Thursday, 20 May 2010

From epic breakaways to disorganised chases

Following yesterdays epic stage that saw a staggering 56 riders accumulate a lead of 17 minutes over the main field, and many riders fined points for late arrival, today's stage was a little overshadowed by Floyd Landis' comments in the Wall Street Journal. The sun shone down on the pelaton almost in defiance of the dark cloud of controversy that was likely to cause ripples across the other side of the Atlantic as the riders in the Tour of California woke up to the revelations state-side.

Three riders broke away from the main pack and with 100km to go had accumulated a lead of 5.12 minutes. Rabobank's Flens took today's only sprint points at Monte San Guisto. Garmin lead the pelaton to chase down the breakaway as it approached the first climb of the day, a category 3 climb at Macerata, with Ferrar looking for a stage win. By 67km they had been joined by Liquigas and Katusha.

Kaisen came over the summit at Maserata in 1st place as Garmin lead the chase, bringing the time deficit down to just 3.17 minutes, with Richie Porte in the Maglia Rosa never far from Garmins leaders out front. As the pelaton came in to the beautiful town of Montelupone the gap had come down to 2.55 minutes with just 48km to go to the finish. The open countryside of the area allowed crosswinds to dare to disrupt the chasing field as they stormed to bring the gap down further on the way up to the 2nd and final climb of the day at Potenza Picena just 11.8 km from the finish.

At 12.8km Vockeler kicked away from the main bunch, quickly joined by 9 others as Krivtsov and Kaisen were caught, accumulating a 10 second lead at 10 km to go, Scarponi coming over the summit on the final climb in 1st place. Garmin were quick to react with Britain's David Millar leading the chasing group fighting to regain the 10 second gap to the split group. However by 5km the gap had doubled to 20 seconds. Favourite Evans was left in the main bunch, and looked likely to come to blows with riders around him as the field failed to organise themselves effectively to bring the escaping group back in. Garmin having spent most of the day out front seemed to struggle as Team Sky came to the fore to help out.

With less than 2km to go the pelaton slowed again and it seemed unlikelyvthat Farrar would get the win he was looking for. Scarponi lead the escaping group into the last km as Vino in Astana's colours having lost the Maglia Rosa in yesterdays action, and Liquigas' Nibali kicked away to fight it out for the line but Katusha's Pozzato came through to take Italy's first victory in the Giro.

Cadel Evans seemed to really feel the pressure without his team around him today. Tomorrow the action moves from Porto Recanti to Cesenatico for Stage 13. Tonight however, Porte remains in pink as the Italians celebrate Pozzato's win.

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