May 13, 2008

By Graham Jones and Barry Boyce
CyclingRevealed Historians


Giro d'Italia Champions Living and Dead



CyclingRevealed's Giro '08 Perspective

Tappa 4- May 13th, Pizzo Calabro to Catanzaro-Lungomare, 183 km Flat Stage

Verbrugghe "Bugger"

Rik Verbrugghe [ ]

The Ionian Coast [image @ Italian Travel]

Popular Belgian Rik Verbrugghe set out on an Italian adventure along the Ionian Sea. His last stage win was May 13, 2006, exactly 2 years ago.

Verbrugghe escaped the peloton soon after the start and crossed the category 3 Passo di Pietra Spada with a 9'30” lead. There were still a 119 km to the finish as Verbrugghe tapped out a solid rhythm. Achieving a maximum advantage of 11 minutes, Verbrugghe began to tire with 35 km to go. The stage was now in the business end of the race as the lead fell to 6'13”.

With 25 km to go Barloworld and Quick Step set the pace of the peloton as the lead continued to fall. Verbrugghe struggled up the final climb of the day, but maintained a 2'13” advantage.

Over the summit of the climb Verbrugghe's adventure came to an end. After a gallant effort and a great adventure a disappointed Rik Verbrugghe muttered “Bugger…”

Bugger... [image @ Wikipedia]

It was now time for a sprinter's fest. Team Milram led the peloton under the 1 km to go banner with sprinters eyes wide open. Past the 800 meter sign a Cofidis rider had a pedal problem, fell hard and set in motion a huge crash. Ten riders were alone to contest the sprint.

High Road's Mark Cavendish followed Daniele Bennati who opened up the sprint and exploded past to claim his first Giro d'Italia stage win.

Stage winner Mark Cavendish [ Images © La Gazetta ]

Franco Pellizotti retained the Maglia Rosa.



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