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Giro notes: Short stages and Etna’s ashes

AVELLINO, Italy (VN) – Friday’s short but explosive 110km stage ended in less than three hours, a far cry from the long, 240km monster the Giro faced earlier this week.

“I like these shorter stages. They’re shorter, more nervous, more interesting to watch and to race,” said Garmin-Cervélo sport director Bingen Fernández. “A long, 200km stage unfolds the same: a break, the peloton controls it, and then the sprint. Today, the same thing happened more or less, but in a much tighter time frame.”

The stage was a reminder of the Vuelta a España, which in the early to mid-2000s experimented with shorter, more explosive stages of 120km to 140km. Attacks would often come in the neutral start zone.

Etna update: Zomegnan says Giro stage a go

Mount Etna is still smoldering, but it appears it won’t be blowing its top. Despite some recent eruptions, Europe’s most active volcano will likely play host to the Giro d’Italia on Sunday.

“The plans will move forward with the stage,” Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan said on RAI. “The locals and crews have cleared dust that fell on the route. We will monitor the situation, but right now, everything looks good to host the stage as planned.”

The airport in Catania, which was temporarily closed Thursday when the first puffs of smoke belched from the interior of Etna, reopened and flights are arriving as scheduled to Sicily.

The jerseys

Pink jersey: Pieter Weening (Rabobank) defended his maglia rosa for the third day, with HTC-Highroad’s Konstantin Sitvsov and Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad) remaining tied at two seconds back. Michele Scarponi (Lampre) took a 12-second time bonus to move into fifth at 14 seconds back.

Red jersey: Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) defended his lead for the point classification with 48 points whle Christophe Le-Mével (Garmin-Cervélo) pulled closer with 41 points.

Green jersey: Martin Kohler (BMC) lost the climber’s jersey to stage-winner Bart de Clercq (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

White jersey: Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) defended the young rider’s jersey for the third day and leads Roman Kreuziger (Astana) by 16 seconds.

Jury decisions

Expensive Coca-Colas. Six riders – Lastras, Wyss, Golas, Favili, Rabottini and Simono – were fined 50 Swiss francs each for passing drinks. Their respective sport directors were fined 200 Swiss francs each.

Sprint prizes

Four intermediate primes were added late by local communities to Friday’s stage. Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) won 900 euros in Sant’Agata de Goti. Lars Bak won 500 euros in Airola, as did Giovanni Visconti in Santa Paolina. Matteo Montaguti won 500 euros in the sprint at Prato di Principato Ultra. Organizers announced that one mid-race prime has been added for Saturday’s stage.

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