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Photo ©: Bettini

91st Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2008

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Stage 8 - Saturday, May 17: Rivisondoli - Tivoli, 208km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 16:45 CEST

14:32 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of stage eight. The Corsa Rosa returns to Tivoli, the land were Belgium's Roger De Vlaeminck ruled in 1975.

14:32 CEST   
After an early climb, the Forca d'Acero, the stage descends and hits some hard, unclassified climbs. The last four-thousand metres rise slightly to make for a slow and painful day's end. It is another stage for a punchy rider, like Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) or Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott).

14:33 CEST    107km/101km to go
We currently have a move of five clear with six minutes. Alessandro Spezialetti (LPR Brakes), Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne), Adam Hansen (High Road), Fortunato Baliani (CSF Group Navigare) and Daniele Nardello (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli).

14:34 CEST   
The race started today at 11:53 with 183 riders – four less than yesterday's start. Here is a complete list of the riders who are no longer with the 91st Giro d'Italia.
Stage 1 DNS: Maximiliano Richeze (CSF Group Navigare)
Stage 2 DNS: Igor Astarloa (Team Milram)
Stage 2 DNF: David Zabriskie (Slipstream Chipotle - H30)
Stage 3 DNF: Bradley McGee (Team CSC)
Stage 4 DNF: Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC)
Stage 4 DNF: Dominique Cornu (Silence-Lotto)
Stage 4 DNF: Tom Stubbe (Française des Jeux)
Stage 5 DNS: Nick Nuyens (Cofidis)
Stage 6 DNF: Enrico Poitschke (Team Milram)
Stage 6 DNF: Kevin De Weert (Cofidis)
Stage 6 DNF: Rene Mandri (AG2R La Mondiale)
Stage 7 DNF: Alberto Loddo (Tinkoff Credit Systems)
Stage 7 DNF: Yauheni Hutarovich (Française des Jeux)
Stage 7 DNF: Aitor Galdos (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Stage 7 DNF: Patrick Calcagni (Barloworld)

14:35 CEST   
No attacks stuck until a move of four formed at 10 kilometres into the affairs. Geraint Thomas (Barloworld), Marlon Pérez (Caisse d'Epargne), Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) and Alessandro Bertolini (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) made it clear, holding a 12-second gap for almost 10 kilometres. They were back into the gruppo maglia rosa fold at kilometre 19.

14:36 CEST   
The next successful move went at kilometre 42, with Alessandro Spezialetti (LPR Brakes), Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne), Fortunato Baliani (CSF Group Navigare) and Adam Hansen (High Road). Daniele Nardello (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) counter-attacked to make a move of five, which had 50" by kilometre 48.

The gap jumped to 2'50" by kilometre 77.

Spain's Alberto Contador (Astana)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

14:39 CEST   
Bad luck at kilometre 86, in Sora; Alberto Contador (Astana), Steve Morabito (Astana), Nicolas Hartmann (Cofidis) and Lander Aperribai (Euskaltel-Euskadi) crashed.

Swiss Morabito, professional since 2006, has now retired from the race. The winner of a stage in the 2006 Tour de Suisse is heading home before Team boss, Johan Bruyneel joins the race.

14:41 CEST    120km/88km to go
The gap at kilometre 120, in Tomacella, is at 6'10".

Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

14:54 CEST   
Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) noted at the start of the stage this morning, "I think that someone is at the beach, I was at the beach for ten minutes," he laughed. He was referring to his post-stage comments on Alberto Contador (Astana) yesterday.

He said after the stage, "I am not upset, but Contador was crafty. Was he at the beach before coming her to the Giro? Yes, the Madrid beach! You are not able to go so strong with such short number of days of training." It was unclear if Riccò was making an Operación Puerto reference, but surely the comments gained him yet another enemy in the peloton.

This morning he continued, trying to ease the strong words, "If he is at the sea... I don't know." Wiser and older Leonardo Piepoli was at Riccò's side, looking rather nervous with the comments.

14:56 CEST    133km/75km to go
The last time check was just over six minutes for our five front runners, Alessandro Spezialetti (LPR Brakes), Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne), Adam Hansen (High Road), Fortunato Baliani (CSF Group Navigare) and Daniele Nardello (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli).

The escape has just topped the little climb of Morolo.

15:02 CEST   
The gruppo maglia rosa passes over Morolo with a deficit of 5'50".

15:03 CEST   
Paolo Savoldelli (LPR Brakes) commented on yesterday's stage. "We were planning the attack for Di Luca, and he went," said 'Il Falco.' "The escape was still up the road with some time and so we decided to have Bosisio go for the stage."

15:03 CEST   
Gilberto Simoni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) noted that he was feeling the race in his legs. "I was tired. I did not expect something like that," he stated.

15:05 CEST   
Yesterday, the Giro stage took 13.41% of the TV shares in Italy. It was an exciting stage and we hope you enjoyed watching here, on Cyclingnews.

15:19 CEST    148km/60km to go
We are in Anagni, at the top of another steep little climb. We pulled over the Ferrari to get a time check on the five leaders, who now have just over five minutes in hand.

15:34 CEST    158km/50km to go
The intermediate sprint in Anagni was taken by 'Lucky' Baliani over Nardello and Spezialetti. The group passed the same point, 4'53" later, led by points leader Daniele Bennati (Liquigas).

