5:09 p.m. Well,if you had any doubts about Garzelli’s form, he probably put them to rest today.
He powered a strong charge over the last kilometer, catching the hapless Pellizotti in the final 200 meters. Then the man in the maglia rosa went head-to-head with Casagrande and other contenders in the final sprint.
Tyler Hamilton did finish among the leaders despite his hard crash on the descent of the Colletto del Moro.
If you are interested, Marco Pantani is still on course… now more than four minutes of the winner’s pace.
5:08 p.m. Pellizotti is closing in, but the group is coming in on him.
Garzelli is powering the chase.
They’ve caught him… now it’s a sprint
and… it’s the man in the maglia rosa.
5:07 p.m. Pellizotti looks like he may pull it off.
5:06 p.m. Franco Pellizotti (Alessio) has lept off the front.
Now with 1km to go, he is leading with Mapei giving chase 10 seconds back.
5:03 p.m. Kelme’s Juan De Los Angeles has jumped out of the Garzelli group, caught and passed Jimenez.
But now, with 3km to go, Garzelli and Hamilton have powered up and caught De Los Angeles.
4:59 p.m. With five km to go, Luis Laverde Jimenez (Formaggi-Trentini) has jumped off the front. He has about 20 seconds on the Garzelli group. He started the day about 7:00 down on GC.
The Mapei men seem content to let him go for a stage win.
The road is steepening as we near the finish.
4:55 p.m. Mapei — represented by five riders in the lead group — is driving the pace at the front of the race.
The lead group still includes most of the big players: Simoni, Garzelli, Casagrande, Belli and Hamilton.
Notably absent, we beleive, is Dario Frigo and, of course, Marco Pantani.
4:48 p.m. With 10km to go, the lead group has swelled to about 40 riders.
Hamilton looks to be riding well and recovered from that mishap on the descent of the Colletto del Moro.
The leaders are on the climb, though it will be steepening on the final 6 to 7 kilometers.
4:44 p.m. Hamilton has rejoined the lead group, powered no doubt by that big adrenaline rush that kicks in after a crash.
By the way, those of you wondering where Marco Pantani is, he’s more than 2:00 back. Ever the anti-doping campaigner, Pantani yesterday said that the reason he is so far back is that his opponents must be taking some sorts of stimulants. Really. He really said that.
4:41 p.m. Hamilton is pretty banged up, but he is now driving the chase, trying to regain ground on that elite lead group.
He is closing in, pulling a group of others with him including Garzelli’s temmate Cadel Evans.
4:33 p.m. Bettini was credited with winning the climb, beating Telekom’s Torsten Hiekmann. Garzelli came across a few seconds back for third.
Hamilton has apparently crashed. He is now chasing the leaders — Bettini, Belli, Simoni, Garzelli, Hiekman and Casagrande.
Hamilton is in a group about 30 seconds back.
They are all down the descent and charging toward the final climb, a 14 grind to the finish.
4:30 p.m. The leaders are on the descent, a drop that is as steep and narrow as the climb itself.
4:28 p.m. Bettini crested the climb in front, but that Garzelli group was right on his heels, less than 10 seconds behind him.
4:26 p.m. At the front of the race, Paolo Bettini is crawling up the final meters of this tough climb.
At the head of the main field, you can see all of the big players — Simoni, Garzelli, Casagrande and Tyler Hamilton.
4:21 p.m. Addy Engels (Rabobank) has charged off the front of the escape group, but has slowed considerably since the slope is no at 21 percent.
Back in the main field, race leader Garzelli is at the front setting the pace and VeloNews contributor Tyler HAmilton is right at his side.
4:17 p.m. The leaders — now just a minute ahead of the field — are now at the base of the Colletto del Moro.
4:06 p.m. — The leaders still have a nice cushion — around 1:45 — approaching the slopes of Colletto del Moro.
3:56 p.m. — The leaders now have an advantage of 2:52.
The leaders include Mapei’s Paolo Bettini and Mariano Piccoli (Lampre-Daikin) Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport).
3:52 p.m. — The group of 13 now has an advantage of 1:13.
We are now 105km into today’s 150km stage.
3:46 p.m. — A group of 13 has slipped off the front, in hopes of gaining something of an advantage before the steep slopes of the Colletto del Moro.
The average speed for the opening two hours today has been right around 42kph.
3:40 p.m. — Mesa Mesa was the first of the group over the day’s first climb, a Cat. III.
A bit after that, Massimo Strazzer (Phonak Hearing Systems) took the day’s Intergiro.
We are now about 18 miles from the tough Cat. II Colletto del Moro.
3:20 p.m. — Sorry for the delay there folks. We had something of a communications problem.
Right now there are seven riders off the front and another eight in hot pursuit.
Among those in front are Hector Mesa Mesa (Formaggi Trentini); Gianni Faresin (Gerolsteiner) and Vladimir Smirnov (Colpack-Astro).
More as we get additional information on the composition of the break and its most immediate pursuers.
2:50 p.m. The average speed for the opening hour of today’s stage was 42kph.
The group is together. The first rated climb of the day is coming up in 30km.
2:30 p.m. Nope. They, too, were caught.
We are now at the 50km mark. There are 100km remaining. Coming up in 2:30 p.m. — A new group of ten riders has formed off the front. They have a small 12-second advantage. Perhaps we can figure out who they are before they get reeled in.
2:14 p.m. — We were all set to I.D. these guys and then they got caught.
We are now about 38km into today’s 150km stage.
2:14 p.m. — All six men involved in the crash are back with the peloton.
A group of eight… make that nine riders, including Paolo Bettini (Mapei) has slipped off the front.
We’ll try to I.D. the whole bunch of them ASAP.
2:04 p.m. — There has been a crash in the field.
We haven’t heard yet who is involved but at the 28km mark, six riders crashed and are now working to rejoin the field.
1:59 p.m. — Well that was brief. Gualdi and Mazzoleni are back in the field.
1:51 p.m. — Domenico Gualdi (Formaggi Trentini) was the winner of the first points sprint of the day.
After taking that sprint, he and Eddy Mazzoleni (Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola) have broken off the front and are hoping to gain an advantage going into the day’s first climb, the Category III Colletto di Rossana at 84 kilometers.
Not sure about the strength of these two, but from a gourmet’s perspective, it’s a good break with Vini Caldirola and Formaggi Trentini … so this Giro has its first wine and cheese break (sorry).
1:41 p.m. — Good Morning to our U.S. readers. Welcome to VeloNews.com’s coverage of stage five of the 2002 Giro d’Italia.
At 150km, today’s stage is a bit shorter than those long flat stages in Benelux countries, so today’s start is about 90 minutes later than the usual noon kick-off.
Though shorter, this stage features the first real climbs encountered by the Giro, finishing with a Cat. I haul up the Limone Piemonte. Before that, however, they have to take on the 20-percent grades of the Cat. II Colletto del Moro.
There are 187 starters today after an additional four riders pulled out of the Giro on the rest day. Among them, the biggest name is Telekom’s sprinter Danilo Hondo, who withdrew after learning of the death of his mother.
Also withdrawing were Francesco Secchiari (Mercatone Uno) who was really banged up in that crash near the finish of Wednesday’s stage into Strasbourg; his teammate Daniel Clavero Sebastian and Domenico Romano (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago).