237km from Capannori to Orvieto
Live updates1:13 p.m. — Good morning race fans. The eighth stage of the 2002 Giro d’Italia — 237km from Capannori to Orvieto — has been underway for just about two hours. This is the Giro’s longest stage this year.
Today’s speed is fairly brisk, averaging just over 41 kph for the first two hours.
Just 40 minutes into today’s stage, three riders were involved in a crash. Kelme’s Santiago Perez Fernandez was injured seriously enough to pull out of the Giro. He was transported to a hospital and we will try to get an update as to his condition as soon as possible.
Right now, three riders — Fabrizio Guidi (Coast), Masimo Strazzer (Phonak) and Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)– have a lead of about 1:20. They are now at the 80km mark and their break began about 13 kilometers ago.
1:22 p.m. — Looking ahead on today’s course, we have just one rated climb, a Cat. II at 170km. The Intergiro originally scheduled for the 128km mark, has been moved to 194km.
While there is a near absence of ranked climbs, the course does have some elevation gains that could put sprinters like Ivan Quaranta in trouble, though someone like Mario Cipollini stands a good chance of being there at the end.
Stay tuned. We’ll try to keep things updated throughout the stage.
1:33 p.m. — The three men in front — Fabrizio Guidi (Coast), Masimo Strazzer (Phonak) and Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)– have reached the 100km mark and have built their advantage to around two minutes.
1:48 p.m. — The three men in front are now around the 115km mark and are holding on to an advantage of 2:18.
Of the three, Guidi is the highest placed in the overall standings, 37th place at 7:52; Petacchi is next in 80th at 24:23 and the sprinter Strazzer is in 134th at 45:34.
2:02 p.m. — With about 122km remaining in today’s stage, the three men up front now have a lead of 4:18.
2:11 p.m. — Giro d’Italia race radio reports that the average speed of today’s stage has been 42.8 kph for the opening three hours.
Currently, the three men in the lead have stretched their advantage to 5:18.
Again to review, none of the men poses a serious threat on GCs, with Guidi the highest placed in the overall standings, 37th place at 7:52; Petacchi is next in 80th at 24:23 and the sprinter Strazzer is in 134th at 45:34.
2:27 p.m. — The three men up front have upped their lead to 5:55, making it a topic of interest to the Telekom team. Since Guidi is just 7:52 out of the overall lead, the German team is not going to let too much time build up there and threaten Jens Heppner’s hold on the jersey.
The Telekoms are now driving the chase.
2:29 p.m. — With Strazzer and Guidi also threatening Mario Cipollini’s hold on the points jersey, the Acqua e Sapone team is moving to the front to help the effort.
Cipollini currently has the jersey with 78 points, followed by Strazzer at 73 and Guidi in third at 56 points.
2:39 p.m. — We are now 97km from the finish and the Telekoms and the Zebras from Acqua e Sapone have trimmed the three leaders’ advantage by a minute. The are down to 4:50.
2:48 p.m. — The leader’s advantage has been cut to 4:20.
3:00 p.m. — At 155km, the three men in the lead have increased their advantage to 5:30.
3:09 p.m. — The leaders are approaching the 160km mark and their lead is again at 5:32.
The average speed for the four hours of racing today has been 42.1 kph — just about 26mph.
3:11 p.m. — The three leaders are on the slopes of the Radicofani, a Cat. II climb, that crests at the 170km mark. The peloton, 5:35 back, has hit the lower portion of the climb.
The three have now been of the front for 100km.
3:18 p.m. — Paolo Savoldelli has suffered a flat, but has rejoined the field.
3:25 p.m. — Of the three men in front, Petacchi was the first to crest the Radicofani, winning the day’s only ranked climb. Guidi was second and Strazzer third. The three scored the only climbers’ points awarded today.
Points awarded on the climb are as follows: Cat. II – 5, 3, 1
3:35 p.m. — The peloton crossed over the Radicofani a full five minutes behind the three leaders.
Telekom is now at the front of the field.
3:40 p.m. — No word on the Intergiro and now we know why. The Intergiro originally scheduled for the 128km mark, has been moved to 194km.
The three men in the lead are maintaining their fast and steady 42kph and should be coming up on that Intergiro sprint soon.
3:42 p.m. — The three leaders now have an advantage of 4:43.
3:45 p.m. — We are now 10km from the newly relocated Intergiro.
3:50 p.m. — Telekom continues to lead the main field, which is now 4:30 behind the leaders.
3:52 p.m. — The leaders are now 2.5km from the Intergiro.
The leaders are now 4:18 ahead of the main field.
3:55 p.m. — Strazzer rolled across the Intergiro line, without Guidi or Petacchi contesting it. Strazzer still holds the blue Intergiro jersey and Guidi remains in second.
It looks like the three men are far more interested in holding this break together to the finish than they are in fighting out intermediate sprints along the way.
4:05 p.m. — The three men in front — Fabrizio Guidi (Coast), Masimo Strazzer (Phonak) and Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)– are now with 35km of the finish. They are holding on to a 4:00 lead.
4:07 p.m. — Guidi — the best placed of the three leaders — has attacked, with 28km to go. That’s a brave move.
4:15 p.m. — Guidi is off on his own, about 35 seconds ahead of his two former companions.
The field is another 4:00 back. Telekom is not driving the pace and other teams, hoping for a stage win, are moving up to take over the chasing duties.
4:20 p.m. — Guidi is now 1:00 ahead of Petacchi and Strazzer. The main field, now driven by Gerolsteiner and Saeco, is another 3:00 behind the two chasers.
Guidi is on the slightly uphill stretch, which will soon transition to a long downhill stretch toward the finish. He will still face a slight uphill haul to the line, though.
If he pulls this off he will have been off the front for 170km, 30 of it on his own.
4:25 p.m. — Guidi has 21km remaining. He is 1:00 up on Strazzer and Petacchi and 3:30 ahead of the main field.
4:30 p.m. — Petacchi and Strazzer have given up and are waiting to be reabsorbed by the main field.
Guidi is holding onto a 3:20 lead, with 16km to go. The peloton is now led by Lampre, which is sharing the work with Saeco and Gerolsteiner.
4:36 p.m. — With 12km to go, Guidi’s lead has been cut to 2:20, but he is now on a long descent on the way to the finish.
4:39 p.m. — Guidi is 9 km from the finish, still going downhill and holding on to a lead of 2:20.
He still faces a 3km climb to the finish.
4:40 p.m. — The most recent time check shows Guidi’s lead is shrinking. With 7.5km to go, Guidi’s lead is just 1:20.
4:43 p.m. — Guidi has 6km to go. Lampre is driving the chase and have cut the lead to 1:10.
4:44 p.m. — Five kilometers to go, Guidi has had his lead cut to 55 seconds.
4:45 p.m. — Man, if you have a heart, you have to be cheering for this guy.
Guidi is just four km from the finish.
4:46 p.m. — Guidi is on the climb.
The field is just 30 seconds back.
4:47 p.m. — Awwwwwwww….He has been caught.
4:48 p.m. — Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) has attacked. He has a small lead with 1.75km to go.
4:51 p.m. — Popovych has been caught. Kelme’s Aitor Gonzalez is charging off with just 500 meters to go.
4:52 p.m. — Gonzalez gets it.
It’s a good win for the team, which lost Santiago Perez Fernandez, who suffered head injuries in a crash early in the day.