is from kilometres 112 to 115.

15:50 CEST   
Thomas Ziegler (T-Mobile) had to drop out today due to an infected wisdom teeth, according to his team. He will have them removed in Hannover, Germany, either today or Monday.

15:53 CEST   
The five now have a gap of 7'22"! Pinotti is only 3'11" down on 'The Killer' Di Luca. The Liquigas team seems to have no intention of keeping the race leader's Maglia Rosa.

Hubert Schwab (Quickstep-Innergetic) is down by 4'53" in the overall.

15:54 CEST   
Read all about the Giro's classifications: Giro d'Italia classifications demystified.

15:57 CEST    121km/56km to go
The five are getting closer to the Forca Capistrello.

"On this first climb today we can see who is going well," noted Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) at the start. "Both Bettini and Riccò could do well today but we will have to see how it goes."

Interestingly, Schwab claims to be a professor of Math. If his racing career ends today, he could teach numbers. Maybe the 25 year-old Swiss could even give us the odds on himself or Pino being in the Maglia Rosa.

15:59 CEST   
Gasparotto, wearer of the Maglia Rosa for two days, is leading the chase. He is being helped by Charles Wegelius and Alessandro Spezialetti. Di Luca is further back, talking to the World TT Champion Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC).

16:05 CEST   
Big Frenchman Christophe Kern (Crédit Agricole) is on the front. He is followed by Contrini and Pinotti.

Around seven minutes (7'44") back is Liquigas. It is leading this peloton at a tempo that is not eating into the escape's gap. Cunego is on Di Luca's wheel.

We are in the Valley of the Black River. It is a national park area and the views are splendid!

16:05 CEST   
"I wish it would be as easy as that," said Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir) in regards to if he and Bettini were the favourites. "I wish it was only us two."

16:08 CEST   
Aaron Olson (T-Mobile) is at the back of the peloton and really looks tired. We hope, like last year, to see the American make it all the way to Milan.

16:14 CEST    129.4km/47.6km to go
Julian Dean (Crédit Agricole) is riding in the gruppo. He looks slick in his black and white New Zealand national champ jersey.

We are two kilometres from the top of the Forca Capistrello.

16:19 CEST    132km/45km to go
Marco Pinotti is doing something very different than the late Marco Pantani would do... He is riding with technology, an SRM power-metre. It only adds a few grams and will be able to tell Pino the watt data from his ride in today's stage; a stage that could see the Bergamasco in Rosa.

Marco has a wife, no children, who will be watching from their home in Bergamo. He trains there all winter, including time on the track. In fact, he races on the track. Some of the Americans might have seen him at the LA World Cup.

16:21 CEST   
Over the top of Forca Capistrello it is Luis Felipe Laverde (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) first, with three points, followed by Hubert Schwab (Quickstep-Innergetic) and Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile), with 2 and 1 points.

Di Luca still leads and holds the Maglia Verde, with 15 points over Laverde's 13.

16:22 CEST   
Patxi Vila and Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital) are sharing some words. Maybe they are talking about Bruseghin's many donkeys that he keeps at home.

16:27 CEST    137km/40km to go
An update on Hamilton and team Tinkoff Credit Systems: Cyclingnews has learned that Tinkoff is negotiating now with Tyler Hamilton, who stands firm on his contract. Tinkoff doesn't want to fire the American but reduce his payment because he's paid for ProTour races and he can't do any of them now.

With 40 kilometre, near Gavelli, to go the gap is at 6'40".

16:35 CEST   
We just entered the Italian province of Perugia and the race is moving closer to the finish town of Spoleto, with a population of 38,563.

16:37 CEST    147km/30km to go
At the top of that last climb it was a chilling 3°C. This type of weather is not helping World Champion Bettini's knee.

The good news is that the weather is warmer at the lower elevations, and the sun is shinning.

The Forca di Cerro is approaching.

16:42 CEST   
At 750 metres to go to the line there is an overpass, very similar to that in the world championships.

From five kilometres out, the parcours turns right, 90°, goes for 1000m and then a left-hander at -3700m. At -2100m there is a hard right, followed by another hard right at -1700m. There is a slight left and right at -600m and -400m before the finish on Viale Trento e Trieste.

16:48 CEST    155km/22km to go
The climb of Forca di Cerro has started. The 10.1-kilometre climb has an average of 4.9% and a max of 17%!

The five have about six minutes on the peloton.

16:48 CEST   
The gap is at 7'00"

16:50 CEST   
McEwen is riding at the back of the peloton 'salva la gamba,' as they say.

