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91st Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2008

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Stage 21 - Sunday, June 1: Cesano Maderno - Milano (Individual Time Trial), 28.5km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Bjorn Haake

13:56 CEST   
Hello and welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage from the Giro d'Italia – one last time in the 2008 event, as the race concludes in Milano today. The Corsa Rosa will end with a time trial, which doesn't happen very often. It is only 28.5 kilometres long, but with the top two contenders only four seconds apart the Giro is still up for grabs. The course is about as flat as it can be. In fact, from the start at 205m to the finish at the Corso Venezia at 119m it is a gradual downhill.

14:09 CEST   
Cyclingnews diarist Markus Eichler sits in last place, giving him the famous numero nero. It also made him to be the first rider to go off. He started right at 14:00. In his latest diary entry he talked about that he will be able to manage to do the last 20km or so. He'll be in for a surprise, as today's distance is some 40 percent longer than he thinks! Not that we have the utmost trust he will be able to finish the race inside the time limit and still maintain his lanterne rouge position. After all, Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff Credit Systems) is next to last and he is a decent time trialer. Plus Eichler has a 20-minute 'lead' in the competition.

14:15 CEST   
Spain's search for the next Indurain may be over. Alberto Contador looks set to become the successor. There are some similarities already. Should Contador indeed win the overall today, he would do what Indurain did last: A reigning Tour champion who wins the Giro the next year. And should Contador win the time trial today, which he said he would love to, then he would repeat Indurain's feat of winning the time trial on the last day and take the overall. Indurain did that in 1992, when the final time trial was 66 kilometres long. Today it's less than half that distance.

14:18 CEST   
"I gave it all," said Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) after stage 20. "The Giro will finish tomorrow, it is not over yet. He is definitely stronger in the crono than me." The young rider still has a bright future ahead of him, but consider weighing some of his words sometimes. He has had verbal battles with Sella and Contador and has been seen to shout at other riders in the Giro. Of course, maybe that is part of his plan to get his adrenaline going and making him ride more aggressively. Which he certainly does.

14:24 CEST   
Tour of Belgium update: A break of five is clear, 2'30 ahead of the peloton. The break includes Niko Eeckhout (Topsport Vlaanderen), Geert Omloop (Mitsubishi-Jartazi), Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis), Sven Nijs (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner) and Kenny Lisabeth (An Post - M. Donnelly - Grant Thornton - Sean Kelly Team).

Sven Nijs just switched from Rabobank to Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner mid-season.

14:27 CEST   
Ignatiev holds the best time at the first, after 10.9km. He has a 13.19 and is 15 seconds faster than Brad Wiggins.

14:29 CEST   
Ignatiev has passed the second check (km 19) with a 23'09. He is more than two minutes faster than Eichler.

14:32 CEST   
Brad Wiggins is closing in on the Russian. At the second check he is only eight seconds slower!

14:34 CEST   
Danny Pate is doing a good ride. He is third after the first check.

We know the New Zealand track team, currently training in Belgium for the Olympics, will be eager to know how Timothy Gudsell is doing. At the second check he is in fifth, 1'29 behind Ignatiev.

14:38 CEST   
Tony Martin shoots over the first intermediate check with the second best time, eight seconds slower than Ignatiev, but ahead of Wiggins. The young rider for High Road has had a great season. Already a win (Mergelland) and very valuable for Mark Cavendish in his two sprint wins in the Giro.

14:41 CEST   
Cavendish himself amazingly enough finished the Giro. Many would have thought he'd pull out to save himself for the Tour. In fact, most sprinters are gone already, as today there is no typical mad dash to the line in Milano. McEwen, Förster, Brown, Dean, Lorenzetto, O'Grady – gone already, although the latter was victim of a crash, not on a bail-out.

