July 14, 2008

Stage 10: The climb to Hautacam

At the base of Hautacam, 24 riders are chasing Remy de Gregorio:

  • Evans, Silence-Lotto
  • Sastre, Cancellara, A. Schleck, F. Schleck, Voigt, CSC-Saxo Bank
  • Kirchen, Columbia
  • Duenas Nevado, Barloworld
  • Nibali, Liquigas
  • Fothen and Kohl, Gerolsteiner
  • Menchov and Freire, Rabobank
  • Ricco, Cobo and Piepoli, Saunier Duval
  • Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle
  • Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi
  • Dupont, Efimkin and Goubert, AG2R
  • Roy, Française des Jeux
  • Duque, Cofidis

Cancellara and Voigt are quickly dropped, Di Gregorio is swept up, and Piepoli attacks. Schleck matches, then Sastre tries a testing attack. Kirchen is dropped from the leaders group. Sastre caught and Fränk Schleck attacks, followed by Piepoli and Efimkin. Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, and Christian Vandevelde, ride alongside Carlos Sastre, Cobo, and Kohl.

Kohl launches, matched by Cobo, and there goes Christian Vande Velde, riding away from Sastre, Evans, Menchov.

Valverde, already well behind the leaders, has a mechanical.

Vande Velde can't make it up to Schleck's group, and comes back to the Evans/Menchov group. Kohl and Cobo successfully bridge up to Piepoli, Schleck, and Efimkin.

Kirchen begins to make up time on the Evans group, and Evans attacks! It's not enough to drop his group, but it does increase the gap to Kirchen. Evans rides with Vande Velde, Menchov, Nibali, Sastre, and Ricco.

Up front, Schleck's group begins to splinter. Cobo launches off the front, and Piepoli and Schleck are the only riders who can bridge up.

Nibali yo-yoes off the back of the Evans group. Valverde and Cunego ride together, about 4:30 back of Piepoli, and abut 3:00 behind Sastre, Evans, Menchov, and Vande Velde. Kirchen is 1:00 down on Evans.

Schleck, who started the day 1:50 behind Evans in GC, has build enough of a gap that he's riding (barely) in the virtual yellow jersey, with less than 4km to ride.

In the final 3km, Cobo and Piepoli lift the pace, and Schleck can't match the teammates. They ride together to the finish, with Schleck alone, and the remnants of the Schleck group (Kohl, Efimkin) spread out back toward Evans.

At the line, it's Leonardo Piepoli taking the stage, with Cobo on his wheel, and Schleck about 26 seconds back. It's going to be close for Evans...

As the Evans group comes into the final km, Christian Vande Velde goes to the front and raises the pace, then Riccardo Ricco comes by. Evans bumps the tempo to hold contact, and the group holds together to the line, coming in at about 2:15, giving Evans the yellow jersey by 1 narrow second.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2008 in 2008 Stage 10, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, Leonardo Piepoli | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 28, 2007

Piepoli also facing investigation

CNN.com | Piepoli, Petacchi in doping probe

Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli initial “non-negative” finding from the Giro d'Italia came back alongside Alessandro Petacchi's and Iban Mayo's.

Like Petacchi, Piepoli tested positive for salbutamol, with some reports quoting a level of 1800 nanograms/milliliter, about one-third higher than Petacchi's.

Like Petacchi, he'll speak with an investigator from the Italian Olympic Committee about his Adverse Analytical Finding next week. He was left off Saunier Duval-Prodir's Tour squad.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2007 in Doping, Leonardo Piepoli | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2007

Moreau conquers Ventoux

AG2R's Christophe Moreau took a 2nd win at this year's Dauphiné Libéré, riding the wheels off the whole peloton on the leg-breaking climb to Mont Ventoux.

Moreau won Tuesday's stage to Saint Etienne, which put him into the overall race lead, a lead he relinquished to Alexandre Vinokourov after yesterday's time trial.

Vinokourov quickly fell away on the day's final climb (finishing 7:20 back), but he had suggested yesterday that he wasn't interested in chasing an overall here at the Dauphiné, and his teammate, Andrey Kashechkin, took over the race leadership by finishing 2:04 behind Moreau.

The day's revelation had to be the climbing of CSC's Dave Zabriskie, who stayed with the main chase group almost to the summit, and finished just out of the day's top 10 at 2:01.

Moreau's teammate Sylvain Calzati spent more than 190 kilometers leading the race, first with 3 breakaway companions, then alone, before finally being caught a few kilometers from the observatory atop Mont Ventoux.

Top 10:
1) Christophe Moreau, France, AG2R
2) Sylvester Szmyd, Poland, Lampre, at 1:08
3) Igor Anton, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:21
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at 1:51
5) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, same time
6) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:55
7) Miguel Beltran, Spain, Liquigas, same time
8) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, s.t.
9) Leonardo Piepoli, Italy, Saunier Duval, 1:57
10) Alberto Contador, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time
11) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at 2:00
13)Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at 2:04

General classification (CORRECTED 4:40 p.m.):
1) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, in 16:17.21
2) Christophe Moreau, France, AG2R, at :14
3) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, at :25
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :26
5) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, same time
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at :53
7) Sylvain Chavanel, France, Cofidis, at 1:50
8) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 3:15
9) Alberto Contador, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time
10) Manuel Beltran, Spain, Liquigas, at 3:34

Moreau leads the points, mountains, and combination jersey competitions.


cyclingnews.com | Moreau reaches his nirvana on the Ventoux | Full Results

VeloNews | Moreau wins atop Ventoux; Kashechkin leads Dauphiné

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Leonardo Piepoli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Petacchi, Piepoli, Mayo "non-negative" at Giro

IHT.com | Petacchi, Piepoli and Mayo are three cyclists named in doping reports from Giro d'Italia

Giro organizers reported earlier this week that 2 Italians and a Spaniard had “non-negative” dope tests at the Italian grand tour last month. Today, Gazzetta dello Sport reports the riders are Alessandro Petacchi, Leonardo Piepoli, and Iban Mayo.

All three won stages, with Petacchi winning 5. Milram's Petacchi and Saunier Duval's Piepoli reportedly tested above the allowed threshold for asthma medication salbutamol, while Mayo, also riding for Saunier Duval, reportedly tested above the limit for testosterone.

Petacchi and Piepoli both carry medical clearances to use salbutamol, and Mayo reportedly has a high natural testosterone level. Officials must consider possible clearances and exemptions, and the rider's “B” sample, before calling the test results a positive and beginning any possible disciplinary measures.

Update: VeloNews offers a translation of Piepoli's comments:

"It's true that I take Salbutamol to treat my allergy.

"Mauro (Gianetti) asked me how much I had taken. But I don't know how many puffs I took. I take it each time I need it. It depends on the seasons."

Update 2: Mayo has been cleared: The UCI says an IRMS test ruled out “any possibility of testosterone administration.”

If the reports are true, they bring to mind the case of Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. He showed a high salbutamol level in the 2002 Tour, but wasn't punished. CyclingForums.com had a good discussion of the threshold values for salbutamol in 2003. In the Gonzalez de Galdeano case, the UCI ruled that they had no upper limit on salbutamol concentration, while representatives of the (then-new) World Anti-Doping Agency maintained that 1000 nanograms/milliliter was the maximum permissible level. Petacchi reportedly showed salbutamol levels of 1200 and 1400 nanograms per milliliter.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Doping, Giro d'Italia 2007, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 10, 2006

Mayo takes Dauphiné queen stage!

Iban Mayo showed he's in fine form ahead of the Tour de France with an amazing victory on the hardest day of the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré.

Meanwhile, Levi Leipheimer countered every attack from the contenders, and probably nailed down an overall race victory.

Saunier Duval-Prodir's Leonardo Piepoli animated the late attacks, and Leipheimer took no chances. Even though Piepoli sat more than 5 minutes back on GC, Leipheimer matched him, pedal stroke for pedal stroke. AG2R's Christophe Moreau was the only other rider who could ride with Leipheimer and Piepoli, and moved into 2nd overall for his efforts. He's France's best GC hope for the Tour.

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, who was in the break with Mayo, stayed with him for hours, but was dropped on the final climb. He soloed in for 2nd on the day, ahead of Moreau, Leipheimer, and Piepoli.

T-Mobile's Austrian Bernhard Kohl continued his amazing race, coming in 6th on the day, at 2:00 flat, vaulting him into 3rd overall.


DailyPeloton.com | Stage 6 Live

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dauphiné Stage 6 underway

Today's probably the hardest day of the Dauphiné climbing the Col du Galibier, the Col de la Croix de Fer, both hors categorie, the Col du Mollard, a 2nd-category climb, and the finishing climb, a 1st-category climb up La Toussuire, which we'll see again in Stage 16 of this year's Tour.

