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Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 11


Welcome to live coverage of the Giro d'Italia stage 11 from Forlì to Imola

Welcome to coverage of the 11th stage of this Giro d'Italia and we're just 20 minutes away from the start in Forlì.

The biggest news from yesterday's stage is obviously Richie Porte's two-minute time penalty after he received a wheel from Simon Clarke. The Australian spoke this morning, saying that it will drive the team in the coming stages.

Race director Mauro Vengi also had a few words to say following Porte's penalty, saying that the rules had to be applied. You can read Vengi's full response here.

Of course, all of this has had an impact on the overall classification. Porte was initially down to fourth after losing 47 seconds due to the puncture but fell out of the top 10 when he was hit with the two-minute penalty. Here's how things stand this morning.

We are racing!

The attacks are already flying as lots of riders try their luck. There is an intermediate sprint after 7.6 kilometres so the sprinters teams are going to be interested in keeping this together until then.

The peloton is still all together as they go through the intermediate sprint. There's a lot of riders interested in that red jersey, here's the result at that sprint.

Nicola Boem is the current leader of the points classification after taking 50 points for his stage victory, plus a few intermediate sprints along the way. Here's how that classification looked ahead of the stage.

As the riders near the first official climb of the day the Passo del Trebbio, nobody has managed to break free of the clutches of the peloton.

Today's stage finishes at the Imola motorsport track. It has twice featured as a stage finish for the Giro d'Italia. The last time came in 1992 when Miguel Indurain was in pink. It also featured as the finish for the 1968 World Championships when Vittorio Adorni took the rainbow stripes. Read Alasdair Fotheringham's great preview of this tricky stage.

The furious start to the stage continues and we briefly have a group of ten men clear of the field but the gap is relatively insignificant at this stage.

That move has thinned out to four riders with the KOM leader Intxausti among them, along with LottoNL rider Kruijswijk. They have around 15 seconds over the Tinkoff Saxo led peloton. And Rosa for Astana is also there. Will Tinkoff settle for that situation?

The race splits even further on the first climb and we now how 11 leaders that include the early attackers and Betancur, Pellizotti, Montaguti, Chavanel. Just over 30km covered so far.

116km remaining from 153km

Race radio crackles through that Ryder Hesjedal is also in the break today. It contains twelve men in total.

While the peloton also split on the climb and we have a third group on the road at two minutes on the main field that contains Contador and his main rivals.

Riders in the move: Kruijswijk, Zakarin, Montaguti, Hesjedal, Rutkiewicz, Betancur, Rubén Fernandez, Pellizotti, Intxausti, and Rosa. With 104km to go they have 1'19 over the maglia rosa group.

That lead has now moved out to 2'05 over the peloton with the third group around 30 seconds back on the bunch.

A reminder of those in the break: Carlos Betancur, Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r La Mondiale), Franco Pellizotti (Androni - Sidermec), Diego Rosa (Astana), Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC Sprandi), Beñat Intxausti, Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale - Garmin), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL - Jumbo).

96km remaining from 153km

The third group on the road, that was distanced by the main field, has regained contact so we have the break at 3'12 and the peloton, and then all the GC favourites in the bunch. 89km to go.

Tinkoff Saxo are currently on the front of the peloton as they lead Alberto Contador down a wet descent. No panic for the pink jersey group with the gap at 3'18 with 87km to go in the stage.

At the front of the race Hesjedal drops back to the team car and picks up some food and advice from his DS. The Canadian has been on the attack on a number of occasions in the race so far and this is a similar situation to his ride in the Giro last year - loses early time, goes on the attack on several stages. Can he creep into the top then this time around?

The peloton, having taken that last descent with caution due to wet roads, see the gap to the break push out to 3'48. There doesn't seem to be any passengers in the break too, which will help their chances but that situation may change as we approach the finish.

Rosa is certainly contributing to the workrate on the front of the break as he comes through, taking a turn just before Kruijswijk, who has been in breaks twice during the race.

There have been a number of early falls today on the wet roads. Paolini and Betancur have both been on the ground. Interestingly BMC Racing have taken up the chase and joined Tinkoff Saxo on the front of the bunch. They've missed out on the break and are likely riding for Gilbert.

We're about the hit the summit of the second climb of the day and Kruijswijk raises the pace.

But it's Betancur who takes the points with Intxausti second and Kruijswijk third.

So seven points for the AG2R rider who is starting to find his legs after a difficult period in his career.

BMC are still plugging away on the front of the peloton as we see a few riders in trouble at the back of the peloton. The gap is at 3'25 with 80km to go.

BMC have five men on the front as Tinkoff Saxo welcome the collaboration in pace setting. The peloton go over the top of the climb at 3'38. Those that have been dropped should be able to latch on fairly quickly.

The wheel-change story from stage 10 rumbles on with Porte and Brailsford both talking to the press this morning. The team boss believes that common sense should have prevailed. You can read the story in full with quotes from Porte and his boss, here.

Contador allows a gap to open up on the descent, not taking any risks on the corners as the rain continues to fall.

BMC continue to set the pace at the moment, no sign from Orica GreenEdge who may be looking to set up Matthews for a possible sprint finish.

Rosa is taking a long pull on the front of the break but the gap is down to 2'27. The Astana man is first over the line at the intermediate sprint, with 71km to go.

There are a few splits in the field at the moment from that descent. BMC are not, NOT waiting, and there are plenty of Tinkoff riders and Contador inthe group that's around 25 strong. Could we see some interesting splits?

The pace from the peloton has seen the gap drop to 1'55 from the break.

The peloton have started to re-group.

BMC Racing continue to put the hammer with the gap down to 2'15 with 59km to go.

Behind BMC, we see Tinkoff, Sky and Astana lined out and protecting their leaders. Uran is a little further back in the bunch.

Team Sky have positioned a man on the front too, with Eisel taking a turn. Uran briefly was distanced on the descent of the last climb but he's now safely back in the bunch.

The bunch has indeed split into two sectiona. Contador, Porte, Aru and Uran all in the maglia rosa group.

A few more riders are losing contact with the peloton and there's a frantic chase to the bunch which has been reduced to around 50 riders. They're about to start the finishing circuit for the first time.

53km remaining from 153km

That move looked like a planned from Aru's team who came to the front almost as soon as the peloton reached the first of three finishing circuits.

It's BMC though and Tinkoff who have taken over again.

The gap to the break continues to drop as we pass through a feedzone with bottles being offered. The pace is so high though hardly any assistance i taken.

BMC will perhaps be hoping to bring the break back before the final climb, which comes with around 7km to go.

46km remaining from 153km

Kung leads the peloton on the descent of the main circuit and there are more gaps appearing. Contador has his entire team around him, Porte and Aru need to keep near the front and out of trouble.

Just 44 seconds for the break, their day almost over with BMC still leading the peloton. They're down to four men, with Tinkoff and Astana behind them.

Attack from the break and Fernandez is distanced. Intxausti is clear with Zakarin, Hesjedal, Betancur with a few more riders trying to chase back on, including Rosa.

We're down to seven riders at the front with the gap moving back out to 1'23. Zakarin, Betancur, Hesjedal, Rosa, Intxausti , Pellizotti and Kruijswijk are the leaders remaining.

38km remaining from 153km

Hesjedal leads the group over the top of the climb with the gap extending to 1'44.

Kruijswijk is hanging on for dear life at the back of the break, as BMC are down to their last man on the front of the peloton.

Kung has even created a little gap and Tinkoff have let him go clear on the descent. The BMC rider looks back, takes a gel and will probably ease up and wait for the rest of the field.

Kung almost overcooks it on a corner but makes it around. After that quick gel he leans over the saddle and pushes on. He's created a fair gap over the peloton already.

Kung has 19 seconds over the peloton already and he has no intention of easing off.

Over the finish for the break, with two full laps to go. Kung is on fire at the moment and he's 1'09 down on the leaders with 30km to go.

And with 30km to go we see Orica GreenEdge move to the front, most likely for Matthews, although we can't see him in the main peloton at the moment.

Kung looks comfortable but he's not able to bring the gap down below one minute. He is provide an easy ride for Gilbert though who can sit in the peloton and follow wheels for now.

And Kung is only around 15 seconds clear of the peloton. He's about to be caught.

In fact he's actually pulled out a few more seconds as the pace slows in the bunch.

The break are back on the climb with the gap at 1:30 to the peloton.

The seven leaders continue to work and their advantage is holding at 1'30 with 25km left to cover..

Intxausti looks so strong as he sets the pace for the leaders. The gap is coming down though with Orica setting the pace. The gap is around 1'10, Kung close to be caught.

Betancur takes a turn and a bottle from the side of the road as Zakarin leads the break over the top of the climb with the gap down to under a minute.

The Katusha rider has a gap, and with 22km to go he's clear of the peloton. That's a very brave move considering how far we have left of the stage but the peloton are closing.

And we see Matthews near the front of the peloton as Betancur attacks from the break.

Kung was caught and Orica with three men on the front are leading the maglia rosa group. Betancur has been brought back by the rest of the break.

Zakarin leads but there's no time gap yet for the Katusha rider. There are a few more attacks from the break but Zakarin is in full flight as he descents into the final 18km of the stage.

The rain continues to fall and it's a real day of survival with Zakarin 21 seconds clear of the break, with the peloton at 1'18 and only Orica setting the pace.

Contador is right on Matthews' rear wheel as the gap to Zakarin move out to 1'21 with 16km to go.

Onto the last lap for the lone leader.

40 seconds for Zakarin with 15km to go . And there's a fall.

A crash in the peloton and it's Uran who is down. Jersey ripped.

The Etixx leader is on his feet and takes a bike. He has a huge gap to close though.

And he's on his own at the moment as he waits for his teammates to drop back.

Contador, Aru and Porte all survived that fall. Zakarin though has 1'49 on the peloton. Surely the stage is his.

The rest of the break are around 20 seconds clear of the peloton.

Orica simply can't make any inroads into Zakarin's lead and the Katusha man is heading for the stage win unless more teams can join the pace setting.

12km remaining from 153km

Contador remains in fourth wheel, just behind Matthews, and his Tinkoff Saxo teammates lined out behind him.

Uran is still on his own but it looks like he's coming back to the maglia rosa group... and he's made it.

11km to go and Zakarin has 1'24 over the peloton.

Astana have taken over at the front of the peloton, with Orica slipping back. It looks like the fight as gone out of the rest of the break though as Contador now moves onto Aru's rear wheel.

Into the final 10km and Zakarin has a minute over the peloton.

1'31 for Zakarin with Astana setting a steady tempo for the maglia rosa group. The GC riders just want a day without crashes.

1'48 for Zakarin with 7.6km to go. The pace has really eased at the front of the bunch as the lone leader crests the top of the climb for the final time. Hesjedal is leading the rest of the break but he's not getting any assistance.

And Contador has attacked.

Final climb and Contador goes for it.

No real gap but Lobato and Cataldo close the gap. The race leader showing that he's back in the grove but in all honesty that climb was too gentle for him to really create a gap. Interestingly Aru couldn't respond though.

Contador has been brought back but the race leader really testing out his shoulder there. Matthews now has a dig. 4.4km to go.

Now Rogers moves up and sets the pace. Aru moves over and watches Contador closely.

Meanwhile 3.2km to go and Zakarin has 1'27.

And Gilbert has attacked but it's all come too late.

Zakarin is heading for the stage win, his first grand tour stage win.

A stage win for Katusha, the 25-year-old wins stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia.

The rest of the break are coming home with Hesjedal on the front.

Betancur is second on the stage, and the peloton roll over a few seconds later. All the GC men finish together.

Stage 11 top ten

General classification after stage 11

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 46:54:19
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
4 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:16
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:46
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:10
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:12
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:20
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:02:24
10 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:02:30

Zakarin takes the stage but two late talking points were Uran's crash and Contador's attack.

Uran was quickly back on his bike and managed to make it back to the peloton but we'll keep an eye out for information on his injuries.

As for Contador, he attacked on the final climb of the day. It wasn't a long or demanding climb but he created a gap and the interesting point was that Aru didn't match him. Cataldo and Lobato were the first to make contact with the race leader and Aru and the rest of the peloton made contact on the descent.

Right now Contador is pulling on the maglia rosa for another day as he takes on another day of podium protocol.

Thanks for joining us today. We'll be back tomorrow with more live coverage from the Giro d'Italia.

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