Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) put in a strong bid for the Giro d’Italia today by winning stage 16 on Monte Petrano, causing a big shake-up of the overall classification.
Sastre was the main protagonist on the ascent to the finish, attacking the other overall contenders repeatedly. The Spaniard convincingly dropped race leader Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) to grab vital seconds.
Sastre may only have gained 33 seconds – including time bonuses – over Menchov, but he showed today that he is the strongest climber and a big danger in the mountains. He moves up to third overall. Menchov retains the race lead from second-placed Di Luca.
It was a hard, sweltering day for many of the overall contenders. Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad) and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) all struggled and lost time over their rivals.
Former leader Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia-Highroad) tumbled down the GC after losing 24-46 to Sastre. Lovkvist started the day in tenth overall and finished it in 24th.
Top British rider was Chris Froome (Barloworld) who stayed with the lead group until the final climb, even finding enough energy after a long day to launch an attack. Froome came in 25th, and is now 29th overall.
Tomorrow is the second rest day of the Giro before the action resumes with a key mountain stage to Blockhaus on Wednesday.
How it happened
This year’s Giro has been brutal, and today’s stage was no exception. After 237 kilometres of racing, the riders had a mountain-top finish at Monte Petrano to look forward to. If that wasn’t enough, along the way they had to deal with the categorised climbs of Monte delle Cesane (80.9km), Monte Nerone (156.8km) and Monte Catria (202.4km).
An early break of 20 men formed at the 20km point. Unusually, two of the riders included in this escape group posed a threat – albeit a minor one – to the overall contenders. At the start of the stage, 2004 Giro winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) were both just over nine minutes behind race leader Denis Menchov (Rabobank) in the overall classification. Given the chance, both riders would be eager to make up as much time as possible.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) tried to bridge the break with team-mate Tom Danielson, but both riders sat up on Monte delle Cesane and were swallowed up by the bunch.
Menchov may have alluded to having ‘friends’ in the peloton yesterday, but they seemed to be largely absent during the first half of the day as Rabobank were left to do the donkey work to limit the break’s gain. A situation made difficult by Rabobank having a strong-looking Mauricio Ardila in the escape.
By the time the break reached the second categorised climb of the day, Monte Nerone, the sapping heat started to take its toll. Just 15 men of the original 20 remained in the break, and riders were dropping out the back of the main bunch rapidly too. A war of attrition was starting.
On the minor climb of Cantiano, Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) looked like he’d had enough of the surging peloton, and launched an attack. Cunego followed. Then Popovych and Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) bridged up to them. The bunch were five minutes back with Monte Catria looming.
Cunego upped the pace on Catria, followed closely by Bosisio and Popovych, but Scarponi started to struggle from his earlier efforts and was dropped. Cunego looked like a man on a mission.
Behind, Menchov, Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes), Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and the other contenders stuck together closely. Ardila went back from the break to assist Menchov, and the Rabobank riders took charge.
On the sketchy descent from Monte Catria, Popovych opened a gap on Cunego and Bosisio. Bosisio over-cooked a corner in the chase to catch Popovych and needed a wheel change, leaving Cunego to work alone.
At the foot of the final climb, Popovych had worked up a 20 second advantage over Cunego. Meanwhile, the main contenders were keeping an eye on each other until first Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and then Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) lunched attacks. This whittled down the lead group to Sastre, Basso, Di Luca and Menchov.
Sastre attacked again, leaving the other three staring at each other waiting for something to happen. Basso tried to respond, but Di Luca and Menchov initially struggled. Sastre, still solo, then caught and passed a blown Cunego and then Popovych. He rode hard to shake off his chasers and take a dominant stage win.
Seven Brits remain
David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) was not on the start line today after climbing off during yesterday’s stage. Millar had intended to head home after the stage, but after suffering in the 35 degree heat decided to limited his losses.
Millar is still recovering from a broken collarbone sustained during this year’s Paris-Nice. The Scot’s next big objective is the Tour de France, and he’ll be riding the Dauphine Libere (June 7-14) as part of his Tour build-up.
With Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) already out, seven British riders now remain in the Giro: Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream), Jeremy Hunt and Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo), Ben Swift (Katusha), Chris Froome (Barloworld), Ian Stannard (ISD) and Charly Wegelius (Silence-Lotto).
Stage 16: Pergola – Monte Petrano, 237km
1. Carlos Sastre (Spain) Cervelo
2. Denis Menchov (Russia) Rabobank at 25sec
3. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) LPR Brakes at 26sec
4. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas at 29sec
5. Stefano Garzelli (Italy) Acqua & Sapone at 1-19
6. Francesco Masciarelli (Italy) Acqua & Sapone at 1-21
7. Franco Pellizotti (Italy) Liquigas at same time
8. Tadej Valjavec (Slovakia) Ag2r at 2-11
9. Jose Serpa (Colombia) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni at 2-35
10. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 2-51
11. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 2-51
15. Michael Rogers (Australia) Columbia-Highroad at 3-02
25. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at 7-05
104. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 38-14
123. Ian Stannard (GB) ISD at 48-14
131. Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto at 48-14
143. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 48-14
145. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha at 48-14
168. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 48-14
Overall classification after stage 16
1. Denis Menchov (Russia) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) LPR Brakes at 39sec
3. Carlos Sastre (Spain) Cervelo at 2-19
4. Franco Pellizotti (Italy) Liquigas at 3-08
5. Ivan Basso (Italy) Liquigas at 3-19
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 3-21
7. Michael Rogers (Australia) Columbia-Highroad at 5-54
8. Stefano Garzelli (Italy) Acqua & Sapone at 8-21
9. David Arroyo (Spain) Caisse d’Epargne at 8-39
10. Tadej Valjavec (Slovakia) Ag2r at 8-47
29. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at 41-31
62. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 1-44-06
95. Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto at 2-25-26
120. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 2-49-19
126. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha at 2-55-31
155. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 3-31-27
158. Ian Stannard (GB) ISD at 3-32-14
Point of impact: Carlos Sastre launches the attack that left his rivals standing
Denis Menchov celebrates – can he keep hold of the lead all the way to Rome?
|Find the pink jersey competition|
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The next clue will appear in Wednesday’s stage 17 report
|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 16 photo gallery
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
Leipheimer: Lance had to wait for me today (Stage 16)
Millar climbs off and heads home from Giro
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
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