After over seven hours in the saddle Carlos Sastre claimed the second win in three days for the Cervelo Test Team winning the epic 237Km stage from Pergola to Monte Petrano. The Spaniard caught and passed Jaroslav Popovych (Astana) with less than three kilometres of the stage remaining – the Ukranian rider was the last survivor of the day's big break and seemed to have the stage victory in his sights.
The big loser on the day, which served up three first category climbs and a 2nd cat as a starter, was Levi Leipheimer who punctured on the descent of the day's penultimate climb, the Monte Catria, and was then dropped on the lower slopes of Monte Petrano which starts at an agonising 13 per cent. Lance Armstrong who looked to be climbing well and had already bridged back to the race leader's group once worked for the team and pulled his leader up the mountain.
Even so they finished nearly 3 minutes down on Sastre who's efforts only gained him 25 seconds on Menchov and Di Luca. Sastre's reward was to move up the General Classification to 3rd place thanks to the struggles of Leipheimer and the day's other big loser Franco Pelizotti of Liquigas who finished sevent 1:21 down – his teammate and rival, Ivan Basso finished 4th and moves up to 5th place in the general classification one spot behind Pelizotti.
Spare a thought for Popovych though at the bottom of the final climb he had put a minute in to his nearest challenger Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and had over two minutes on the chasing group. Sastre caught him with the finish almost in sight but he tied up so badly on the final couple of kilometres that he finished in 18th place 3:21 down, Cunego finished even further back on a day that once again proved that in cycle racing fortune doesn't always favour the brave
More to follow.
Top 11 Giro d'Italia Stage 16
1) Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) 7.11.54
2) Denis Menchov (Rabobank) 0.25
3) Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) 0.26
4) Ivan Basso (Liquigas) 0.29
5) Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) 1.19
6) Francesco Masciarelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) 1.21
7) Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
8) Tadej Valjavec (AG2R La Mondiale)
9) Jose Serpa(Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) 2.35
10) Lance Armstrong (Astana) 2.51
11) Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
General classification after stage 16
1) Denis Menchov (Rabobank) 70.06.30
2) Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) 0.39
3) Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) 2.19
4) Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 3.08
5) Ivan Basso (Liquigas) 3.19
6) Levi Leipheimer (Astana) 3.21
7) Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad) 5.54
8) Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) 8.24
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.