Events

Gasparotto in maglia rosa as Liquigas blazes Giro opener

The Giro d’Italia just wouldn’t be the same without a good dose of polemica, the favored pastime of this passionate nation of 60 million souls, and there was plenty of it in Saturday’s opening stage of the 90th corsa rosa. [nid:38529]UCI president Pat McQuaid got things off to a good start when he showed up an hour before the team time trial between the Caprera and La Maddalena islands to tell Italian journalists there would be no deal-making for scandal-marred Ivan Basso (see "McQuaid:No breaks for Basso").

By Andrew Hood

Enrico Gasparotto gets the first leader's jersey of the Giro.

Enrico Gasparotto gets the first leader’s jersey of the Giro.

Photo: Agence France Presse – 2007

The Giro d’Italia just wouldn’t be the same without a good dose of polemica, the favored pastime of this passionate nation of 60 million souls, and there was plenty of it in Saturday’s opening stage of the 90th corsa rosa.

Liquigas rode an impressive race on a difficult course.

Liquigas rode an impressive race on a difficult course.

Photo: Graham Watson

UCI president Pat McQuaid got things off to a good start when he showed up an hour before the team time trial between the Caprera and La Maddalena islands to tell Italian journalists there would be no deal-making for scandal-marred Ivan Basso (see “McQuaid:No breaks for Basso“).

Once the season’s first grand tour got underway, riders complained that the otherwise spectacular 25.6km route along a string of islands north of Sardinia was too curvy and dangerous to warrant a team time trial course.

Then there was an added touch of seeing Liquigas rider Enrico Gasparotto squirt ahead of team captain Danilo Di Luca to snag the Giro’s first maglia rosa after the Italian team upset favorites such as Team CSC and Discovery Channel.

The Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion screamed at his teammate as the pair crossed the line victorious, taking an unexpected 13-second victory ahead of Paolo Savoldelli’s Astana troops and 30 seconds ahead of Fabian Cancellara and Team CSC.

Third-year pro Gasparotto could hardly celebrate what’s the crowning moment of his career when it was the team’s plan to position team captain into the leader’s jersey if Liquigas were in contention to win the stage.

“I tried to brake to let Di Luca to come through, but it was too fast coming off the final descent and we still had to pedal to win the stage,” Gasparotto said in what was the crowning moment of his three-year career.

“I’m sorry for Danilo, but happy that I have the jersey for now.”

Di Luca quickly shrugged off the incident as he soft-pedaled toward the team bus along the docks in La Maddalena.

“The most important thing is the victory for the team,” a calmer Di Luca said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the Giro.”

Winds of change
With the Basso scandal still making headlines, the Giro doggedly push ahead to get the show on the road.

Thousands of fans piled onto ferries to transfer our to the Maddalena islands to witness the start of what Italian president Romano Prodi called a “Giro of rebirth” in an interview with a front-page interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Whether the Giro can withstand any more doping scandals remains to be seen, but the 197 starters from 22 teams seemed determined to focus on the racing (Carlos Da Cruz broke his foot in a training fall).

Gerolsteiner was first out of the gate while FDJeux started last and finished last among a heated battle of the heavy favorites.

Heavy winds battered the snaking, narrow course that started on the blustery Caprera island, the final home of Italian hero Garibaldi. After crossing a narrow causeway, the route looped around the hilly Maddalena island on a course that prompted many teams to forego riding with disk wheels.

“We chose to ride deep-dish wheels instead of the disk, I think it was good because the downhill section was quite fast and sometimes you feel like you can get blown off the bike,” said T-Mobile’s Aaron Olson, making his second Giro start. “It was a difficult course for all the teams to judge with the wind and how much to give in the flatter sections, which were usually into the wind. You had to pick a pace to make it hard. It’s a nice course, but it makes for a hard team time trial.”

Several teams decided to ride on regular racing wheels rather than the time trial disk setup, including Discovery Channel as well as T-Mobile.

Team CSC stuck with its traditional time trial setup despite the risks.

That decision seemed to pay off as CSC set an early fast time 34:08. Cancellara’s speedometer maxed at 76kph and the reigning world time trial champion enjoyed a long run in the hot seat as such teams as Lampre and Tinkoff failed to better the time.

