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
|Giro d’Italia 2009 links|
2009 Giro d’Italia guide and features
2008 Giro d’Italia archive