Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stage 21, Part II: What Excitement in Rome

ROME, 31 May 2009 – Denise Menchov has won the Centenary Giro d’Italia (92nd race): the 31-year old from Rabobank is the third Russian in history to win the Giro, after Berzin (1994) and Tonkov (1996). But this last stage of the Giro, a spectacular 14.4 kilometre individual time trial in the historic city centre of Rome (racing in the rain in the last part of the route), with a surprise win by the Lithuanian from Cervelo, Ignatas Konovalovas, was open right up to the end. Danilo Di Luca, who started off with 20 seconds to recover, was gaining 5 seconds after 3.3 kilometres. But in the second lap, (after 7.7 km), Menchov proved the forecasters right: +15 on Di Luca and the race and the question seemed closed. The last bit of excitement came at slightly less than one kilometre from the finish, when Menchov fell on a straight stretch of cobblestones. But he managed to get right back in the race, with a spare bike, and finish the trial in 19:06, 21 seconds better than Danilo Di Luca.

RANKINGS — Konovalovas, one of the last riders to ride on the dry roads, finished the trial in 18:42, just 1 second better than the British racer Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) and 7 seconds ahead of the Norwegian Boasson Hagen (Columbia). The first Italian was Marzio Bruseghin, 5th with 18:58. The general ranking was as follows: Menchov won the Giro (this is the 27th time a non-Italian has won) with a margin of 41 seconds on Danilo Di Luca (LPR-Farnese). Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Doimo) is also on the podium, third at +1:59. Fourth is Carlos Sastre (Spa, Cervelo) at +3:46; fifth is Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) at +3:59. Sixth is Levi Leipheimer (USA, Astana) at +5:28.

HOLLAND — Today the Giro organisers officially announced that the 2010 Giro will start from Amsterdam, on 8 May. This will be the ninth time the race has started outside of Italy, following the starts in San Marino (1965) Montecarlo (1966), Verviers (Belgium, 1973), Vatican City (1974), Athens (Greece, 1996), Nice (France, 1998) Groningen (Holland, 2002), and Seraing (Belgium, 2006). Holland is the site for the start of Spain’s Vuelta 2009 (from Assen) and the Tour de France 2010 (from Rotterdam). The second and third stage of the Giro 2010 will also take place in Holland: involving the towns of Utrecht and Middelburg.

After the Giro we'll get back to "regular programming": everything from A to Z about Italian cycling. Stories, including cycling trip stories, for the Italian Cycling Journal welcome; contact

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