By Graham Jones
and Barry Boyce

CyclingRevealed Historians



Giro d'Italia Champions
Living and Dead






CyclingRevealed's Giro '08 Perspective

Tappa 7, May 16th, Vasto to Pescocostanzo, 180 km Rolling Stage

Contenders Beware

Stage 7 left Vasto after another long transfer up the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The stage headed for the mountain top finish in Pescocostanzo . The winner of the Giro d'Italia is never decided in the mountains of Abruzzi , but for the top contenders a moment of carelessness could cost themselves the race.

Eight kilometers into the stage Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka of the Tinkoff team broke clear of the peloton. By the 34 km mark six riders led by King of the Mountains leader Emmanuel Sella joined Kiryienka to form the “break of the day”. The group of the Maglia Rosa, leery of the demands of the next two weeks, let another group of eighteen riders also breakaway from the peloton.

On the category 1 climb of the Rionero Sannitico riders began to fall off the breakaway's pace. Sella led the 5 remaining riders toward the summit. The Rionero Sannitico took its toll on the large chase group as 4 riders dropped the others and began to close on the leaders.

Sella took maximum GPM points over the Rionero Sannitico 6'19” ahead of the Maglia Rosa group and 1'54” ahead of the four rider chase group.

Under the 40 km to go banner the breakaway extended their lead to 3'10” to the now 7 rider chase and 6'20” to the Maglia Rosa. The chances of success began to be real as the breakaway continued to work smoothly together.

This reality sparked the pace of the peloton and the time gap began to fall. The chase group was caught by the peloton on the climb of the Pietransieri . Danilo Di Luca's LPR team set a furious pace and the peloton began to split. Paolo Bettini is pacing a struggling race leader Giovanni Visconte.

There are now three different races on the road with Gabriele Bosisio attacking the breakaway at the head of the race and trying to win solo.

It is “leg ripping” time for the contenders, Di Luca blasts off the front with an attentive Riccardo Ricco on his wheel. The breakaway is of no concern as the top contenders concentrate on each other. Di Luca and Ricco are joined by Leonardo Piepoli and Alberto Contador in the contenders breakaway. The pressure is put on the remaining contender to answer the attack or lose time. Menchov, Pellizotti, Nibali, and Kloden are among the odd men (contenders) out in the chasing pack.

A furious pace being set by all the contender groups dropped the Maglia Rosa from the contender's chase. Second placed Matthias Russ tried to drop race leader Visconte, but Bettini pulls his teammate back.

Di Luca suffered mightily to stay with the Ricco led break. The other contenders aren't able to close and are losing time.

At the head of the race an inspired Bosisio cruises up the finishing climb to take the stage win. He moves into 3rd place overall.

Stage winner Gabriele Bosisio [ Images © La Gazetta ]

The contender's breakaway is won by Di Luca (5th place) with Ricco on his wheel. More than one major contender did lose very valuable time as the overall classification began to take shape.

The Maglia Rosa battle is taken by Giovanni Visconte as he adds 9 seconds to his lead over Matthias Russ. Visconte with assistance from World Champion Paolo Bettini holds the race lead for another day.

Danilo Di Luca and Riccardo Ricco may not have won the Giro today but they may have caught more than one major contender off guard. Stay tuned for another two weeks of exciting and tough racing.



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Giro d'Italia 08 (Click to enlarge)

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