Astana roared through with a time of 33:51 and seemed to have a lock on victory when Discovery Channel’s rhythm was derailed late when team captain Yaroslav Popovych crashed after coming off the final hill with about 1km to go.

“I had a moment of loss of concentration and started pedaling too soon coming into a corner,” Popovych said. “My pedal hit the ground and I fell.”

Popovych quickly scrambled to get back on the bike, but the team decided to wait and lost some its momentum. Discovery Channel settled for fifth at 49 seconds back, with Popovych, George Hincapie and José Luis Rubiera safely with the front five.

“It was a complicated stage and there wasn’t a lot of room to recovery. It was very difficult to stay on the wheel to do pulls and it was very dangerous,” Rubiera said. “We made the decision to make it with the normal bike, because to be sincere, this course would have been great for an individual prologue, but this route was too dangerous for a team time trial.”

How much time did Disco' lose because of Popo's crash?

How much time did Disco’ lose because of Popo’s crash?

Photo: Graham Watson

It was a surprising surge by Liquigas that pipped Astana to take the victory and create the day’s final polemica.

The team’s plan was to let Di Luca lead the way across the line to ride into the pink jersey if it looked like the team had a shot for victory.

The team was down to five riders coming up a punchy climb with 1.75km to go and Gasparotto found himself driving the green train down the harrowing descent and a technical final kilometer that featured no less than 11 turns.

“I couldn’t tell Gasparotto to brake because that wouldn’t be very sporting,” team manager Roberto Amadio said. “We were trying to put Di Luca into the pink jersey, but what’s most important is that we won the stage and we earned the victory. And it’s not a bad prize for Enrico either.”

After the fall: No worse for wear, Popovych looks ahead for the next three weeks.

After the fall: No worse for wear, Popovych looks ahead for the next three weeks.

Photo:

RACE NOTESMedical reportCarlos Da Cruz (FDJeux) didn’t start after breaking his foot in a training fall. Tim Klinger (Gerolsteiner) suffered cuts to his right hand and elbow. Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) fell in the final kilometer, but escaped serious injury.Communique – noneTomorrow’s stageThe 90th Giro d’Italia continues Sunday with the 205km second stage from Tempio Pausania to Bosa. The course opens with a mostly flat push west along the wind-swept dunes between Castelsardo and Porto Torres before dipping south toward the walled city of Alghero. The hilly second half of the route sees the Giro’s first rated climb withthe Cat. 2 Villanova Monteleone climb at 156.8km, though there are severalunrated hills in the final 50km that could split the bunch before arrivinginto Bosa along Sardinia’s spectacular west coast.

Photo: Graham Watson

Results – Stage 1
1. Liquigas, 33:35
2. Astana, 33:51
3. CSC, 34:08
4. Lampre-Fondital, 34:17
5. Discovery Channel, 34:27
6. Acqua & Sapone-Caffè, 34:38
7. Tinkoff Credit Systems, 34:42
8. Crédit Agricole, 34:51
9. Caisse d’Epargne, 35:01
10. Quickstep-Innergetic, 35:01
11. Saunier Duval-Prodir, 35:03
12. Predictor-Lotto, 35:06
13. Gerolsteiner, 35:10
14. Milram, 35:11
15. Cofidis, 35:16
16. T-Mobile, 35:23
17. Rabobank, 35:23
18. Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 35:39
19. Bouygues Telecom, 35:45
20. Ag2r Prévoyance, 35:55
21. Euskaltel-Euskadi, 36:28
22. Française Des Jeux, 36:28
FullResultsOverall Standings
1. Enrico Gasparotto (I), Liquigas, 0:00
2. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas, 0:00
3. Vincenzo Nibali (I), Liquigas, 0:00
4. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas, 0:00
5. Andrea Noe’ (I), Liquigas, 0:00
6. Charles Wegelius (GB), Liquigas, 0:00
7. Alessandro Vanotti (I), Liquigas, 0:02
8. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Astana, 0:13
9. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Astana, 0:13
10. Andrey Mizourov (Kaz), Astana, 0:13
To see how today’s stage developed, simply CLICKHERE to open our Live Update Window.