Mark Cavendish had plenty to celebrate in this Giro
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

14:43 CEST   
Tour of Belgium: The leaders Niko Eeckhout (Topsport Vlaanderen), Geert Omloop (Mitsubishi-Jartazi), Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis), Sven Nijs (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner) and Kenny Lisabeth (An Post - M. Donnelly - Grant Thornton - Sean Kelly Team) are two minutes ahead with 32km to go. It'll be touch and go. They have sunny weather over in Belgium.

14:46 CEST   
The best time at the finish is currently held by Ignatiev, with a 32'55. That is an average speed of almost 52km/h!

14:50 CEST   
Wiggins was still closing in, but in the end was three seconds short. US American Danny Pate did a great ride and is currently in third, 14 seconds slower than Ignatiev.

Tony Martin has the best time so far
Photo ©: Dion Kerckhoffs
(Click for larger image)

14:56 CEST   
Tony Martin has done it! He was behind on the checks, but now has the best time by three seconds!

14:59 CEST   
It's another German day of German firsts in Bavaria. Heinrich Haussler won the sprint in the final stage of the International Bayern Rundfahrt, while Christian Knees of Milram took the overall win (without a stage win) for his first win of the season.

15:01 CEST   
Steve Cummings of Barloworld is riding well. Third best time on the first check, just 10 seconds off the pace.

15:04 CEST   
Timothy Gudsell (Française des Jeux) finished with a time of 35.04. He is currently in 13th place. And has managed to finish this year's Giro!

15:04 CEST   
Tour of Belgium: One lap of 18km left. The five leaders are now only 51 seconds ahead of the bunch.

15:09 CEST   
David Millar is on his way. He has passed the first check with a 13'40, 21 seconds slower than Ignatiev. He is close to the second check now, and we just hope his equipment holds up today.

15:11 CEST   
Former Australian road champion Nick Gates sits currently in last place, with a 37'28. He probably would have preferred a regular stage today.

15:12 CEST   
Markus Eichler (Team Milram) said to Gregor Brown after the race, "It is flat. I had the feeling there was a head wind. It is a course for the strong riders."

15:14 CEST   
Daniele Bennati is on his way. He, too, would have preferred a sprint arrival. Now, he rides his maglia ciclamino through Milano on a sunny day.

15:16 CEST   
Tiziano dall'Antonia (CSF Group Navigare) arrives at the finish. He may be in the top 10 for now with a 34'26, but that will change.

15:20 CEST   
Several readers have pointed out the time trial abilities of Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre). The problem for Bruseghin will be the distance. 28.5km is very short. Contador lost 2'18 to his team-mate Levi Leipheimer in the 2007 Tour de France and 1'23 to Cadel Evans, who came up 23 seconds short of taking the win. Bruseghin is two minutes behind and he will have to hope on an off-day by Contador to still win the race.

15:21 CEST   
Millar has a 23'35 at the second check. He still is in sixth place with that.

15:23 CEST   
Millar is now in the finish, with a 33.27. That means he is in seventh, one spot behind Barloworld's Geraint Thomas. Millar ended the day 35 seconds slower than Tony Martin.

15:23 CEST   
Tour of Belgium: With 3km to go everything is together. A crash has taken out several riders.

15:25 CEST   
Tour of Belgium: Last km. Quick Step is pulling hard; Devolder is working, too. He leads the overall.

15:26 CEST   
Tour of Belgium: Tom Boonen wins the final stage.

15:28 CEST   
Tour of Belgium: Stijn Devolder wins the overall classification

15:31 CEST   
Jens Voigt (Team CSC) is riding along. He never seems to take an easy day and is flying along. It is early for him, he is only less than five minutes into the ride. Marco Pinotti is also on his way, in the Italian Champion jersey.

15:36 CEST   
Ryder Hesjedal started ten minutes ago. He really enjoyed the run up to the Plan de Corones. No wonder with his mountain bike background.

Pinotti is passing Alexander Efimkin, who started a minute earlier. But now the Russian is trying to stay close, without drafting, as that would net him a penalty.

The riders go off in one-minute increments, until the top 20. Paolo Bettini is the last rider to have a minute-long gap. The rider after him, Levi Leipheimer, will have to wait three minutes before getting unleashed. Leipheimer is off at 16:04

15:37 CEST   
Three riders are hitting the finish together: Paul Martens, Erik Zabel and Joan Horrach Rippoll. Martens is the best of the three and his 34'11 gets him to ninth for now.

15:42 CEST   
The start ramp is in Cesano Maderno, which is north of Milano. It was one of those communities severely affected by an accident in a small chemical manufacturing plant. The 1976 accident is commonly referred to as the Seveso disaster, as that nearby community was the most affected.

15:43 CEST   
Bennati gets in his sprint after all, although not against others. But he does well and gets a 33'09. Fifth place for now!

15:46 CEST   
Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) is on the road. It takes a bit of getting used to not seeing him in his national champion jersey, but he is only the road champion. The time trial champion is riding ahead of Visconti and is close to the finish.

The winner of the Cima Coppi, Cuapio, comes in. 69th spot with a time of over 38 minutes.

Marco Pinotti (High Road) was faster than team-mate Tony Martin
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:47 CEST   
Pinotti gets a new best time! 32'45, seven seconds better than Martin.

15:50 CEST   
Australian champion Adam Hansen has a time of 34'21 and is currently 14th.

Christian Vande Velde (Slipstream Chipotle Presented By H30) looks very fast out on the course.

15:51 CEST   
Marco Pinotti was of course happy with his ride, but is not sure it will be enough. "The overall is still up in the air. Contador and Bruseghin will be very motivated."

15:54 CEST   
Matthew Lloyd is off. He, too, will also be looking to finish the race. It never did work out for Silence Lotto with a stage win. Robbie McEwen left the race when the mountains started. He and Lloyd will hope that things go better during the Tour de France.

16:00 CEST   
Gusev is on the way. He has the fifth best time at the check and is looking good.

Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) sets off. It doesn't look very determined. He had to work very hard in the last few days and now just wants to get the Giro over with. He was able to celebrate one stage win, though. That means he can look back at a successful campaign in Italy.

Voigt hits the line in eighth! 33.17

16:02 CEST   
Vande Velde is already nearing the finish! He gets a 33.07 and is fifth for now.

16:05 CEST   
Bosisio finally realised that there is no procrastinating. He rides determined. We are now in the top 20 and the three minute gaps. Levi Leipheimer sits on the start ramp and breathes consciously, his cheeks extending.

Off he is, making his way through all kinds of trash that has been blown onto the street.

16:06 CEST   
Rujano looks like, well, a climber! Even on his time trial bike. He is rocking left and right and it doesn't look very efficient. I probably isn't. However, it does look like he is doing something and that will make his DS happy.

16:07 CEST   
Gusev can't get a best time. He finishes two seconds faster than Voigt and is 9th for now.

16:08 CEST   
600m for Rujano. The suffering is almost over for the little Caisse rider.

16:09 CEST   
Rujano is three minutes slower.

Savoldelli is on his way
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

16:13 CEST   
Visconti gets a big cheer from the crowd; his 34'14 is 17th place for now.

Next off is Paolo Savoldelli.

16:19 CEST   
Andrea Noè (Liquigas) hits the finish line in 50th+. He is followed by one who will have a good time, Vasili Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems)

16:21 CEST   
Leipheimer powers through with a 13'43 at the first check, a top 15 for now.

16:23 CEST   
Kiryienka finishes with a 33'27, 13th. He lost time in the last 10 km. He was four seconds off Cummings on the 19km check, but almost 20 by the finish.

16:26 CEST   
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) is off. The rider behind him, Fortunato Baliani (CSF Group Navigare) is already on the ramp, but will have to wait for three minutes until his start.

16:30 CEST   
Gustav Erik Larsson (Team CSC) is ten minutes into his ride. His blue jersey with the large yellow cross indicates his time trial abilities – he is Swedish Champion.

16:32 CEST   
Canadian Ryder Hesjedal finished with a 34'46 and is currently 36th. Make that 37th, as Bosisio finishes with a 33'32 and 14th spot.

