By Graham Jones
and Barry Boyce

CyclingRevealed Historians




Giro d'Italia Champions
Living and Dead







CyclingRevealed's Giro '08 Perspective

Tappa 17, May 28th, Sondrio to Locarno, 146 km Rolling Stage

Today's Stage: “90% is Half Flat…?”

“When you get to the fork in the road, take it…” The difficulty of today's stage from Sondrio to Locarno, Switzerland is hard to classify. It is 146 km, relatively short by Grand Tour standards, with flat lands early, a tough rolling section including the category 3 Passo Monte Ceneri in the middle, and a long descent to the finish. The parcours are interesting because if a breakaway can go over the summit of the Monte Ceneri they could spoil the last real stage win chance of the sprinters.

The breakaway 'du jour' escaped the peloton after 11 km. Three riders, Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre), Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff) and Yann Huguet (Cofidis) quickly built a 2'10” lead. When the breakaway passed Lake Como at 42 km the gap had grown to 8'12”. Liquigas was leading the chase.

Milram and High Road are now contributing to the pace and the gap is falling fast. At the halfway mark of the stage the lead was 6 minutes.

During the chase Paolo Bettini and Danilo Di Luca had a little fun jumping off the front on the climb of the Monte Ceneri. The moves had no real effect but it was fun to see the game.

Over the summit of the climb the gap was down to 1'40” and the peloton was flying on the descent. As the breakaway began to tire Tinkoff's Ignatiev went off on his own. Now one rider to chase High Road and Liquigas drove the rapid chase.

A valiant effort by Ignatiev came to an end with 3 km to go. The sprint teams jockeyed for control of the lead out train.

Under the 1 km to go banner the High Road team controlled affairs. As the peloton flew through the final left hand corner Bettini nearly hit the barriers. Andre Greipel took the final lead out Mark Cavendish with Dainele Bennati close behind. At 50 meters Cavendish looks around awards the stage win to his teammate Andre Greipel. Bennati was third and Erik Zabel fourth.

Stage winner Andre Greipel [ Images © La Gazetta ]

No change in the General Classification with Alberto Contador gaining another day in the Maglia Rosa.

The rewards of the Maglia Rosa [ Images © La Gazetta ]



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