Photo Gallery

Results

Results – Stage 1
1. Liquigas, 33:35

2. Astana, 33:51

3. CSC, 34:08

4. Lampre-Fondital, 34:17

5. Discovery Channel, 34:27

6. Acqua & Sapone-Caffè, 34:38

7. Tinkoff Credit Systems, 34:42

8. Crédit Agricole, 34:51

9. Caisse d'Epargne, 35:01

10. Quickstep-Innergetic, 35:01

11. Saunier Duval-Prodir, 35:03

12. Predictor-Lotto, 35:06

13. Gerolsteiner, 35:10

14. Milram, 35:11

15. Cofidis, 35:16

16. T-Mobile, 35:23

17. Rabobank, 35:23

18. Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 35:39

19. Bouygues Telecom, 35:45

20. Ag2r Prévoyance, 35:55

21. Euskaltel-Euskadi, 36:28

22. Française Des Jeux, 36:28

Overall Standings
1. Enrico Gasparotto (I), Liquigas, 0:00

2. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas, 0:00

3. Vincenzo Nibali (I), Liquigas, 0:00

4. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas, 0:00

5. Andrea Noe' (I), Liquigas, 0:00

6. Charles Wegelius (GB), Liquigas, 0:00

7. Alessandro Vanotti (I), Liquigas, 0:02

8. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Astana, 0:13

9. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Astana, 0:13

10. Andrey Mizourov (Kaz), Astana, 0:13

11. Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz), Astana, 0:13

12. Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz), Astana, 0:13

13. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, 0:30

14. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, 0:30

15. Andy Schleck (Lux), CSC, 0:30

16. Arvesen Kurt-Asle (Nor), CSC, 0:30

17. Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), CSC, 0:30

18. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre, 0:42

19. Vila Errandonea Francisco J. (Sp), Lampre, 0:42

20. Marzio Bruseghin (I), Lampre, 0:42

21. Paolo Tiralongo (I), Lampre, 0:42

22. Marco Marzano (I), Lampre, 0:42

23. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol), Lampre, 0:42

24. Rubiera Vigil José Luis (Sp), Discovery Channel, 0:49

25. Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr), Discovery Channel, 0:49

26. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 0:49

27. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Discovery Channel, 0:49

28. Steven Cummings (GB), Discovery Channel, 0:49

29. Stefano Garzelli (I), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 1:02

30. Andrei Kunitski (Blr), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 1:02

31. Dario Andriotto (I), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 1:02

32. Alexandr Arekeev (Rus), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 1:02

33. Massimo Codol (I), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 1:02

34. Giuseppe Palumbo (I), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 1:02

35. Branislau Samoilau (Blr), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 1:02

36. Evgeni Petrov (Rus), TCS, 1:04

37. Ivan Rovny (Rus), TCS, 1:04

38. Pavel Brutt (Rus), TCS, 1:04

39. Daniele Contrini (I), TCS, 1:04

40. Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus), TCS, 1:04

41. Francesco Bellotti (I), Credit Agricole, 1:13

42. Julian Dean (NZl), Credit Agricole, 1:13

43. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Credit Agricole, 1:13

44. Nicolas Roche (IRL), Credit Agricole, 1:13

45. Pietro Caucchioli (I), Credit Agricole, 1:13

46. Patrice Halgand (F), Credit Agricole, 1:13

47. Pablo Lastras Garcia (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 1:23

48. David Arroyo Duran (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 1:23

49. Alberto Losada Alguacil (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 1:23

50. Aitor Perez Arrieta (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 1:23

51. Joan Horrach Rippoll (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 1:23

52. Angelo Furlan (I), Credit Agricole, 1:23

53. Riccardo Ricco' (I), Saunier Duval, 1:25

54. Iban Mayo Diez (Sp), Saunier Duval, 1:25

55. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 1:25

56. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval, 1:25

57. Rubens Bertogliati (Swi), Saunier Duval, 1:25

58. Paolo Bettini (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 1:26

59. Andrea Tonti (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 1:26

60. Leonardo Scarselli (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 1:26

61. Jurgen Van De Walle (B), Quick Step-Innergetic, 1:26

62. Hubert Schwab (Swi), Quick Step-Innergetic, 1:26

63. Robert Mc Ewen (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, 1:28

64. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (B), Predictor-Lotto, 1:28

