Simoni Takes Third Stage Win of Giro, Pads Lead
Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) has taken his third stage of this year's Giro. The Saeco rider soloed home to win the 239-km ride from Canelli to Cascata del Toce, the longest of this year's Giro, in 6:20:05. Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) outsprinted Eddy Mazzoleni (Vini Caldirola) for second at 0:03. Simoni leads the Giro by more than eight minutes.
The early pace was pedestrian, and the field stayed together until 160 km. At that point, Denis Lunghi (Alessio), Leonardo Giordani (De Nardi), Rinaldo Nocentini and Luis Laverde Jimenez (both from Formaggio Pinzolo Fiave), Adolfo Garcia Quesada and Constantino Zaballa (both from Kelme), Sergei Adyeyev and Volodymyr Bileka (both from Landbouwkrediet), and Daniele Pietropolli and Oscar Pozzi (both from Tenax) rolled off of the front. The break led the bunch by 2:00 at 193 km.
The peloton gradually reeled in the escape. With 27 km left, Nocentini attacked, and Zaballa, Adyeyev, Bileka, and Lunghi followed. A shakeout ensued, and a lead group composed of Nocentini, Adyeyev, Zaballa, and Lunghi formed. With 18 km remaining, this group led the Vini Caldirola-led peloton by 0:48. Four km later, the escapees were caught.
Steve Zampieri (Vini Caldirola) did the pacemaking for the 40-strong bunch. With seven km left, Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo) and Pietro Caucchioli (Alessio) attacked. The bunch split, and Simoni, Frigo, Wladimir Belli (Lampre), Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno), and Franco Pellizotti (Alessio) set out in pursuit of the leaders.
Pantani attacked. Simoni towed the others to him. The Mercatone Uno rider tried several more times, but he could not escape. Pellizotti countered.
Simoni followed Pellizotti. In the last two km, the Saeco rider brought the hammer down. Frigo, Eddy Mazzoleni (Vini Caldirola), and Andrea Noe and Pellizotti (both from Alessio) attempted to catch Simoni, but the Saeco man stayed clear.
In the overall, Simoni leads Garzelli by 8:04 and Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet) by 8:06. Stage 20 will not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 122-km ride from Canobio to Cantu should end in a bunch sprint. Who will take it? Daniele Bennati (Domina Vacanze)? Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze)? Jan Svorada (Lampre)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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