We are now at 50 kilometres to race. The riders are on a slow incline to Palestina, kilometre 182.9 or 25.1 to go.

Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:43 CEST    168km/40km to go
LPR Brakes ruled the day yesterday with the move by Gabriele Bosisio. Even though 'The Killer' Di Luca was attacking like hell from behind to loosen the other GC contenders, his team-mate was able to succeed with the stage win. Today, Alessandro Spezialetti is representing the grey and green squadra in the escape.

Like Di Luca, Spezialetti is from the Abruzzo region, where yesterday's stage finished and today's stage started. Today's stage ends in Tivoli, part of the Lazio region. The region is home of professional Leonardo Giordani, who is not racing the Giro. Tivoli hosted a stage start last year.

We are at 40 kilometres remaining.

15:44 CEST   
The gap is 3'25" in Colleferro, at -42.3km.

15:58 CEST   
Hansen was born in South Port, Australia, and has been professional since 2003. His first big win came in 2006 in the GP Bradio. Last year, he signed for T-Mobile, which became High Road over the winter. His 2008 year started off with a bang thanks to the national time trial title on January 10. Since then, he finished second to his team-mate in the Hel van het Mergelland. For more on Hansen read The disbelieving champion.

16:03 CEST    178km/30km to go
Remember it was Fortunato Baliani (CSF Group Navigare) who was in the move yesterday, helping team-mate Sella? He is back at it again today. 'Lucky' has been a professional since 1998, turning professional with Kross Selle Italia. He won the GP Camaiore in 2007 and finished second in the Giro del Trentino stage four to Peio Terme this year.

The gap is an even two minutes to the gruppo being led by Quick Step and Saunier Duval.

16:05 CEST    183.1km/24.9km to go
Kid Contador looks okay following his fall. We will bring up updates on the 2007 Tour de France winner as we know them.

16:08 CEST   
The peloton is lined out under the muscle of Iker Camaño (Saunier Duval-Scott). This five-man move is going to be smashed like a grape.

Are you hungry?

16:11 CEST   
If you are in the area you need to try spaghetti cacio e pepe. It is a Romano dish that very simple, yet very delicious. It involves classic spaghetti with cheese and black pepper. No, this is not made with the dry pasta you get at the supermarket, it is made with the fresh stuff. Buon appetito!

16:12 CEST   
Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) is winning! Italian television Rai is running a contest for how fast a rider can sign 30 autographed post cards. He holds the current record over Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) and Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre).

16:13 CEST   
We had to use the wipers on the Ferrari a few time today. There has been some light rain, but it is now dry.

16:16 CEST    193.5km/14.5km to go
The escape is on a little descent now. The gap is near one minute.

16:21 CEST    196km/12km to go
Hansen launches a solo move.

16:22 CEST    198km/10km to go
He has near 20" on the other four. This was a smart move because the peloton is taking down the original escape.

16:22 CEST   
In fact, it is now only Hansen in the lead. He has 36".

16:23 CEST   
The Australian of Team High Road is in the drops. He is hammering hard with 7.8km to go. His mom, at 10 years old, gave him his first bike (Giant this one he is using today).

16:25 CEST   
CSF is moving to the front of the gruppo. The finish in Tivoli, used often for the Tirreno-Adriatico, is one for a sprinter, but not a pure sprinter. We have seen Freire and Zabel win here in the past.

Astana is protecting Contador by moving him to the front.

16:26 CEST    203km/5km to go
33" for the lone Aussie on the lam.

16:26 CEST   
Damien Monier (Cofidis) is spit out the back of the gruppo maglia rosa.

16:27 CEST   
Antonio Colom (Astana) is leading the charge.

16:27 CEST   
Damien Monier (Cofidis) actually hit a round about with Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner).

16:29 CEST   
Colom and Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) are pushing the revs in to the red.

Di Luca is at the back of the bus. He is pretty far back in the mix.

16:30 CEST   
Hansen is going to lose time on this slight rise here. The last five kilometres rise some 160m.

16:30 CEST    205km/3km to go
Hansen is caught with less than 3km remaining.

16:31 CEST   
Tiziano Dall'Antonia (CSF Group Navigare) blasts out of the pack.

16:31 CEST   
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott) leads with Christian Pfannberger (Barloworld) on his back.

16:31 CEST    206.5km/1.5km to go
1500 metres to go.

16:32 CEST   
Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) is there. He could go for the maglia rosa and stage win.

16:32 CEST    207km/1km to go
Visconti is drifting back.

16:32 CEST   
Frantisek Rabon (High Road) hits out.

16:32 CEST   
Rabon started his charge right before the final 1000m.

16:33 CEST   
Piepoli still leads the race. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (CSF Group Navigare) was caught.

16:33 CEST   
Tiziano Dall'Antonia (CSF Group Navigare) was caught near 1500m remaining.

16:33 CEST   
-400m Piepoli leads.

16:34 CEST   
Di Luca takes over with Rebellin in tow.,

16:34 CEST   
Riccò hits out with Bettini chasing.

He gets it. Bettini second. Rebellin 3rd.

16:41 CEST   
Visconti keeps the pink jersey.

16:42 CEST   
Another great win by Ricky Riccò.

16:42 CEST   
Please check back for complete reporting. Ciao!

Provisional results

1 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step
3 David Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) LPR Brakes
General classification after stage 8
1 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step
2 Matthias Russ (Ger) Gerolsteiner
3 Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR Brakes
4 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes

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