Gadret grabs first Grand Tour stage win

On an uphill drag to the line, with the steepest pitch inside of the final kilometre, John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) rocketed out of a diminished peloton to take his first Grand Tour stage win.

The Frenchman overtook Daniel Moreno (Katusha), the last survivor of the day's decisive 11-man break, with 200m remaining and held off the charge of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Italian champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) for the victory.

Gadret dedicated his win to Wouter Weylandt. "I thought all day of Wouter's funeral," he told the AFP news agency after the finish. "Although I am not a Belgian, I had to win for him. Cycling is a big family. Since his death I keep thinking about the crash. I wanted to do something to honour him, I am satisfied."

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) finished fifth to defend his maglia rosa which for most of the day had "virtually" rested on the shoulders of Christophe Le Mevel as the Garmin-Cervelo rider had been in the day's escape group. Although at one point it looked as if the Frenchman would take over the race lead, all of the escapees would ultimately be brought back by the peloton. Le Mevel then lost several seconds in the finale and dropped from third overall at 1:19 to fourth at 1:28.

"The stage was hard. We managed to catch the break with Le Mevel. Other teams were interested in working then," said Contador to the AFP news agency.

A "virtual" leader

It was a short but difficult stage from Tortoreto to Castelfidardo, with barely a flat metre to be found. The race profile was nothing but ups and downs and included four ranked climbs, all category four. Nobody assumed it would be an easy day.

The stage started with a moment of silence for Wouter Weylandt, who died last week in a crash in the Giro's third stage. The Leopard Trek rider's funeral was held today in his hometown of Gent, Belgium.

The aggression started early on with many attempts to break away, but it took a while for a group to succeed. And when the break of the day formed, it had a surprise in it: Christophe Le Mevel of Garmin-Cervelo.

Le Mevel, Daniel Moreno (Katusha), Marco Manzano (Lampre-ISD), Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Cannondale), Fabio Taborre and Carlos Alberto Betancourt (Acqua & Sapone), Simone Stortoni (Colnago-CSF Inox), Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) and Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar) successfully escaped with approximately 80km to go in the 142km-long stage. They were soon joined by Tiago Machado (RadioShack) and Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky) to form an 11-man break.

Le Mevel's presence caused some uncertainty in the group. He came into the stage in third place overall, only 1:19 behind maglia rosa Alberto Contador. The others in the break were worried that he might doom the group, but the Frenchman stayed with them. Contador and his Saxo Bank-SunGard teammates seemed satisfied with the state of things, and let them go.

As a result, Le Mevel was in the virtual lead all day - but only just - as their advantage never increased much above two minutes. Several times Contador could be seen in conversation with Garmin-Cervelo's David Millar and Murilo Fischer, with the speculation being that there was a discussion of whether the Spaniard would let Le Mevel take the lead in the race or not.

At the head of the race, the fireworks commenced when Moreno jumped out of the break just before the day's final classified climb, the Morrovalle at 115.9km. The Spaniard took top honours on the climb and instead of waiting around afterwards, he just kept going alone.

From there it turned into a game of counting the seconds: would Moreno stay ahead? And more importantly, what was the gap between Le Mevel and Contador?

The day's break had never functioned perfectly, and it didn't get better from here. Betancourt jumped out in chase of Moreno, but behind him the remaining nine seemingly couldn't coordinate their efforts. They soon caught Betancourt who struggled on one of the day's numerous little climbs.

Le Mevel then lead a group of four in chase, in a bid to grab the maglia rosa, or at least move up to second place in GC. But Moreno hung on to his lead, even building it up by a few seconds, while from behind the peloton came ever closer.

The Le Mevel group crossed the intermediate sprint 22 seconds after Moreno, while the peloton was 1:14 behind the lone Spaniard.

It was at this point that Konovalovas made his move. The powerful Lithuanian, the reigning and three-time national time trial champion, attacked the chase group and caught Moreno with 9.6km to go

At first Konovalovas zipped past him, but Moreno dug deep to join the Lithuanian. They built their lead up to over 30 seconds, while further back the peloton was finally giving furious chase. Even sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) took a turn driving the peloton, hoping to set up teammate Michele Scarponi for the taxing finale.

The last three kilometres of the stage were uphill, with a 10% section right at the end. The two leaders went into the final climb with an even larger gap, 45 seconds, while the peloton gobbled up the rest of the former break group, putting rest to Le Mevel's hopes.

With a furious tempo being set at the head of the peloton by Lampre-ISD, the break's once large gap dropped dramatically, reduced to only 11 seconds at the flamme rouge.

Moreno surged with 450 meters to go, dropping Konovalovas, after nervously looking back over his shoulder a number of times at the rapidly approaching chase.

Konovalovas fell back to the field, and with some 300 meters to go, Gadret jumped from the peloton and powered his way up the difficult final pitch. Moreno's bid for victory was dashed with 200m remaining as the Frenchman flew by to earn the biggest win of his career.

