Leonardo Bertagnolli (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) won the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia today after the previously well-drilled Cervelo Test Team made a complete mess of their tactics.
Bertagnolli was left to ride alone to the finish in Faenza after his breakaway companion Serge Pauwels was ordered to sit up and wait to help his team leader Carlos Sastre.
But embarrassingly for the Swiss team, there was no need for him to wait as Sastre’s group was steadily closing in on Ivan Basso who had escaped earlier in the stage. The Italian lies 11 seconds behind Sastre on general classification and it was him that Cervelo were concerned about.
Knowing he was being asked to throw away the stage, Pauwels was at first reluctant to let Bertagnolli ride away. After much discussion with his DS in the team car the Belgian sat up and with just 15 kilometres to go to hold on to a one minute lead over a chasing group of three, Bertagnolli was essentially gifted the stage.
Basso was then brought back by the pink jersey group, that contained Sastre, at the bottom of the day’s final descent off the Monte Trebbio, but by the time Cervelo had realised their mistake it was too late.
All Pauwels could then do was ride with the three riders he’d successfully escaped from – Marco Pinotti (Columbia-Highroad), Lars Bak (Saxo Bank), and Marco Marzano (Lampre) – and contest the sprint for second. A sprint he comfortably won.
The Belgian toed the company line when quizzed on the fiasco; ?I was pretty sure to win the stage, but the objective for us at the Giro is to win the Giro with Sastre,” he said. “So the directeur sportif told me to wait for him.?
?I followed Bertagnolli down the descent but then I sat up. I?m not disappointed because I?ve got to do what the team tells me to do.?
For Bertagnolli the win came as justification for leaving the troubled Amica Chips team just before this year’s Giro.
The Italian’s last big win was at the Clasica San Sebastian in 2007, he was subsequently dropped from Liquigas after a disappointing 2008.
This year he has reportedly been paying for his own dope tests to be carried out in order to build up his biological passport, as the Amica Chips team were not taking part in the UCI-instigated scheme.
STALEMATE WITH THE FAVOURITES
Having been criticised by Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) after yesterday’s stage, Liquigas went on the attack today.
Ivan Basso was the only GC contender to seriously threaten Denis Menchov (Rabobank) today, but the Italian is obviously riding at a level far below that of 2006 when he won this race at a canter.
Having built up a lead of one minute over the top of the Monte Trebbio, Basso was caught by the bottom of the tight, twisty descent that many thought would trouble Menchov.
He may not be the world’s greatest descender, but the Russian looked comfortable all day today, responding easily to Di Luca’s punchy attack at the top of the final climb, and staying out of trouble on the way down. But although he looked in control as he neutralised Di Luca, Menchov could start to feel the effects of such efforts if he doesn’t start to get more help from his Rabobank team mates.
There are three big stages to come this week, and Menchov can’t do it all by himself.
ARMSTRONG’S DREAM RETURN TURNING SOUR
Lance Armstrong’s return to professional cycling was an unmitigated success at the beginning of the year, as first the Tour Down Under and then the Tour of California welcomed him with open arms.
Now the seven-times Tour de France winner’s plans seem to be coming unstuck.
Having already fallen out with the race organiser Angelo Zomegnan, for his part in last Sunday’s rider protest, the American is now embroiled in a battle with the press on the race – he’s not talking to them, and they’re not quoting his Twitter feed. To make matters worse he’s losing yet more time on the favourites.
Today he trailed in a minute behind the pink jersey group with team mate Yaroslav Popovych and an ever-more desperate-looking Damiano Cunego.
True, Armstrong’s Giro form was severely compromised by his broken collarbone, but as he slips down the results sheet he may start to struggle to make the impact he wants for his Livestrong campaign if no one reports on him.
When he was winning the Tour de France over and over, he could get away with it. Now it’s starting to look a little embarrassing.
And as he attempts to save the Astana team from total collapse, what company will want to throw millions of dollars in sponsorship at a man who deals with any form of criticism by simply shutting up shop.
This is, after all, the man who said in an interview with Vanity Fair last year; “We?re going to be completely transparent and open with the press. This is for the world to see.”
Stage 15: Forli – Faenza, 161km
1. Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 159km in 4-18.34hrs
2. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Cervelo Test Team at 54 seconds
3. Marco Pinotti (Ita) Columbia-Highroad
4. Lars Bak (Den) Saxo Bank all at same time
5. Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre at 56 seconds
6. Sndriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD at 1-27 minutes
7. Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick Step at 1-49 minutes
8. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Ag2r at 1-51 minutes
9. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Xacobeo at same time
10. Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel) Quick Step at 1-56 minutes
Overall classification after stage 15
1. Denis Menchov (Russia) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) LPR Brakes at 34sec
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 43sec
4. Franco Pellizotti (Italy) Liquigas at 2-00
5. Carlos Sastre (Spain) Cervelo at 2-52
6. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas at 3-03
7. Michael Rogers (Australia) Columbia-Highroad at 3-05
8. Marzo Bruseghin (Italy) Lampre at 5-26
9. David Arroyo (Spain) Caisse d’Epargne at 6-01
10. Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden) Columbia-Highroad at 6-26
Bradley Wiggins cools off with some ice from the Garmin team car
Denis Menchov looked comfortable all day
Ivan Basso and Stefano Garzelli go on the attack
Carlos Sastre leads the charge
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Our nutrition expert answers Damian’s question on what to eat before a ride
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|Giro d’Italia 2009 links|
Stage 15: Bertagnolli gifted stage win by Cervelo mix-up
Stage 14: Gerrans solos to win
Stage 13: Cavendish takes his third Giro win and prepares to head home
Stage 12: Menchov storms to Giro TT win and race lead
Stage 11: Cavendish romps to second Giro stage win
Stage 10: Di Luca lays down the gauntlet
Giro rest day review (May 18)
Stage nine: Cavendish blitzes rivals to win in Milan
Stage eight: Siutsou makes it two in a row for Columbia-Highroad
Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes treacherous stage
Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break
Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey
Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey
Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash
Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win
Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin
Stage 15 photo gallery
Stage 14 photo gallery
Stage 13 photo gallery
Stage 12 photo gallery
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Desktop wallpaper photos
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Basso discovers he has few friends at the Giro (stage 15)
Froome agonisingly close to stage victory (stage 14)
Cavendish quits the Giro d’Italia
Cheeky Cipo sneaks a ride in the Giro
Cavendish: His most important Giro win yet (stage 13)
Comment: Lance vs the press, some things never change
Menchov’s first pink jersey (Stage 12)
Wiggins: ‘I went too hard at the start’ (Stage 12 TT)
Lance and Levi: Ready for Giro time trial
Cavendish: ‘Today brought back memories of San Remo’ (stage 11)
Is Di Luca trying too hard, too soon?
Wiggins loses time in the Giro (stage 10)
Armstrong and Basso say sorry for Giro protest
How are the Giro favourites doing?
Cavendish says ‘I’m addicted to winning’
Riders stage go-slow protest during Giro stage in Milan
Cavendish cool before Milan sprint
No sympathy for Armstrong from Giro boss
Boasson Hagen celebrates his birthday early
Cavendish overjoyed for Boasson Hagen
Armstrong ‘livid’ at dangerous Giro stage
Astana riders wear faded kit in protest over unpaid wages
Armstrong sees Leipheimer in pink
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Armstrong happy with stage four performance
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Giro could be last race for Armstrong’s team
Vande Velde crashes out of Giro
Petacchi claims he didn’t know of Cavendish crash
Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey
Petacchi: I’ve been working out how to beat Cav
I’m wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish
Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial
Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up
Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial
Team time trial start times
Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia top ten prediction
Brits in Venice for Giro presentation
Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation
Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana
Armstrong working to save Astana team
Wiggins in top form for Giro
Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener
Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up
Armstrong’s special Giro bikes unveiled
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d’Italia
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey
2009 Giro d’Italia guide and features
Find the pink jersey competition
Giro d’Italia 2009: The Big Preview
British riders to have led the grand tours
CW’s Giro top ten prediction
Brits in the Giro 2009
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia
2008 Giro d’Italia archive
Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview