Giro Stage 14: Gerrans wins a cracker for Cervelo, Menchov stays in pink
Gerrans wins on a classic finishing climb
Campi Bisenzio – Bologna 172Km
Simon Gerrans won an exciting finish to the 14th stage of this years Giro on the streets of Bologna. Gerrans attacked from the breakaway group on the fabulously steep Colle della Guardia a 16 per cent street finish – a great way to end a day's racing, unless you're one of the racers.
Gerrans was part of the days big break and it was a big break featuring 13 riders none of whom were major dangers to the leaders on the general classification and crucially none of whom belonged to Rabobank or LPR the teams of Denis Menchov and Danilo Di Luca the man in pink and the man who wants the pink jersey back respectively.
The full list of riders in the breakaway group were: Phillip Deignan and Simon Gerrans (Cervelo), Giovanni Visconti and Andriy Grivko (ISD), Giampaolo Cheula and Chris Froome (Barloworld), Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R-La Mondiale), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre), Francesco Reda (Quick Step), Rubens Bertogliati (Diquigiovanni), Martin (Milram), Evgeni Petrov (Katusha), Eduard Vorganov (Xacobeo Galicia).
Gerrans and his Cervelo Test Team teammate Philip Deignan represnted the team with the highest place team rider on the GC and crucially Cervelo were looking for the first stage win.
Today's stage was one that really made the riders work a lumpy 172Km with three 2nd category climbs and a 3rd cat AND that super steep finish in Bologna for a total of 3000m of climbing. Mark Cavendish certainly won't have missed this one.
The break went away early and it went away hard, less than 30Km in to the stage they already had a lead of over 4:30 on the chasing peloton. and that's pretty much where things stood with 50Km still to go then Danilo Di Luca's LPR team decided to up the pace and reel them by 25Km the gap had dropped to 1:48 and it seemed to be closing – Menchov all the while glued to Di Luca's wheel. Then the break counter attacked and though a few of the escapers couldn't live with the pace and dropped off the back with 9Km to go the gap had gone out to over 2 minutes again.
As the 11 survivors of the orginal break hit the final climb throught the streets of Bologna first Grivko (ISD) attacked, but he was caught immediately, then Rubens Bertogliati (Diquigiovanni) had a go but he was caught by Chris Froome of Barloworld and then he and Gerrans attacked. At the same time as the peloton reached the foot of the hill with Di Lucca, Menchov, Pellizotti (Liquigas), Armstrong (Astana) and Sastre all at the front.
It looked though to be a two horse race between Gerrans and Froome but in a final twist with less than a kilometre to go the young Briton blew up spectacularly weaving all over the road his legs seemingly gone and Gerrans knew the stage was his having time to do up his jersey and savour the moment as he rounded the final bend with the finish in front of him.
Top 10 Giro d'Italia Stage 14
1) Simon Gerrans (Cervelo Test Team) 4:16:48
2) Rubens Bertaglioti (Diquigiovanni) 0:12
3) Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre - N.G.C.) 0:18
4) Evgeny Petrov (Team Katusha) 0:24
5) Philip Deignan (Cervelo Test Team) 0:27
6) Christopher Froome (Barloworld) 0:36
7) Vasili Kiryienka (Caisse d'Epargne) 0:41
8) Francesco Reda (Quick Step) 1:01
9) Andriy Grivko (ISD) 1:04
10) Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
Giro d'Italia general classification after stage 14
1) Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
2) Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini)
3) Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
4) Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
5) Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team)
6) Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad)
7) Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
8) Gilberto Simoni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli)
9) Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre - N.G.C.)
10) Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad)