Gontchar Wins Giro Time Trial; Popovych Takes Maglia Rosa
Sergei Gontchar (De Nardi) has won Stage 13 of the Giro.
Sergei Gontchar (De Nardi) has won Stage 13 of the Giro. The former world champion time trialist powered over the rolling, 52-km time trial course from Trieste to Altopiano Carsico to win in 1:06:45. Brad McGee (La Francaise des Jeux.com) finished second at 0:18, and Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet) took third at 0:34. Popovych is the new maglia rosa.
Magnus Backstedt (Alessio) set the early standard with a 1:08:37, but the Swede did not remain the leader for long. Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval) beat his mark by 0:20. Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo) then destroyed Bertogliati's time with a 1:07:29.
McGee posted the fastest time at the first time check, but he did not take a lot of time out of the Italian until he reached the flatter, faster sections later in the course. The Australian took the stage lead with a 1:07:13.
Before the stage, Gontchar was tipped as a man to beat in this time trial, and he did not disappoint. He was 0:04 behind McGee at the first time check, but the Ukrainian stormed ahead to take the stage lead at the finish. Popovych, Gontchar's compatriot and friend, figured to give Gontchar a run for his money, but he came up half a minute short. The stage was ridden in the rain, and all of the competitors complained that the weather impeded them.
The stage was a bad one for Saeco. Damiano Cunego, who began the day as the maglia rosa, lost 3:02 and is finished as a contender for overall victory. Gilberto Simoni crashed and finished 15th at 2:31. The defending champion is fourth overall at 1:27.
Cunego and Simoni were not the day's only losers. Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) finished 13th at 2:30. Some of the heads of state have a lot of catching up to do in the Dolomites.
In the overall, Popovych leads Gontchar by 0:03 and McGee by 1:02. Stage 14 will not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 175-km run from Trieste to Pola should end in a bunch sprint. Will anyone stop Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) from taking it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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