Piepoli Wins Stage 13 of Giro
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) has won Stage 13 of the Giro d?Italia.
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) has won Stage 13 of the Giro d?Italia. The Italian veteran surged away from maglia rosa Ivan Basso (CSC) to win the 218-km mountain stage from Alessandria to La Thuile in 5:21:12. Basso finished second at 0:44, and Jose Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak) took third at 1:19. Basso has extended his overall lead. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Warm, fair skies greeted the riders at the start in Alessandria. From the start, the racing was fast. Numerous abortive sallies occurred, and CSC covered them. Only at 87 km did a successful escape take place.
Benoit Poilvet (Credit Agricole), Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre), Jose Serpa (Selle Italia), Olivier Bonnaire (Bouygues Telecom), Jose Julia Cegarra (Caisse d?Epargne), and Christian Knees (Milram) sallied off of the front. The break led the bunch by 2:28 at 103 km and by 4:30 at 121 km. The wind switched direction and became a headwind, which slowed the break. Rain and the temperature began to fall. The riders donned raingear.
With 50 km remaining, Saunier Duval took over at the front, and Liquigas joined the French squad. Within 20 km, the escapees? lead fell to 2:51. With 18 km to go, 1:00 separated bunch and break.
On the lower slopes of Colle San Carlo, Bruseghin began to force the pace. The Italian dropped everyone except Serpa. Forty-five seconds behind, Alessandro Spezialetti (Liquigas) drove the group for captain Danilo Di Luca. CSC took over from Liquigas and reeled in the remnants of the break. Serpa dropped Bruseghin, and Jose Rujano (Selle Italia) bridged up to Serpa.
CSC?s pace shelled rider after rider. Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) slid out of the back. Di Luca and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) followed suit. When Rujano was caught, Basso brought down the hammer. Only Piepoli could follow.
Piepoli and Basso breasted the summit together, but Piepoli attacked on the descent. Basso chose not to risk a crash and descended at his own pace. Piepoli finished well clear of his compatriot.
In the overall, Basso leads Gutierrez Cataluna by 3:27 and Savoldelli by 5:30. Stage 14 is not likely to change the standings. The 223-km stage from Aosta to Domodossola, although mountainous, has climbs that are too far from the finish to be decisive. The stage begins with an ascent of the Passo Gran San Bernardo. The descent will take the riders into Switzerland. The riders will ascend the Passo Del Sempione and descend back into Italy. An group of no hopers will probably escape on one of the climbs and stay away until the finish. Who will be in the group? Who will win? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!