The 'Killer' strikes again
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The 'Killer' strikes again

by Steve Jones at 12:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 

Race leader Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farense Vini) showed the nature of his nickname today by out classing the best of the race with a take no prisoners a solo victory into Pinerolo. In the closing kilometers the select group of race favorites had no answer to the attack from the 'Killer', giving him 29 seconds plus time bonuses for the win as the race approaches the long time trial on Thursday. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) led the rest of the front group in followed by Denis Menchov (Rabobank) snatching up the last time bonus on the stage.

Today's 262km stage took the race over three categorized climbs. Aside from the obligatory break void of GC contenders the race stayed together until just under 20k to go.

Former Giro winner Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) made a solo bid before the first climb to build on his King of the Mountains lead. He was joined late in the stage by ISD duo Andriy Grivko and Giovanni Visconti. After Garzelli had time for a breather he attacked, dropping Grivko improving his odds.

In the main peloton team Liquigas was setting a hard tempo at the front that quickly eroded the breakaway's lead to under a minute. Just before the Italian was caught Franco Pellizotti put in a strong attack quickly bridging to Visconti and Garzelli.  His move shattered the race behind as the reactions reverberated down the line. Di Luca took advantage of the chaos attacking persistently until he was finally able to force a gap taking with him race favorites Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam), as well as David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) who was producing a good ride.

The Magila Rosa group bombed the descent eventually hooking up with Pellizotti on the way down. Following close behind were favorites Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and Levi Leipheimer (Astana), with climber Mauricio Soler from Team Barloworld. Just seconds behind the chase group was a possible worker in Lance Armstrong (Astana), but he was unable to bridge up to the Leipeheimer group without giving Columbia - High Road a free ride.  By the time they made the junction the damage had been done ahead.

Di Luca dropped his breakaway companions with an attack on a small climb 3k from the finish.  The Italian bombed the technical descent crossing the line with a 10 second gap over Pellizotti, Menchov, and Sastre putting in a further 19 seconds into Basso and Leipheimer.

With respect to the general classification Di Luca was the obvious winner today, along with the Russian Menchov who jumped from fifth to second.  Pellizotti and Sastre also moved up slightly on the day.  Basso, Leipheimer, and Lövkvist all lost time today that could come back to haunt them, with the Swede falling from second to eighth.

In the end, the Italian fulfilled the promise he made to the Tifosi to produce an exciting stage trying to make up for Sunday's "Milan Show" debacle that put fans and race organizers alike at odds with the peloton.

Tomorrow's 214km stage from Torino to Arenzano could end up in a field sprint since there are no major climbs.  But the fact that the two top sprinters also have GC riders might favor a breakaway.  With a long time trial following day it will be interesting to see if Team Columbia and LPR Brakes let their teams work for their sprinters and go for the stage.

Stage
1. Danilo Di Luca (ITA) LPR 6hr 30min 43sec, 2. Franco Pellizotti (ITA) at
10sec, 3. Denis Menchov (RUS) s.t., 4. Carlos Sastre (ESP) s.t., 5. David
Arroyo (ESP) 26, 6. Mauricio Soler (COL) 29, 7. Ivan Basso (ITA) s.t., 8. Levi
Leipheimer (USA) s.t., 9. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP) s.t., 10. Michael Rogers
(AUS) s.t., 11. Stefano Garzelli (ITA) s.t., 12. Gilberto Simoni (ITA) s.t.,
13. Lance Armstrong (USA) s.t., 14. Michele Scarponi (ITA) 41, 15. Marzio
Bruseghin (ITA) 45, 16. Tadej Valjavec (SLO) 1:23, 17. Dario Cioni (ITA) 1:34,
18. Damiano Cunego (ITA) s.t., 19. Francesco Masciarelli (ITA) s.t., 20. Kevin
Seeldrayers (BEL) s.t.

Overall (after 10 stages)
1. Danilo Di Luca (ITA) 44hr 00min 11sec, 2. Denis Menchov (RUS) at 1min
20sec, 3. Michael Rogers (AUS) 1.33, 4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) 1.40, 5. Franco
Pellizotti (ITA) 1.53, 6. Carlos Sastre (ESP) 1.54, 7. Ivan Basso (ITA) 2.03,
8. Thomas Lovkvist (SWE) 2.12, 9. David Arroyo (ESP) 2.25, 10. Gilberto Simoni
(ITA) 2.58, 11. Christopher Horner (USA) 3.24, 12. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP)
3.58, 13. Tadej Valjavec (SLO) 4.27, 14. Marzio Bruseghin (ITA) 4.29, 15.
Yaroslav Popovych (UKR) 4.32, 16. Kevin Seeldrayers (BEL) 4.51, 17. Laurens
Ten Dam (NED) 5.18, 18. Lance Armstrong (USA) 5.28, 19. Damiano Cunego (ITA)
5.31, 20. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) 5.58
 

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