Giro Stage 10: Di Luca wins in emphatic style

"The Killer" strikes, but so does tragedy on another dramatic day at the Giro

by Tony Farrelly   May 19, 2009  

Giro D'Italia centeneary logo

Giro d'Italia - Cuneo - Pinerolo

Danilo Di Luca stamped his authority on the Giro d'Italia today winning the longest stage in this year's race and taking time out of his nearest rivals the Columbia Highroad riders Thomas Lövkvist and Michael Rogers. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) was 2nd with Denis Menchov (Rabobank) 3rd both 10s back along with Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) in 4th. Lance Armstrong finished strongly in 13th place.

Lövkvist was the day's big loser – having looked comfortable sitting on Di Luca's shoulder for most of the last week he was dropped on the final climb of the day and finished 1:39 down on the leader which dropped him to 8th place in the general classification.

Stage 10 was a 262Km brute not only in length but also in the amount of climbing involved with two first category mountains including a long climb up the Sestriere followed by a long descent towards the finish culminating in a quick up and over of the 2nd Cat Pra Martino.

Di Luca made his move on the descent of the Pra Martino catching and passing Pellizotti who had attacked on the climb up. A group of the main contenders including Leipheimer, Pellizotti, Sastre and Menchov tried to stay with Di Luca on the run in to Pinerolo but couldn't stay with him. Leipheimer paid the price of doing most of the work in trying to bridge up to him in the first place and dropped back to finish 29 seconds behind Di Luca. He was in good company with Ivan Basso, Lance Armstrong and Columbia's Michael Rogers all finishing in the same group.

Earlier on the stage 2000 Giro winner Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) attacked on the Moncenisio climb halfway through the stage building up a lead of over five minutes on the peloton by the time he went over the top of the Sestriere. The roads were not empty though between him and the pursuing peloton with a number of chasers in the gap and they caught him on the long descent of the mountain. Garzelli is no quitter and he hung  on near the front to finish with the Leipheimer, Basso and Armstrong group. Garzelli also moves to the top of the Mountains classification with 45 points to Di Luca's 27.

Tomorrow's stage is flat and Di Luca should have no trouble in holding on to the maglia rosa, Thursday's 60Km time trial will present a much sterner test of high Giro-winning credentials.

Today other events before the stage start once again put the importance of bike racing into perspective. In the lead up to the start when veteran Giro motorbike outrider, Fabio Saccani, 69 taking part in his 33rd Giro was killed in an accident while escorting the media to the stage start.

Top 10 Stage 10 Giro d'Italia 2009

1)Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2) Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
3) Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
4) Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team
5) David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)
6) Juan Soler (Barloworld)
7) Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
8) Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
9) Javier Rodrigues (Caisse d'Epargne)
10) Michael Rogers (Team Columbia Highroad)

Top 10 on General Classification after Stage 10

1)Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini 44.00.11)
2) Denis Menchov (Rabobank) 1.20
3) Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad) 1.33
4) Levi Leipheimer (Astana) 1.40
5) Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) 1.53
6) Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team)
7) Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
8) Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-Highroad)
9) David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)
10) Gilberto Simoni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli)