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92nd Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 9-31, 2009

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Stage 6 - Thursday, May 14: Bressanone/Brixen - Mayrhofen (Aut), 248km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Susan Westemeyer and Laura Weislo

21:01 CEST   
The sixth stage has the look and length of a Classic, and will cause some problems for anyone who doesn't take enough sustenance on board or is slightly off form. The Gerlospass is hard enough to break plenty of legs, although some riders will get back up to the front on the long run-in.

13:24 CEST   
Welcome back to the Tour of Austria -- oops, the Giro d'Italia! The Giro is paying a visit to its northern neighbour today and tomorrow, and has been in Austria since km 71.2. Today's stage features the expected ups-and-downs, with two ranked climbs in the last half of the race.

13:29 CEST    105km/143km to go
We have a break group today, but for a change, not one that formed immediately. Things stayed more or less together until km 55. Guillame Bonnafond (AG2R La Mondiale), Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d'Epargne), Oscar Gatto (ISD), Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) and Kasper Klostergaard (Saxo Bank) have now built up a lead of 6:52 minutes.

13:34 CEST   
That means that Scarponi is now the "virtual" Giro leader. He was only 6:19 down going into today's stage.

13:37 CEST   
Will the break group make it to the end today? Will Scarponi be not only the virtual leader but the real leader as well? Or will they get caught? We sure don't know, but we bet you do! We're so sure of that that we are offering you a super prize if you can name the three top finishers today.

It's a Columbia jersey, signed by all the team's Giro riders: pink jersey wearer Mark Cavendish, pink jersey wearer Thomas Lövkvist, and former double World Champion Michael Rogers, plus the other six of course!

All you have to do is give us the top three, in the proper order of course, right here in
our forum.

Oh yes, and the deadline is 20 km to go!

13:41 CEST   
Today's stage is the second-longest of the Giro, at 248 km. It is also almost twice as long as yesterday's stage, which was a mere 125 km.

13:44 CEST   
As so often happens, we are having a little trouble finding out exactly what is going on out there... But we will do our best and keep you informed!

13:47 CEST   
If, like us, you can't pick a winner, you can still talk about the stage, the race or just about anything cycling related at the Cyclingnews forum

13:52 CEST   
194 riders took off this morning at 10:48. Now that's an early start! So far four riders have had to drop out: Matthias Russ (Milram), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin), Francisco Perez Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and David Garcia Da Pena (Xacobeo).

13:54 CEST    135km/113km to go
The gap is holding steady at 6:42. The leaders are now on their way up the Felbertauern.

13:59 CEST   
There is only one Austrian in the Giro this year, and it is Milram's Thomas Rohregger. "Tommy" is thrilled to be team captain and coming into his homeland in his first even Grand Tour. Not only that, but this is his home region and the finish in Mayrhofen is not that far from his home.

14:03 CEST    137km/111km to go
The gap is growing, it is up to exactly seven minutes now!

14:07 CEST   
Let's take a look at our leaders today. Danilo Di Luca of LPR is the overall leader, but Thomas Lövkvist of Columbia is only five seconds back. Alessandro Petacchi (LPR) is wearing the points jersey, leading by two points over Di Luca. And whose name pops up atop the mountains classification list, but Di Luca! Hmm, we think we see a pattern here....

14:10 CEST   
Continuing on with the jerseys, Lövkvist gave up the leader's jersey but can console himself with the young rider's jersey, where he has a 2:44 lead over Quick Step's Kevin Seeldrayers. And the TV Classification is most properly led by TV – Thomas Voeckler of Bbox Bouygues Telecom.

14:13 CEST   
Most combative is the aforementioned Petacchi, only one point ahead of Di Luca and Garmin's Tyler Farrar. He also heads up the Azzurri d'Italia classification, and Mauro Facci of Quick Step is at the head of the Trofeo Fuga Cervelo ranking.

14:15 CEST    145km/103km to go
With still two km to go to the top of the Felbertauern, the gap has grown to 7:42.

14:18 CEST   
Two teams have the titles in the three team rankings. LPR leads in Trofeo Super Team and Fair Play, while Astana is ahead as Fast Team.

14:22 CEST   
The rumour was that Astana was going to appear in newly-designed jerseys either today or tomorrow. Well, looks like we will have to wait until tomorrow for the fashion show.

14:25 CEST   
Where are these five riders in the break group ranked in the overall, you ask? We just happen to know. Scarponi is the best-placed of the group, 38th, and 6:19 down, giving him the virtual leader's jersey. The rest are pretty far down: Bonnafond 82nd, 22:19; Kiryienka 99th, 27:37; Gatto, 118th, 37:28, and Klostergaard is 176th, at 46:41.

