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Giro d'Italia 2009: Stage 7


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

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.

119km remaining from 244km

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).

This day will make the classification men nervous, the wet roads could spell disaster for their hopes if they are inattentive.

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.

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 four have 7:10 in hand.

Team Garmin is working hard. Maybe they are thinking of Farrar for today's stage?

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).

136km remaining from 244km

Facci leads the other three escapees with 108km remaining. They are on a light climb, which continues to St. Moritz.

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.

137km remaining from 244km

The time gap of the front four seems to be near six minutes, though my Russian watch seems to be failing.

141km remaining from 244km

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).

141km remaining from 244km

Jesús Del Nero (Fuji-Servetto) abandons the race.

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144km remaining from 244km

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.

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

The gap is under five minutes, 4:30.

Ah, the rain starts to come down again.

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.

148km remaining from 244km

We have passed 148 kilometres of racing, and the gap of the escape is 4:18.

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.

"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.

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

162km remaining from 244km

The gap is now down to 3:10 four our four leaders after 4h04 of racing.

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

162km remaining from 244km

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.

Garmin gets help from Columbia.

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.

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

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

169km remaining from 244km

2:48 is the gap at 75km to race.

The rain has turned off, for now.

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.

Katusha is now near the front. It worked for Swift and Pozzato yesterday, Pozzato took fourth.

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.

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.

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.

We have a competition today on our forum. Have a look.

188km remaining from 244km

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.

In fact, the escapees enter St. Moritz now. They approach the TV Sprint.

The points go to the sprinters' maglia ciclamino.

190km remaining from 244km

Mauro Facci (Quick Step) takes the points over Bartosz Huzarski (ISD) and Sergey Klimov (Katusha).

The peloton comes through the sprint at 1:50.

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.

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 are over five hours of racing now. The escapees are near the top of the passo. The last four km of uphill are 'light'.

18 seconds near the top of the passo.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) is at the front of the group for the descent of Maloja.

Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) leads Armstrong near the top of the Passo Maloja GPM (Gran Premio della Montagna).

The four are still free, but barely. They have about 15 seconds.

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).

Facci is caught, it is now gruppo compatto ('all together').

Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad), Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni) and many of the favourites move to the front.

We are ready for a crazy descent!

207km remaining from 244km

David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), we think, leads the gruppo over the top of Maloja.

Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni), the oldest Giro d'Italia rider here, attacks on the very wet descent.

A lot of riders are light-footing it down this pass.

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.

212km remaining from 244km

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

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

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

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

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

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.

218km remaining from 244km

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

219km remaining from 244km

With 25km to go, Bertolini has 1:03.

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.

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.

A Katusha rider jams out of the front of the peloton.

It is Pavel Brutt (Katusha). He has gained a few seconds over the gruppo.

The descent lightens up now, not so steep.

224km remaining from 244km

Bertolini is sitting on his top tube again.

224km remaining from 244km

The group of Di Luca passes under the 20km barrier 48" behind Bertolini.

He will enter Italia soon.

224km remaining from 244km

Sorry, He has 48" on Brutt and 55" on the gruppo.

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

Hunter joins Brutt in the chase of Bertolini.

Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) leads.

229km remaining from 244km

27" at 15km to go.

Bertolini is not going to make it to the finish with that advantage.

He enters Italy. The Giro is back in its homeland.

Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) leads.

232km remaining from 244km

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

An ISD rider flies the coop.

It is not Visconti, but Andriy Grivko (ISD).

234km remaining from 244km

10km to go for the five riders.

Bertolini will be too tired to sprint, he has to try to counter this escape.

234km remaining from 244km

The group passes 10km 32" later.

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).

The riders are travelling at 71km/h.

Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), in the maglia ciclamino, prepares for the sprint.

The riders pass the city of Borgonuovo.

238km remaining from 244km

Six kilometres to go for the five riders. Who will win?

They are working in a counter-clockwise motion, taking pulls and flying towards the finish.

239km remaining from 244km

Andriy Grivko (ISD) is 30 seconds back at 5km to go.

240km remaining from 244km

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).

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

Who is going to attack out of the five?

242km remaining from 244km

2km to go for the men.

Davide Viganò (Fuji-Servetto) and Hunter sit on the back of the move.

242km remaining from 244km

Vigano is on the front now

The have 40" on the peloton.

Hunter is on the front, he looks back.

Andriy Grivko (ISD) nears the five.

243km remaining from 244km

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) leads onto the last km.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad), Vigano, Bertolini...

Bertolini fires at 800m to go.

He has a good gap.

They nail him back.

Brutt did the chase.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) leads it out, he gets a gap.

He wins over Robert Hunter (Barloworld)!

Goss wins the bunch sprint.

Vigano did the chase of the Norwegian, but he could not pull him back.

Remember, the classification was taken at 3km to go.

Grivko closed at 31", in sixth.

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

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