16:34 CEST   
Colom, team-mate of Contador, comes in somewhere in the 100ths. His work was done yesterday, when he went into the break and climbed over the Mortirolo in first.

Pozzovivo at the start. He is part of the CSF Navigare team. If you hadn't hear of them before the Giro, you probably weren't the only one!

Antonio Colom (Astana) has done his share of work for Astana
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

16:39 CEST   
Bettini crosses the line and raises his arms in victory! Don't see that in a time trial very often. His wife was watching, so he had to do something special. His time of 35'11 is not too interesting.

Bettini is saying: "It's tough, to get to Milano." But he wasn't committing to ay if that was his last Giro. "Now we just have completed this one. I don't know."

Leipheimer comes soon after him, a 33'41 and 17th.

16:42 CEST   
And now Di Luca is off. He is in seventh, 4'18 behind. What is more interesting is the rider that started ahead of him, Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence - Lotto). He is within eight seconds of Di Luca and could move up to seventh.

16:45 CEST   
Menchov is on his way. All the favourites are now close tom taking off. We have the following left:

16:46: Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare)
16:49: Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
16:52: Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre)
16:55: Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval - Scott)
16:58: Alberto Contador Velasco (Astana)

16:49 CEST   
Savoldelli comes home with a 33'51, over a minute slower. Simoni is already in spot 100 something at the first check. Menchov on the other looks very fast, with the painting on his full disk wheel giving the impression the Russian is flying.

Pellizotti is off.

16:50 CEST   
Bruseghin is topless at the start ramp. They are still trying to get his radio going and wiring him all up for the most important ride of his life.

16:52 CEST   
Savoldelli confirmed at the finish that "it was a Giro dura." But he did all he could for Di Luca.

In the mean time, Van den Broeck comes through with a 14.29 at the first check. That is unexpected. He is only 60th.

16:53 CEST   
Bruseghin is now all dressed and off he goes.

16:54 CEST   
Larsson is near the finish. He is not going so great today, but will be happy to have the Giro finished.

34'44, almost two minutes behind. 39th for now.

Can Bruseghin win the time trial again? And can he make up the two minutes on Contador?
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

16:55 CEST   
Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval - Scott) is off. The 2008 Giro is now being decided in half an hour!

16:59 CEST   
Contador crosses himself several times, hoping for both good legs and help from above. He is off!

17:01 CEST   
Striking difference between cadences: Bruseghin has watched Ullrich tapes, while Contador had Armstrong as his teacher.

17:02 CEST   
Contador is again on a pink day: Pink skinsuit, including the long sleeves and the gloves and the shoe warmers. Only the helmet is not pink.

Riccò is already losing time.

17:03 CEST   
Pellizotti gets to the 10.9km check. 14'08. 12 seconds slower than Menchov.

Alberto Contador (Astana) looks good to win
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

17:04 CEST   
Baliani finishes in 35'31. 73rd. But he had a good Giro and won't be too unhappy about that.

17:07 CEST   
Contador pedals at around 103 rpm, while Riccò is 92, 93. We don't know about Bruseghin, but it's less than Riccò.

17:08 CEST   
It looks as if Pellizotti is slightly faster than Bruseghin! Pellizotti is only five seconds behind Bruseghin in the overall and could get onto the podium.

17:10 CEST   
Simoni gets a 37'47, as he finishes under the cheers of the spectators. 127th.

Riccò is already 41 seconds behind Contador! Riccò has a 14'35. He is 20 seconds behind Bruseghin and 30 behind Pellizotti.

17:11 CEST   
The 41 second gap was at km eight. The Spaniard still needs to go through the first check.

17:13 CEST   
Van den Broeck comes home. He had a great Giro, but today is not his day. He gets a 35'28, 2'43 slower than Pinotti, who still leads. The young Belgian finishes 73rd for now.

Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence Lotto) had a great Giro
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

17:14 CEST   
Contador has a 13'40 on the first check. Unlikely that he will get his desired stage win, but he is best of the first.

