Sunday, May 23, 2010

2010 Giro d'Italia, Stage 15 Results

Monte Zoncolan, 23 May: The report by the Gazzetta dello Sport:

The terrible Zoncolan has a new master: Ivan Basso. Liquigas captain takes control of Europe's most challenging climb, unhinges everyone with a magnificent progression during the final 10 kilometres of impossible inclines. He gains 1'19" on Cadel Evans, the last one able to resist him, and recuperates almost 4 minutes on the pink jersey. The Giro is wide open once again in this 222 kilometre Mestre-Monte Zoncolan: Arroyo keeps his position at the top of the classification: 2'35" on Richie Porte and 3'33" on Basso, who has now become the most probable candidate for the final victory. "This is the best day since I got back, said Basso. "The team was fantastic, it pulled for over 100 kilometres. Evans is a great champion, he came in second but he was racing, like me. This climb is hellish, you have to take it at your own rhythm or you'll blow up. It was really tough, it must be attacked and you have to be concentrated all the time. The classification? I'm happy today but there are still alot of very tiring days ahead."

The Giro's toughest stage and the terrible week ahead that the racers are preparing to confront are frightening to sprinters: at the starting line Farrar (winner at Utrecht and Bitonto) and McEwan are missing. Another five athletes will quit along the way, among whom Belletti (who crossed the finish line first on Friday in his hometown of Cesenatico) and former green jersey Voss. From today until the final finish line in Verona there are no stages suitable to sprinters. This day with its three KoMs and the terrifying Zoncolan opens with an attack from a distance that takes off at the 18th kilometre: Frenchman Le Floch (Bbox), Belgian Sijmens (Cofidis), Frenchman Pineau (Quickstep) with teammate Reda initiate it. They are joined by Frenchman (Ag2r) and Venezuelan Rodriguez (Androni-Diquigiovanni). Of the six pace setters, the one with the best position in the general classification is Pineau, who has a 1h04' delay on the pink jersey. They are not a threat, so the pack lets them go. The fugitives get a 14'35" lead halfway through the race.

Along the first climb, the Sella Chianzutan, the sextet loses a little of its edge and by the time they reach the peak, their lead is 9'20". Liquigas, one of the only teams that is still complete, forces on Passo Duron: Dall’Antonia, Sabatini, Vanotti, Agnoli, Kiserlovski and Szmyd take turns pulling. The platoon starts to stretch. The lead of the five fugitives precipitates: they have a 4'48" lead on Duron's peak then a 3'42" on Sella Valcalda and finally at the foot of the Zoncolan their lead is reduced to 3'27".

The toughest mountain, Zoncolan, starts selecting right off the bat, along the very first curves: Sastre surrenders right away and so does green jersey Matthew Lloyd. Scarponi starts forcing at 7 kilometres from the finish line. Basso, Evans and Pinotti follow while Nibali loses contact with Vinokourov, pink jersey Arroyo and Cunego. Not much later Pinotti gives in and there are only three men left up front. Basso, Evans and Scarponi overcome the five fugitives one after another. Six kilometres from the finish line, Basso surges and the one who pays the price is Scarponi while Evans keeps up with the Varese native. The detachments start to delineate: at -5 kilometres Basso and Evans have a 25" lead on Scarponi, 44" on Cunego, 50" on Vinokourov, 1'13" on Pinotti, 1'25" on Nibali and 1'35" on Arroyo. Liquigas captain launches his decisive attack at 3.7 kilometres from the peak: Basso accelerates, a dry decided spurt that leaves Evans behind. The world champion carries a 29" delay after only 700 metres. His delay will be almost 1 minute during the final kilometre. When Basso crosses the finish line his leads are: 1’19” on Evans, 1’30” on Scarponi, 1’56” on Cunego, 2’26” on Vinokourov, 2’44” on Sastre, 3’07” on Nibali, 3’20” on Pinotti. Arroyo arrives at 3’51” and keeps his pink jersey, with a 2’35” lead on Porte and 3’33” on Basso.

Arroyo said, "Today's goal was to maintain first position in the classification. It was really a terrible stage. I'll think about the uphill time trial later."

Tomorrow is a rest day. The race resumes Tuesday with the uphill individual time trial from San Vigilio di Marebbe to Plan de Corones, 12.9 kilometres of constant climbing on roads that become ski trails in winter months. The final five kilometres from the Furcia Pass on up are simply scary: it is all dirt roads, with an average incline of 20% and a maximum of 24%.

Top 10 finishers of stage 15:
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 6:21:58
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:19
3 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:01:30
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 0:01:58
5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0:02:26
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 0:02:44
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:03:07
8 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team HTC - Columbia 0:03:20
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Transitions 0:03:31
10 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:46

Top 10 on GC after stage 15:
1 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 67:48:42
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Saxo Bank -0:02:35
3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:03:33
4 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 0:04:21
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:04:43
6 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0:05:51
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:06:08
8 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:06:34
9 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram 0:07:12
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Liquigas-Doimo 0:08:13

Photos by Bettini

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1 comment:

  1. A stage I'll remember forever, like Pantani on Piancavallo. This has been my favorite giro in years.