Di Luca Wins Stage 5 of Giro, Retakes Maglia Rosa
Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) has retaken the maglia rosa in the Giro d?Italia. Di Luca took a two-up sprint from Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo) to win Stage 5, a hilly, 223-km stage from Celano to L?Aquila, in 6:01:18. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Davitamon) finished third at 0:02.
At the start, the weather was partly cloudy and cool. After several abortive sallies, Ruslan Ivanov (Domina Vacanze) escaped. At 25 km, Dmitri Fofonov (Cofidis), Rene Andrle (Liberty Seguros), Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Andrea Moletta (Gerolsteiner), Rory Sutherland (Rabobank), Angel Gomez (Saunier Duval), and Eric Baumann (T-Mobile) bridged up to Ivanov. Behind the octet, 14 other riders, including maglia rosa Paolo Bettini (Quick Step), formed a chase group.
On the descent of the Passo del Diavolo, the two leading groups merged to form a break of 21 riders. The group led the peloton by 2:00. Tosatto, Jos Rujano (Selle Italia), and Vladimir Miholjevic (Liquigas) attacked their companions on the Valico di Monte Godi, but the trio was reeled in on the descent. After three hours of racing, the break led the bunch by 8:50, but Lampre went to the front of the peloton, and the break?s advantage dropped to 4:00.
On the ascent to Goriano Sicoli (163 km), Sutherland attacked. Rujano countered and vaulted into the lead. Koldo Gil Perez (Liberty Seguros) joined the Selle Italia rider on the descent, and Bettini, Ivan Parra (Selle Italia), Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Saunier Duval), Wim Van Huffel (Davitamon), Theo Eltink (Rabobank), Evgeni Petrov (Lampre), and Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) caught the pair. Petrov and Wegelius policed the break for their teams.
Lampre, Discovery Channel, and Cofidis began to drive the peloton, which was 3:25 behind the lead group. At 183 km, Rodriguez attacked on the climb to Secinaro. At the top of the climb, the Saunier Duval rider led his erstwhile companions by 0:30 and the Liquigas-led bunch by 3:30. Petrov and Wegelius continued to sit on.
At the base of the descent (191 km), rain began to fall. The peloton gained on the maglia rosa group and on Rodriguez. With 30 km remaining, the bunch was 2:45 behind Rodriguez. Five km later, the peloton trailed the maglia rosa group and Rodriguez by 1:00 and 1:20, respectively. The chasers reeled in Rodriguez, but it no longer mattered. The bunch was too fast.
With 20 km remaining, with the gap between the bunch and the break down to 0:40, Bettini sat up. Five km later, Gil, Petrov, Eltink, and Parra led the field by 0:40, but they were done. CSC joined the chase, and the peloton stormed past the quartet like a locomotive. T-Mobile went to the front, as did Discovery Channel. A crash took down David Lopez (Euskaltel), Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile), and Sascha Urweider (Phonak), among others.
CSC led the field into the last two km. At the one-km kite, Liquigas took over. Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval) made a solo attack, but the bunch reeled him in. Bruseghin made a bid for victory on the uphill finish, but Di Luca came around in the last 50 m for the win.
In the overall, Di Luca leads Bettini by 0:03 and Luca Mazzanti (Panaria) by 0:25. Stage 6 will be a sprinters? stage. The first 98 km of the 153-km run from Viterbo to Marina Di Grosseto will be hilly, but the remaining km, which are downhill and flat, will allow a regroupment that will set up a bunch sprint. Who will take it? Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)? Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)? Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole)? Our very own Julian Dean (Credit Agricole)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!