14:26 CEST    147km/101km to go
The gap has grown again! It is now up to eight minutes. Do you think the group will come through?

14:32 CEST   
Some people were surprised when Lance Armstrong dropped off yesterday and ended up finishing nearly three minutes down. But Astana teammate Chris Horner isn't worried. "He looks fantastic and he's coming into good form considering his future objectives. He has to stay steady, smooth and not kill himself. He has to keep an eye out for the Tour."

14:38 CEST   
Let's take a look at those in today's escape group. Michele Scarponi is 29 years old, and won the Tirreno-Adriatico this year. Since turning pro in 2002, he has ridden for Acqua & Sapone, Domina Vacanze, Liberty Seguros, Acqua & Sapone again, and now Serramementi PVC Diquigiovanni. He sat out a year on suspension for his involvement in Operación Puerto.

14:43 CEST   
It will no doubt not surprise you to learn that the break continues to pull away, and their lead is now 8:24.

14:48 CEST   
Guillaume Bonnafond is a 21-year-old first year pro. The young Frenchman rides for AG2R. He has put in a lot of races so far this season most recently finishing 32nd overall in the Tour de Romandie.

14:50 CEST   
Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d'Epargne), 27 years old, from Belarus. He turned pro in 2006 and rode for Tinkoff in 2007-2008. He likes the Giro, having won the 19th stage here last year.

14:52 CEST    177km/71km to go
We've got Oscar the Cat in the break today. Oscar Gatto, 24, came from Team Gerolsteiner to ISD this season. He first rode the Giro in 2007 had the dubious honour of being the last rider on GC. He improved to 112th last year.

14:57 CEST    180km/68km to go
You may recall Kiryienka featuring in a breakaway in last year's Giro on stage seven. He was part of a huge breakaway, and was only beaten to the line by Gabriele Bosisio of LPR Brakes.

14:59 CEST   
Before he went pro on the road, Kiryienka was quite a good track rider. Many of the Eastern European riders get their start on the track. Kiryienka has nabbed three World Cup gold medals and a bronze in the points race world championships in 2006.

15:00 CEST   
Want to know what a really happy Vasil Kiryienka looks like? How about this smiling mug after he won stage 19 of last year's Giro?

15:02 CEST   
To recap, we have five riders in a break with now 5:45 and losing time on the peloton. Guillame Bonnafond (AG2R La Mondiale), Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d'Epargne), Oscar Gatto (ISD), Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) and Kasper Klostergaard (Saxo Bank) make up this group.

15:03 CEST   
Will they stay away? Who will win? Take a guess and win - a signed jersey from Team Columbia-Highroad! Do it on our forum! All you have to do is give us the top three on today's stage in the proper order of course, right here in
our forum.

15:05 CEST   
Ever wonder why the Giro d'Italia has so many classifications and what exactly they all mean? Check out this explanation from last year.

15:09 CEST   
It's a beautiful day in Austria and the peloton is still easing along taking in the bright sunshine. They're not chasing hard at all and are in fact a big block spread across the road.

15:11 CEST   
Our breakaway is still working well together, and we see Kasper Klostergaard taking a pull. The Saxo Bank rider will have his 26th birthday during this Giro d'Italia, so he'll be looking for an early present today!

15:13 CEST   
We can confirm that the Astana team is still wearing the same old kits, but we should be seeing the new look soon - and can we say, "thank the lord"?? Not that they aren't easy to spot, but turquoise and yellow are just not too great colours that go great together.

15:15 CEST   
Scarponi takes a monster pull on the front of the break that leaves Gatto suffering at the back shaking his head. They're starting to show a few cracks in the armor now.

15:17 CEST   
The Acqua e Sapone team has taking up the work and have brought the gap down to 4:40 now. We expect this will fall rather quickly as our five escapees start up the final classified climb of the day.

15:18 CEST   
Bah! Scarponi is at it again and Gatto, Klostergaard and Bonnafond are getting dropped. Only Kiryienka can hang onto his wheel!

15:20 CEST   
Scarponi's efforts are really distancing the three chasers now, but Kiryienka is sitting on calmly. Behind in the group of our pink jersey the pace has really started to heat up as the snow-capped alps loom.

15:22 CEST   
Scarponi has been doing all of the work and now finally waggles his elbow to ask Kiryienka to pull through. They've put 18 seconds into the chasing trio, while the peloton continues to close the gap to both groups.

The maglia rosa, Danilo Di Luca is riding with ease past a lovely green field with ponies grazing.

15:26 CEST    198km/50km to go
By the looks of the effort in our break, we're guessing that they're on the climb to Hochkrimml. The peloton is back in the town of Krimml at kilometre 195... let's do some quick math and guess with 4:23 they're 3km up the road.

15:27 CEST   
The time time time is ticking ticking ticking for you to enter to win our contest to guess the top three finishers on the stage!

Take a guess and win - a signed jersey from Team Columbia-Highroad! Do it on our forum! All you have to do is give us the top three on today's stage in the proper order of course, right here in
our forum.

15:28 CEST   
Anthrax anyone? "Time! Got the time tick, tick, tickin' in my head. Time Ticking in my head. Ticking in my head. Ticking in my head...."

15:30 CEST   
If you knew the song, it'd be firmly embedded in your consciousness by now.... OK, back to bike racing and off the punk metal bands! The peloton is on the climb now.

15:32 CEST   
The situation remains the same for now: Scarponi and Kiryienka are leading the race, with Zapatero... erm... Scarponi (we must stop calling him that!) leading and pulling out 38 seconds on the remainder of the break - Klostergaard, Bonnafond and Gatto.

15:34 CEST   
Oh hooray! We have an attack from Stefano Garzelli!

15:35 CEST   
Garzelli lost time on yesterday's stage and is going away in hopes of recapturing some of those lost minutes. He's 6:41 down in the overall now - so the LPR Brakes team won't be too eager to chase. But he's also a dangerous rider and can't be given too much leash.

15:36 CEST   
To be fair to Scarponi, he's not the only one who's served a doping suspension and returned. We have 'Birillo' Basso and even Garzelli, who tested positive a few years ago for a masking agent, returning to the peloton. Why, even our maglia rosa has served his time... and our ciclamino jersey, too.

15:37 CEST   
We've heard from some of our readers that the Persistence of Time song was not an Anthrax original, but actually a cover of a Joe Jackson song. Well, we like the Anthrax version way better, sorry!

15:39 CEST   
Garzelli is wearing bib number 1 in the Giro. That's not because he's defending champ - Alberto Contador is, but he's not racing. The organisers decided to put the team in alphabetical order. He's opened up 40" on the peloton.

15:41 CEST   
To recap: we're on the big climb of the day the Hochkrimml. We have two leaders: Scarponi and Kiryienka. Behind them, three chasers at 50 seconds: Klostergaard, Bonnafond and Gatto. Garzelli is chasing a few minutes later ahead of the group of our maglia rosa.

15:42 CEST    202km/46km to go
Scarponi is closing in on the top of this climb and distancing Kiryienka, who we now are reminded, is the 2008 points race world champ. Still a factor on both the boards and the road!

15:44 CEST    203km/45km to go
Just a few hundred metres to the top and it's clear Scarponi is going to take the points here. He's not getting any grief from Kiryienka who is going to be happy to catch back on during the descent.

15:45 CEST   
Meanwhile, Garzelli is motoring along this beautiful mountain road not taking even a brief moment to enjoy the lovely scenery of majestic snow covered mountains and plunging valleys.

15:47 CEST   
Don't forget! The kilometres are ticking down, and our contest ends with 20km to go! Take a guess and win - a signed jersey from Team Columbia-Highroad! Do it on our forum! All you have to do is give us the top three on today's stage in the proper order of course, right here in
our forum.

15:48 CEST   
At the top of the climb Garzelli has a fading Klostergaard in his sights. The Saxo Bank rider will be caught by the Italian on the descent, but Gatto and Bonnafond are more than a minute up the road. The leaders are 2:31 in front of Garzelli.

15:49 CEST   
The peloton is now behind led by Rabobank at the top - 4:10 behind our leader. They go through the toll booth on the other side - tossing spare change into the bins? Nope - they get free passage courtesy of RCS Sport.

15:52 CEST   
The descent isn't a straight plunge down to the valley, rather there is a slight flat part and a little rise even before the main part of the descent. It's not too steep, so we're not seeing break-neck speeds.

15:53 CEST   
Luckily we've got sunny skies and dry roads, although the Austrian highways are quite wide and well groomed unlike some of the tiny paths that you might find in some Grand Tour mountain stages. The leaders have plenty of room to negotiate the gentle twists and bends on the way down.

15:55 CEST    213km/35km to go
Our leaders are through the 35km to go mark, and this means only 15kms to go before our contest ends! Make your guesses now!

Go to our forum and enter your top three to win that signed Team Columbia jersey!

15:59 CEST   
Kiryienka and Scarponi are on a flatter part of the descent. Bonnafond is chasing solo just under a minute behind while Gatto is alone behind him. Garzelli and Klostergaard are 3:15 behind, not far ahead of the peloton.

16:01 CEST    218km/30km to go
3:52 now for Garzelli, who is not going to be given any leeway by the peloton today. Klostergaard has rallied and is working with the Italian.

30km to go! Enter your guess for the top three now on our forum.

16:03 CEST   
I highly recommend guessing your top three now, as the next 10km will go quite quickly.

16:04 CEST   
Baaaah - the peloton is in sight of Garzelli, and he finally gives up. The officials order his team car out the gap and they're caught with 30km to go.

16:05 CEST   
Oh no! Kiryienka has a flat!

16:05 CEST   
Not good timing as this part of the descent is not very steep, and indeed he is almost climbing at the moment to get back on terms with Scarponi.

Current situation

  • Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni)
  • Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d'Epargne) at 0.28
  • Guillame Bonnafond (AG2R La Mondiale) and Oscar Gatto (ISD) at 1.32
  • Peloton at 3.42

16:05 CEST   
The Caisse d'Epargne rider has lost 28 seconds on Scarponi.

16:07 CEST   
He's not going crazy to chase back on and even takes time to stretch his leg, which has to be in a lot of pain after riding so hard for so long and then stopping so suddenly.

16:08 CEST    223.2km/24.8km to go
Only 24.8km to go - time is running out to enter your guesses in our forum! Win that jersey!

16:08 CEST   
Scarponi has another 4km of flattish roads before the real descent starts and he free-falls into the valley toward the finish in Mayrhofen.

16:10 CEST   
If Kiryienka is lucky, he may catch Scarponi on the descent. We think he's good on the descents, but it may be for naught as the peloton is being strung out single file by Katusha... 25km to go for the peloton!

16:12 CEST   
The peloton has brought the gap to Scarponi down under three minutes. This will be a tight one! The descent is quite fast and ends at 15km to go, where the bunch will have the advantage over the solo man, his single chaser and the two men behind him.

16:13 CEST    228.3km/19.7km to go
Time's up for our contest!

Kiryienka has closed a few seconds on Scarponi during the descent as Quick Step takes over the chase in the peloton.

16:14 CEST   
The peloton is a sight - single file, the line is hundreds of metres long streaming down the mountain. Katusha has a rider opening a gap at the front as they pass under the 20km to go banner.

16:15 CEST   
Scarponi has a little scare as he locks it up for a millisecond... he quickly recovers. 11 secs for Kiryienka, 1.33 to the chasers and 2.26 to the peloton!

16:16 CEST   
Scarponi is in a deep aero tuck trying to get every advantage out of this descent that he can, but it's about to be a bit more painful for him as the road is going to flatten out shortly. Fortunately, he'll have help from Kiryienka who is nearly back on his wheel.

16:17 CEST    233km/15km to go
Kiryienka is back and just in time! The flat roads mean more effort on the pedals now, and the Belarusian is just the man to help. He immediately comes through and takes a pull as they head through town.

16:18 CEST   
A sign on the road says "Welcome to Austria Lance". What about the other 193 guys? Less than 15km to go for our duo out front. The two chasers, Gatto and Bonnafond, are a minute and change behind.

16:19 CEST   
The average speed today is a rather quick 42.39km/h - thank goodness, because that makes the 248kms go by a lot faster!

16:20 CEST   
The peloton is still single file behind Quick Step who has brought the gap down to 1:52.

16:21 CEST   
The leaders are weaving through the town, and the roads get quite narrow. Fortunately the peloton, being single file, will fit through nicely. Katusha and Quick Step are dominating the lead of the bunch.

16:22 CEST   
In fact, the Katusha men get a little draft from the camera motorcycle... perhaps and Italian TV station hoping to see Pozzato take the win today.

16:22 CEST   
Kiryienka is suffering like Jens Voigt up here, clearly putting huge effort into this breakaway. They'll need every bit of energy to hold off this chase!

16:23 CEST   
Petacchi is nicely positioned behind the Katusha boys and a few Columbia riders... surely Cavendish is there.

16:23 CEST    238km/10km to go
10km tot go and 1:38 for the leaders! The two behind are about to get caught by the bunch.

16:24 CEST   
And there they are - Bonnafond and Gatto wave hello to the bunch and go straight to the back. The pace is hot hot hot!

16:24 CEST   
Oh dear - Kiryienka has cramped and is losing Scarponi's wheel!

16:25 CEST   
Oh, he's done. His left quad has seized up and he's back at the team car giving it a stretch. For a rider from Belarus to succumb to pain means it must be frightfully bad.

16:26 CEST    239.2km/8.8km to go
Less than 9km to go for Scarponi who must go it alone. It's not looking good, as the peloton is tearing up the pavement with a vicious pace.

