Friday, May 15, 2009

Stage 7: Boasson Hagen is Lightning

CHIAVENNA (Sondrio), 15 May 2009 - Edvald Boasson Hagen has won the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia, from Innsbruck to Chiavenna, 244 kilometres. The Norwegian rider from the Columbia-High Road team, 22 years old on Sunday, winner of the Gand-Wevelgem in 2009, won in a short sprint, with a significant lead on Robert Hunter, Pavel Brutt and Davide Viganò. This is his first victory in the Giro. A few seconds later, Alessandro Bertolini, who attempted a counterattack in the final stretch, crossed the finish line. About thirty seconds later Di Luca’s group arrived.

RANKINGS — No significant changes in the top positions: Danilo Di Luca – third day in pink this year, 21st in his career – is in the lead with 5 seconds on the Swedish rider Lovkvist and 36 seconds on the Australian Rogers, both from Columbia-High Road. Then comes Leipheimer at +43, Menchov at +50, and Basso at +1:06.

THE DETAILS — They took off sprinting almost from the start. The attackers were Facci (Quick Step), Huzarski (Pol, ISD-Neri), Klimov (Rus, Katusha), and Isaichev (Rus, Xacobeo), and they were rejoined by the other riders shortly before the peak of the Maloja pass (40 km from the finish line). In all, a sprint of about 200 kilometres. Bad weather, a bit of fog, wet roads: the downhill stretch was looking treacherous, and it was decided to neutralise the final 3 kilometres of the stage. An attack was immediately launched by Alessandro Bertolini (the oldest rider in the peloton), who, 30 km from the finish had about 40 seconds on the frontrunners of Di Luca’s group. At minus 20 km, the Diquigiovanni-Androni racer had a lead of about 50 seconds. At minus 10 km the situation changed: Brutt (Rus, Katusha), Hunter (Saf, Barloworld), Boasson Hagen (Nor, Columbia), Viganò (Fuji-Servetto) and Bertolini were in the lead. Grivko (Ukr, ISD-Neri) was at +20, and Di Luca’s group at +30. At that point there were five racers contending for victory.

TOMORROW — The 100th anniversary of the Giro d’Italia – 92nd race – continues tomorrow with the eighth stage: Morbegno-Bergamo, 209 kilometres. The final stretch contains the Mountain Gran Prix of Colle Gallo, finishing in Piazza Matteotti, after passing through Bergamo Alta. An ideal stage for surprise attacks.

Photos: Alessandro Bertolini, almost 38 years old, took incredible risks on the wet roads of the descent; winner Boasson Hagen

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