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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia 2008 Stage 5: Live Coverage

12:46 AM: Good morning . . .. . . and welcome to's Live Coverage of stage 5 of the 2008 Giro d'Italia.

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  • 12:46 AM: Good morning . . .

    . . . and welcome to’s Live Coverage of stage 5 of the 2008 Giro d’Italia.

  • 02:00 PM: Today’s travelogue

    Today’s stage starts in Belvedere Marittimo, at the edge of Pollino National Park – at 1820 square kilometers, the largest natural park in the country – and ends 203km later in Contursi Terme, at the confluence of the Sele and Tanagro rivers. It’s a first for both, as neither community has hosted the Giro before.

  • 02:04 PM: How you get there from here

    The stage takes the field through Diamante, Santa Maria del Cedro, Scalea and Praia a Mare, typical North Calabrian Ionian seascapes with ancient villages tucked among the rocks along the mountain ridges, which serve as a backdrop to the series of beaches. Then it’s on to the province of Potenza, in Basilicata, through Rivello, Lagonegro and up the category-3 climb at Fortino, before entering Campania and the province of Salerno. Here the cyclists pass through Montesano Scalo, the center of Sala Consilina, Polla, Buccino and San Gregorio Magno.

  • 02:06 PM: Rub a dub in the hot tub

    The 190 riders who started today’s stage may be particularly happy to see Contursi Terme, given the rigors of the first four days of this Giro. The town was renowned for the restorative qualities of its waters even in Roman times – its warm waters are said to relieve sufferers of osteoarthritis, arthritis, skin disorders and breathing problems, while the cold treats digestive problems and urinary illnesses as well as regulating blood pressure and hepatic functions. We’re not certain which temperature is best for road rash, bruises and broken bones.

  • 02:09 PM: On the sidelines

    Yesterday’s stage, won by High Road’s Mark Cavendish, was tough on more than one rider. Nick Nuyens (Cofidis) broke his right clavicle in that finishing-straight pileup in Catanzaro and left the race in an ambulance. Also out are Dominique Cornu (Silence-Lotto), who abandoned the race after 3km yesterday following an early crash, and Tom Stubbe (Française des Jeux).

  • 02:14 PM: Despite the bumps and bruises . . .

    . . . the bunch has been active today. The average speed for the first hour of racing was 44.6 km/h, and there has been a series of breakaway attempts. Big Maggy Backstedt had a go early on, but was pulled back; so, too, were Luis Laverde (CSF Group), Johannes Frohlinger (Gerolsteiner) and Theo Eltink (Rabobank).

  • 02:17 PM: If at first you don’t succeed . . .

    . . . but Laverde and Frohlinger had another go, and this time they got away, with David Millar (Slipstream) and Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff). Francisco Perez-Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne) bridged to make it a five-some and we were off to the races.

  • 02:20 PM: Everyone seems satisfied with this combination

    With 150km to race, the leaders had an advantage of six-plus minutes on the peloton.

  • 02:21 PM: The top 10 overall

    Atop the leaderboard going into stage 5 were:

    1. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas, 16:21:46
    2. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 0:01
    3. Danilo Di Luca (I), Team L.P.R., at 0:07
    4. Morris Possoni (I), Team High Road, at 0:08
    5. Vincenzo Nibali (I), Liquigas
    6. Nicki Sorensen (Den), CSC, at 0:17
    7. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr), Team High Road, at 0:18
    8. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Team L.P.R., at 0:19
    9. Andrea Noe’ (I), Liquigas, at 0:22
    10. Daniele Bennati (I), Liquigas, at 0:24

  • 02:24 PM: Pellizotti likes pink

    Pellizotti would like to hold onto that maglia rosa for another day, but said yesterday that he felt today’s stage seemed better suited to Saunier Duval’s Riccardo Ricco or LPR’s Danilo Di Luca. “My team worked very hard today to make sure I could keep the jersey,” he told The Associated Press. “It will be difficult to keep it after tomorrow, but I will try. Tomorrow will be a test for everybody who wants to win this Giro d’Italia.”

  • 02:26 PM: Another crash

    Italian climber Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier-Duval) stacked it at 43km, but easily rejoined the bunch, led by Pellizotti’s Liquigas mob. Incidentally, Pellizotti is aboard a specially painted Cannondale Super Six with a metallic blue paint job that Cannondale says is intended to commemorate this Giro.

  • 02:28 PM: The Z-man Chronicles

    Slipstream-Chipotle’s David Zabriskie has returned stateside to recover. There’s probably no truth to the rumor that the airline required him to buy a second seat for his moustache.

  • 02:34 PM: Piano, piano

    After two hours in the saddle, the average speed has dipped to 39.4 km/h. The cat.-3 Fortino ascent probably had something to do with that. Our leaders are up and over and headed for the feed zone with an eight-minute cushion.

  • 02:38 PM: Meanwhile, back in the States . . .

    . . . the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic got under way yesterday with a 1.7-mile prologue in downtown Portland, Oregon. Web editor Steve Frothingham and ace photog Casey Gibson were there, and you can catch up with them here.

  • 02:49 PM: Less than 100km to go . . .

    . . . and our escapees – Luis Laverde (CSF Group), Johannes Frohlinger (Gerolsteiner), David Millar (Slipstream), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) and Francisco Perez-Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne) – have a nine-minute advantage.

  • 03:06 PM: A quick look at GC

    Of the lead group, Perez is best placed, sitting 68th at 1:57. Frohlinger is 71st at 2:04; Millar, 76th at 2:14; Laverde, 77th at 2:18; and Brutt, 157th at 18:16.

  • 03:10 PM: At 116km . . .

    . . . the gap is 9:10.

  • 03:24 PM: Brutt catches a feed from the team car . . .

    . . . as the gap starts coming down with Quick Step and Astana on the front. It was 7:20 as the bunch shot past the sprint point at 142km.

  • 03:30 PM: No slip-and-slide today

    Nothing but blue skies and dry roads as our escapees motor along with 50km to go.

  • 03:32 PM: Behind the break, meanwhile . . .

    . . . the bunch is catching a bit of light rain. The gap is coming down, to 6:25 now.

  • 03:38 PM: And now the break is getting wet, too

    So much for our bright, bright sunshiny day.

  • 03:39 PM: Paolo Bettini . . .

    . . . is chatting with the team car and pulling on the old arm warmers. Danilo Di Luca has gone for the full-on rain jacket.

  • 03:43 PM: The gap . . .

    . . . is down to less than six minutes with 45km to race.

  • 03:45 PM: Liquigas and Quick Step . . .

    . . . are up front and drilling it.

  • 03:46 PM: The break . . .

    . . . is looking a tad fatigued. Forty Ks for them.

  • 03:48 PM: Yesterday’s winner . . .

    . . . Mark Cavendish, is struggling in the finale as Charley Wegelius is once again cranking out the watts up front for Liquigas.

  • 03:51 PM: 5:24

    . . . with 40km to race for the bunch.

  • 03:53 PM: Jurgen van den Broeck . . .

    . . . has just taken a tour of the ditch. No idea how he got there, but the Silence-Lotto rider is up again and working his way back to the bunch.

  • 03:55 PM: 35km to go for the break

    And the Gerolsteiner car rolls up for a chat with Frohlinger.

  • 03:57 PM: Brutt appears to be struggling a bit

    He’s skipping his turns and sucking wind.

  • 03:59 PM: Man, Wegelius is a beast

    Whatever he’s eating for breakfast, we could use some. We don’t climb that well in our car.

  • 03:59 PM: 4:31 the gap . . .

    . . . with 35km to go.

  • 04:01 PM: And it’s sprinkling again

    These guys are gonna need some spa time after this one.

  • 04:03 PM: Rolling through Buccino

    Good crowds lining the streets. The gap is down again, to 4:10.

  • 04:04 PM: 30km to race

    And these roads are really getting wet now. The break is taking the corners very gingerly indeed.

  • 04:06 PM: Liquigas keeps driving

    And check it out – Astana’s Levi Leipheimer has moved toward the front. Think he fancies his chances on the final climb to the finish?

  • 04:08 PM: The bunch hits 30km to go

    3:40 the gap now. It could be a close one today, given the state of the roads.

  • 04:10 PM: The bunch is scattered on this descent

    Everyone is giving his neighbor a lot of room as the wheels kick up roostertails of water.

  • 04:11 PM: 25km to race

    And the rain is bucketing down now.

  • 04:13 PM: Brutt seems to have found his legs again

    He’s taking his turns with the rest of the break.

  • 04:13 PM: The gap . . .

    . . . is 3:35.

  • 04:15 PM: 25km to go for the bunch

    And LPR is chipping in to the pursuit now. The chase is hitting 54kph.

  • 04:19 PM: 20km for the break

    They’re chugging steadily on. We’ll get a time check here in a minute.

  • 04:19 PM: Three minutes now

    The hounds are yappin’.

  • 04:20 PM: LPR are on the front now

    Liquigas is getting some help from the Killer’s mob.

  • 04:21 PM: 2:41 now

    The leaders’ advantage is dwindling.

  • 04:22 PM: Liquigas is back out front

    One long line now as the race leader’s team ramps it up. Wegelius again. Wow.

  • 04:25 PM: LPR back at the head of affairs

    Di Luca must be feeling frisky today. The pursuit is hitting speeds of 67kph on this descent with less than 14km to race.

  • 04:27 PM: The gap is down to 2:23

    This is gonna be close. The break might just make it.

  • 04:29 PM: Christian Vande Velde . . .

    . . . is parked right on Pellizotti’s wheel.

  • 04:30 PM: 2:30 the gap

    And Liquigas is back on the front. The bunch seems a bit tentative.

  • 04:32 PM: 10km to race

    A brief descent and then it’s 3km of up to the line.

  • 04:33 PM: 2:10 the gap

    And Bettini and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) are moving up.

  • 04:36 PM: 7km to go

    And a Rabobank – Theo Eltink – gets shouldered off the road. He’s back in business, no worries.

  • 04:37 PM: Crash

    Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) is switching a wheel with a teammate.

  • 04:38 PM: We’ll risk a bet . . .

    . . . and say that with 2:05 for the leaders and no organized chase at the back, these guys are gonna make it.

  • 04:39 PM: 4.5km to go

    Brutt seems to be sitting at the back again.

  • 04:40 PM: 1:50 the gap now

    Pellizotti is clinging to his jersey – but just barely.

  • 04:41 PM: 3km to go

    The final climb looms.

  • 04:42 PM: Who’s gonna win?

    Fran Perez is the best climber in the bunch. Laverde has a good punch. Millar has the class.

  • 04:43 PM: Miller sitting on the front

    And the gap is coming down as Gilberto Simoni’s team moves to the front of the chase.

  • 04:44 PM: 2km to go

    And there goes Perez!

  • 04:44 PM: Millar chasing

    The break is snaking back and forth across the road with the bunch at 1:05.

  • 04:45 PM: 1km to go

    Millar has a mechanical – a broken chain? – and chucks his bike over the barriers!

  • 04:46 PM: And Brutt jumps!


  • 04:46 PM: Frohlinger is after him

    . . . but Brutt is gonna get it . . .

  • 04:47 PM: . . . or is he?

    Brutt is fading fast . . .

  • 04:48 PM: Brutt wins for Tinkoff!

    Frohlinger second, Laverde third.

  • 04:48 PM: Bettini leads the pack across . . .

    . . . for fifth at 31 seconds back.

  • 04:50 PM: And now, a special award

    David Millar is the new Huffy-toss champ, succeeding Bjarne Riis (Tour de France, class of ’97).

  • 04:52 PM: Man, that was one heck of a finish

    Brutt looked like he was walking up a flight of stairs with a fat man on his back. Chapeau to the Tinkoff man.

  • 04:54 PM: The overall . . .

    . . . remains unchanged: Pellizotti, with Vande Velde second at one second and Di Luca third at 0:07.

  • 04:54 PM: And that’s it for today

    Thanks for joining us – we hope to see you back here tomorrow for Live Coverage of stage 6 of the 2008 Giro d’Italia.