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Sprinters shine in Nettuno

Stomping each of his unique snakeskin carbon-soled Gaerne shoes down with enormous power, Ivan Quaranta held off Mario Cipollini to take the first purely flat sprint of this Giro on May 24. Today's 229km stage, starting just east of Naples and ending just south of Rome, did not affect the overall standings. This was the Alexia sprinter’s fifth Giro stage win in three years, and he still acknowledges that, "Cipollini (who has 30 Giro wins) is still the king of us sprinters." Boxed in at the final corner 500 meters from the line, Quaranta -- nicknamed Cheetah -- managed to pop out in time to

Frigo takes over Giro lead

In the first mountaintop finish of the Giro, Rik Verbrugghe lost almost five minutes and Dario Frigo overcame a crash just before the base of the 17km climb to the Santuario di Montevergine to take the pink jersey. Danilo DiLuca won the sprint finish to the stage after Mexican Julio Perez (Panaria), who had broken away at the beginning of the climb, broke his chain with only four kilometers to go while holding an 18-second lead. Coming through Avellino with 20km to go, riders encountered a long stretch of rough and wet cobblestones. The pavé was rough and uneven to just drive over, and,

Giro d’Italia: Hondo makes it two in a row

After winning stage two, Danilo Hondo said he hoped to soon repay Giovanni Lombardi for putting him in perfect position for the sprint. Well, after the leadout Lombardi gave him again today, Hondo is going to have to come up with a really nice gift for his Deutsche Telekom teammate. With 500 meters to go, it appeared that Hondo was leading Lombardi out and evening the score. The two were in third and fourth positions when the Italian suddenly came around to give the German his wheel. Hondo didn’t realize it was Lombardi and bumped him, thinking it was somebody else trying to take his

Giro d’Italia: Hondo wins tough uphill sprint

Jan Ullrich may not be looking so good, but Deutsche Telekom still has plenty of firepower to call upon. In the uphill switchback sprint at the end of this 167km flat stage, Danilo Hondo, a German with an Italian name, got past Rafael Mateos in time to raise his forefinger in triumph. Mateos looked to be pulling off a surprise win for his small team sponsored by a company that makes plastic bags for collection and recycling of various materials. The Spanish Colpack-Astro rider had a gap of several bike lengths with 200 meters to go, but Hondo shot out of the group and passed him.

Major shakeup in rainy finish to stage one; Casagrande won’t start Monday due to broken wrist

On a stage that was expected to produce a sprint finish and no change in the overall standings, a sudden rain in the last hour wreaked havoc on the peloton and on the overall standings. Rik Verbrugghe, yesterday’s time trial winner, worked hard to hold on to leader’s jersey, but that was only a small part of the day’s action – and crashes involving some of the race’s top riders, including Francesco Casagrande who abandoned the race after the stage finish due to his injuries. Shortly after the rain started with around 40km to go, a crash in the middle of the field took down Jan Ullrich

Perfect weather for the start of the Giro d’Italia

The weather has been perfect for cycling the last few days in the Adriatic coast town of Pescara and should hold for Saturday’s start of the 84th Giro d’Italia. This race promises to be highly competitive, with no clear favorite and a course that does not favor any particular type of rider. Fassa Bortolo’s world no. 1, Francesco Casagrande, really wants to win the Giro to erase the memory of last year’s bitter loss on the second-to-last stage, as well as to place himself among the grand champions. The climber from Tuscany has an incredible team backing him, including Paris-Nice and Tour de

Verbrugghe is fastest ever at Giro prologue

If there ever was a day to break some records for time trialing, this was it. The course for the prologue of the 84th Giro d’Italia was short, completely flat and straight as an arrow. The weather was overcast and cool, with a tailwind. Always an opportunist, Rik Verbrugghe took advantage of the conditions to set a record that will probably stand for a very long time. The Lotto-Adecco rider covered the 7.6km along the Abruzzi coast at a blazing pace of 58.874kph, the fastest average time trial speed in professional cycling history, eclipsing the storied record Tour time trial speeds of

Fullana rides away with World Cup win

World champion Marga Fullana led from the first climb of four laps around the tough Sarentino World Cup course. The gap over her Specialized teammate and reigning World Cup champion Barbara Blatter grew steadily from a handful of seconds to over a minute by the end. American Alison Dunlap (GT) rode a steady race, maintaining third place throughout and keeping Blatter within 20-30 seconds until the final lap, when she fell over a minute behind the Swiss wearing the World Cup leader’s jersey. The other North American, Alison Sydor (Trek-Volkswagen), fell steadily back from the top five to

Martinez nips Green in Sarentino

Miguel Martinez followed the script of fellow world champion Marga Fullana in the Sarentino, Italy World Cup, but in more gripping fashion. The 115-pound Full Dynamix rider closed a 23-second gap on 162-pound Roland Green (Trek-Volkswagen) on the last lap and then outsprinted the Canadian after playing cat and mouse for the last kilometer. Like Fullana, Martinez swept the time trial and the cross country, while Green and Specialized’s Barbara Blatter finished second in both races. A lead group of seven had stayed together throughout most of the race, but when Bas Van Dooren (Specialized)

Fullana and Martinez fastest in Sarentino time trial

World champions Marga Fullana and Miguel Martinez started the European World Cup season right where they left off last year. Fullana beat her Specialized teammate and reigning World Cup champion Barbara Blatter by 22 seconds in the qualifying time trial in Sarentino, Italy, while Martinez (Full Dynamix) finished ten seconds up on Roland Green (Trek-Volkswagen). The time trial was held in order to seed the riders for tomorrow’s cross country. The course in Sarentino has changed for this year, and 10th-placed Thomas Frischknecht (Ritchey-Yahoo!) called it "the toughest World Cup course in