Ricco Wins Stage 8 of Giro
Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) has won his second stage of this year's Giro. The Italian took a bunch sprint to win Stage 8, a rolling, 208-km run from Rivisondoli to Tivoli, in 4:41:05. Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) finished second, and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) took third. Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) remains the maglia rosa.
Early in the stage, the riders exhibited little aggression. Only at 56 km did Daniele Nardello (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni), Fortunato Baliani (CSF), Alessandro Spezialetti (LPR Brakes), Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne), and Adam Hansen (High Road) escape. The quintet forged a 6:40 lead before Gerolsteiner and Saunier Duval went to the front to peg the lead and gradually reel in the break.
With 30 km left, the bunch was within two minutes of the break. Seventeen km later, with the peloton about to collar the escapees, Hansen attacked his companions. The Australian time trial champion led the field by 0:30 with five km remaining.
The bunch was having none of it. Hansen was reeled in at the base of the three-km finishing climb. Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) attacked, but Christian Pfannberger (Barloworld) and Rebellin covered the move. Piepoli tried again and dropped Pfannberger and Visconti.
With 400 m left, Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) charged into the lead. Ricco countered and passed the defending champion to take the day's honors.
In the overall, Visconti leads Matthias Russ (Gerolsteiner) by 0:34 and Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes) by 5:53. Stage 9 will not change this state of affairs. The flat, 218-km run from Civitavecchia to San Vincenzo is tailor-made for a sprint finish. Who will prevail? Robbie McEwen (Silence)? Daniele Bennati (Lampre)? Erik Zabel (Milram)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!