65. David Dario David (I), Predictor-Lotto, 1:28

66. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Predictor-Lotto, 1:28

67. Matthew Lloyd (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, 1:28

68. Wim Vanhuffel (B), Predictor-Lotto, 1:28

69. Giovanni Visconti (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 1:28

70. David Canada Gracia (Sp), Saunier Duval, 1:31

71. FÖrster Robert (G), Gerolsteiner, 1:32

72. Oliver Zaugg (Swi), Gerolsteiner, 1:32

73. Tim Klinger (G), Gerolsteiner, 1:32

74. Matthias Russ (G), Gerolsteiner, 1:32

75. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, 1:32

76. Sergio Ghisalberti (I), Milram, 1:33

77. Mirco Lorenzetto (I), Milram, 1:33

78. Alberto Ongarato (I), Milram, 1:33

79. Christian Knees (G), Milram, 1:33

80. Alessandro Cortinovis (I), Milram, 1:33

81. Brett Lancaster (Aus), Milram, 1:33

82. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Milram, 1:33

83. Fabio Sabatini (I), Milram, 1:33

84. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Cofidis, 1:38

85. Parra Pinto Ivan Ramiro (Col), Cofidis, 1:38

86. Tristan Valentin (F), Cofidis, 1:38

87. Amael Moinard (F), Cofidis, 1:38

88. Bessy Frédéric (F), Cofidis, 1:38

89. Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Sp), Cofidis, 1:38

90. Mario Aerts (B), Predictor-Lotto, 1:43

91. Gorazd Stangelj (SLO), Lampre, 1:45

92. William Walker (Aus), Rabobank, 1:47

93. Ardila Cano Mauricio Alberto (Col), Rabobank, 1:47

94. Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Sp), Rabobank, 1:47

95. Koos Moerenhout (Nl), Rabobank, 1:47

96. Max Van Heeswijk (Nl), Rabobank, 1:47

97. Michael Rasmussen (Dk), Rabobank, 1:47

98. Gregory Henderson (NZl), T-Mobile, 1:49

99. Axel Merckx (B), T-Mobile, 1:49

100. Frantisek Rabon (Cz), T-Mobile, 1:49

101. Marco Pinotti (I), T-Mobile, 1:49

102. Lorenzo Bernucci (I), T-Mobile, 1:49

103. Alessandro Spezialetti (I), Liquigas, 1:51

104. Vladimir Miholjevic (CRO), Liquigas, 1:51

105. Manuele Mori (I), Saunier Duval, 1:52

106. Rojas Gil Jose Joaquin (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 1:53

107. Emanuele Sella (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 2:01

108. Laverde Jimenez Luis Felipe (Col), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 2:01

109. Luca Mazzanti (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 2:01

110. Domenico Pozzovivo (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 2:01

111. Perez Cuapio Julio Alberto (MEX), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 2:01

112. Mathieu Perget (F), Caisse d'Epargne, 2:05

113. Olivier Bonnaire (F), Bouygues Telecom, 2:07

114. Nicolas Crosbie (F), Bouygues Telecom, 2:07

115. Arnaud Labbe (F), Bouygues Telecom, 2:07

116. Thomas Voeckler (F), Bouygues Telecom, 2:07

117. Yoann Le Boulanger (F), Bouygues Telecom, 2:07

118. Lloyd Mondory (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 2:17

119. Hubert Dupont (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 2:17

120. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Ag2r Prevoyance, 2:17

121. Rinaldo Nocentini (I), Ag2r Prevoyance, 2:17

122. Julien Loubet (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 2:17

123. Carl Naibo (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 2:17

124. Christophe Riblon (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 2:17

125. MÜller Martin (G), Milram, 2:19

126. Mickael Buffaz (F), Cofidis, 2:21

127. Michael Blaudzun (Dk), CSC, 2:23

128. Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:38

129. Markel Irizar Aranburu (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:38

130. Aketza Pena Iza (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:38

131. Benat Albizuri Aransolo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:38

132. Anton Luengo Celaya (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:38

133. Danilo Napolitano (I), Lampre, 2:41

134. Matteo Bono (I), Lampre, 2:41

135. Andrea Pagoto (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 2:41

136. Paride Grillo (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 2:43

137. Arnaud Gerard (F), Francaise des Jeux, 2:50

138. Fabien Patanchon (F), Francaise des Jeux, 2:50

139. Jussi Veikkanen (FIN), Francaise des Jeux, 2:50

140. Ian Mcleod (RSA), Francaise des Jeux, 2:50

141. Francis Mourey (F), Francaise des Jeux, 2:50

142. Lilian Jegou (F), Francaise des Jeux, 2:50

143. Cyrille Monnerais (F), Francaise des Jeux, 2:50

144. Mauro Facci (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 3:02

145. Matteo Tosatto (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 3:03

146. Addy Engels (Nl), Quick Step-Innergetic, 3:03

147. Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat), Saunier Duval, 3:09

148. Angel Gomez Gomez (Sp), Saunier Duval, 3:09

149. Timothy Gudsell (NZl), Francaise des Jeux, 3:16

150. Joseba Zubeldia Agirre (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 3:22

151. Mathieu Heijboer (Nl), Cofidis, 3:32

152. Oscar Gatto (I), Gerolsteiner, 3:37

153. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner, 3:37

154. Thomas Fothen (G), Gerolsteiner, 3:37

155. Gabriele Balducci (I), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 3:39

156. Simone Masciarelli (I), Acqua & Sapone – Adria Mobil, 3:39

157. Assan Bazayev (Kaz), Astana, 3:39

158. Thomas Ziegler (G), T-Mobile, 3:41

159. Adam Hansen (Aus), T-Mobile, 3:41

160. Salvatore Commesso (I), TCS, 3:43

161. Elio Aggiano (I), TCS, 3:43

162. Nikolai Trussov (Rus), TCS, 3:43

163. Ricardo Serrano Gonzalez (Sp), TCS, 3:43

164. Fortunato Baliani (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 3:44

165. Franck Renier (F), Bouygues Telecom, 3:44

166. Alexandre Pichot (F), Bouygues Telecom, 3:44

167. Alexei Markov (Rus), Caisse d'Epargne, 4:01

168. Eric Berthou (F), Caisse d'Epargne, 4:01

169. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole, 4:01

170. Christophe Kern (F), Credit Agricole, 4:01

171. Matti Breschel (Dk), CSC, 4:07

172. Haedo Juan José (ARG), CSC, 4:07

173. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), CSC, 4:07

174. Maxim Gourov (Kaz), Astana, 4:09

175. Benoit Joachim (Lux), Astana, 4:11

176. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana, 4:11

177. Nick Gates (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, 4:21

178. Stefano Zanini (I), Predictor-Lotto, 4:21

179. Matthew White (Aus), Discovery Channel, 4:24

180. Bach Brian Bach (Dk), Discovery Channel, 4:24

181. Jurgen Van Goolen (B), Discovery Channel, 4:24

182. Pavel Padrnos (Cz), Discovery Channel, 4:24

183. Michael Barry (CAN), T-Mobile, 4:25

184. Aaron Olson (USA), T-Mobile, 4:25

185. Aliaksandr Usau (Blr), Ag2r Prevoyance, 4:26

186. Koldo Fernandez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 4:38

187. Ivan Velasco Murillo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 4:38

188. Dionisio Galparsoro Martinez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 4:38

189. Pierre Drancourt (B), Bouygues Telecom, 4:48

190. Yohann Gene (F), Bouygues Telecom, 4:48

191. Leon Van Bon (Nl), Rabobank, 4:58

192. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, 4:58

193. Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus), Rabobank, 4:58

194. Maximilian Ariel Maximilian (ARG), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 4:58

195. Laurent Mangel (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 5:20

196. Duclos-Lassalle Hervé (F), Cofidis, 5:45

197. Volker Ordowski (G), Gerolsteiner, 7:38