Voigt Wins Stage 18 of Giro
Jens Voigt (CSC) has won Stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia. The German veteran surged away from 11 breakaway companions with 35 km left to win the flat, 147-km run from Mendrisio, Switzerland to Varese, Italy in 3:22:46. Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) outsprinted Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) for second at 1:07. Alberto Contador (Astana) remains the maglia rosa.
The racing began early. At nine km, Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) attacked, and Voigt, Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne), and Visconti joined him. Later, Felix Cardenas (Barloworld), Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes), Mauricio Ardila (Rabobank), Simon Spilak (Lampre), Nocentini, Daniele Bennati (Liquigas), Alan Perez (Euskaltel), and Nikolai Trussov (Tinkoff) bridged up to the move. The escapees led the field by 2:12 at 20 km, by about 6:00 at 73 km, and by 6:15 at 83 km.
With 35 km remaining, Voigt reckoned that he had little chance in a sprint and attacked. According to Visconti, the CSC man had mentioned that he did not feel well. He showed little sign of indisposition as he quickly forged a 0:30 lead.
Indecision aided the German. The other members of the break could not decide who should pursue him. Eventually, Visconti, Bosisio, Nocentini, and Ardila set out after Voigt. Ardila fell off of the pace, but the others forged ahead. Still, Voigt led them by 0:43 at 135 km and 0:52 at 152 km. He won easily, and the peloton finished 7:51 behind him.
In the overall, Contador leads Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) at 0:41 and Gilberto Simoni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) at 1:21. Stage 19, the beginning of the 2008 Giro's final act, might change this state of affairs. The 228-km ride from Legnano to Presolone-Monte Pora will feature the Category 1 Passo del Vivione at 172 km, the Category 1 Presalona at 216 km, and the climb to the finish at Monte Pora. Who will prevail? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!