Basso Wins Stage 8 of Giro, Takes Maglia Rosa
Ivan Basso (CSC) has taken the lead in the Giro d?Italia.
Ivan Basso (CSC) has taken the lead in the Giro d?Italia. He did so by by riding away from the field on the finishing climb of Stage 8, a 171-km ride from Civitanova Marche to Maielletta-Passo Lanciano. Basso won in 4:04:19, and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) outsprinted Jose Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak) for second at 0:30.
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Warmth and sunshine greeted the riders. After a number of abortive sallies, 14 riders escaped. They were Christophe Edaleine and Benoit Poilvet (both from Credit Agricole), Francisco Perez (Caisse d?Epargne), Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon), Iker Flores (Euskaltel), Sylvain Calzati (Ag2r), Andrea Moletta (Gerolsteiner), Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre), Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval), Serge Baguet (Quick Step), Nicki Sorensen (CSC), Alessandro Cortinovis (Milram), and Santo Anza? (Selle Italia). The bunch kept the break on a short leash, and the fugitives? lead maxed out at 3:44 at 111 km. Initially, T-Mobile led the pursuit, but Lampre, CSC, Liquigas, and Saunier Duval took over.
As the break?s lead shrank, the escapees began to attack each other. On the lower slopes of the climb to Maielletta, the maglia rosa group reeled in the break. In front were defending champion Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), Basso and Carlos Sastre (both from CSC), Cunego, Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas), Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval), Gutierrez Cataluna, Luca Mazzanti and Julio Perez (Ceramica Panaria), Giampaolo Caruso (Liberty Seguros), Jose Rujano (Selle Italia), and Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval).
Sastre began to accelerate. Savoldelli was dropped, and Di Luca went to the back of the bunch. Rujano attacked but was brought back. With four km left, Cunego had a go, but Basso countered and dropped him. The field, not being able to stay with the CSC man, could only limit the damage that he did.
?I went to the maximum today,? Basso said. ?My team did a great job today, and Carlos Sastre was exceptional. When Cunego attacked, I couldn?t follow him right away, but I went after him and then just kept going.?
CSC director Bjarne Riis shared Basso?s happiness. ?It was perfect for us today. Sastre was really strong today and did his job well. Ivan had good legs, too.? Riis, however, added a cautionary note when he said, ??even though Ivan was the strongest today, the real work is still ahead of us.?
Stage 9 will probably not change the standings. The rolling, 132-km ride from Francavilla al Mare to Termoli should end in a field sprint. Who will take it? Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)? Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile)? Paolo Bettini (Quick Step)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!