If anybody's going to take the leader's jersey off Levi Leipheimer, today is where they'll have to do it.

Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, and Levi Leipheimer are riding together over the top of the Mollard, with about 39 kilometers to ride. They're chasing Caisse d'Espargne's Alejandro Valverde, Euskaltel-Euskadi's Iban Mayo, T-Mobile's Oscar Sevilla, and Valverde's teammate David Arroyo, who are already on the descent 1:15 up the road.

The pack is catching back onto Moreau's little group on the descent.

At 29 kilometers to ride, the gap has gone out to 1:41. Davitamon-Lotto has a couple riders leading the group, Chris Horner is one. Leipheimer has no teammates in the chasing group of around 16.

As the four leaders hit the base of the finishing climb, David Arroyo, who has been towing the break, comes full stop, leaving Valverde, Sevilla, and Mayo to fight for the stage win.

Leipheimer sits comfortably on Chris Horner's wheel, Menchov and Moreau shadowing him. With 16k to ride, the 3 leaders have 2:06 on the chasers.

Voeckler off the back, Mancebo off the back, as Piepoli is gone off the front. Leipheimer goes to the front, and the leader's group is down to 9 or 10. There goes Piepoli again, and Leipheimer matches -- here goes Azevedo. Mancebo had just reached back up to Leipheimer's group, but he's lost again.

Valverde, meanwhile, raised the pace and dropped Sevilla. Mayo and Valverde are riding alone.

Piepoli, Azevedo, and Leipheimer have a gap. Menchov can see them riding away, but he can't counter. Now Moreau bridges, as does T-Mobile's Bernhard Kohl, so there's a group of 5 chasing Valverde and Mayo. Maybe 100 meters back is another group of 5 including Mancebo and Denis Menchov.

Leipheimer's group has caught David Arroyo, who sits on the back.

Now Menchov and Voeckler have gone off the back of Mancebo's group. Menchov may be hurt -- he's got a dirt stain on his shoulder. Even if Moreau can't catch Leipheimer on GC, he and Azevedo have a good chance to move up into 2nd and 3rd overall tonight.

There's Sevilla; he drops in behind Arroyo, so there are 7 main chasers, with 6 kilometers to ride.

There goes Piepoli again! Leipheimer stays right on his wheel, Moreau stays with them, and Bernhard Kohl struggles to stay with them. Azevedo tries to make it but can't, and he, Arroyo, and Sevilla go off the back. Now Kohl is sapped, leaving only Piepoli, Leipheimer and Christophe Moreau together.

The gap is under a minute now, and Moreau and Piepoli are both racing hard. There's a chance they'll bring the break back. Mayo raises the pace, and easily puts 50 meters into Valverde. He doesn't look like a man who's going to get caught on a mountain.

Valverde's in the chasers' sights now. Mayo has bumped his gap out to 1:11 back to Leipheimer. He's going to take the stage win; he's just flying up the slope.

With 1 kilometer to ride, Mayo's gap is out to 1:38! The race cameras keep showing Menchov, who is looking very ragged back down in the field. Moreau is doing the work in the chase -- he needs less than 90 seconds to move past Menchov in the GC.

Mayo's taken it! Valverde survives, coming in around 1:20. Moreau is sprinting for 3rd, and gets it, at 1:37. Leipheimer and Piepoli finish with him.

Kohl is next at 2:00, then Azevedo takes 7th at 2:37. Mancebo battles in at 3:17, Sevilla and Caucchioli are next at 3:26.

Rous, Voeckler, Menchov, Hincapie, Chavanel, at 5:22. Menchov falls off the podium.

Looks like GC should be (correction): 1) Leipheimer, 2) Moreau, 3) Kohl, 4) Azevedo, 5) Mancebo.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Levi Leipheimer | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 09, 2006

Ludovic Turpin takes Dauphiné Stage 5; Leipheimer holds race lead

Turpin crosses the line
Turpin takes the stage win,
CyclingNews.com/Fotoreporter Sirotti.

I tuned in about 400 meters before the finish, so I have no details, but AG2R's Ludovic Turpin rode in alone at Briançon, with Iban Mayo and Francisco Mancebo chasing hard.

Apparently, and this is pretty hard to believe, Turpin survived from a longish breakaway with Jerome Pineau and (the funny part) Thor Hushovd on the Col d'Izoard! Turpin had just 38 seconds at the summit, but held off the leaders on the descent to the town of Briançon and the short climb to the finish outside the village.

