For Stage 11, Team Astana provide a racing recap.
It was a transitional stage for 188 riders as they prepare for the long-awaited and much anticipated time trial. After 65km of racing a group of four went away but were eventually caught, setting up another attempt to escape, this time by Russian Vladimir Isaichev (Xacobeo Galicia) who went solo and gained an advantage of more than 8 minutes. But the profile showed a final 4km of flat terrain and the teams of the sprinters badly needed some action of their own, resulting in Garmin, Milram and Quick-Step working to bring down the gap.
The roads were narrow and winding and Isaichev was rapidly tiring when Lampre’s Marco Marzano took the opportunity to put in an attack of his own and quickly gained time on the peloton, passing Isaichev and going off the front solo. Lance Armstrong and his teammates drove the pace, catching Marzano in the village of Masone, and continuing downhill in front to stay out of trouble, setting the pace before reaching the ocean-side flat terrain. Di Luca was never far from Armstrong.
Yaroslav Popovych put in a dig at under 10km to go, followed by Lampre’s Enrico Gasparotto, but Team Columbia shut them down and took control in the closing kilometers, keeping the speed high and tucking Cavendish into a sweet spot to prepare for his sprint. Turning toward home the peloton arrived en masse, but it was the Manx man who once again sprinted for glory, making it five stage wins for the USA-based Team Columbia. Pushing his sprint from a good distance out, Cavendish came around his hard-working train and exploded for the line to take his 2nd stage win in the centenary edition of the race. Playing bridesmaid yet again was Tyler Farrar (Garmin) in second and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR) for 3rd.
Team Astana in good spirits.
Chris Horner has been demonstrating a promising performance during the Giro however was unable to start today due to leg pain as a result of crash yesterday.
Levi Leipheimer had a crash after a stray water bottle hit his wheel. "It was a just after the feed zone," he said. "One rider missed the bottle and I hit it with my front wheel. I had one hand on my handlebars, which normally is not a problem, however this time I hit the bottle really hard and I could not stay upright." Despite abrasions, he is still looking to have a good ride in tomorros Time Trial. Leipheimer is in fourth place overall 1 minute and 40 seconds behind race leader Danilo De Luca.
Lance Armstrong, currently 16th overall (5min 28sec), and Yaroslav Popvych (13th and 4min 32secs) are riding well and are currently well placed so that they still have potential for good overall results if they can remain strong and show convincing Time Trial results and race times in the up-coming stages.
As part of Lances communication – with promotion of his Cancer fighting organisation LiveStrong, here is his Stage 11 pre race Video (blog).
Top Ten Results on Stage 11
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia – Highroad 4.51.17 (44.08 km/h)
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Slipstream
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini
4 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
5 S?bastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Davide Vigano (Ita) Fuji-Servetto
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia – Highroad
8 Alexander Serov (Rus) Team Katusha
9 Oscar Gatto (Ita) ISD
10 Robert Forster (Ger) Team Milram
General Classification after Stage 11
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini 48.51.28
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.20
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia – Highroad 1.33
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 1.40
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 1.53
6 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 1.54
7 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas 2.03
8 Thomas L?vkvist (Swe) Team Columbia – Highroad 2.12
9 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 2.35
10 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli 2.58