Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Mayhem on the Giro...

The longest stage of the Giro turned out to be the most significant today. The pelaton were splintered to pieces as the result of a massive breakaway of 56 riders who clocked up a lead of 17 minutes. In the freezing rain, the GC riders were seperated as Wiggins, Barry, Possoni, Goss, Cummings and Petrov, to name but a few, got away from Vino, Evans and other likely contenders.

Unsure of what happened to cause the split, there was speculation that riders collecting rain gear on the first climb as the breakaway got clear were simply left behind. But whatever the reason, the consequences were clear: these were not unknown riders who could do relatively little damage but strong men capable of really tearing into the GC and stealing the Maglia Rosa from Vino's back.

The chasing down was left to Astana and BMC though with men in the breakaway little effort was made to get the time gap down and at 30km to go the lead gad only diminished to a little under 13 minutes. Wiggins started the day off over 10 minutes down but climbed back up in the breakaway to be amongst the top ten. At just under 8km to go Pineau pulled way from the front of the race, shortly followed by Voeckler but they were soon pulled back into the fold by Sastre. Almost immediately Cataldo took the advantage and was way with 5km to go on some very wet roads. At 1.8 the hairpin bend wreaked havoc with Bakelandts down as Cataldo pulled further away. Despite his efforts though he was caught and Petrov took the stage for Katusha, shortly followed by Cataldo, Sastre and Wiggins. The rest of the field pushed on giving it their all to keep the time down as much as possible. Hairpin safetly negotiated, the made dash for time started with the line in sight. The bunch came home at over 12 minutes down with Porte taking the Maglia Rosa from Vino and Sastre moving back up into the top 8, a little over 7 minutes down on Porte.

The shockwaves rippled througout the press, the teams and over to California where riders of the Tour of California were waking up to the shocking drama of today's stage of the Giro. Armstrong ever active on Twitter commented that the stage action was "incredible". As for the Tour of California, early speculation centered around Cavendish making it his second victory of his Tour. Whatever the outcome, everyone will be talking about today's breakaway at the Giro for a few days yet.

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