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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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It's the last road stage of the race today, before ending up tomorrow with a short time trial.
Hello and welcome to Tirreno-Adriatico! We have a 182km long road stage today on a very bumpy course.
We have two riders in the lead right now, Borut Bozic of Vacansoleil and Bert Grabsch of HTC-Highroad. They have a gap of four minutes over the field.
We had 152 riders at the start this morning. Daniel Oss of Liuqigas was not one of them, as he has a fever.
There were lots of attacks early on, but Bozic was the first to be successful. He had built up a five minute lead before the day's first climb.
The points at the day's first climb went this way: Bozic, Malacarne, Devenyns and Stangelij.
Thereafter his lead dropped to two minutes and he was joined by Grabsch.
The speedy Slovenian sprinter and the former World time trial champion have now built up their lead to nearly six minutes. There is some movement behind them: Garmin-Cervelo super sprinter Tyler Farrar has taken off in pursuit, as has Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel. But they have a ways to go to catch up.
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) took the win in yesterday's stage, but it was BMC's Cadel Evans who put on the leader's jersey at the end of the day.
BMC is of course leading the chase of the two leaders, who now have 6:08.
Evans is leading the race, but just barely. He has two seconds over second placed Ivan Basso (Liquigas), with Damiano Cunego (Lampre) third at three seconds. And also lurking are Michele Scarponi (Lampre) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) at five seconds. Some pretty good riders there.....
The two leaders are now on their way up the Macerata -- a short climb, but with a gradient of up to 10 percent.
Was Evans happy to win yesterday? No, not at all. Wait a minute, that's not right, of course he was! And talked about it, too, thanking his team and looking to today's stage, as well as tomorrow's time trial.
This is their first time today up the Macerata, but not their last. They will hit it twice more, including for the finish. And we now understand that it actually has ramps up to 18%.
With 50 km and more than 5 minutes, our two leaders have a chance today. Who would take it, the sprinter or the time trial specialist? And it is an uphill finish, to boot.
Lampre has now jumped into the lead of the chase. Remember, they have two top men only three and five seconds down.
Who is leading the other categories here? Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) is tops in point, and Davide Malacarne (QuickStep) is leading the mountain ranking.
The gap is coming down. That short but nasty climb may prove to be too much for Bozic and Grabsch. With 45 km to go, the gap is now 5:15.
The peloton is now strugglng its way up that climb..... The two leaders have it a bit easier at the moment.
To finish off those classifications, Robert Gesink of Rabobank is best young rider and Liquigas is top team.
Lampre tops out the climb, dragging the peloton behind them.
And the gap continues to come down, at 4:23 and falling rapidly.
Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) is now at the head of the field, which is 3:55 back.
Lampre and BMC have taken control of the chase again, but Pozzato is still to be seen.
The peloton is riding atop a high ridge at the moment.
35.5 km to go, and a gap of 3:57. If you figure one minute for every 10 km -- it doesn't look good for our two leaders. Especially when you consider that neither is really a climber.
The gap had jumped to 4:01 a minute or two ago, but now is at 3:44.
The sun is shining today and looks like a nice and reasonable warm day -- no long sleeves or leggings to be seen.
The leading duo goes up, but their gap comes down: under three and a half minutes now.
31 km and 3:17. And they still have to face the Macerata twice....
The peloton starts up the climb, and a Lotto rider moves ahead of the field. But not for long.
There is no mountain ranking this time, but a mountain sprint!
Bozic and Grabsch make their weary wax up to the top. This doesn't look like a lot of fun to us.
They have crested the top and the peloton is charging after them. Let's see what the gap is now.
A crash in the field on the wa up? Or just a bunch of guys putting a foot down for some other reason, like maybe overcrowding on the narrow road?
It is down to two minutes now!
Liquigas pulling the field along now, right ahead of BMC.
They have been underway for just over four hours now.
Fabian Cancellara is still in the main field -- but at the very end of it.
Two Lampre riders have fallen back, including Cunego. And there must have been a crash in the field. Things are falling apart here!
Cunego's helper is pulling his captain along. The gap, by the way, is now at 1:55.
A Rabo rider attacks out of the field, and look, Robert Gesink catches a ride and zips on by!
Bert Grabsch is starting to look rather grim. But then, he usually does.
The field, which is still rather large, wasn't going to put up with any nonsense by Gesink. End of his attempt.....
An Omega Pharma-Lotto rider took a turn at the head of the group. There is no one dominant team in the lead at the moment.
Gilbert is safely tucked away in the field. Will he try it again today?
The peloton is really zipping along here, strung out more and more. Bozic and Grabsch are on a downhill section, witha gap of only 56 seconds.
Bozic makes a face. He must know he doesn't have a chance ay more. He has even started looking back over his shoulder, always a bad sign.
Only a few seconds now.
And they are caught!
The pace is high and the field is strung out single file: like a piece of spaghetti, one might say.
Ah, look, there near the front: a rider wearig a blue jersey and otherwise red kit: our leader, Cadel Evans!
And up another steep hill they go.....
Seems to have been yet another sprint up the Macerata, with the honours going to a Lampre rider.
It was Niemiec ahead of Scarponi, with Nibali third.
A BMC rider has jumped back to the head of things.
The field has finally declined in size, maybe about 40 riders?
Two red-clad BMC riders at the head of the field now, followed closely by Evans.
Three riders have pulled away slightly, with an Euskaltel rider starting things. But it is short-lived.
A puncure for an Euskaltel rider, as Enrico Gasparatto of Astana takes a turn in the lead.
Peter Velits of HTC-HIghroad attacks and gets away!
Velits is giving it his all, but it looks like it is not enough.
The pace is really very high here. Too many people want to hold things together
We don't see Velits any more so we assume he is caught.
The usual picture of three BMC's at the head of the rapidly moving field.
Ballan is leading the field. A former World Champion leading out for a former World Champion.
He is burned out and falls back. Ballan, that is. Now it is up to George HIncapie to guide his captain in.
BMC has lost control now, with 2.5km to go.
RadioShack and Leopard riders in front now.
Cunego attacks on the closing climb. Two Euskalelts go with him , as does Evans!
Cunego, scarponi -- Scarponi jumps, directly followed by Evans.
About 8 riders in teh front group now, all the big names. A Movistartt rider is the next to attack: Madrazo.
He pulls away on the climb, with 1.1km to go. Behind him, the favourites all eye one another.
Final km, with a nice little lead for the Movistart rider. machado of RadioShakck tries but doesn't succeed.
Scaprono powers his way into the lead, followed by BAsso and Evans.
Scarponi and BAsso pull away, but they are caught.... nearly. Visconti attacks and takes the lead!
Visconti and Evans sptint for the win, Evans pulls away on the steep clilmb to take the win!
An exhausted Evans hangs over his bike and gasps for breath.
What a sprint, on this brutal uphill finish! Visconti was second and third was ......a Lampre rider, but which one?
Scarponi claimed the honours for third place.
Evans has cemented his overall lead, with Scarponi second and Basso third.
What a finish. What a climb. What a deserving winner today.
Thanks for joining us today!