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3rd Giro Della Liguria - 2.3

Italy, February 19-22, 2003

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Stage 4 - February 22: Andora-Savona, 154km

Di Luca stays in blue

Balducci takes final stage in Savona

Danilo Di Luca
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By his own admission, Danilo Di Luca has started his season more slowly than last year, but he is still quite capable of finishing on top of the podium in February. He proved that in the Giro della Liguria, which ended today with a tough 154 km stage between Andora and Savona, won by Sidermec's Gabriele Balducci in a bunch sprint. Di Luca was protected by his teammates, notably Gilberto Simoni, all day, and finished 16th in the stage to claim the final blue jersey.

The crucial stage was yesterday, when Di Luca won the mountain time trial between Varazze and Alpicella del Beigua, giving him a 10" buffer to De Nardi's Giuseppe Palumbo on GC. That was more than enough for him to defend on today's stage.

After 20 km of racing, a break escaped containing nine riders: Ratti (Lampre), Moletta and Ravaioli (Mercatone Uno-Scanavino), Durand (, Khalilov and Rujano (Colombia Selle Italia), Secchiari (Domina Vacanze-Elitron), Bianchi (Tenax) and Fadrny (De Nardi-Colpack). The break stayed away over the next 120 km, gaining a maximum lead of 5'20 at km 76.

Close finish
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The various mountain sprints were split between Khalilov (who was trying to keep teammate Fredy Gonzalez in the mountains jersey) and Moletta. However with 50 km to go, on the tough climb of Manie, Eddy Ratti (Lampre) attacked to cross first. He kept going, gaining a maximum lead of 40" before he was caught with 16 km to go by a group of 30 riders.

Fredy Gonzalez won the final climb (Via alla Strā, km 138) in front of Popovych and Di Luca, the latter always attentive to any attacks from his rivals. With six kilometres to go, the 31 leaders were joined by another 12, thus the final bunch sprint in Savona was contested by 43 riders.

Gabriele Balducci (Sidermec) and Bernard Eisel ( battled it out to the line, with the result requiring a photo finish adjudication. Balducci got it from Eisel, with Ukrainian Vladimir Duma (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) taking third.


Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti


1 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Sidermec                4.04.29 (37.794 km/h)
2 Bernhard Eisel (Aut)
3 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
4 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron
5 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Alessio
6 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Sidermec
7 Janek Tombak (Est) Cofidis
8 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
9 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
10 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
16 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco
19 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre
Final general classification
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco                      3.26.27 (38.197 km/h)
2 Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) De Nardi-Colpack            0.10
3 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Lampre                        0.14
4 Jamie Burrow (GBr) Amore & Vita                    0.26
5 Peter Farazjn (Bel) Cofidis                        0.27
6 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Sidermec                       0.35
7 Timothy Jones (Zim) Amore & Vita                   0.44
8 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Alessio        
9 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet Colnago    0.45
10 Francisco Javier Villa Errandonea (Ita) Lampre    0.50
12 Raimondas Rumsas (Ita) Lampre                     0.59
28 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo  1.53
59 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco                      23.08
Points classification
1 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Sidermec
Mountains classification
1 Freddy Gonzalez (Ita) Colombia-Selle Italia
Young Rider classification
1 Yaroslav Popovych (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago