By Nigel Wynn
Giro d'Italia 2009 stage 14 photo gallery, by Graham Watson>>
Simon Gerrans (Cervelo) has won today's Giro d'Italia stage 14 in Bologna after launching a perfectly-timed attack from a successful breakaway group.
Gerrans was part of an early 14-man break that managed to evade the clutches of the peloton to the finish in Bologna. It's the Aussie rider's second grand tour stage win after grabbing a stage of the Tour de France last year.
Rubens Bertaglioti (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) was second, with Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre) third. Britain's Chris Froome (Barloworld), who had attacked with Gerrans, lost contact with the Australian in the final kilometre and finished sixth.
Behind the break, a battle for vital seconds ensued between the overall contenders on the final steep climb to the line. Most of the contenders came home together, with Levi Leipheimer (Astana) the only real loser, coming in three seconds behind Di Luca.
Overall leader Denis Menchov (Rabobank) never looked in danger, marking main rival Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) effectively.
How it happened
Several big climbs punctuated today's 172km route, with a final sting-in-the-tail ascent to the finish line - an ideal profile for a breakaway to succeed. Sure enough, a 14-man group split away from the bunch after 12km - the group included Kenyan-born British rider Chris Froome (Barloworld) and Ireland's Philip Deignan (Cervelo).
A nervous peloton refused to let the break gain any significant time, although it didn't contain any major threats to the overall classification. The most grace the break were allowed was four and a half minutes.
Danilo Di Luca's LPR Brakes squad did most of the driving work at the head of the bunch, with race leader Denis Menchov and his Rabobank team content to let them get on with it. Reduced to 13 men, the break's lead was whittled down to under two minutes by the time they reached the fourth climb, with 25km to go.
Behind the break, a power struggle started to develop between Di Luca and Menchov's teams, each keeping a wary eye on the other with only 34 seconds difference between the two teams' leaders in the overall classification.
Aware of the danger behind, the break worked well together to keep their distance from the bunch. The final 3km were all uphill, some sections hitting a lung-busting 16 per cent incline.
Froome and Simon Gerrans (Cervelo) put the pressure their companions on the climb, raising the pace significantly. With one kilometre to go, Froome blew up spectacularly leaving Gerrans to solo to the line.
With the stage winner decided, the race for valuable seconds in the overall classification was still being waged.
Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) was the first of the bunch to make it across the line, with Di Luca close behind followed by Menchov. Despite their best efforts, the overall contenders largely cancelled each other out leaving Menchov safely in pink for another day.
Over and out for Cavendish
One notable absentee from the start line today was yesterday's stage winner, British sprint powerhouse Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad). Columbia has elected to pull Cavendish out of the race as it hits the mountains again. Having won three stages and been the first Briton to ever wear the maglia rosa after Columbia's win in the opening team time trial, Cavendish has exceeded expectations. Job done.
Cavendish will now focus on preparing for the Tour de France. Last year, Cavendish notched up four Tour stage wins before leaving France to prepare for the Olympic Games in Beijing. In the event, Cavendish left China with no medals and a bitter taste in his mouth. There will be no such distractions for the 24-year-old Manxman this year, and his aim is to finish the Tour with as many stage wins as he can muster - and perhaps with the green jersey on his back.
Cavendish's key sprint lead-out man Mark Renshaw also quit the Giro last night. For many squads, having two riders drop out on the same day would leave them weakened, but it's proof of Columbia's strength in depth that stage winners Edvald Boasson Hagen and Kanstantsin Siutsou, former race leader Thomas Lovkvist and overall hopeful Michael Rogers - currently sixth in the GC - are all still present and correct.
With Cavendish gone, eight British riders remain in the race - Chris Froome (Barloworld), Jeremy Hunt and Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo), Ian Stannard (ISD), David Millar and Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream), Ben Swift (Katusha) and Charly Wegelius (Silence-Lotto).
It's another day in the mountains for the riders tomorrow. Starting in Forli and finishing in Faenza 161km later, the route has a relentlessly undulating profile.
Stage 14: Campi Bisenzio - Bologna, 172km
1. Simon Gerrans (Australia) Cervelo
2. Rubens Bertaglioti (Switzerland) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni at 12sec
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Italy) Lampre at 18sec
4. Evgeny Petrov (Russia) Katusha at 24sec
5. Philip Deignan (Ireland) Cervelo at 27sec
6. Christopher Froome (GB) Barloworld at 36sec
7. Vasili Kiryienka (Belarus) Caisse d'Epargne at 41sec
8. Francesco Reda (Italy) Quick Step at 1-01
9. Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) ISD at 1-04
10. Franco Pellizotti (Italy) Liquigas at same time
11. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) LPR Brakes at 1-04
12. Stefano Garzelli (Italy) Acqua & Sapone
13. Denis Menchov (Russia) Rabobank
14. Carlos Sastre (Spain) Cervelo all same time
16. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas at 1-07
17. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at same time
38. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 1-43
44. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 1-58
107. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 7-07
108. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at same time
147. Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto at 16-52
153. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at same time
154. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha at same time
173. Ian Stannard (GB) ISD at 18-06
Overall classification after stage 14
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. Michael Rogers (Australia) Columbia-Highroad
7. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas at
8. Gilberto Simoni (Italy) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Italy) Lampre
10. Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden) Columbia-Highroad
26. Christopher Froome (GB) Barloworld at 13-37
44. Bradley Wiggins (GB) at 35-13
Lance Armstrong in the sweltering heat, he came in 44th on the stage
Danilo Di Luca and Stefano Garzelli in Bologna
Denis Menchov safely kept hold of the race lead over main rival Danilo Di Luca
|Find the pink jersey competition|
Find the jerseys throughout the Giro and you could win a £400 Parker International voucher.
18 pink jerseys will be hidden around the Cycling Weekly and Parker International websites over the course of the three week race - all you have to do is decipher the clues at the end of the stage reports to find them.
Saturday, May 23. Clue number 12:
You'll find today's jersey by finding a pair of 'Pearl-y' white bib shorts for a pro with a high octane content
Today's jersey is hidden on www.parker-international.co.uk
Full details of CW's find the pink jersey competition>>
|Giro d'Italia 2009 links|
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
Cavendish quite 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
Giro news round-up: 14 May
Wiggins: 'I can't keep smashing away on the climbs'
Wiggins eyes top 20 finish overall
Armstrong after Giro stage 5: 'That was hard'
Cavendish looking for Giro revenge
Armstrong happy with stage four performance
Lovkvist will fight to keep Giro lead
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
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