17/05/11 - 12:30
Termoli - Teramo
Giro d'Italia • Stage10

Termoli - Teramo

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Photo finish for Ventoso and Petacchi for second.


But Cavendish times it to perfection! The HTC-Highroad man takes it with ease - his first victory in this year's Giro.


The attack comes from the front - it's Quick Step, but the rider drops. Movistar takes over... Ventoso... but then Petacchi comes on the outside...


All the big guns are there as Millar is swept up.


Under the 1km-to-go banner!


No, that gap is being eaten away. It won't do for Millar.


The Garmin-Cervelo man has built up a 100m lead quite quickly, but it will be hard for him to maintain this to the end, surely.


ATTACK: David Millar goes on one of his ubiquitous long distance attacks!


Cavendish is lurking back in about 15th, biding his time. Petacchi is nearby, watching his rival intently. Mark Renshaw is ready to ping his HTC team-mate to victory.


Contador right up near the front - in 6th place at the moment. Liquigas' Agnoli is driving the pace.


The pace slows dramatically for a tight bottleneck. That's precisely why you stay out in front. It's curtains for anyone at the back of the peloton now. Movistar have moved forward as well.


Liquigas are on the front now.


A slightly uphill drag is starting. There's another one, of around 4%, with 100m to go.


Vacansoleil are there for their man Bozic. Sky and even Astana are coming to the front as bidons continue to be thrown in all directions.


Pink helmet and sun glasses today, as well as the pink jersey, for Alberto. HTC and Lampre move forward under some very ominous looking thunder clouds.


Quick Step setting the pace... they have Chicchi and Ciolek. Saxo also there to protect Contador's lead.


No breaks from the front of the peloton yet as the teams prepare for their respective lead-outs.


Quite a few residents of the outskirts of Teramo will find some bidons when they next do the gardening: the peloton are discarding them at quite a rate.


The three leaders have been caught!


Vandewalle has blood running down his leg and a chin plaster following that earlier crash. He's also got a problem with his chain cog it seems.


Just 40 seconds now. They know. We know. It's going to be a bunch sprint - and maybe the first proper lead-out finish in this year's race.


The carrots are cooked for the three escapees: the lead is now just one minute.


The gap's down to 1'20" now. The chase is well and truly on, with the peloton stretched out and rolling either side of a road divider.


RISKY BUSINESS: One Liquigas rider veers off the road onto the pavement and almost rides into a lamp post. Not to be repeated at home.


Beppu takes over from Cazaux on the front of the leading trio. Krivtsov then comes through for a stint. They're working well and still have two minutes over the peloton. But it's hard to see them staying out beyond the 10-to-go banner, in all honesty.


Omega Pharma-Lotto are on the front of the peloton now, thinking about their man Adam Blyth perhaps (should he still be in the race - ed). The Belgian team were very noisy over the first week of the race, before tailing off a little of late.


CRASH: Quick Step's Kristof Vandewalle hits the deck for no apparent reason. No one else comes down, and the Belgian is back on his bike, but he'll be shaken up by that one.


The camera is focusing on Acqua & Sapone's Ruggero Marzoli, an odd-looking man if ever there was one. He's on the back of the peloton alongside compatriot Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) who takes a tug from the team car while fetching a water bottle. The Italian's clearly been taking tips from Mark Cavendish there... The lead grew to three minutes but is back to 2'40" now.


No sign of Sky near the front yet. If only they put on the kind of train that we saw in California yesterday. If only they had a sprinter as good as Ben Swift. The sea is very choppy out there, but the riders will soon be biding farewell to the Adriatic as they head inland to the finish at Teramo.


Interesting comment from Marco B below: "If Basso finishes on the podium in the TdeF I will do­ my 16 miles commute from work totally starkers!" Let's hold him to it guys... For those just joining us, Basso suffered a training crash today - hurt his shoulder and needed 15 stitches to the face. In a similar vein to Marco B, I earlier claimed I'd dance naked in London if Cavendish rides beyond stage 12 in this race.


The headwind has slowed the progress of the peloton down as the lead grows once again to 2'50". Meanwhile, pink jersey Alberto Contador takes it easy and eats something, a sandwich perhaps. He says he's not too bothered about losing the maglia rosa at this early stage. In fact, it may happen as early as tomorrow's stage, which looks like a baroudeur's paradise, all up and down and very little flat.


Garmin-Cervelo are coming closer to the front of the peloton. That might well be simply to protect their man Christophe Le Mevel, third in the GC, as opposed to thinking about the stage win. In the absence of Tyler Farrar they don't really have a strong sprinter. Although Murilo Fischer is no dummy. Maybe David Millar fancies a pop from distance?


Today's escapees will not hold this up much longer: their lead is now under two minutes.


Dangerous riding by Mark Cavendish, who drops back from the peloton for a wheel change after a peloton and then rides in the slipstream of another team car until he can join one of his awaiting team-mates.


The lead has dropped to under three minutes. According to race radio, there will be a favourable tailwind during the final 25km - but there's no guarantee our men will still be out in front by then.


At the intermediate sprint, a boy in a blue t-shirt rides out on a mountain bike alongside the three leaders to contest the sprint. But he's way off the pace and ushered off to the sidelines by one of the race motorbikes. Beppu takes the points ahead of Cazaux and Krivtsov. The peloton pass through at 3'33".


The gap has dropped below four minutes again. Reading the comments below, many of you fancy Cavendish for the victory today. Just to let you know: this live written ticker commentary is entirely separate from the audio commentary given by Messrs Kelly and Harmon on Eurosport TV. So refrain from having a go at me for repetition of the word 'dig' or use of the word 'brioche' over 'pane' or 'panino'. Thanks.


The peloton is really strung out at the moment. The three leaders - Fumiyuki Beppu (RadioShack), Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R La Mondiale) - have 4'18" over the bunch.


In other news, Italian Ivan Basso crashed on a training run in Sicily today. The reigning Giro champion, who is sitting out the race to focus on his Tour de France preparations, was riding on Etna when the accident happened. He hurt his shoulder and needed 15 stiches to his face, but tells his followers on Twitter that he's ok.


The leaders pass through the feeding zone. They're about half-way through today's short 159km stage.


There's a HTC duo on the front now, controlling things for their man Mark Cavendish, who must fancy his chances today. It's the second-to-last chance for the pure sprinters, the last chance coming on Thursday on the pizza-flat stage to Ravenna. Cav was accused by Francisco Ventoso of hanging onto team cars and getting drags to the top of Etna on Sunday. "He shouldn't be in the race - he should have been disqualified," said the Spaniard.


A rare uphill stretch in today's stage. It's Saxo, Colnago and, strangely, Euskaltel setting the pace.


It's Saxo Bank and Colnago doing all the work on the front of the peloton, although there is a lone man from Androni Giocattoli. They must be bored of seeing the sea by now - it's all they've had so far today to their right. Makes a change though. Just a shame the sun isn't out.


One withdrawal today: Britain's Adam Blyth (Omega Pharma-Lotto). That made 189 riders taking to the start in Termoli. The lead is now 3'45".


The lead has dipped below the four-minute mark so it's clear the peloton have this in control. So, who do you think will take the victory today? Have your say below... and leave good reasons!


Saxo Bank were doing the early pace setting for pink jersey Alberto Contador but now it's the HTC-Highroad men of Mark Cavendish who have come to the front in a bid to reel in those men.


The trio's lead has dropped to 4'15".


A bit of info about the escapees. Fumiyuki Beppu, 27, joined the Shack in 2010 after two years at Skil-Shimano and three at Discovery. He is without a major professional win and this is his first Giro. Pierre Cazaux is the only Frenchman amongst eight Spaniards on Euskaltel. The 26-year-old joined the Basque outfit this year after one season at FDJ. He has no UCI wins and this is also his debut Giro. Veteran Yuri Krivtsov has been at AG2R since 2004 and is racing his 6th Giro.


Of course, there's always Mark Cavendish, who narrowly avoided disqualification on Sunday after rolling home to the finish on Etna just 25 seconds short of the time limit. His sprint rival Ventoso was highly critical of the Manxman, claiming he did not deserve to stay in the race and relied on team-mates pulling him to the finish. As for Cav, today he tweeted a picture of today's finish with the words: "Look! Look! Oh! Oh! Oh! Look! Look! A sprint! A real sprint! For sprinters!"


Today's approach to the finish is slightly uphill so it could suit someone like Danilo Di Luca, who has no further interest in the GC and who hails from the Abruzzo region. But the 4% kick in the lasty 100m might well be better suited to either Alessandro Petacchi or stage six winner Francisco Ventoso. Matteo Tossato wore the pink jersey here back in the 2000 Giro, so he may have a sentimental pop. Either way, these three riders won't be allowed to stay out too long.


The three leaders have 6'32" on the peloton now. RadioShack are remembering the late Wouter Weylandt today by printing the Belgian sprinter's name on their bikes. Breakaway rider Beppu is one of those riders with the special limited edition bike frame.


The weather was pretty rotten in south Italy over the rest day and today's temperature is only 19 degrees and the clouds are out.


Of course, a lot of the talk over the rest day was about maglia rosa Alberto Contador and whether or not he should even be allowed to race, given the UCI and WADA appeal hanging over his shoulders. Sky's Thomas Lovkvist for one thinks the Spaniard shouldn't have been allowed to start the race. "It is so wrong. Who knows how Sunday's stage would have turned out if Contador was not there," he told the Swedish news agency TT.


The Ukrainian Krivtsov has now caught the two initial escapees Cazaux and Beppu. They have over five minutes on the peloton. There was an early climb after the start, but nothing too tricky, and the riders are now on the Adriatic coast heading north.


ATTACK: An early break from Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel) and Fumiyuki Beppu (RadioShack). They quickly build up a lead of 2'22" over the peloton, with a lone chaser stuck between. It's Yuriy Krivtsov of AG2R.


And they're off! The vast majority of today's stage runs alongside the Adriatic coast so expect a bit of wind out there. The riders will then turn inland to the finish at Teramo, around 24km from the finish. It's a steadily uphill approach to the finish but a bunch sprint is the likely outcome - especially in view of all those mountain stages looming on the horizon.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia, a short and snappy 159 km affair from Termoli to Teramo which should, in theory, play host to one of the few remaining bunch sprint finishes in this year's race.