Sastre wins Giro stage on Monte Petrano

Carlos Sastre Giro 2009 stage 16

Giro d'Italia 2009 stage 16 photo gallery, by Graham Watson>>

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

Giro d'Italia 2009

Point of impact: Carlos Sastre launches the attack that left his rivals standing

Giro d'Italia 2009

Denis Menchov celebrates - can he keep hold of the lead all the way to Rome?

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Giro d'Italia 2009

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Giro d'Italia 2009 links

Stage reports

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

Photo galleries

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

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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

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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

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Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, an exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.