Saturday, May 16, 2009

Stage 8: Siutsou Surprises the Leaders

BERGAMO, 16 May 2009 - Konstantsin Siutsou has won the eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia, from Morbegno to Bergamo, 209 kilometres. The Belarusian rider, 26 years old, took a strong lead, confirming Columbia-High Road’s magical moment, which started in the opening team time trials in Venice, and was also demonstrated yesterday by the Norwegian Boasson Hagen in Chiavenna. It was the Norwegian who set the pace for the best riders at 21 seconds. Third was the pink jersey Danilo Di Luca, who thus earned a time bonus of 8 seconds. Then came Rogers, Pellizotti, Garzelli and Cunego. In the general ranking, Di Luca now has 13 seconds on Lovkvist, 44 on Rogers, 51 on Leipheimer, 58 on Menchov and 1:14 on Ivan Basso.

THE DETAILS — After about 40 kilometres, Cataldo (Quick Step), Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom), Petrov (Katusha), Visconti (ISD-Neri), Lopez Garcia (Caisse d’Epargne), Pauwels (Cervelo), Ochoa (Diquigiovanni-Androni), Vanendert (Silence-Lotto), Gonzalez (Fuji) and Vorganov (Xacobeo) broke away in a sprint. However, the race was marked by the fall of Spaniard Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank) on the descent of Culmine di San Pietro: he fell sixty-seventy metres and was taken to Bergamo Hospital. He was immediately classified in serious condition, but his injuries are not life-threatening. He has serious head and thoracic trauma, in addition to numerous fractures, including an exposed fracture of his femur. When the other riders caught up to the group of sprinters, the heat was on, on the Colle Gallo (6 km, average gradient 7%, maximum 11%). Damiano Cunego headed a group that broke away, including Pellizotti, Garzelli, and Horner. Leipheimer, Arroyo, Boasson Hagen and Rogers also made an attempt. At the peak - Garzelli was first in the Mountain Gran Prix, while Cunego fell slightly behind, as well as Arroyo and Boasson – Horner’s pace made the pink jersey’s group pass 54 seconds behind. Therefore, there were five riders in the lead on the descent: Leipheimer, Garzelli, Horner, Pellizotti and Rogers. Boasson Hagen, Arroyo and Cunego tried to make up time; the pink jersey’s group was driven on by Bosisio (for the pink jersey Di Luca), while Liquigas looked on. At minus 20 km the peloton, now driven also by Diquigiovanni, shortened the gap - minus 32 seconds. At minus 15 km the group became more compact. Another Columbia racer, the Belarusian Siutsou – who lives in the Bergamo region – attempted a counterattack at minus 13 km, and at minus 8 km he had a 32 second margin. On the steep incline up to Bergamo Alta, Popovych and the pink jersey Di Luca tried to break away, but the peloton gave them no room, and Siutsou, surprisingly, went on to his deserved victory.

TOMORROW — The 100th anniversary of the Giro d’Italia – 92nd race – continues tomorrow with the ninth stage in Milan: a`165 kilometres circuit race for sprinters, a standoff between Petacchi and Cavendish. A tribute to the city where the first Giro started on 13 May 1909. Riders meet in Piazza Duomo, take off from Castello Sforzesco at 1:30 p.m., and arrive in Corso Venezia shortly after 5:00 p.m.
Top 10 GC:
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini 33.13.35
2 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad 0.13 back
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad 0.44
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0.51
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.58
6 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas 1.14
7 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 1.24
8 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana 1.25
9 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 1.35
10 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.49

Photos: the ravine Spaniard Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank) crashed down into, you can see onlookers along the road at the top of the photo; rescue workers retreiving Horrillo (Rabobank); Siutsou on the last climb through Bergamo Alta, and at the finish line

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