Giro d’Italia: Nibali descends to victory as Arroyo climbs into pink
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Nibali descends to victory as Arroyo climbs into pink

by Ben Atkins at 11:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
Sicilian escapes on descent for the stage win as Spaniard takes the race lead

vincenzo nibaliVincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) won the fourteenth stage of the Giro d’Italia between Ferrrara and Asolo after escaping from his breakaway companions on the long, fast descent of Monte Grappa. Nibali’s teammate Ivan Basso took second place 24 seconds behind the Sicilian outsprinting Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) into third and fourth. Former pink jersey Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) came in alone 1’32” behind Nibali.

After around 30km the break of the day got away when William Bonnet (Bbox Bouyges Telecom), Damien Monier (Cofidis), Alessandro Bisolti (Colnago-CSF Inox), Markus Eibegger (Footon-Servetto) and Steve Cummings (Sky) escaped. Italian champion Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) quickly joined them and within 30km they had a lead of more than 8 minutes, before the Acqua & Sapone and Lampre-Farnese Vini teams decided to bring the gap down.

As the climb of Monte Grappa approached the Liquigas-Doimo team moved up to join Lampre-Farnese Vini and as the breakaway hit the lower slopes the gap was down to just 3’22”.

Immediately an attack came in from Bisolti, quickly followed by Cummings; the Briton briefly caught the Italian but soon dropped back to the others. In the peloton behind them the big favourites were already moving forward, with Evans, Basso, Nibali, Scarponi, Vinokourov and Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) visible at the front. The Liquigas-Doimo team continued to apply the pressure on the steep hairpinned slopes putting race leader Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) into difficulty.

With much of the climb still ahead of him, Bradley Wiggins (Sky) attacked the peloton and joined his teammate Cummings up front. Cummings was only able to offer his leader limited support though and Wiggins soon set off alone in pursuit of the tiring Bisolti. After the small descent at Campo Croce in the mid part of the climb Wiggins was caught by the chasing pack, which by now contained very few riders.

The next big attack came from Nibali, who was joined by Basso, Evans and Scarponi, with Vinokourov and Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) in pursuit. The four riders rode together to the summit, where a few spots of rain were beginning to fall, with a number of small groups behind them. Overnight second place David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) was in a group ahead of Porte, meaning that as things stood the Spaniard was virtual race leader.

Evans was briefly distanced as the four leaders took the top of the climb but he quickly rejoined Basso and Scarponi on the descent as Nibali accelerated. The drops of rain that had fallen on the climb had turned into a shower on the way down and the three pursuers took few risks in their pursuit of Nibali. The Sicilian himself though seemed oblivious to the conditions, as did Vinokourov, who reached the top 1’08” behind the leaders and promptly escaped the tentative Sastre in hot pursuit.

Sastre sat up and was absorbed by a group behind him containing teammate Xavier Tondo, Wiggins, Arroyo, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Linus Gerdemann (Milram). Nibali upfront was descending like a stone as the roads dried up, as was Vinokourov, with Evans, Basso and Scarponi between them.

As he reached the bottom of the descent, Nibali had built a lead of 42 seconds over his three pursuers; Vinokourov was now at 1’37” with the Arroyo group 13 seconds behind him. With Basso sitting pretty behind them, contributing nothing to the chase of his teammate, Evans and Scarponi began to work together to try to haul back the lone Nibali. The gap at first increased to 48 seconds, but by the final kilometre the tiring Nibali was just 35 seconds clear; barring catastrophe though he was still assured of victory.

Vinokourov, chasing alone, was making little progress on his pursuit of the three in front but gradually drawing away from the group behind him.

Nibali sat up to enjoy his solo victory. Behind him Basso, having done no work since the summit of Monte Grappa, jumped clear to take second 23 seconds later; Scarponi outsprinted Evans to take third. Vinokourov came in at 1’34”, having held off the group behind him.

The group containing Arroyo finished 2’25” back, meaning that the Spaniard takes the pink jersey from young Australian Porte, whose group came in at 4’46”.

Result stage 14
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
2. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 24s
3. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana @ 1’32”
6. Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Quick Step @ 2’25”
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank
8. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Farnese-Vini
9. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram
10. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Columbia

Standings after stage 14
1. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Saxo Bank @ 39s
3. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam @ 2’12”
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Liquigas-Doimo @ 2’35”
5. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram @ 3’52”


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