What's Cool In Road Cycling

Simoni vs. Casagrande: Giro Stage 11

Today’s 136km stage from Benevento was won by Gilberto Simoni of Team Saeco, beating Francesco Casagande (Fassa-Bortolo) in a good ol’ fashioned two-up sprint, atop the 15km climb of Campitello Matese (mt. 1440, avg. grd. 6%).

The final climb of 15km was marked by constant attacks from the pack as anyone and everyone tried their luck in what is daily becoming a more wide-open Giro. Julio Perez Cuapio (Panaria) was the first notable to have a go, but was quickly followed by a host of riders including Saeco’s Marias Sabaliaskaus (chasing down breaks for Simoni), and Rik Verbrugghe.

Soon enough everyone was reeled in and with just 4km left it was Simoni and Casagrande out in front, Simoni doing all the work. It appeared to be a sure win for Casa, but on the flat finishing straight, Simoni led out and Casa swung to the left side of the road. From there it was a drag race to the flag, with Simoni digging deeper and crossing the line a good wheel length in front.

Jens Heppner (Ger-Tel) maintined his overall lead, but knows the end is near, while Casagrande holds a 17 second advantage over Simoni. Tomorrow’s stage features several medium sized climbs, but Saturday is back to the higher mountains and should be another good day for battle.

Stage 11 Results

1. Gilberto Simoni (Ita-Sae) 4.03.38
2. Francesco Casagrande (Ita-Fas) – s.t.
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita-Als) – 0.04
4. Fernando Escartin Coti (Spa-Coa) – 0.04
5. Dario Frigo (Ita-Tac) – 0.04

Giro Overall Standings
1. Jens Heppner (Ger-Tel) 52.54.27
2. Francesco Casagrande (Ita-Fas) +2:58
3. Gilberto Simoni (Ita-Sae) + 3:15
4. Wladimir Belli (Ita-Fas)
5. Pietro Caucchioli (Ita-Als)

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