Sastre takes his second stage of the 2009 Giro d'Italia
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)
Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre won his second stage of the centenary Tour of Italy on the 19th stage over 164km from Avellino to Vesuvio on Friday as Russian Denis Menchov held onto the leader's pink jersey.
Spaniard Sastre of the Cervélo team broke clear on the final 13km climb up Mount Vesuvius and shed companion Ivan Basso in the final 5km to add this to his win in Monday's 16th stage. But he failed in his other aim to propel himself into a podium position as Italian Franco Pellizotti, who was defending a 1min 30sec lead over the Spaniard in the overall standings, fought back to lose only 21sec as he came home in second.
Di Luca was unable to shake Menchov, but did get an 8-second time bonus
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)
Behind that, 2007 champion Danilo Di Luca attacked incessantly to try to shed Menchov on the climb but the Russian held his wheel all the way to the line. Di Luca took third place, though, and managed to snatch the 8sec time bonus that comes with that to cut Menchov's lead to just 18sec and set up a thrilling time-trial finish in Rome on Sunday.
As the last mountain stage on this year's tour, fireworks were expected and the riders didn't fail to deliver. Mauro Facci of Quick Step and Yuriy Krivtsov of AG2R broke away after 16km and built up a lead of more than seven minutes at one point. But with Di Luca aware that valuable time could be gained on Menchov with bonuses on the line, his LPR team chased hard and they had caught the escapees by the foot of the volcano.
The beginning of the climb was a bit cagey with everyone watching each other but with about 7.5km still to go Basso, who was fourth overall, attacked. That prompted a quick response from Sastre, a place and two seconds behind the Italian on the GC, and the pair started to build up a lead. The attack created two competitions. Up front Basso and Sastre were racing each other for position but also trying to drag themselves back into a podium place. Behind Di Luca kept putting in bursts of speed to try to drop Menchov but the Russian shadowed his every move. Pellizotti then also had a couple of digs while up front Sastre shed Basso as he opened up a minute's lead on the chasers.
That gap put Pellizotti's podium position under threat and so he attacked again with 2km left while his Liquigas teammate Basso sat up and waited for his countryman to help pace him up towards Sastre. That move worked as Pellizotti had lost only 21sec by the time he reached the line. Meanwhile Menchov grimly held on to Di Luca's wheel and they overtook Basso near the end to come home just 30sec behind Sastre.
Di Luca now has two more chances to snatch the pink jersey, as there are time bonuses on offer on the line in Saturday's 20th stage while the final 15km time-trial on Sunday will also give him a chance to close the 18sec gap.92nd Giro d'Italia
Italy, May 9-31, 2009
Stage 19: Friday, May 29 Avellino - Vesuvio, 164km
1. Carlos Sastre (ESP/CTT) 4hr 33min 23sec
2. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/LIQ) @ 0:21
3. Danilo Di Luca (ITA/LPR) @ 0:30
4. Denis Menchov (RUS/RAB) @ 0:30
5. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) @ 0:35
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA/AST) @ 0:53
7. Tadej Valjavec (SLO/ALM) @ 1:14
8. Serge Pauwels (BEL/CTT) @ 1:15
9. José Serpa (COL/SDA) @ s.t.
10. Stefano Garzelli (ITA/ASA) Selected
16. Lance Armstrong (USA/AST) @ 1:42
20. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) @ 2:44
27. Michael Rogers (AUS/THR) @ 2:57
84. Michael Barry (CAN/THR) @ 13:09
117. Michele Scarponi (ITA/SDA) @ 17:11General classification after stage 19
1. Denis Menchov (RUS/RAB) 81hr 13min 55sec
2. Danilo Di Luca (ITA/LPR) @ 0:18
3. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/LIQ) @ 1:39
4. Carlos Sastre (ESP/CTT) @ 2:40
5. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) @ 3:33
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA/AST) @ 4:55
7. Stefano Garzelli (ITA/ASA) @ 8:48
8. Michael Rogers (AUS/THR) @ 9:32
9. Tadej Valjavec (SLO/ALM) @ 10:42
10. Marzio Bruseghin (ITA/LAM) @ 11:32Selected
12. Lance Armstrong (USA/AST) @ 13:29
18. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) @ 27:48Win A Silca Pump Every Day Of The Giro d'Italia
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