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By Stage 9: Tivoli – Caserta — 201km
LIVE UPDATES4:52 p.m. — Not this time, Robbie. It’s Giro win number 37 for Cipo’… McEwen takes second.
4:51 p.m. — With Robbie McEwen on his wheel Mario Cipollini launches off of Lombardi’s wheel.
4:51 p.m. — With 2km to go, Cipo’s acqua boys are setting him up and there is a fight for position.
4:49 p.m. — Lotto led the chase and pulled Streel back in.
Cipo is sitting on Lombardi’s wheel.
4:48 p.m. — With 4km to go, Marc Streel has charged off the front.
4:47 p.m. — We are within 5km of the finish.
Four or five teams are fighting for the prime spot at the front of the field.
4:45 p.m. — The big sprint teams are moving into position for the sprint. Yup, Mario’s team is up there.
There has been a crash.
Enrico Degano from the problem-plagued Panaria went down.
4:41 p.m. — We are now within 10km of the finish. The peloton is all together and we’ll be seeing a huge rush for the line on the straight roads to the finish in Caserta.
4:39 p.m. — Strazzer is back up front and settled in to get in position for the sprint.
4:35 p.m. — Phonak’s Massimo Strazzer has suffered a mechanical. He has solved the problem and he is now working his way through the fast-moving field.
4:23 p.m. — Piccoli is back in the field and the focus shifts to the straight shot to the sprin, now 25km away.
4:21 p.m. — Piccoli is about to be caught.
4:18 p.m. — Gualdi and Marin are caught. The field is now just 30 seconds behind Piccoli.
The sprinters’ teams are eyeing the finish line, just 30km from the finish in Caserta.
4:15 p.m. — The field has moved up on Gualdi and Marin. Piccoli is just 38 seconds ahead of his former companions and appears to be tiring.
4:08 p.m. — There is still no word from Switzerland on the outcome of the UCI’s test of Stefano Garzelli’s B-sample. We’ll try to get word posted as soon as it is released.
Meanwhile on the road, Piccoli is still off the front, with a one-minute advantage over Marin and Gualdi. The field is another 1:15 back.
3:59 p.m. — Piccoli is continuing on his lone pursuit of the stage win — with a remote chance of success.
Marin and Gualdi are just 15 seconds behind him, while the main field is charging up fast, cutting the advantage down to 1:30.
3:53 p.m. — With 50km to go, Piccoli is hanging about 20 seconds against his former breakaway companions. The main field is another 2:30 back.
3:45 p.m. — Mariano Piccoli has decided to go off on his own. Marin and Gualdi are chasing, but not that hard.
The effort seems to be delaying the inevitable. The main field is moving up on the fractured breakaway.
3:45 p.m. — The break isn’t going anywhere. The three leaders look to be giving up and are likely to be absorbed by the field soon.
We have 63km to go and the long straight shot to the finish looks like we will be seeing a battle between the big sprinters’ teams.
3:41 p.m. — The three men up front are now seeing their lead shrink. With 66km remaining, their lead is down to 2:45.
3:34 p.m. — At 127km in the city of Cassino, the leaders have had their lead cut to 3:05.
3:18 p.m. — The three leaders’ advantage continues to yo-yo between 3:30 and 4:00.
The latest time check gives them a lead of 3:58.
3:05 p.m.– Race radio reports that as the peloton passed through the feedzone, Alessio’s Mauro Zanetti pulled over and stopped. He has withdrawn from the Giro.
2:59 p.m.– At the feedzone in Roccasecca (111km), the leaders’ advantage was at 3:45.
2:55 p.m.– Race radio reports that the leaders’ advantage is now 3:45.
2:47 p.m.– At the 100km mark, the three leaders had an advantage of 4:25.
2:37 p.m.– The race is continuing as it has since the three men attacked at the 16 km mark.
Ruben Alverio Marin (Colombia-Selle Italia), Domenico Gualdi (Formaggi-Trentini)and Mariano Piccoli (Lampre)are now 4:40 up on the field.
2:07 p.m.– Mariano Piccoli (Lampre) took the Intergiro at the 72-kilometer mark. Ruben Alverio Marin (Colombia-Selle Italia) took second and Domenico Gualdi (Formaggi-Trentini)crossed in third place.
The three men have an advantage of 4:31 over the field.
1:57 p.m.– Not much change on the course. The leaders still have an advantage of around 4:40.
We are approaching the day’s Intergiro mark at km72.
1:43 p.m.– The leaders are at the 55km mark. They have an advantage of 4:35 over the field.
1:33 p.m.– The three men — Mariano Piccoli (Lampre), Ruben Alverio Marin (Colombia-Selle Italia) and Domenico Gualdi (Formaggi-Trentini)– have upped their lead to 4:10.
The average speed for the first hour was 34.6 kph.
1:30 p.m.– The three men in front have upped their advantage to 3:37.
By the way, Stefano Garzelli is in the field today. He is — like everyone else — awaiting the results of the test of his B-Sample. That test is expected to begin within an hour and the results should be announced by this evening.
1:02 p.m.– Good Morning. Welcome today’s coverage of stage 9 of the 2002 Giro d’Italia.
We are facing a fairly flat stage today — 209km from Tivoli to Caserta. There are no rated climbs on this course and we will see the Intergiro (assuming they don’t move it like they did, yesterday) is coming up at km 72.
There were 174 starters today. The weather is quite nice and won’t affect the race today.
Three riders — Mariano Piccoli (Lampre), Ruben Alverio Marin (Colombia-Selle Italia) and Domenico Gualdi (Formaggi-Trentini) — broke away at the 16 km mark and have been out there since. The three have a 1:00 advantage over the field.