Giro d’Italia: Garzelli wins on Plan de Corones as Arroyo clings on to pink
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Garzelli wins on Plan de Corones as Arroyo clings on to pink

by Ben Atkins at 11:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Italian veteran takes mountain time trial as favourites close in on the leader

stefano garzelliStefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) won the mountain time trial from San Vigilio di Marebbe to the top of the Plan de Corones, to take stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia. The 2000 race winner climbed the steep, partly unsurfaced 12.9km course in 41’28”, 42 seconds quicker than World champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). French cyclocross specialist John Gadret (AG2R-La Mondiale) was third at 54 seconds.

The early standard was set by the 4th rider off, Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago-CSF Inox) with 45’48”. His time was to hold out until teammate Alan Marangoni (Colnago-CSF Inox), 46th to start, went 1 second quicker with 45’47”. Marco Marzano (Lampre-Farnese Vini) went exactly a minute quicker with 44’47” just a few riders later, before Damien Monier (Cofidis) lowered it further to 44’15”. Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Farnese Vini), who finished third the last time the Giro raced up this climb but is now riding his final race before retirement, was provisional fastest at the first time check but finished 12 seconds slower than the Frenchman.

Monier’s time was to stand until Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas-Doimo), starter number 83, went a full 35 seconds faster with 43’40”. The Pole’s time would be the one to beat when the race favourites started in the third wave. They were to set off after a half hour break, which allowed the finished riders to get back down the mountain by cable car.

Swiss rider Johann Schopp (Bbox Bouyges Telecom) quickly took six seconds off Szmyd’s time. His time in the lead was to be less than a minute though, as Belarussian champion Branislau Samoilau (Quick Step) went a second quicker. Samoilou’s lead was not set to last much longer than Schopp’s though as Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d’Epargne), setting a standard for his teammate and race leader David Arroyo to follow, went fully 29 seconds faster with 43’04”

Garzelli, who finished in a disappointing 37th place on Sunday’s stage to Monte Zoncolan, losing 9’30” to stage winner Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) (although he may have been taking it easy with this stage in mind), fairly flew up the precipitous unsurfaced slopes to smash Uran’s time. His time of 41’28” knocked 1’36” off the Columbian’s mark, setting a seemingly unbeatable target for those that followed.

A few minutes later though Gadret, who’d been just 30 seconds slower than Garzelli at the first checkpoint, used his offroad experience to come in within 54 seconds of the Italian at the finish. Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) looked as though he might challenge the Acqua & Sapone rider’s time after going 8 seconds quicker at the 7.9km point, but he faded on the gravel and dirt surface to finish more than a minute slower.

Evans too was faster than Garzelli at 7.9km, the point where the course left the tarmacked road of the Passo Furcia, and looked likely to take the race lead with his moutainbike experience. But the World champion, clad in all red as he leads the points classification, was unable to sustain his pace and came in 42 seconds down. Basso was 18 seconds slower than Evans at 7.9km but lost only 10 more on the gravel road to the top; the Australian has closed to just 42 seconds behind the Italian in the overall classification though. Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) also lost time, finishing in 19th place, 2’31” down, and losing his place in the overall classification to the World champion.

Second-placed Richie Porte (Saxo Bank), wearing the white jersey for the best young rider, had lost 54 seconds to Evans by the first checkpoint; he held his nerve though and reached the top 2’17” behind Garzelli. Unfortunately for the young Australian it wasn’t enough to hold off Basso, and the Liquigas-Doimo rider climbed over him in the overall standings.

Race leader Arroyo was under pressure after having lost 3’50 to Basso on Sunday’s Monte Zoncolan stage. It began to look as though he might be about to lose even more too as wearing a pink skinsuit, and riding a completely pink bike, he had lost 1’20” by the end of the tarmac section. With his mechanic actually running alongside him with his spare bike for most of the final kilometre though, the Spaniard finished in a time of 43’44”, 2’16” behind Garzelli.

Arroyo lost time to both Evans and Basso but did enough to hold on to the race lead. With one medium and two high mountain stages, as well as the final day time trial, still to come though he will be under even more pressure from the two strongest riders in the race.

Garzelli’s winning time is 1’02” slower than that set by Franco Pellizotti in the identical stage in 2008. The slowest rider on the day was Ermanno Capelli (Footon-Servetto), whose time was outside the time limit; the 24-year-old Italian was the one rider to be eliminated.

Result stage 16
1. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team @ 42s
3. John Gadret (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale @ 54s
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 1’01”
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli @ 1’07”
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 1’10”
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d’Epargne @ 1’36”
8. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Astana @ 1’37”
9. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step @ 1’41”
10. Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Team Katusha @ 1’46”

Standings after stage 16
1. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
2. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 2’27”
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Saxo Bank @ 2’36”
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team @ 3’09”
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam @ 4’36”

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