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90th Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 12-June 3, 2007

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Stage 8 - Sunday, May 20: Barberino Di Mugello - Fiorano Modenese, 200 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:20 CEST

14:29 CEST   
Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the 90th Giro d'Italia. Today is another 'transitional stage' that starts with climb out of Barberino to the GPM atop Passo della Futa (km 7.7), then across the heart of the Apennine Mountains with tough, up and down terrain that will undoubtedly inspire a breakaway.

At the second GPM atop Passo Sestola (km 101.2), there's an 18-kilometre descent to the plains of Emilia, then a flat, fast 80-kilometre run on the plains of Emilia, past Ferrari's HQ in Maranello to finish in Fiorano Modenese, which is the test track of il Cavallino Rampante.

Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

14:39 CEST   
The eighth stage started at 12.00 this morning when 185 riders rolled out of Barberino di Mugello, site of yesterday's stage win by Alessandro Petacchi (Milram).

Unfortunately Frenchman and wearer of the Tour's Maillot Jaune Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) was unable to start, complaining of knee pains. He crashed twice in the opening stages.

"The pain is too much," he explained to ANSA. "The doctors have advised me to stop.

14:43 CEST   
The early climb of Passo della Futa split the field. It spit the sprinters out the back and forced a group off the front.

After one hour of racing the riders were over the top, with fast-men like Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) and Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) at 1'25" back.

14:49 CEST   
On the downhill run, now in the region of Emilia Romagna (out of Toscana), a group made its way off the front of the peloton. Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto) was the most active. The Italian jammed the accelerator to the floor and had 26 other riders on his tail.

After the first hour of racing the average speed was 34.4 km/h, and by kilometre 49 Cioni was with the group of chasers, which had 2'43" on the Maglia Rosa gruppo of Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile).

14:52 CEST   
Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne) could not hang with the pace and he was caught by the gruppo at kilometre 53.

By kilometre 61 in the town of Porretta Terme the group numbered 21 riders and held a lead of 4'15".

Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

14:56 CEST    96km/104km to go
At kilometre 53 Cyrille Monnerais (Française Des Jeux) dropped out of the race.

Here is an update on the race's DNFs and DNSs:
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)

The average speed after two hours of fierce racing was 36.4km/h.

T-Mobile and Saunier Duval are currently leading the peloton. The leaders have an advantage of 5'05" at kilometre 96.

15:00 CEST    101.2km/98.8km to go
Over the second of two GPMs for the day, the Sestola, the gap is now at 6'38". The climb is a category three GPM.

The riders are now descending towards the feed-zone in Fondovalle Scoltenna.

15:03 CEST   
The winds are light here at the finish and the temperatures are around 25°C, with barely a cloud in the sky.

Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:05 CEST   
"I went with T-Mobile because the German team has set out to be clean and transparent," noted the 31 year-old race leader to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Pinotti had some harsh words for Ivan Basso. He thinks that his compatriot's signed agreement with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) was less of a confession and more of an insult to cycling's effort to clean up the sport. "The Basso event is sad. He continues to talk and not talk, hint and hide, it is an offence to everyone's intelligence, including us racers. He disappointed me."

15:07 CEST    110km/90km to go
The escape is now entering the feed-zone in Fondovalle Scoltenna.

15:16 CEST    122km/78km to go
Andrea Noè (Liquigas) is only 4'47" back behind Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile) in the overall which makes him the virtual Maglia Rosa.

The gap is now 6'43".

15:20 CEST   
On the GPM of Sestola, first was Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) over the top. Following the Italian were Patxi Vila (Lampre-Fondital) and William Walker (Rabobank).

15:21 CEST   
Riccò was initially in the escape but he was 'asked' to leave because he was considered too much of a danger-man.

15:25 CEST   
We are working with our men on the scene to get an exact run-down of the riders in the escape. But here is what we have so far.
George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), José Luis Rubiera (Discovery Channel), Alessandro Spezialetti (Liquigas), Andrea Noè (Liquigas), Charles Wegelius (Liquigas), Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto), Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team CSC) , Dionisio Galparsoro (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Francis Mourey (Française Des Jeux), Mario Aerts (Predictor-Lotto), Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre-Fondital), Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital), Patxi Vila (Lampre-Fondital), Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital), Serguei Yakovlev (Astana), Assan Bazayev (Astana), Serguei Yakovlev (Astana), William Walker (Rabobank), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems), Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare)

15:26 CEST    127km/73km to go
Alexandr Arekeev (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) is also there for the soap and water team.

The gap is near 6'25".

15:27 CEST   
Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r Prévoyance) is also there.

15:28 CEST   
Noè and Bettini are talking at the back of this escape. While in the chase it is Merckx who is working for teammate Pinotti.

15:31 CEST   
There has been 3:29 of racing. Brutt in the escape but is in the back and talking with his DS. And, of course there is a Tinkoff rider in the escape. The team has had a rider in every major escape of this year's Giro.

15:42 CEST   
The riders will pass on the Ferrari test track before the finish. There will be about 20 kilometres after they complete the track (built in 1972).

15:43 CEST   
There appears to be a second Tinkoff rider in the escape.

15:44 CEST    147km/53km to go
Hincapie is looking really cool in his stars-n-stripes jersey. He has a matching Trek machine. He is now waving the team car up.

The group has 6'50" on the peloton in Marano sul Panaro.

15:47 CEST   
The other Tinkoff rider is Ivan Rovny.
Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital) is back in the team cars getting some water bottles. He won the Baby Giro before turning professional.

15:49 CEST    152.5km/47.5km to go
"In these first days we are working for McEwen," said Cioni at the start. "When the mountains come I will try to do something for myself. Maybe this Tuesday in Genova."

15:57 CEST    160km/40km to go
The escape has entered the final 40 kilometres. The long line of riders in the escape are rotating in a clockwise motion.

T-Mobile will hope for some help from the sprinters' teams like Milram to bring down this gap. Pinotti is currently on the front and pulling the peloton! He is getting help from his former teammates, Saunier Duval.

The Yellow team is directed by two friends of Pino, Pietro and Matteo Algeri (father and son).

The gap is at 6'34".

16:03 CEST    167km/33km to go
"Finally I have had with a good sensations, yesterday," said Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic) at the start. Regarding Marco Pinotti, the World Champion had great words. "In this moment the Maglia is with a rider who is a great representative for us cyclists."

16:11 CEST    170km/30km to go
Riccò would love to win today. The race finishes very near to his home town of Sassuolo.

16:11 CEST   
The riders are right next to the Ferrari test track.

16:12 CEST   
The race has now entered the Circuito automobilistico. They just passed the official home of Enzo Ferrari.

Saunier and T-Mobile's work is paying off. It looks like Pinotti will keep the jersey.

16:14 CEST   
The front group will start to fall apart in the in the finale. Many of the riders will know that they can't take Bettini to the line, he has the fastest sprint.

16:15 CEST   
When the riders are on a big race track like this it makes the race look a lot smaller. There are no homes on the side of the road and the fans are not allowed on the track.

16:18 CEST    173km/27km to go
The escape has left the track and it will soon start the one big circuit that ends the race. A 26.2 kilometre 'giro' that passes Sassuolo, Formigine, Maranello and then finishes in Fiorano Modenese.

16:19 CEST   
The gruppetto with Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) is some 20 minutes behind the leaders!

16:25 CEST   
Sella will want to do well today. The team's sponsor is from this area.

16:29 CEST    188km/12km to go
Saunier and T-Mobile are getting help from Milram.

16:31 CEST   
Rubiera looks good but his chances of winning a stage like this are slim to none. He will seek to help Hincapie in the game of tactics that will begin in any moment.

The gap is 4'08" with about 12 kilometres to race.

16:32 CEST   
Here are the escape riders:
David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)
Alexandr Arekeev (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo)
George Hincapie (Discovery Channel)
José Luis Rubiera (Discovery Channel)
Alessandro Spezialetti (Liquigas)
Andrea Noè (Liquigas)
Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic)
Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team CSC)
Dionisio Galparsoro (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Francis Mourey (Française Des Jeux)
Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto)
Mario Aerts (Predictor-Lotto)
Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre-Fondital)
Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital)
Patxi Vila (Lampre-Fondital)
Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital)
Assan Bazayev (Astana)
Serguei Yakovlev (Astana)
William Walker (Rabobank)
Evgeni Petrov (Tinkoff Credit Systems)
Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems)
Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare)
Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r Prévoyance)

We seem to have one extra rider as there are only 22 riders in the escape.

16:34 CEST    191.5km/8.5km to go
The sister of Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital) is at the finish. She is wearing a hat with donkey ears, which is the mascot for the Italian rider.

The riders are now in Formigine, the official home town of Riccò.

16:36 CEST   
Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir) nick-name is 'Cobra' and there are many signs on the road here for him.

16:36 CEST    191km/9km to go
We are at four hours of racing. The chase has passed the sign of ten kilometres to go.

16:38 CEST   
American Aaron Olson (T-Mobile) is in that group with Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) some 20 minutes back. They are at risk of getting pulled from the race due to the maximum time limit.

16:39 CEST    195km/5km to go
The escape is now at five kilometres to go. Are you ready for the game of tactics? Soon some riders are going to stop working.

Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital) tries an attack. Brutt and Bettini follow.

16:40 CEST   
Aussie Walker attacks. Spezialetti follows.

16:40 CEST    196.5km/3.5km to go
The two are getting pulled back.

16:41 CEST   
The harmony has broken in this escape.

16:41 CEST   
Mario Aerts (Predictor-Lotto) attacks.

16:41 CEST    197km/3km to go
He is tall and powering his machine with 3km to go.

16:42 CEST   
Mario Aerts (Predictor-Lotto) is still riding off the front but he is about to get caught. Rubiera is chasing him down for the group.

16:43 CEST    197.9km/2.1km to go
Expect to see a move from Hincapie.

Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r Prévoyance) attacks. Brutt chases.

16:43 CEST   
Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital) chases down Brutt.

16:43 CEST    199km/1km to go
Brutt does not seem to be racing smart.

16:44 CEST   
Brutt is off the front with Sella at -600m

16:44 CEST   
Sella attacks.

16:44 CEST   
Bettini attacks and chases.

16:44 CEST   
Bettini is closing.

16:44 CEST   
Bettini and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team CSC). !!!

16:45 CEST   
Arvesen comes around Bettini's right to get the two-up sprint.

16:45 CEST   
Pino is still leading the peloton's chase.

16:45 CEST   
Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team CSC) is Norwegian but lives here in Italy.

16:49 CEST   
Astana is up at front of the chase but it is not helping. Pinotti crosses the line at 4'19" back.

17:07 CEST   
Bettini took matters into his own hands in the final metres. He broke out with just over 500 metres to go to the line. He picked up Brutt but did not plan on having Arvesen on his wheel.

He finally brought back Sella with only 150 metres but immediately after Arvesen started coming up on the right. He continued his charge and nipped the Italian at the line.

McEwen's group is still riding, they are currently at 22 minutes back! The max limit is 28'40".

17:09 CEST   
McEwen's group is going to make it inside the time-cut. They will have done the calculus on the road and made sure they finished inside the time-cut.

17:23 CEST   
Thanks for joining Cyclingnews for another exciting day of Giro coverage. Please return for a full race report.

Provisional Results

1 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quickstep-Innergetic
General classification after stage 8
1 Marco Pinotti (Ita) T-Mobile
2 Andrea Noè (Ita) Liquigas
3 Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Astana
4 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
5 Patxi Vila (Spa) Lampre-Fondital

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