17:18 CEST   
The number 1, Di Luca finishes. Some yell his name, many cheer. He lost the Giro yesterday. He crosses the line and lifts his right hand to salute the crowd. 36'21

There are exactly five seconds between Pellizotti and Bruseghin. Menchov gets a 34'14.

17:18 CEST   
Riccò passes the 10km to go sign.

17:20 CEST   
Di Luca says that "I tried until the end. I want to thank my team and also all the people who supported me from Palermo to here."

17:22 CEST   
Despite not having his best day, Van den Broeck pushed Di Luca from seventh overall, finishing almost a minute ahead of the Italian.

17:23 CEST   
Sella finishes with a big smile. He had only 12 seconds over Menchov, but lost only six. He comes in 34'20, Menchov had 34'14

17:24 CEST   
Pellizotti comes in with a 34'15. Now we have to wait for Bruseghin. Will the wait be 3'05? Then they would be tied.

17:25 CEST   
Bruseghin is inside the last kilometre.

17:26 CEST   
Bruseghin gives it all. 33'45 now. Less than half a km to go.

17:26 CEST   
It's awfully close, as Pellizotti looks on, as well as Bruseghin's parents!

17:27 CEST   
He has to get less than 34'20. A couple of hundred metres and he is just above 34'.

17:28 CEST   
Bruseghin does it! 34'18!!! Pellizotti is disappointed as he sees the time and gives a bit of fake smile. Bruseghin is exhausted, so the first interview will have to wait a bit.

17:29 CEST   
Riccò is at the 1300m sign. He will not win the Giro, but will win the young rider classification.

17:30 CEST   
Riccò takes the last turn. He is already over 35min

17:31 CEST   
He gets a 35'17, a minute behind the Pellizotti-Menchov-Sella-Bruseghin group.

17:31 CEST   
But here comes Contador!

17:33 CEST   
Another rider who crosses the line with his arms up like he won a road stage! But he won more, he won the whole Giro. He gets a 33'24.

Felicitaciones Alberto!

17:34 CEST   
Correction on Sella and Menchov. Sella had a 35'20, not 34'20, So in fact he did drop behind Menchov in the overall. Menchov fifth, Sella sixth.

17:39 CEST   
To repeat, Marco Pinotti wins the stage, ahead of team-mate Tony Martin.

Alberto Contador wins the overall, ahead of Riccò and Bruseghin.
Sella took out the mountains classification, while Bennati won the sprints competition.

A memorable Giro d'Italia is ending. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Not much more than a month and it's Tour time!

See you then at Cyclingnews live coverage. Ciao tutti!

Provisional standings

Finish - 28.5 km
1 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team High Road                                  32.45
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Team High Road                                    32.52
3 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                       32.55
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team High Road                                32.58
5 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented By H30    33.07
11 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana                                      33.24
25 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                       34.14
27 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas                                   34.15
28 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre                                      34.18
68 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval                                 35.17
71 Emanuele Sella (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                            35.20
110 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes                                   36.21

Intermediate check 2 - 19.7 km
1 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                       23.08
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Team High Road                                    23.10
3 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team High Road                                       
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team High Road                                23.16
5 Danny Pate (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented By H30               23.19
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana                                       23.28
23 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                       24.04
24 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas                                   24.04
25 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre                                      24.09
66 Emanuele Sella (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                            24.54
68 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval                                 24.54
101 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes                                   25.25
Intermediate check 1 - 10.9 km
1 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff Credit Systems                       13.19
2 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team High Road                                      
3 Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR Brakes                                   13.20
4 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Tinkoff Credit Systems                            
5 Tony Martin (Ger) Team High Road                                    13.25
14 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana                                      13.40
23 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                       13.56
35 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas                                   14.08
40 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre                                      14.13
85 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval                                 14.35
88 Emanuele Sella (Ita) CSF Group Navigare                            14.37
108 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes                                   14.53

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