Ullrich Wins Stage 11 of Giro
Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) has won Stage 11 of the Giro d?Italia.
Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) has won Stage 11 of the Giro d?Italia. The 1997 Tour de France champion, who has been woefully out of shape during the early part of this season, surged over the flat, 50-km time trial in Pontedera in 58:48. Maglia rosa Ivan Basso (CSC) finished second at 0:28, and Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval) finished third at 1:01. Basso has increased his overall lead. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Gustav Erik Larsson (Francaise des Jeux), who finished fourth in the 2004 world time trial championship, set the early standard with a 1:01.10. Larsson?s time held until Pinotti shattered it. Twenty-three minutes after Pinotti took the lead, Ullrich snatched it from the Italian. With the heads of state not having started, however, and with Ullrich?s condition being a question mark, Ullrich?s time was not expected to be a stage winner.
Sergei Gonchar (T-Mobile), while not as fast as he once was, can still ride quickly. The former world time trial champion was 14 th at the first checkpoint (14.5 km) and 11 th at the second (28 km), but the Ukrainian found his rhythm during the second half of his ride. He finished strongly to take fourth in 59:57.
Defending champion Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), who began the stage in fifth place overall at 2:35, is a very good time trialist, and he is particularly adept at a flat time trial. He won the Stage 1 race against the clock. Savoldelli got off to a slow start, and although he did pick up the pace in the second half of the ride, he settled for fifth at 1:19.
During the last couple of seasons, Basso has improved as a time trialist. Still, no one could have predicted his performance. The CSC man was the fastest of the overall contenders at every checkpoint and finished only 0:28 behind Ullrich, who is more of a time trial specialist. Basso put time into each of his rivals, and he has sent notice that this Giro is his unless his competition can outclimb him.
In the overall, Basso leads Jose Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak) by 2:48 and Gonchar by 3:24. Stage 12 will not change this state of affairs. The hilly, 171-km ride from Livorno to Sestri Livante will feature a number of climbs in the second half of the race. The climbs should break up the field and allow an individual a small group to fight for the day?s honors. Who will be in it? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!