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Civitavecchia - Assisi
Giro d'Italia - 15 May 2012
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 18:35 on 15 May 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Rodriguez moves into the race lead, with Ryder Hesjedal dropping to second place, 17 seconds in arrears.
Bartosz Huzarski of NetApp took second and Giovanni Visconti of Movistar third.
Rodriguez will be in pink tonight after that win.
Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha takes the win!
Now Rodriguez goes!
Slagter leads Rodriguez, but it's coming back together. Very narrow roads here.
Attack by Tiralongo! Slagter and Rodriguez reply.
Moreno is on the front with Rodriguez, the two Katusha Spaniards. Hesjedal is still there. Uran and Gadret have been caught.
The leading duo have a small gap as they enter the old town of Assisi.
They're onto the downhill before the final ramp. Sky and AG2R have opened up a gap. It's Uran and Gadret.
Slagter goes again! Pozzovivo uses it as a springboard, but the others reply.
Scarponi and Rodriguez and Kreuziger are all together with Slagter. Uran, Gadret and Pozzovivo are there too. Hesjedal is there, but struggling.
The favorites are on the front, with just that GreenEdge rider out in front. He's been caught now as Rabobabk's Tom Slagter takes up the lead.
A Colnago man now has a pop, followed by a Farnese Vini rider. Now an attack from GreenEdge.
Now it's Frank Schleck and a RadioShack team-mate on the front. The vast majority of the peloton has already given up.
This country road is steep and narrow. It's AG2R on the front, with Liquigas and GreenEdge also there. Katusha and astana lurk.
A NetApp rider is trying to ride off the front of the bunch, but he sits up all of a sudden, with a shake of his head. Those six leaders have been swallowed up. And it's Liquigas leading the pack into the outskirts of Assisi.
Mark Cavendish is already off the back, struggling somewhat with the fierce pace. The world champion knows that the finish is not for him today, so there's no point joining his team-mates on the front of the bunch.
Aerial images show Michele Scarponi and Geraint Thomas going shoulder to shoulder in the bunch, with the Italian doing the leaning in...
Clement, the last man to join the break, is the driving force of this sextet: but it's all in vain, with the peloton just about to sweep them up.
Just 20 seconds in it now. The helicopter is showing some stunning pictures of Assisi from above: narrow roads, paving stones, tight bends and steep ramps. It's going to be huge.
Garmin lead the peloton, with the pink jersey tucked in around six riders back. The race is getting quite nervous now. The six leaders have 41 seconds.
The six leaders pass the 15km-to-go kite. Astana, Lampre and Movistar are edging forward too now, as are Rabobank, as the peloton passes around 52 seconds further back.
Clement, Brandle and Keizer are about to rejoin Minguez, Failli and Bonnafond on the front of the race, but the peloton is storming along just 50 seconds back. Sky, Katusha, Garmin and Liquigas have all formed lines on the front of the pack.
The Clement trio is slowly gaining on the leading trio, with the peloton still one minute further back.
Ivan Velasco of Euskaltel is showing visible signs of recent road rash and short tearing to his left thigh. The Spaniard must have been involved in a fall. He's on the back of the peloton now with some of the stragglers.
The three leaders have 25 on the three chasers, who include Clement. The peloton is another minute back. The pace is very fast now.
Bonnafond, Failli and Minguez have dropped Keizer and Brandle, who are about to be caught by Clement. The peloton is another 30 seconds back.
The leaders are onto the last climb before today's big finale. From the peloton, Dutchman Stef Clement (Rabobank) has just launched an attack. Interesting. It's been a quiet race for Rabobank so far. A quiet season, in fact.
Katusha have been bossing this stage from the start. Earlier today, Joaquim Rodriguez spoke to Eurosport: "I want this one for sure. We will try and keep it logically under control because that suits me. The stage is a priority, and then we'll see if it's enough to take the pink jersey."
The peloton weaves its way through Riccardo Ricco's home town of Bastardo. There's a tight bend with some ominous road furniture, but thankfully no one comes a cropper. Katusha back on the front.
The bunch passes the 40km-to-go banner 1:28 in arrears. The five leaders take it in turns to pull on the front, but you have to feel for them.
The lead is down to 1:30 as the business end of today's stage fast approaches.
Yet another hilltop town for the riders as the leaders continue 1:50 ahead of the bunch. Liquigas and Garmin have split up the Katusha train on the front of the peloton.
All the main contenders for the GC are in the top 15 at the moment and today's finale should give us a better idea who the Giro's main protagonists are going to be. Seconds, even minutes, could be lost - especially if the pace in the build up to the final climbs is quick.
Katusha still lead the chase, with Daniel Moreno setting the pace. They're man Joaquim Rodriguez is the favourite for both the stage and the pink jersey today.
The peloton clearly decided that it was catching the group too fast: the quintet's lead is now back up to 2:10 so my previous prediction should be revised somewhat, perhaps to 38km.
Pink jersey Hesjedal grinning at the camera. But will the Canadian be all smiles tonight in Assisi?
The gap drops below the two-minute mark now. By my reckoning, the break will be swallowed up by the 51km mark.
Today’s stage finish in Assisi is not unlike Stage 8 in last year’s Vuelta which involved a gruelling final kick to the finish at another Unesco World Heritage site (San Lorenzo de El Escorial), which is why many are going for Joaquim Rodriguez to win... Purito did it then in Spain, and his win in the Fleche Wallonne shows the form is there.
The leaders are entering the pretty hilltop town of Acquasparta. Stunning shots from the helicopter camera - it's a beautiful part of the world, Umbria.
The speed has picked up on a long, winding, downhill stretch into a pretty green valley. The five leaders have 2:45 so the lead is tumbling pretty fast. Katusha and Garmin are still doing all the hard work. It will be interesting to see if Hesjedal can hold onto the pink today.
The clouds have almost completely disappeared as the leaders continue their way, 3:20 ahead of the pink jersey peloton.
Ther race is now live on British Eurosport, with commentrary from the inimitable David Harman and Sean Kelly.
The peloton passed through Amelia 3:40 down on the five leaders, led by the world champion Mark Cavendish, who picked up the final point for sixth place. Liquigas, Sky, Katusha and Garmin are all close to the front of the bunch. The leaders have passed through the feeding zone.
Result of the intermediate sprint at Amelia: 1. Keizer, 2. Minguez, 3. Brandle, 4. Failli, 5. Bonnafond.
The intermediate sprint is coming right up, and then it's lunch: both for the riders and this live internet commentator. The five leaders still have around four minutes on the pack.
The sun is well and truly out now as the riders power through the province of Lazio towards Umbria. They started on the coast today, and will finish in one of Italy's most picturesque Medieval hilltop towns.
The lead has dropped to 4:05 as the five leaders edge closer to the feeding zone. A reminder of the quintet out ahead: Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R), Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini), Matthias Brandle (NetApp), Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM), Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel).
Elsewhere in the world of cycling, Slovakia's Peter Sagan completed back to back stage wins in the Tour of California yesterday when he won the second stage in a sprint finish. The Liquigas youngster is set to ride his first Tour de France this summer - his duel with Cavendish will be epic.
The five riders are still around four and a half minutes ahead of the bunch.
Your comments below are unanimous in their praise for Filippo Pozzato, who retired from the race with a fractured wrist but not before apologising in person to the riders caught up in that crash he caused in the finale to yesterday's stage. 'Paul' also hopes the Colombians get in on the mix today. Sky's Rigoberto Uran has been quiet so far...
The finish in Assisi should be spectacular today. The first part of the final climb is 1.5km long with an average gradient of 11.2% and a max incline of 15%. There is then a 1km descent as the riders hit the old town centre on paving stones. The route then passed under the narrow Porta San Francesco arch before the final 700m, up very narrow, steep, cobbled roads, through the stunning piazza and past the Basilica.
The lead is up to 4:50 after 60km on the road.
Finally, Spain's Miguel Minguez is also another youngster. The 23 year old joined Euskaltel in 2010 and made his Giro debut last year, finishing 135th. His only career win came in a minor TTT in 2008 when riding for the Orbea-Oreka SDA second tier team. This is the second break we've seen Minguez in since the start of the Giro 10 days ago.
Austria's Matthias Brandle joined NetApp from the now defunct Geox-TMC team last winter. The rookie 22-year-old is a former Austrian time trial champion (2009) and rode his first and only Giro back in 2010, aged just 20.
Italian Francesco Failli joined Farnese Vini in 2011 after previous seasons at Domina Vacanze, Liquigas and Acqua & Sapone. The 28 year old has won a minor TTT with Liquigas back in 2007 but otherwise has no major career wins to his name. This is his fourth Giro and he too abandoned last year's race after a crash in the fifth stage.
Frenchman Guillaume Bonnafond is 24 and joined AG2R in 2008 on the team's youth development programme. This is the climber's third Giro. He was forced to retire from last year's race in stage six. Bonnafond has no career stage wins to his name, but has won the Ronde de l'Isard d'Ariege and Tour des Pays de Savoie. He also is a keen basketball player.
The five leaders have 4:45 on the peloton. Time to take a closer look at the quintet, starting with that man Martijn Keizer. It's the third time the Dutchman has been on the attack in this year's race, following his break yesterday and earlier in the race in Denmark. Keizer is 24 years old and joined Vacansoleil-DCM last year after three years in Rabobank's youth squad. He has a couple of minor wins to his name.
FACT: Assisi last hosted a stage finish of the Giro d’Italia in 1995, with Switzerland’s Tony Rominger winning the time trial to the centre of the town. He went on to win the 1995 Giro d’Italia.
Mark Cavendish edged closer to Matthew Goss in the points standings yesterday after picking up four points for second place in the intermediate sprint. The Brit is now four points behind his Australian rival in the red jersey standings. Both riders crashed on the final bend yesterday - and given today's finish, they'll almost certainly not be in the reckoning come 4pm.
Who do you think could win today's stage in Assisi? Can Ryder Hesjedal hold onto the pink jersey? How many riders will fail to complete today's ride within the time limit? Have your say below...
Today's finish in Assisi is pretty brutal: two ramps, the first of which with a maximum gradient of 15% and the second a steep paved slog to the line after a short downhill. Throw in a Unesco world heritage site, medieval archways and cobbles, and this will definitely be one for the TV viewers. Joaquim Rodriguez is the name on everyone's lips, but there's also the likes of Enrico Gasparotto, Paolo Tiralongo, John Gadret, Michele Scarponi, Domenico Pozzovivo.
The five escapees have carved out a lead of 3:20 on the bunch. Of the quintet, Frenchman Bonnafond is the best placed in the GC, 23:57 down on race leader Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin.
Martijn Keizer of Vacansoleil-DCM is one of the five riders in the break. He also was the last of the three-man break yesterday to be caught. It's his third break of a very active Giro. The leaders in full: Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R), Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini), Matthias Brandle (NetApp), Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM), Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel).
BREAK: Five riders ping off the front with a move instigated by the Austrian Matthias Brandle of NetApp.
Before Filippo Pozzato left the race today, he apparently apologised profusely to everyone involved in yesterday's crash. The Italian also boarded the Sky and GreenEdge buses to deliver a personal message to Mark Cavendish and Matt Goss. Classy guy - and a stark contrast to the action of Roberto Ferrari last week following the huge pile-up he caused in stage three.
A reminder that the Norwegian-born Canadian Ryder Hesjedal leads the GC by nine seconds ahead of Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez. He'll have to watch out for the Katusha climber today mind: he's one of the favourites to take the stage in Assisi.
They're off! The remaining 190 riders get this tricky stage under way.
The sun's out in Civitavecchia with temperatures in the high teens. It's a similar story in the Umbrian hilltop town of Assisi, just a little cooler.
There was some collateral damage from that big crash in the final bend of yesterday's stage: the man who caused the spill, when he ploughed into Matthew Goss from behind, has withdrawn from the race. Farnese Vini's Filippo Pozzato, who unlike his compatriot Roberto Ferrari last week, has apologised for his role in the incident, and retires with a broken hand.
Yesterday, Spain’s Francisco Ventoso won stage nine of the Giro d’Italia in Frosinone after a crash on the final bend took out both Mark Cavendish and Matthew Goss.
Welcome to live coverage of stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia, an undulating 186km ride from Civitavecchia to Assisi.