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Full Results
1John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale3:33:11
2Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 2 - Cell 2
4Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni GiocattoliRow 3 - Cell 2
5Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 4 - Cell 2
6Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team AstanaRow 5 - Cell 2
7Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 7 - Cell 2
9Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 9 - Cell 2
11Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMCRow 10 - Cell 2
12Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 12 - Cell 2
14David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 14 - Cell 2
16Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-HighroadRow 15 - Cell 2
17Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 16 - Cell 2
18Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:00:11
20Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Geox-TMC0:00:13
23Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky ProcyclingRow 22 - Cell 2
24Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-HighroadRow 23 - Cell 2
25Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Pro Team AstanaRow 24 - Cell 2
26Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 25 - Cell 2
27Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Pro Team Astana0:00:17
28Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:19
30Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:27
31Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Acqua & SaponeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 32 - Cell 2
34Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni GiocattoliRow 33 - Cell 2
35Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:33
36Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:00:47
37Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShackRow 37 - Cell 2
39Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar Team0:00:50
40Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 39 - Cell 2
41Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 40 - Cell 2
42Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShackRow 43 - Cell 2
45Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 44 - Cell 2
46Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISDRow 45 - Cell 2
47Marcel Wyss (Swi) Geox-TMCRow 46 - Cell 2
48Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 47 - Cell 2
49Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 48 - Cell 2
50Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:59
51Bart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 50 - Cell 2
52Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:01:02
53Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 52 - Cell 2
54Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:05
55Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:01:11
56Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:01:23
57Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:01:25
58Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:35
60Juan José Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:01:42
61Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli0:01:47
62Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team0:01:49
63Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 62 - Cell 2
64Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 63 - Cell 2
65Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 64 - Cell 2
66Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Michael Barry (Can) Sky ProcyclingRow 66 - Cell 2
68Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & SaponeRow 67 - Cell 2
69Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShackRow 68 - Cell 2
70Dario David Cioni (Ita) Sky Procycling0:02:18
71Morris Possoni (Ita) Sky Procycling0:02:35
72Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:02:52
73Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:02:54
74Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Juan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 76 - Cell 2
78Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - ISDRow 78 - Cell 2
80Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShackRow 79 - Cell 2
81Jesús Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 80 - Cell 2
82Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Saxo Bank SungardRow 81 - Cell 2
83Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Geox-TMCRow 82 - Cell 2
84Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team AstanaRow 83 - Cell 2
85Philip Deignan (Irl) Team RadioShackRow 84 - Cell 2
86Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:03:20
87Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 86 - Cell 2
88Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:03:34
89Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 88 - Cell 2
90Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:03:44
93Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 92 - Cell 2
94Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 93 - Cell 2
95Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 94 - Cell 2
96Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Geox-TMC0:04:15
97Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Geox-TMCRow 96 - Cell 2
98Carlos Alberto Betancourt Gomez (Col) Acqua & SaponeRow 97 - Cell 2
99Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 98 - Cell 2
100Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 99 - Cell 2
101Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 100 - Cell 2
102Simone Stortoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:04:38
103Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Pro Team Astana0:04:57
104Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Pro Team AstanaRow 103 - Cell 2
105Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:05:20
106Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:05:32
107Carlos Oyarzun (Chi) Movistar Team0:05:36
108Claudio Corioni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:06:32
109Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling0:06:47
110Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky Procycling0:08:57
111Andrea Noe (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 110 - Cell 2
112Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 112 - Cell 2
114Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISDRow 113 - Cell 2
115Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 114 - Cell 2
116Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank SungardRow 115 - Cell 2
117Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 116 - Cell 2
118Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 117 - Cell 2
119Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 118 - Cell 2
120Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 119 - Cell 2
121Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 120 - Cell 2
122Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 121 - Cell 2
123Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 122 - Cell 2
124Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Geox-TMCRow 123 - Cell 2
125Robert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShack0:09:48
126Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:09:51
127Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:09:52
128Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 127 - Cell 2
129David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:10:06
130Davide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli0:10:47
131Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank SungardRow 130 - Cell 2
132Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 131 - Cell 2
133Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank SungardRow 132 - Cell 2
134Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli0:15:10
135Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 134 - Cell 2
136Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 135 - Cell 2
137Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 136 - Cell 2
138Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 137 - Cell 2
139Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-HighroadRow 139 - Cell 2
141Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 140 - Cell 2
142Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
143Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 142 - Cell 2
144Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 143 - Cell 2
145Maxim Belkov (Rus) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 144 - Cell 2
146Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Team RadioShackRow 145 - Cell 2
147Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 146 - Cell 2
148Michael Mørkøv (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 147 - Cell 2
149Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 148 - Cell 2
150Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-HighroadRow 149 - Cell 2
151Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 150 - Cell 2
152Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
153Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team AstanaRow 152 - Cell 2
154David Blanco Rodriguez (Spa) Geox-TMCRow 153 - Cell 2
155Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 154 - Cell 2
156Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 155 - Cell 2
157Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-HighroadRow 156 - Cell 2
158Bjorn Selander (USA) Team RadioShackRow 157 - Cell 2
159Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 158 - Cell 2
160Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-HighroadRow 159 - Cell 2
161Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 160 - Cell 2
162Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 161 - Cell 2
163Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 162 - Cell 2
164Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 163 - Cell 2
165Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 164 - Cell 2
166Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 165 - Cell 2
167Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 166 - Cell 2
168Frantisek Rabon (Cze) HTC-HighroadRow 167 - Cell 2
169Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-HighroadRow 168 - Cell 2
170Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 169 - Cell 2
171Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 170 - Cell 2
172Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 171 - Cell 2
173Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 172 - Cell 2
174Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 173 - Cell 2
175Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 174 - Cell 2
176Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 175 - Cell 2
177Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 176 - Cell 2
178Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 177 - Cell 2
179Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 178 - Cell 2
180Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 179 - Cell 2
181Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 180 - Cell 2
182Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli0:15:23
183Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli0:15:28
184Russell Downing (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 183 - Cell 2
185Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team0:15:30
186Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 185 - Cell 2
DNFDanilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 186 - Cell 2
DNFBorut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 187 - Cell 2
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Points
1John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale25pts
2Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team20Row 1 - Cell 3
3Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli16Row 2 - Cell 3
4Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli14Row 3 - Cell 3
5Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard12Row 4 - Cell 3
6Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team8Row 8 - Cell 3
10Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team