16:27 CEST   
The peloton knows they have it now, and are busy setting up their trains rather than driving the pace 100% right now. We see the pink jersey battling to stay near the front.

16:28 CEST   
Under 8km to go and Scarponi is in an aero tuck hammering away, but there are much fresher legs in the bunch. Kiryienka is 11 seconds back.

16:28 CEST   
Lövkvist is up near the front with Di Luca. Do we see Astana coming to the fore, too? 1:13 to the leaders! Petacchi is visible.... as is Basso. Everyone who is anyone is up front here.

16:29 CEST    242km/6km to go
1:08 to the bunch! Kiryienka is soldiering on - he's not giving in! 6km to go for Scarponi.

16:30 CEST   
Oh, Kiryienka hurts, and we hurt for him.

Leipheimer is next to the much, much larger Petacchi. Boasson Hagen is ahead of them...

16:30 CEST    243km/5km to go
There's a split in the peloton and we wonder, what happened? Maybe a crash? About 80 guys and then a gap - and the front of the peloton is bunching...

16:31 CEST   
1:08 for the peloton, 24 seconds for Kiryienka as we're inside 5km to go.

16:31 CEST   
Lampre has a man near the front as riders bunny hop onto the sidewalk to move up - 5km to go for the bunch!

16:32 CEST    244km/4km to go
I see the white jersey of Lövkvist up front in this reduced peloton. Perhaps it was the mountain that split the bunch and not a crash. We wonder, did Cavendish make it over? Somehow we doubt it...

16:32 CEST   
Petacchi, however, has been climbing very well this Giro and is right up there. Pozzato is also here.

16:33 CEST   
Less than a minute for Scarponi - where is Kiryienka?

16:33 CEST   
36 seconds only!! Kiryienka has surely been caught.

16:33 CEST   
Kiryienka is soldiering on - he's at 36 seconds, the peloton is 1 minute behind!

16:34 CEST   
Petacchi's men have firm control at the front and this should be a cakewalk for the ciclamino jersey wearer. Di Luca is also staying out of trouble up front.

16:35 CEST   
Scarponi - can he do it? 43 seconds to Vasil, and the peloton just inside 3km tot go. 1km behind Scarponi!

16:35 CEST    246km/2km to go
Well well well! We won't see Petacchi winning the stage, but Scarponi should be able to hold on and take this thing. Will Kiryienka hold on for second? That's a bigger question...

16:36 CEST    246.6km/1.4km to go
Scarponi passes a very narrow traffic island. Fingers crossed for no crashes in the bunch.

16:36 CEST   
Armstrong appears to be in the second peloton.. dropped on the climb.

16:36 CEST    247.2km/0.8 km to go
Less than one km for Scarponi! He's going to do it for sure now!

16:37 CEST   
Kiryienka is caught as Liquigas takes control of the bunch.

16:37 CEST    247.5km/0.5km to go
Scarponi is rocking and rolling to the line, but gets out of the saddle when he sees the Italian flags waving.

16:38 CEST   
He quickly sits back down as his legs scream in complaint. He gets plenty of time to zip up and salute.

16:38 CEST   
Boasson Hagen attacks for the finish!

16:39 CEST   
Boasson Hagen takes second ahead of a Quick Step or Katusha rider..

16:39 CEST   
The peloton is in tatters here...

16:40 CEST   
Armstrong 1:19 behind the winner, losing just over a minute on the pink jersey.

16:41 CEST   
That was Allan Davis for Quick Step in second, ahead of Pozzato and Goss.

16:45 CEST   
Matt Goss was up there, ahead of Philippe Gilbert and Gasparotto... and who else? Mick Rogers. Great effort for Columbia's GC man.

16:46 CEST   
Lövkvist was up there in the same group as Di Luca, and maintains second place.

16:49 CEST   
Another exciting finish for the first week of the Giro d'Italia! Can you believe we're only a week in? Tomorrow is another insanely long day, 244km of mostly false flat with a fun 35km descent to the finish.

16:52 CEST   
Thanks for reading, and thanks to Susan Westemeyer for doing all the hard work on commentating before the television coverage came on!

16:54 CEST   
We'll leave you now as the gruppetto spins its way to the finish still almost 10 minutes in arrears. Arrivederci!

Provisional results

1 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli 
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad  
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step 
4 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha 
5 Matthew Goss (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto 
7 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.  
8 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad   
9 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini 
10 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale

General classification after stage 6

1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini 
2 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad   
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad   
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                                    
6 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas                                                       
7 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team                                           
8 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana  

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