16:50 CEST   
Luis Felipe Laverde (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) attacks his companions. Pino is following.

16:51 CEST   
He has put in his move on one of the hardest sections here. Pino is digging deep to follow.

16:52 CEST   
Pinotti is really gritting his teeth. He moves to the front to help Laverde.

16:53 CEST   
They are on a light descent before the final of the Forca kicks in. This is a smart move for Pino, he can gift Laverde the stage if the duo agrees to work together.

16:55 CEST   
Laverde looks smooth. He is adjusting his Areo helmet.

Further back is the duo of Schwab and Kern, followed by Italian Contrini. We really thought that it would be Contini who would put down the death-blow attack.

16:57 CEST    157km/20km to go
Pino and Laverde have about 30" on Kern and Schwab and 55" on Contrini.

16:58 CEST   
Liquigas is leading on a small section of road.

16:59 CEST   
This last section of climb averages 5.2%.

17:03 CEST   
Charles Wegelius (Liquigas) is looking so tough here on the front of the peloton. He is dripping in sweat but pulling the peloton along with such strength.

17:04 CEST    159.7km/17.3km to go
Pino has his mouth open as the duo head to the top. Laverde hits out to go for the maximum points.

The Colombian gets it and may now move into the Maglia Verde. Pino passes in second.

Kern and Schwab are still climbing.

17:05 CEST   
Contini passes the top of the GPM at 1'45" back.

17:09 CEST   
When Pinotti missed out on the winning a recent Tour de Romandie stage he said to Cyclingnews "I think I done a good training for the Giro's stage 15." Pino referred to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, however, his plan has seemed to work out nine stages earlier.

17:10 CEST   
Fortunato Baliani (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) has attacked the group of Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas). He passes the GPM at 6'47".

17:12 CEST    167km/10km to go
With 10 kilometres to go the gap is at 7'13" to the front duo.

Pino will have to hold on this descent. He is not as 'bravo' as his Bergamo counter-part, Savoldelli, on the downhills.

17:15 CEST    170km/7km to go
"Little Anna (10 months) is dreaming about her uncle Marco in pink, just like she is [wearing]." - Sergio Pinotti.

Marco signals Laverde to come through. The two are trading pulls.

17:18 CEST    172km/5km to go
The final five kilometres have started.

17:18 CEST   
Again: From five kilometres out, the parcours turns right, 90°, goes for 1000m and then a left-hander at -3700m. At -2100m there is a hard right, followed by another hard right at -1700m. There is a slight left and right at -600m and -400m before the finish on Viale Trento e Trieste.

17:19 CEST   
It is almost certain that Pinotti will take the Maglia Rosa. But who will take the stage?

17:20 CEST   
27 year-old Laverde or 31 year-old Pinotti. The Colombian has a much faster sprint than the Italian.

17:21 CEST   
The duo's gap is 7'23" and Pinotti only needs 3'11" on Di Luca to take the Maglia Rosa.

Kern and Schwab are 55" back.

17:22 CEST    176km/1km to go
Pinotti is going all out. He rides at the front. He will likely 'gift' Laverde the stage.

17:22 CEST   
We are in the last kilometre.

17:23 CEST   
Pinotti is still leading.

17:23 CEST   
At 600 metres it is still Pino on the front.

17:23 CEST   
Laverde waits behind at 400 metres.

17:23 CEST   
Laverde easily moves to the front at 300 metres to go.

17:24 CEST   
There is no contest. Luis Felipe Laverde (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) takes the stage. Pinotti should take the Maglia Rosa.

17:26 CEST   
Kern sprints to take third over Schwab. He was third in the Verona Junior Worlds, when Cunego won.

Contrini is coming in.

17:28 CEST   
Contrini comes in at 3'50" back.

Pino is confirmed the new race leader.

17:29 CEST   
Fortunato Baliani (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) is coming in to take sixth.

17:37 CEST   
Bravo Marco!

Thanks for joining Cyclingnews on our coverage of stage six. Please return for a complete report and quotes from all the race favourites.

Provisional Results

1 Luis Felipe Laverde (Col) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
2 Marco Pinotti (Ita) T-Mobile
3 Christophe Kern (Fra) Crédit Agricole
4 Hubert Schwab (Swi) Quickstep-Innergetic
5 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Tinkoff Credit Systems
6 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare
7 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram
8 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Ag2r Prévoyance
General classification after stage 6
1 Marco Pinotti (Ita) T-Mobile 

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