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Giro d'Italia 2009: Stage 8

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Ciao! Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the centennial Giro d'Italia. Today is a medium-mountain day from Morbegno to Bergamo, 209 kilometres.

Attacks and counter-attacks filled the first kilometres, until, at kilometre 34, a move broke free. Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) and David López García (Caisse d'Epargne) broke free near the city of Portone.

Over the Culmine S. Pietro the escapees had 1:40 over the main gruppo and 2:00 over the group of sprinters.

Carlos José Ochoa (Diquigiovanni) attacked on the climb, but on the descent, he crashed. He was up and back on his bike quickly, but the chase caught him.

85km remaining from 209km

Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) and Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) lead on the descent. Giovanni Visconti (ISD) and Eduard Vorganov (Xacobeo Galicia) are chasing the duo.

78km remaining from 209km

Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) have 18" on Giovanni Visconti (ISD) and Evgeni Petrov (Katusha) and 34" on the rest of the escapees.

82km remaining from 209km

LPR leads the chase on the downhill.

Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), the maglia rosa, won Lombardia in 2001. "I will try again in Bergamo," he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I hope for an all-day escape, but if they are pulled back before the last kilometres so I can have a try."

The riders approach the Forcella di Bura climb. Diego Caccia (Barloworld) knows this climb well, he is from nearby Ponte San Pietro.

The skies are clearing up for our 193 racers.

2006 winner Ivan Basso looks good on the descent. "I have never been a good downhill rider," he said. "But now I feel a little more at ease."

Have a look at today's contest on our forums.

We are descending towards Brembilla, at 413m. The 10 escape riders hold a 3:45 gap at 90km.

Special thanks to the local Comune (city hall) for the free wine today, a DOC Valcalepio Rosso from 2006 that we will enjoy later.

Another crash to report: Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank) crashed in the main gruppo on the descent of Culmine. It looks like he is going to retire from the Giro d'Italia.

120km remaining from 209km

The Rabobank Spaniard abandons the race on the seventh day of racing.

Please have a look at our forum contest.

What do you think about that descent of Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni) yesterday? The oldest rider in the centennial Giro d'Italia started the eventual escape of five men. Thanks to the 37-year-old, 21-year-old Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) won the stage to Chiavenna.

116km remaining from 209km

LPR continues to control affairs, the gap is 4:12.

"It's my first time at a Grand Tour, so I hope to come through this race and see how I do," said stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) after his win. "I also like I just want to do my best and see how I go. In a few years, I'll see how good I can be, whether I am a Classic rider or a stage racer."

Lampre is working at the head of the group, travelling at 51km/h.

The gap is 3:52.

The riders are racing under sun. They have been going for three hours.

"I can sprint if the group is not too big, and I think I did a great sprint today [yesterday - ed]," continued Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad). He will be 22 years old tomorrow, the day of the Milano circuit. "I will ride for Cavendish, trying to help him first."

The maglia ciclamino, Petacchi, is protecting the maglia rosa, Danilo 'The Killer' Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini). Di Luca wants to win this stage, it is a perfect finish for a rider with a strong punch on a short climb and a strong kick for a possible sprint.

Lampre had five men on the front now, tearing it up over the roads near Credaro.

Giro d'Italia abandons (or crashes) as of day eight: Francisco Pérez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jesús Del Nero (Fuji-Servetto), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream), Matthias Russ (Milram), David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) and, now, Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank).

The racers pass through Sondrio, Lecco, Como and Bergamo today. The ten men had a maximum advantage of 4:30 not too long ago, but now it has fallen drastically, near 2:30.

The gap is now 2:10.

The peloton passes the lovely Lago di Iseo. The ten men are trading pulls in the escape, near the town of Predore.

"We started to race for Cunego, he is going well. Unfortunately, this escape is strong and going well. But we will give it a try and over the next kilometres we will get an idea of how it goes," said directeur sportif Brent Copeland of Lampre.

An update on Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank): Assistants found his bike and then found the rider off the side of Culmine. Medics took the Spaniard to the hospital and he is reported in serious condition.

It was about 60 metres below the bike where they found Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank), according to race director Angelo Zomegnan. He is in bad condition and heading to the hospital in Bergamo. From 1 to 5, in level of seriousness, he is rated at 3+.

153km remaining from 209km

Copeland has his Lampre men pounding the pavement along the shores of Lago di Iseo. The gap is 1:22.

Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and Janez Brajkovic (Astana) are right behind the Lampre train. Brajkovic has his jersey fully unzipped.

"He arrived in a helicopter," said Mino Farlfi, of the Bergamo Hospital, said of Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank). "We don't know for sure the condition at this moment."

The escape is on the Solto Collina climb. The gap is right at one minute to the gruppo maglia rosa. In the group, Lance Armstrong (Astana) is on the wheel of Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC).

David López García (Caisse d'Epargne), Héctor González (Fuji-Servetto) and Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) moved free of their other escape companions, by 12 seconds. The gruppo maglia rosa is another 48" back.

Armstrong leads the group up the Solto Collina.

163km remaining from 209km

The tifosi are out in numbers today to see the riders race over the climb. They will see a seven-time Tour de France winner fly by in less than one minute.

165km remaining from 209km

Evgeni Petrov (Katusha), David López García (Caisse d'Epargne), Héctor González (Fuji-Servetto) and Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) lead by 19" over the others and 1:15 over the main group.

