Giro d'Italia 2009

May 9-31, 2009, Lido di Venezia, Italy, Road - GT

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Cycling News
  1. 14:01:00 CEST

    Ciao! Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of stage seven of the centennial Giro d'Italia, Innsbruck, Austria, to Chiavenna, Italy.

    Today's stage is 244 kilometres, but the difficulties could come from the decent to Chiavenna and the wet conditions. The weather turns dismal heading towards St Moritz, near the GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna) of Passo Maloja.

    Fortunately there is not snow at the top (where it is around 5°C), but the mountainsides is covered with it. The light rain will make the descent off of Maloja dangerous. The first part is fast and quick, and it becomes gentler towards the bottom.
  2. 14:02:00 CEST

    An escape of four – Bartosz Huzarski (ISD), Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Vladimir Isaichev (Xacobeo Galicia) – formed immediately after the start. The four gained a gap of 9:14 by kilometre 24.
  3. 119km remaining from 244km

    14:06:00 CEST

    The four are working well, Sergey Klimov (Katusha) leads. Mauro Facci (Quick Step) is chewing on some food (smart man, keeping fuelled for the day).
  4. 14:08:00 CEST

    This day will make the classification men nervous, the wet roads could spell disaster for their hopes if they are inattentive.
  5. 14:09:00 CEST

    The Giro d'Italia has a historic field taking part in this year's event. We looked back at 50 facts you might not, but should, know about this fantastic event's rich history. Have a look.
  6. 14:11:00 CEST

    Astana is riding in slightly modified kits today. The "sun" logo and most of the sponsor names have been dramatically lightened on the jerseys, but the colours have remained the same.

    "The sponsors are still there, but much lighter, except for Trek, Nike and KazMunaiGaz, who paid," team spokesman Philippe Maertens told Cyclingnews.

    The team has experienced difficulties with payments from its sponsors, and riders and staff are behind in receiving payments. The UCI threatened to suspend the team if payments are not made by May 31.
  7. 14:11:00 CEST

    The four have 7:10 in hand.
  8. 14:15:00 CEST

    Team Garmin is working hard. Maybe they are thinking of Farrar for today's stage?
  9. 14:17:00 CEST

    Today's escape started from the gun, just outside of Innsbruck. Vladimir Isaichev (Xacobeo Galicia) lit the fire and was followed by his new friends, Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Bartosz Huzarski (ISD) and Sergey Klimov (Katusha).
  10. 136km remaining from 244km

    14:18:00 CEST

    Facci leads the other three escapees with 108km remaining. They are on a light climb, which continues to St. Moritz.
  11. 14:21:00 CEST

    We see David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) at the front with Markus Fothen (Milram). They are racing under grey and dry skies, but closer to St. Moritz there will be a cold shower waiting.
  12. 137km remaining from 244km

    14:25:00 CEST

    The time gap of the front four seems to be near six minutes, though my Russian watch seems to be failing.
  13. 141km remaining from 244km

    14:37:00 CEST

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) had a hard time yesterday, losing around 38 seconds in the final four kilometres of the stage won by Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni).

    " That was the craziest last 30k I've ever seen. Long, fast decent at 80k (50pmh) plus then a tight circuit. At one point today, we reached 110kph. That's almost 70 mph. CRAZY!," he said yesterday on his Twitter.

    "Tomorrow [today - ed.] is the same kind of finish. It's bike racing, not Moto GP."
  14. 141km remaining from 244km

    14:38:00 CEST

    Jesús Del Nero (Fuji-Servetto) abandons the race.
  15. 14:39:00 CEST

    Thanks to everyone for writing e-mails and sending messages on our forums!
  16. 144km remaining from 244km

    14:41:00 CEST

    There are 100km to go for the four escapees: Bartosz Huzarski (ISD), Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Vladimir Isaichev (Xacobeo Galicia). They are near Ardez. There are about 60km to go to the top of the mountain.
  17. 14:43:00 CEST

    The stage is not so hard today, but the difficulties will come from the decent," said Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni).

    "This is a very difficult giro and every stage has to be taken with attention," said Ivan Basso (Liquigas), 2006 winner. Basso has improved a lot on his descending skills, thankfully.
  18. 14:44:00 CEST

    The gap is under five minutes, 4:30.
  19. 14:50:00 CEST

    Ah, the rain starts to come down again.
  20. 14:53:00 CEST

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) has pink shorts and top, but black leg warmers. His shoe covers, helmet and sunglasses are also pink! None of it will change the greyness of this Friday in Switzerland.
  21. 148km remaining from 244km

    14:55:00 CEST

    We have passed 148 kilometres of racing, and the gap of the escape is 4:18.
  22. 14:56:00 CEST

    Lance Armstrong is set to put his ambitions aside for Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer following what the seven-time Tour de France winner thinks will be a maglia rosa ride in the Cinque Terre time trial next Thursday in the Giro d'Italia.

    "A lot will depend on what happens with him [Leipheimer]," Armstrong told Cyclingnews prior to the start of the sixth day of racing. "If he is in pink after that time trial then my ambitions will have to be put aside. There is no point in me going for a stage win if he is in the lead, we have to support that." Have a read of our news.
  23. 15:02:00 CEST

    "Chiavenna continues the international flavour for the Giro. This Swiss stage is for sprinters, we are only in the seventh day and so it is too early for long escapes to succeed. We will see the leader's team work to protect the maglia rosa," Diquigiovanni team manager Gianni Savio told Cyclingnews before the centennial Giro d'Italia.

    "We are in Valtellina area, known for its Bresaola meats and Pizzocheri pasta. Enjoy!"

    There are three countries covered in this stage: 100km in Austria, 120km in Switzerland and then the final 15km back in Italy.
  24. 15:04:00 CEST

    Savio was pleased with his team's win yesterday. Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) held back a charging peloton to win solo in Mayrhofen, Austria.

    "Michele is a very nice guy, he really deserves this win on both human and sporting points of view."
  25. 162km remaining from 244km

    15:05:00 CEST

    The gap is now down to 3:10 four our four leaders after 4h04 of racing.
  26. 15:07:00 CEST

    Facci is the only Italian of the four. Bartosz Huzarski (ISD) is Polish, and Vladimir Isaichev (Xacobeo Galicia) and Sergey Klimov (Katusha) are Russians.
  27. 162.4km remaining from 244km

    15:10:00 CEST

    Danny Pate (Garmin-Slipstream) and David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) pull the peloton along in chase of our four escapees. There are 81.6km to race for the four.
  28. 15:11:00 CEST

    Garmin gets help from Columbia.
  29. 15:12:00 CEST

    Winner of stage seven last year, LPR's Gabriele Bosisio hometown of Lecco is just down at the other end of Lake Como/Lecco from the finish. His job is to keep Di Luca safe today.
  30. 15:18:00 CEST

    Bartosz Huzarski (ISD) takes some food from his team director at the car. He is 28 minutes down in the classification.

    He and his three partners have just over two minutes, heading to the gates of St. Moritz. We believe Lance Armstrong (Astana) used to have a house here.
  31. 15:19:00 CEST

    David Millar, Christian Vande Velde and Ryder Hesjedal (and maybe Dan Pate) came here to train last year after the Giro d'Italia.
  32. 169km remaining from 244km

    15:19:00 CEST

    2:48 is the gap at 75km to race.
  33. 15:20:00 CEST

    The rain has turned off, for now.
  34. 15:26:00 CEST

    The sun shines, but the riders in the peloton are putting on their gloves and capes. They are preparing for what will be cold, wet and dangerous descent.

    2:05 is the gap to the four men.
  35. 15:42:00 CEST

    Katusha is now near the front. It worked for Swift and Pozzato yesterday, Pozzato took fourth.
  36. 15:43:00 CEST

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) is in the heart of the gruppo with a black rain cap covering his mellow Astana jersey. The colours of the sponsor are lightened due to the payment problems the team is having.
  37. 15:46:00 CEST

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) is calm and collected. He will aim to get down the descent in the front group and sprint for his first stage win in this Giro d'Italia. Last year, he won two stages. His biggest rival is Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), winner of two stages so far this year.
  38. 15:48:00 CEST

    It is cold at the top of this climb, but most of the escapees are without arm and leg warmers. Back in the pack, it is a different story: rain capes, arm warmers and full-fingered gloves are everywhere.

    The front four will be working harder and producing more heat to keep them warm.
  39. 15:49:00 CEST

    We have a competition today on our forum. Have a look.
  40. 188km remaining from 244km

    15:53:00 CEST

    The four – Bartosz Huzarski (ISD), Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Vladimir Isaichev (Xacobeo Galicia) – have 2:10 over the chase. They are near the top of the Passo Maloja.

    They are near St. Moritz, a town of near 20,000 inhabitants.
  41. 15:53:00 CEST

    In fact, the escapees enter St. Moritz now. They approach the TV Sprint.
  42. 15:54:00 CEST

    The points go to the sprinters' maglia ciclamino.
  43. 190.7km remaining from 244km

    15:55:00 CEST

    Mauro Facci (Quick Step) takes the points over Bartosz Huzarski (ISD) and Sergey Klimov (Katusha).
  44. 15:57:00 CEST

    The peloton comes through the sprint at 1:50.
  45. 15:57:00 CEST

    We got a look at Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream). The Brit believes his improvement on the climbs is thanks to specific training and weight loss.

    "I am enjoying it," Wiggins told Cyclingnews of his Giro d'Italia ride, despite losing team leader Christian Vande Velde in a crash on day three.

    "I was really looking forward to riding with him and being with him as long as possible on the climbs so I could give him confidence heading towards the Tour de France. However, I can do my own thing and race for myself, so it has been enjoyable in that sense."
  46. 16:08:00 CEST

    Due to weather conditions, the time for the general classification will be taken at three kilometres remaining. This will allow the overall favourites to sit back and relax while the sprinters rev it up for a sprint win.

    We get a look at Robert Hunter (Barloworld), he has the skills to pull off a fast descent and a superb sprint. A win for him today? Keep those e-mails coming.
  47. 16:09:00 CEST

    We are over five hours of racing now. The escapees are near the top of the passo. The last four km of uphill are 'light'.
  48. 16:10:00 CEST

    18 seconds near the top of the passo.
  49. 16:14:00 CEST

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) is at the front of the group for the descent of Maloja.
  50. 16:16:00 CEST

    Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) leads Armstrong near the top of the Passo Maloja GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna).
  51. 16:17:00 CEST

    The four are still free, but barely. They have about 15 seconds.
  52. 16:17:00 CEST

    Mauro Facci (Quick Step) keeps kicking while the other three wave the white flag of surrender. Facci is just a few metre away from the GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna).
  53. 16:18:00 CEST

    Facci is caught, it is now gruppo compatto ('all together').
  54. 16:19:00 CEST

    Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad), Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni) and many of the favourites move to the front.
  55. 16:19:00 CEST

    We are ready for a crazy descent!
  56. 207.7km remaining from 244km

    16:20:00 CEST

    David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), we think, leads the gruppo over the top of Maloja.
  57. 16:21:00 CEST

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni), the oldest Giro d'Italia rider here, attacks on the very wet descent.
  58. 16:22:00 CEST

    A lot of riders are light-footing it down this pass.
  59. 16:24:00 CEST

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) looks good and will draw encouragement from Scarponi's win yesterday. If anything, he has a safer ride on his own than with the gruppo. We think he has a 30 seconds' advantage.
  60. 212km remaining from 244km

    16:25:00 CEST

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) led the group over the pass, not Zabriskie. Behind him were Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas).

    32km to ride.
  61. 16:26:00 CEST

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) keeps the hammer down. He is well covered with blue arm and leg warmers.

    The Italian is near the town of Casaccia.
  62. 16:27:00 CEST

    The rain keeps coming down. The good news is that everyone seems safe, and we haven't seen any crashes (yet).
  63. 16:28:00 CEST

    Marco Pinotti (Columbia-Highroad) suffers a front puncture.

    53 seconds for Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) after six km of descent.
  64. 16:29:00 CEST

    Liquigas is riding smart. The Italian team is up front for its captain, Ivan Basso.

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) is traveling at 65km/h... MotoGP?
  65. 16:31:00 CEST

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) is doing well, he has 40" but he will need more to hold off the hungry sprinters. The sprinters have hungry eyes.
  66. 218km remaining from 244km

    16:33:00 CEST

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) is racking himself on the bike's top tube in an attempt to get a more aerodynamic position.
  67. 219km remaining from 244km

    16:33:00 CEST

    With 25km to go, Bertolini has 1:03.
  68. 16:35:00 CEST

    The 37-year-old from Trentino lightens his load by handing his rain cape to the camera motor bike. He now has his forearms on the tops of the bars, hands (in full black gloves) relaxed.
  69. 16:36:00 CEST

    Remember, it was Bertolini who gave Diquigiovanni its win in last year's Giro. It was on a day of similar conditions, if I recall correctly.
  70. 16:36:00 CEST

    A Katusha rider jams out of the front of the peloton.
  71. 16:37:00 CEST

    It is Pavel Brutt (Katusha). He has gained a few seconds over the gruppo.
  72. 16:37:00 CEST

    The descent lightens up now, not so steep.
  73. 224km remaining from 244km

    16:38:00 CEST

    Bertolini is sitting on his top tube again.
  74. 224km remaining from 244km

    16:39:00 CEST

    The group of Di Luca passes under the 20km barrier 48" behind Bertolini.
  75. 16:39:00 CEST

    He will enter Italia soon.
  76. 224km remaining from 244km

    16:40:00 CEST

    Sorry, He has 48" on Brutt and 55" on the gruppo.
  77. 16:40:00 CEST

    Cavendish pops out of the gruppo, he has a few metres advantage.

    We see Hunter too.
  78. 16:41:00 CEST

    Hunter joins Brutt in the chase of Bertolini.
  79. 16:42:00 CEST

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) leads.

    Robert Hunter (Barloworld) and Pavel Brutt (Katusha) chase at near 40".

    Alberto Fernández De La Puebla (Fuji-Servetto) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad), we think, are off on their own.
  80. 229km remaining from 244km

    16:42:00 CEST

    27" at 15km to go.
  81. 16:42:00 CEST

    Bertolini is not going to make it to the finish with that advantage.
  82. 16:43:00 CEST

    He enters Italy. The Giro is back in its homeland.
  83. 16:43:00 CEST

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) leads.

    Robert Hunter (Barloworld), Pavel Brutt (Katusha), Alberto Fernández De La Puebla (Fuji-Servetto) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) have joined forces.
  84. 232km remaining from 244km

    16:45:00 CEST

    Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni), Davide Viganò (Fuji-Servetto), Robert Hunter (Barloworld), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) and Pavel Brutt (Katusha) make five.

    The five have 26" at 12km.

    This move could make it.
  85. 16:46:00 CEST

    An ISD rider flies the coop.
  86. 16:47:00 CEST

    It is not Visconti, but Andriy Grivko (ISD).
  87. 234km remaining from 244km

    16:47:00 CEST

    10km to go for the five riders.
  88. 16:47:00 CEST

    Bertolini will be too tired to sprint, he has to try to counter this escape.
  89. 234km remaining from 244km

    16:48:00 CEST

    The group passes 10km 32" later.

    Andriy Grivko (ISD) is 21" back from the five.
  90. 16:50:00 CEST

    There are there sprinters in this move of five, one is Viganò, who lives an hour away from the finish. The others are Hunter and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad).
  91. 16:50:00 CEST

    The riders are travelling at 71km/h.
  92. 16:50:00 CEST

    Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), in the maglia ciclamino, prepares for the sprint.
  93. 16:51:00 CEST

    The riders pass the city of Borgonuovo.
  94. 238km remaining from 244km

    16:51:00 CEST

    Six kilometres to go for the five riders. Who will win?
  95. 16:52:00 CEST

    They are working in a counter-clockwise motion, taking pulls and flying towards the finish.
  96. 239km remaining from 244km

    16:52:00 CEST

    Andriy Grivko (ISD) is 30 seconds back at 5km to go.
  97. 240km remaining from 244km

    16:53:00 CEST

    4km to go for the five: Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni), Davide Viganò (Fuji-Servetto), Robert Hunter (Barloworld), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) and Pavel Brutt (Katusha).

    Will Boasson Hagen pull off another win, like Gent-Wevelgem?
  98. 16:54:00 CEST

    32" for Andriy Grivko (ISD) and 43" for the gruppomaglia rosa at 4km to go.

    The front five pass 3km to go.
  99. 16:54:00 CEST

    Who is going to attack out of the five?
  100. 242km remaining from 244km

    16:55:00 CEST

    2km to go for the men.
  101. 16:55:00 CEST

    Davide Viganò (Fuji-Servetto) and Hunter sit on the back of the move.
  102. 242.5km remaining from 244km

    16:55:00 CEST

    Vigano is on the front now
  103. 16:56:00 CEST

    The have 40" on the peloton.
  104. 16:56:00 CEST

    Hunter is on the front, he looks back.
  105. 16:56:00 CEST

    Andriy Grivko (ISD) nears the five.
  106. 243km remaining from 244km

    16:56:00 CEST

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) leads onto the last km.
  107. 16:57:00 CEST

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad), Vigano, Bertolini...
  108. 16:57:00 CEST

    Bertolini fires at 800m to go.
  109. 16:57:00 CEST

    He has a good gap.
  110. 16:57:00 CEST

    They nail him back.
  111. 16:57:00 CEST

    Brutt did the chase.
  112. 16:57:00 CEST

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) leads it out, he gets a gap.
  113. 16:58:00 CEST

    He wins over Robert Hunter (Barloworld)!
  114. 16:58:00 CEST

    Goss wins the bunch sprint.
  115. 16:59:00 CEST

    Vigano did the chase of the Norwegian, but he could not pull him back.
  116. 17:03:00 CEST

    Remember, the classification was taken at 3km to go.
  117. 17:05:00 CEST

    Grivko closed at 31", in sixth.
  118. 17:05:00 CEST

    Thanks for joining us on our live coverage today! Please come back tomorrow for the stage to Bergamo. Ciao!
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