Giro d'Italia: Eros Capecchi takes stage eighteen from the break
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Giro d'Italia: Eros Capecchi takes stage eighteen from the break

by VeloNation Press at 11:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 

Eros CapecchiEros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) won the seventeenth stage of the Giro d'Italia today, outsprinting breakaway companions Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad) and Kevin Seeldraeyers (Quick Step) in the streets of San Pellegrino Terme.  His win marks the Italian's first success in a Grand Tour and his biggest victory to date.  Maglia Rosa Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) cruised in safely with the peloton, with no changes in the fight for the overall.

Today's short 151 kilometer stage from Morbegno to San Pellegrino Terme began fast, so it wasn't until they had ridden 94 kilometers that a break was able to distance themselves from the peloton.  Nineteen riders represented the move of the day, with Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) the closest rider to Contador, more than 16 minutes behind.

The escape also included Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad), Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil), Jan Bakelants (Omega Lotto-Pharma), Paolo Tiralongo (Astana), Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Philip Deignan (RadioShack), Luis Pasamontes (Movistar), Angel Vicioso (Androni Giocattoli), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli), Gianluca Brambilla (Colnago-CSF Inox), Russell Downing (Team Sky), Carlos Sastre and Dmitry Kozontchuk from Geox-TMC, Jesus Hernández and Daniel Navarro from Saxo Bank-Sungard, and Kevin Seeldraeyers and Jérôme Pineau from Quick Step.  The peloton only let their advantage get to 2 minutes and 18 seconds, unwilling to allow such a large group too much time.

As the leaders continued their journey to the finish, it was Deignan who forced the pace on the narrow cobbled roads through Bergamo as the gradient increased.  His efforts started a chain reaction that shaved seven off the front, but, unfortunately for the Irishman, he was caught behind in the chase group.  Pinotti, Capecchi, Seeldraeyers, Tiralongo, Pineau, Brambilla and Downing represented the head of the race, with 4 minutes and 9 seconds over the peloton, and they quickly gained a 1 minute and 22 second advantage over the chasers with 38 kilometers left to race.

The day's big climb was in the form of the category two Passo di Ganda and, as the escape took in the ascent, Pinotti, Capecchi and Seeldraeyers rode away from the others to make it three up front.  The Lampre-ISD team of second placed Michele Scarponi controlled the peloton behind.  The trio maintained their advantage as they climbed the mountain, with the hope to preserve enough of their lead to take advantage of the long descending route to the finishing town.  Brambilla continued to work hard behind, and was able to keep the leaders in his sights as they approached 1 kilometer to the summit.

Behind a frustrated Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) went on the attack with 25 kilometers remaining in the stage.  The Italian national champion was taking his last shot at stage glory following his relegation that cost him the victory the previous day.  The rest of this Giro d'Italia will suit the climbers.

Visconti was able to get a small gap and connect with the duo of Pineau and Vicioso, who had fallen back from the original break, and made it three.  2 minutes and 30 seconds ahead of the trio was a group of fourteen, then Brambilla 40 seconds further, with the three leaders a further minute ahead.  Lampre-ISD continued to tap out the pace in the peloton behind.

The trio up front continued to ride well together, increasing their advantage to 6 minutes and 30 seconds with just 15 kilometers to race.  Visconti's escape was over behind, while Tiralongo joined Brambilla, the pair trailing the leaders by 1 minute and 33 seconds.  The threesome continued to increase their advantage as they approached the finish, with their lead swelling to nearly 7 minutes with 6 kilometers remaining.

With such a large advantage over the peloton the truce was off for the leaders, with Pinotti the first to start skipping his turns at the front.  With the pressure off behind, their advantage continued to hold.

Two kilometers from the line the trio continued to play games as the flamme rouge came into sight.  Pinotti was leading as they hit the final thousand meters, with Seeldraeyers on his wheel and Capecchi waiting in the wings, perfectly positioned in third.  Pinotti hit the gas in the final corner with 250 meters remaining, but time trial specialist wasn't fast enough to hold of Capecchi, who cruised over the line hands raised for the win.

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