The leader four are approaching the Colle del Gallo, used so many times in the past the Giro di Lombardia. It is about 450m of climbing, topping out at kilometre 182.3.

An update on Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream), who crashed in the opening days of the race. He has one broken rib, sprains and contusions in middle-lower back and a hairline fracture of his pelvic bone. He should be back racing for the Tour de Suisse, though.

172km remaining from 209km

Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam), Giovanni Visconti (ISD), Carlos José Ochoa (Diquigiovanni) and Eduard Vorganov (Xacobeo Galicia) join with Evgeni Petrov (Katusha), David López García (Caisse d'Epargne), Héctor González (Fuji-Servetto) and Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) to form a group of eight.

172km remaining from 209km

The gap is right at 1:00 for the front eight.

174km remaining from 209km

The front eight are near the foot of Gallo. We should see a contender fire out of the main group on the climb.

The Colle del Gallo is 6.3km long, 7% average and 11% maximum.

176km remaining from 209km

The race is on Gallo and is exploding!

We see Petacchi going backwards.

Paolo Longo Borghini (Barloworld) and Markus Fothen (Milram) are firing.

Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas) and Chris Horner (Astana) are making some ground.

Simon Gerrans (Cervélo TestTeam) comes out on the Gallo, he is solo it seems.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) now leads a move with Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) in tow. Chris Horner (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) are there too.

LPR leads the chase of the Cunego group.

Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) now comes through to work.

Simon Gerrans (Cervélo TestTeam) is chased by Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Chris Horner (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni).

Wait, that was NOT Simon Gerrans (Cervélo TestTeam), but his teammate Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam) from the escape. He is a stage winner from the 2007 or 2006 Tour Down Under.

Only Héctor González (Fuji-Servetto) and Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam) were left from that escape move of eight we had.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Chris Horner (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Leonardo Bertagnolli (Diquigiovanni) pull in Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam).

Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) tries his luck. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) marks him.

Pellizotti takes over.

181km remaining from 209km

Levi Leipheimer (Astana) leads a group with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne). They catch the leaders.

Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) and Chris Horner (Astana) lead.

LPR chases behind with Basso.

Horner leads the move.

182km remaining from 209km

They are near the top of Gallo. Horner is a machine here, working hard for Leipheimer.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) loses contact.

Chris Horner (Astana), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad) and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) lead the race. They top Gallo.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) will chase on the descent.

Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) leads the chase for Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini).

Garzelli, Horner and Leipheimer led over the top for the points, respectively.

Chris Horner (Astana), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad) and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) are now on the way down Colle del Gallo.

Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) continues to pull the gruppo maglia rosa along for teammate Danilo Di Luca.

Levi Leipheimer (Astana) tells the others to wait up for the chasing riders. Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) arrive...

Levi Leipheimer (Astana) is thinking of putting in time over Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and will welcome additional men.

David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) and Leonardo Bertagnolli (Diquigiovanni) join Chris Horner (Astana), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad) and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas).

The leaders: David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad), Leonardo Bertagnolli (Diquigiovanni), Chris Horner (Astana), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad) and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas).

David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad), Chris Horner (Astana), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad) and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) lead the race.

The leaders only have 18".

192km remaining from 209km

17km left to race, 10km to the start of the climb to Bergamo Alta.

The group catches the front eight.

193km remaining from 209km

That strong looking move is over. Who will go next?

194km remaining from 209km

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad) fires with 15km to race. Maybe he is trying to start something for Marco Pinotti (Columbia-Highroad).

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad) has a few seconds' advantage.

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad) lives in the zone, so he could be called a local rider. He has 11".

It is going to be hard for Di Luca or Cunego to win today after the effort they gave on Gallo, but we will know more in 13km.

20" for our lone escapee.

197km remaining from 209km

Race leader Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) has three teammates leading the race, he sits fourth wheel.

199km remaining from 209km

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad). He looks very smooth and confident with what he is doing.

Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) move near the front of the gruppo.

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad) has 31" as the race enters Bergamo.

201km remaining from 209km

Daniele Pietropolli (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) leads the chase.

Lance Armstrong (Astana) and his teammates are near the back of the peloton.

Caisse moves to the front. The team could be working for Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne).

The climb up to Bergamo Alta has a second of 12% and averages 9.8% in the second half of the climb.

UPDATE: "His condition is serious, our team doctor said he fractured his leg, knee and has a head trauma," said a Rabobank official of Pedro Horrillo.

204km remaining from 209km

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad) has 38". He nears the start of Bergamo Alta.

He is on rock sector.

205km remaining from 209km

Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) has a try. Garzelli follows...

Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) is flying, he should catch Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad).

Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) fires out of a group with Rodgers, Basso and Pellizotti.

Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) catches Yaroslav Popovych (Astana).

And the group is together.

206km remaining from 209km

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad) holds 20". Just 450m more of climbing.

He can win this if he does not error on the descent.

Basso leads the group.

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad) has 22" now.

208km remaining from 209km

Last kilometre for the lone escapee.

The fans cheer him on.

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia-Highroad) comes to the line in Bergamo city centre.

He wins. Left hand punches the sky.

The sprint for second...

Di Luca fires for it.

Columbia riders take 2nd and 3rd!

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) takes second over Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini).

Thanks for joining our live coverage today. Please check back for full results and reports.

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