Thursday, May 14, 2009

Scarponi wins - Di Luca remains in pink

Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) soloed to a hard-fought victory in Mayrhofen, Austria, the solitary survivor of a five-man break which attacked the peloton 55 kilometres into stage six. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia-Highroad) finished second at the head of the chasing peloton 32 seconds behind Scarponi, and Allan Davis (Quick Step) followed in third.

Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) maintained his general classification lead over the young Swede Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia-Highroad).

The "early" break took longer to form in this lengthy, 248-kilometre stage into Mayrhofen, Austria. After 55 kilometres, however, five riders made their escape, Guillame Bonnafond (AG2R La Mondiale), Vasili Kiryenka (Caisse d'Epargne), Oscar Gatto (ISD), Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) and Kasper Klostergaard (Saxo Bank), building a maximum advantage of 8:24 on the peloton.

On the slopes of the stage's final classified climb, the 13-kilometre, category one ascent of the Hochkrimml, the break began to splinter under the pace-making efforts of Scarponi. Of Scarponi's four companions, only Kiryenka could hold his wheel.

While Scarponi and Kiryenka crested the summit together with 44 kilometres remaining in the stage, Stefano Garzelli attacked the Rabobank-led peloton and tried to gain back some of the time he'd lost on GC in the previous two mountain stages. Garzelli made contact with Klostergaard just after the summit but the duo was absorbed by the peloton on the long descent off the Hochkrimml.

After the descent of the Hochkrimml, with 15 kilometres remaining, Kiryenka and Scarponi held a 1:30 advantage over Gatto and Bonnafond while the peloton had closed the gap to 3:30.

With 10 kilometres to go Kiryenka succumbed to cramps and was dropped by Scarponi, but the Belarusian soldiered on refusing to concede his second-place position for the stage.

Gatto and Bonnafond were absorbed by the hard-riding peloton led by Katusha, LPR and Team Columbia-Highroad and soon the exhausted Kiryenka, too, succumbed to their chasing efforts. Scarponi, however, refused to concede and rode into Mayrhofen, Austria a well-deserved stage winner.

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