Omega Pharma's Bart De Clercq launched an escape on the climb to the sanctuary at Montevergine that lasted all the way to the finish line... by about the length of his front tire. The Belgian launched his move with 6.5km to go in the first major climbing stage of the Giro d'Italia, as the favorites were all nursing their energy for later action, and while they kept De Clercq within 30 seconds most of the way, the response was too late. Lampre's Michele Scarponi launched the responsive assault that shook the favorites into action in the final kilometer and he brought a hard-charging group of four favorites -- accompanied by overall threats Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas and Roman Kreuziger of Astana, as well as former winner Stefano Garzelli. Scarponi outkicked his companions but missed catching De Clerq by the slimmest of margins. Kreuziger came around the other two for third. De Clercq dedicated his win to his fallen countryman, Wouter Weylandt, who died in a crash Monday and is to be buried in Gent this coming Wednesday.
All of the favorites -- Kreuziger, Nibali, Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, etc., were given the same time, so the only effect of today's first mountaintop finish were the time bonuses of 12 and 8 seconds awarded to Scarponi and Kreuziger (De Clerq was awarded 20 seconds but isn't considered an overall threat). Surprisingly, Rabobank's Peter Weening hung on to his maglia rosa, staying with the front group to maintain his two second lead over HTC's Marco Pinotti and Kanstantin Sivtsov. Stage results:
- Bart De Clercq, Omega Pharma
- Michele Scarponi, Lampre, s.t.
- Roman Kreuziger, Astana, s.t.
- Stefano Garzelli, Acqua e Sapone, s.t.
- Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, s.t.
No big changes on GC.