Mayo gapped Mancebo at the end, finishing at 26 seconds to Mancebo's 27.

Next came Credit Agricole's Pietro Caucchioli, at :37.

Leonardo Piepoli of Saunier Duval-Prodir was (correction) 5th on the day, at :41. Leipheimer rode in with George Hincapie, Christophe Moreau, and Denis Menchov at :48 to maintain his overall race lead, but Mancebo moves closer, and gives AG2R 2 men (Mancebo and Moreau) within 2 minutes of Gerolsteiner's leader. Moreau sits 3rd overall -- it's Leipheimer, Menchov, Moreau, Mancebo.

CSC's David Zabriskie finished at about 1:28, Alejandro Valverde at 1:47, and Floyd Landis came in way back at 8:47. I'd like to think he's sandbagging here, but we really haven't seen him dominate on a climb this year. He matched Danielson on Brasstown Bald, but Discovery inexplicably didn't really take him to the limit.

Turpin called it his best career victory. ProCycling called it “that rarest of things, a victory by a French rider in a ProTour event in the Alps.” You can pick your favorite.


Eurosport | Turpin holds on for stage win

CyclingNews.com Stage 5 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 9, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2006

Garate takes Stage 19, new papa Basso comfortable in Giro lead

On paper, Stage 17 was this year's Giro queen stage. But when weather and team dissent led organizers to behead the queen, chopping off the top of the stage, today's stage stepped in. With four big climbs in 224 kilometers, it was the best chance for somebody to try to put the hurt on king-to-be Ivan Basso, celebrating the birth this morning of his second child, a son.

A solid early break got 5 minutes on the field over the second major climb. The highest placed rider was Danilo Di Luca, 12th at 18:27, and some other familiar names were along, including Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt of CSC, Paolo Bettini and Juan Manuel Garate of QuickStep, Johan Tschopp of Phonak, and Francisco Vila of Lampre.

On the Pordoi, Bettini and Julich were quickly off the back, and Ceramica Panaria's Fortunato Baliani led the group over the top, nearly 7 minutes ahead of the pack, to take the lead in the climber's jersey competition.

At the foot of the last climb, Di Luca, Garate, and Voigt were riding with Tschopp, Lampre's Evgeni Petrov, Tadej Valjavec, and Francisco Vila, Ceramica Panaria's Baliani, Laverde, and Emanuele Sella, Patrice Halgand, and Ivan Parra.

Valjavec launched the first attack, joined quickly by Voigt. Parra and Villa tried to bridge, but never quite made it. Parra fell off Villa's pace, to be replaced by Garate, and that pair caught Valjavec and Voigt. Valjavec quickly attacked again, and was countered by Garate, who gapped the trio, only to have Voigt (!) jump out and catch his wheel.

Back in the field, Piepoli turned on the burners, and Simoni, Cunego, and Basso were the only ones who could match him. Once again, Savoldelli was quickly off the back, and once again Discovery's Tom Danielson led him in. Gutierrez drifted off the leaders' group, and Simoni smelled 2nd on the GC, and attacked. Basso and Cunego countered, but Cunego couldn't match the pace, and yo-yoed desperately on and off Basso and Simoni, slowly drifting back, but passing break survivors along the way.

In the last few kilometers, everyone had to be thinking back to the 2005 Tour, and George Hincapie's win over Phonak's Oscar Pereiro after Pereiro had set pace all day. Today, we had a big generalist/superdomestique, Voigt, teammate of the overall race leader, riding alongside a climber, Garate, with an uphill finish, and again, it looked like the big man, Voigt, had played all his cards right for the win. Voigt patiently sat in, and then, with less than 300 meters to go, he patted Garate on the back, gave him a little push, and sat up.

Garate couldn't believe his luck; he had tried to ride Voigt off his wheel unsuccessfully, and now, he was handing Garate the win? The little man, riding in his Spanish champion's jersey, put a safe cushion behind him, still glancing nervously several times back at Voigt, then with 50 meters to ride, he pointed back, acknowledging the gift, zipped his jersey, and took the stage.

Back with the GC riders, the question was, where's Gutierrez? Simoni looked a little like Gibos past, and he and Basso led in all riders not involved in the break, finishing 7th and 8th at 2:15. Behind them, Cunego and Gutierrez, both of whom had looked near popping, were clawing for every inch, and Gutierrez came 11th at 2:39 and Cunego 12th at 2:40. Savoldelli, Piepoli, Baliani, Danielson, Sandy Casar and Victor Hugo Peña finished together at 4:16, while Pellizotti came in at 5:11.

On GC, that means Basso leads by 6:07, with Gutierrez in 2nd, 4:27 clear of Simoni, who now has a 2:25 cushion on Savoldelli. Pellizotti falls from 5th to 6th, while Cunego pole-vaults from 8th to 5th, now 15:13 back.

One notable DNF, as Jan Ullrich drops out, complaining of back pain.

Five riders were still competing in Liberty Seguros jerseys, and the team ownership promises the team will continue through the end of the season, even without a large portion of the 8 million euros Liberty was kicking in.

cyclingnews.com | Report & Results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 26, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

Piepoli pips Basso on shortened Stage 17

Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli took another stage win today, as organizers chopped off the brutal final 5.5-kilometer final climb to Plan de Corones in recognition of the nasty weather. Race temperatures were below freezing on the mountaintops, and a steady rain fell for much of the stage.

Piepoli sheltered team leader Gilberto Simoni until late on the climb, then rode across when the leading pack broke into two 4-man bunches, joining CSC's Ivan Basso, Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez, and Ceramica Panaria's Julio Perez. Gutierrez saw Simoni was isolated and pushed the pace, but in the last kilometer, he gave way to the Italian duo, and Piepoli showed a little in the last few meters to discourage Basso from contesting the finish.

The stage conclusion pretty much mirrored what we've been seeing throughout the Giro: Basso and Piepoli are the strongest climbers in the Giro, and Gutierrez of Phonak is a tick behind. Double Giro winner Simoni of Saunier Duval-Prodir just doesn't have the legs to contend in the overall, but he did back onto the podium today, with Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli losing 1:29 and third place overall, and being shepherded in by (major correction: provisional results had Tom Danielson) teammate José Rubiera in 16th place. Savoldelli told CyclingNews:

“Well my Giro is getting worse day by day,” lamented Savoldelli. “I still have motivation, but I'm not competitive. But I'm hanging tough and my team is working really well. Because of the rain, I'm feeling better today from my allergies, but I'm still not competitive. I want to do more but I just don't have the legs.”

Damiano Cunego climbed much of the final ascent on his own, down around 9th place, then caught and passed Simoni in the day's last meters, to finish 7th on the day at :41, improving to 5th overall.

Liquigas' Franco Pellizotti managed to bridge to Basso in the last couple of kilometers, but was dropped along with Gutierrez when Piepoli and Basso smelled the finish line. Look for more from him tomorrow, as the Giro travels to his home region.

Ullrich watchers: He was 120th, at 11:11.

Top 10:

1) Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval-Prodir, in 3:21:26
2) Ivan Basso, Team CSC, same time
3) José Enrique Gutierrez, Phonak, at :15
4) Franco Pellizotti, Liquigas, at :19
5) Julio Perez, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at :28
6) John Gadret, AG2R, at :37
7) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, at :41
8) Gilberto Simoni, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :48
9) Sergio Ghisalberti, Team Milram, at :58
10) Giampaolo Caruso, Liberty Seguros, same time

Posted by Frank Steele on May 24, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Filippo Pozzato, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2006

Piepoli takes Stage 13; Basso still the man

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 13

Saunier Duval-Prodir's Leonardo Piepoli descended faster than a Falco Saturday to win Stage 13 at the Giro. Piepoli, a climbing specialist, took his first Giro win.

Ivan Basso once again showed he's the class of the contenders, blowing up the field on the ascent of Colle San Carlo, and actually losing time on the closing descent to La Thuile, as he took it gently on slick roads.

Piepoli, who spent last Sunday's climb to the Maielletta shepherding team leader Gilberto Simoni, was given free rein Saturday, and made the most of it. He crested the last climb with Basso, then put 44 seconds into CSC's leader on the descent.

José Enrique Gutierrez of Phonak and Simoni, were 3rd and 4th on the day, at 1:19 to Piepoli, losing 35 seconds to Basso. They topped the climb at 1:24, but pulled Basso back somewhat on the descent. Damiano Cunego, who looked like the most promising contender on last Sunday, rode in with Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli, 2:36 back of Piepoli.

Basso just keeps building his cushion on the GC, now leading Gutierrez by 3:27, Savoldelli by 5:30, Wladimir Belli by 7:35, and Simoni by 8:00. Danielson's 7th, at 8:35, Cunego's 8th, at 8:58, and Di Luca is 9th at 10:36.

Selle Italia's José Rujano, who animated last year's Giro, abandoned on the road, possibly owing to his strange contract, which has him moving to Quick Step June 1. Thomas Vaitkus, who won Stage 9, also abandoned on the road. T-Mobile's Michael Rogers didn't start because of a toothache, while triple stage winner Robbie McEwen didn't start, complaining of a minor illness.


VeloNews.com | Basso tightens grip on Giro as Piepoli earns tough win

cyclingnews.com | Stage 13 photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Stage 13 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 20, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 14, 2006

Basso ascendant: Takes Stage 8, Giro lead

CyclingNews.com | Stage 8 - Sunday, May 14

Ivan Basso announced his presence with authority on Sunday, taking control of the 2006 Giro d'Italia.

Basso rode alongside the other race favorites on the day's final climb, and one by one, they cracked. Race leader Sergei Honchar was among the first, but surprisingly, Discovery Channel's defending Giro champ Paolo Savoldelli also quickly went off the back, as did 2005 Giro revelation José Rujano.

Hometown hero Danilo Di Luca was next, yoyoing off a small group, while Basso sat spinning comfortably on the wheel of teammate Carlos Sastre. Like Basso, Gilberto Simoni was riding with a teammate, Leonardo Piepoli, and also in the leading group were Damiano Cunego, Phonak's Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Luca Mazzanti and Giampaolo Caruso.

Rujano bravely fought back onto the select group, and launched the first attack. Sastre let him dangle off the front like a rabbit leading the greyhounds, and Rujano was recaptured within a kilometer or so. Next to go was Cunego with 4k to the summit, and he went hard. Only Basso could hold his wheel, but he did so with seeming ease, and after perhaps 150 meters, Basso soloed off the front.

Cunego couldn't respond, and 2-time Giro champ Simoni watched Basso ride away, seemingly content to ease in, riding on Piepoli's wheel. This was a stage where Simoni needed to regain some of the time lost in Saunier Duval-Prodir's team time trial, but instead, he lost another 1:15. That's got to depress his team, which spent much of today controlling the race to give Simoni a chance at the stage and some GC. Simoni after the stage:

"When Cunego went I was already at my limit, so I couldn't respond," said the two-time Giro champion. "Basso, on the contrary, had no fear. This was impressive. He did a great climb today. He's going to be difficult to beat, because he also has a very strong team."

Di Luca was trapped in no-man's land, behind the leaders, but ahead of the group that formed around Savoldelli and Andrea Noè.

When the dust cleared, Basso had won the stage, and sits 1:34 up on Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez in the GC. Savoldelli was shepherded to the line by Tom Danielson, but lost 2:20 on the day. Il Falco's Giro may not be over, but he's going to need some extraordinary performances and extraordinary luck to win it - he's 2:35 back, with 2 weeks featuring loads more of the same to go.

Savoldelli quoted in CyclingNews:

"The Giro is not finished here...I knew Basso was strongest and I knew that I wasn't on a good day right away when the climb started. I went into the red zone right away and couldn't hold the pace. Thanks to Danielson, I was able to limit the loss. But the next step is the TT and then, the last week is so hard. But to lose 2'35 on the first climb, that's a lot... it should be 1'20". But I'm still optimistic."

Basso's ride was just stunning. He looked so comfortable, turning an easy rhythm and dropping everyone in sight, and credit for his freshness has to go largely to Carlos Sastre, who did a monster turn setting tempo on the final climb to Maielletta.


Eurosport.com | Basso claims pink jersey in style

VeloNews.com | Advantage Basso

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Posted by Frank Steele on May 14, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005

Saunier Duval-Prodir announce final Tour roster

cyclingpost.com | Saunier Duval announce Tour de France team

As expected, Chris Horner's Tour de Suisse stage win and demonstrated fitness got him into the Tour.

The full SD-Prodir squad:

David Cañada
Inigo Cuesta
Nicolas Fritsch
Juan Manuel Garate
José Angel Gómez Marchante
Chris Horner
Leonardo Piepoli
Manuel Quinziato
Constantino Zaballa

That might be the best-climbing squad in the race, with Horner, Garate, Gomez Marchante, Piepoli, even Fritsch.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 21, 2005 in Chris Horner, Leonardo Piepoli | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack