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Maddaloni to Benevento — 118km
2:15 p.m. Good morning to our American audience. If you were expecting race updates today, don’t worry, they’re coming.
At 118km, Stage 10 is quite short and the start time reflects that. While the starting time was originally scheduled for 2:40 today, that has been moved up to 2:20.
Looking ahead, there is a Cat. II climb soon after the start at 28km and an Intergiro sprint at 47.7km.
From the looks of things, Gilberto Simoni is starting today, despite this morning’s report that he, too, had a positive drug test this season. We’ll try to keep you up-to-date on that breaking story.
Of course, by now, you know that Stefano Garzelli is not starting today. He was thrown out of the race after the UCI reported a positive result on the test of his B-Sample yesterday.
Somewhere, coming up real soon, we’ll also be discussing bike racing.
2:29 p.m. They’re off. 172 riders left Maddaloni at 2:16 p.m. We’ll be covering a neutral start and then they’ll drop the flag at the outskirts of town. In the peloton was Gilberto Simoni, after the UCI ruled that it was up to the Italian Cycling Federation to discipline the rider, since the positive drug test occured in another event and would not affect the outcome of the Giro.
Of course, Stefano Garzelli is not among today’s starters.
2:39 p.m. The peloton has passed the ten km mark and the group remains together.
The weather today is quite warm — in the high 80s and there is now wind.
We shoud see some action as the climb comes up in about 16km.
3:12 p.m.The peloton is on the slopes of the day’s only ranked climb, the Cat. II Monteforte Irpino.
We’ll try to get more info as soon as we can.
3:23 p.m.With just 1km to go before the top of today’s climb, the peloton is still all together.
3:42 p.m. Back on the flats, the speed has picked up and several breaks have been attempted.
The teams are patrolling the front, however, and are not letting much get away.
Massimo Strazzer was the winner of the day’s Intergiro sprint.3:28 Castelblanco crested the climb first, followed by Marzoli and Lunghi 12 seconds back.
3:52 p.m. The average speed for the opening hour of racing today was just 34.5kph, but that pace has picked up considerably since then.
3:58 p.m. Hector Mesa Mesa has slipped off the front of the field. He has a small 20-second lead.
Behind him the Telekom and Acqua e Sapone teams are keeping an eye on the split and it is doubtful that they will let a lone escapee get away. The Acqua e Sapone men especially are watching things in hopes of setting Cipollini up for another stage win.
4:10 p.m. Mesa Mesa is back in the fold, but Lampre’s Max Sciandri is now trying his luck off the front with another rider. We’ll get an I.D. on that rider ASAP.
Meanwhile, Mercatone Uno’s Riccardo Forconi has pulled out of the Giro.
4:22 p.m. The average speed for the first two hours of racing today has been 37.2kph.
Meanwhile it looks like we are heading to a sprint finish again today. Cipollini’s men are still keeping an eye on things at the front.
One man they won’t have to worry about is the usually feared sprinter Ivan Quaranta. He’s suffering again today, as he has all throughout the Giro.
4:40 p.m. We’re coming within 25km of the finish. The big teams — Lotto, Telekom and Acqua e Sapone — are keeping control of the front and have pulled back a few unsuccessful escape attempts.
Most recently Marin (Selle Italia) and Gigli (Colpack) got away for a short escape, but were soon pulled back into the fold.
4:47 p.m. There are now 21km to go. The peleton is in Benevento and the riders are heading for the 6km finishing circuit, which they will cover three times.
4:53 p.m. We are now on the first lap around the finishing circuit.
Ivan Quaranta is waaaaay off the back today (2:25 behind) and he can’t possibly be a factor in today’s sprint.
Cipollini and his team are up front, however, and are aiming for another win.
4:59 p.m. There are 2 laps aroound the 6km finishing circuit.
The Giro’s overall contenders — Simoni and Hamilton among them — are staying near the front to stay safe on this trick circuit. Cipollini is up there, too, though his goal is a stage win.
5:08 p.m. With less than 5km to go, there are several attacks off the front, but the main field isn’t letting much get away.
5:09 p.m. With three km to go, Cipollini’s Acqua e Sapone men are not to be seen at the front. This tough circuit resembles a U.S. criterium course and perhaps a bit too technical for the big sprinters.
5:13 p.m. Trying an escape in final kilometer, Czech rider Milan Kadlec (Lampre) almost pulled off a win, but the final haul up the slight rise to the finish took all the fire out of his legs….
Lotto’s Robbie McEwen led the field in pursuit of the Czech escapee, passed him and then went on to take the stage.
Mario Cipollini gave up and finished in the field.