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1999 Giro d'Italia

82nd edition: May 15- June 6

Results, stages with running GC, map, profile, photos and history

1998 Giro | 2000 Giro | Giro d'Italia Database | Race Profile | 1999 Giro Quick Facts | 1999 Giro d'Italia Final GC | Stage results with running GC | The Story of the 1999 Giro d'Italia

Map of the 1999 Giro d'Italia

Map of the 1999 Giro d'Italia

1999 Giro d'Italia race profile

1999 Giro d'Italia race profile

Plato's Apology

1999 Giro Quick Facts:

3,752 km raced at an average speed of 37.545 km/hr

160 starters and 116 classified finishers

Marco Pantani came to the 1999 Giro in absolutely scintillating condition.

When the Giro hit the high mountains he was even more dominating than in 1998.

At the end of the second of the three Dolomite stages Pantani had a firm grip on the lead.

On the morning of the penultimate stage Pantani was ejected from the Giro after a blood test revealed he had a hematocrit above the allowed 50%.

Ivan Gotti's third place in the last mountain stage earned him the lead and the 1999 Giro d'Italia.

Plato's Apology is available as an audiobook here.

1999 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification:

  1. maglia rosaIvan Gotti (Polti): 99hr 55min 56sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli (Saeco) @ 3min 35sec
  3. Gilberto Simoni (Ballan-Alessio) @ 3min 36sec
  4. Laurent Jalabert (ONCE) @ 5min 16sec
  5. Roberto Heras (Kelme-Costa Blanca) @ 7min 47sec
  6. Niklas Axelsson (Navigare-Gaerne) @ 9min 38sec
  7. Serguei Gontchar (Vini Caldirola) @ 12min 7sec
  8. Daniele De Paoli (Amica Chips) @ 14min 20sec
  9. Daniel Clavero (Vitalicio Seguros) @ 15min 53sec
  10. Roberto Sgambelluri (Cantina Tollo-Alexia) @ 17min 31sec
  11. Oskar Camenzind (Lampre) @ 17min 39sec
  12. Andrei Zintchenko (Vitalicio Seguros) @ 20min 14sec
  13. Oscar Sevilla (Kelme-Costa Blanca) @ 22min 44sec
  14. Richard Virenque (Polti) @ 24min 15sec
  15. Hernan Buenahora (Vitalicio Seguros) @ 24min 38sec
  16. Gabriele Missaglia (Lampre) @ 42min12sec
  17. Giuseppe Di Grande (Mapei-Quick Step) @ 44min 23sec
  18. Pavel Padrnos (Lampre) @ 44min 30sec
  19. Peter Luttenberger (ONCE) @ 47min 39sec
  20. Nicola Miceli (Liquigas) @ 47min 40sec
  21. Aleksandr Shefer (Riso Scotti-Vinavil) @ 51min 31sec
  22. Andrei Teteriouk (Liquigas) @ 51min 48sec
  23. José Jaime Gonzalez (Kelme-Costa Blanca) @ 53min 36sec
  24. Felice Puttini (Amica Chips) @ 1hr 0min 25sec
  25. Oscar Mason (Liquigas) @ 1hr 2min 17sec
  26. Gerrit Glomser (Navigare-Gaerne) @ 1hr 4min 15sec
  27. Francesco Secchiari (Saeco) @ 1hr 6min 18sec
  28. Andrea Noè (Mapei-Quick Step) @ 1hr 9min 58sec
  29. Mikel Zarrabeitia (ONCE) @ 1hr 11min 37sec
  30. Davide Rebellin (Polti) @ 1hr 14min 11sec
  31. Mauro Zanetti (Vini Caldirola) @ 1hr 14min 28sec
  32. Amilcare Tronca (Amica Chips) @ 1hr 17min 28sec
  33. José Maria Jimenez (Banesto) @ 1hr 19min 34sec
  34. José Luis Arrieta (Banesto) @ 1hr 23min 14sec
  35. Cristian Gasperoni (Cantina Tollo) @ 1hr 28min 25sec
  36. Giuliano Figueras (Mapei-Quick Step) @ 1hr 35min 4sec
  37. Alessandro Spezialetti (Mobilvetta-Northwave) @ 1hr 37min 41sec
  38. Mariano Piccoli (Lampre) @ 1hr 39min 2sec
  39. Francisco Cerezo Perales (Vitalicio Seguros) @ 1hr 39min 29sec
  40. Vladimir Duma (Navigare-Gaerne) @ 1hr 41min 13sec
  41. Miguel Angel Pena (Banesto) @ 1hr 45min 0sec
  42. Marco Della Vedova (Lampre) @ 1hr 48min 1sec
  43. Matteo Tosatto (Ballan-Alessio) @ 1hr 49min 24sec
  44. Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step) @ 1hr 50min 25sec
  45. Prudencio Indurain (Vitalicio Seguros) @ 1hr 52min 6sec
  46. Pietro Caucchioli (Amica Chips) @ 1hr 52min 19sec
  47. Massimo Donati (Vini Caldirola) @ 1hr 54min 51sec
  48. William Chann McRae (Mapei-Quick Step) @ 1hr 55min 12sec
  49. Oscar Pozzi (Riso Scotti-Vinavil) @ 1hr 55min 23sec
  50. Massimiliano Gentili (Cantina Tollo) @ 2hr 0min 58sec
  51. Orlando Sergio Gomes (Banesto) @ 2hr 3min 7sec
  52. Evgeni Berzin (Amica Chips) @ 2hr 5min 45sec
  53. Fausto Dotti (Liquigas) @ 2hr 6min 20sec
  54. Filippo Casagrande (Vini Caldirola) @ 2hr 10min 9sec
  55. Pascal Richard (Mobilvetta-Northwave) @ 2hr 10min 10sec
  56. Andrea Peron (ONCE) @ 2hr 10min 1sec
  57. Marco Magnani (Cantina Tollo) @ 2hr 10min 21sec
  58. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Amica Chips) @ 2hr 14min 8sec
  59. Bo Hamburger (Cantina Tollo) @ 2hr 17min 6sec
  60. Roberto Petito (Saeco) @ 2hr 21min 15sec
  61. Cristiano Frattini (Liquigas) @ 2hr 26min 59sec
  62. Stefano Panetta (Navigare-Gaerne) @ 2hr 32min 52sec
  63. Victor Pena (Vitalicio Seguros) @ 2hr 33min 46sec
  64. Fabrizio Guidi (Polti) @ 2hr 37min 14sec
  65. Paolo Valoti (Mobilvetta-Northeave) @ 2hr 38min 45sec
  66. Marzio Bruseghin (Banesto) @ 2hr 38min 49sec
  67. Mario Scirea (Saeco) @ 2hr 40min 43sec
  68. Francisco Cabello (Kelme-Costa Blanca) @ 2hr 41min 15sec
  69. Enrico Cassani (Polti) @ 2hr 41min 56sec
  70. Alessandro Petacchi (Navigare-Gaerne) @ 2hr 43min 5sec
  71. Gianluca Sironi (Vini Caldirola) @ 2hr 43min 9sec
  72. Inigo Cuesta (ONCE) @ 2hr 45min 48sec
  73. Miguel Angel Martin Perfiguero (ONCE) @ 2hr 46min 23sec
  74. Mirko Celestino (Polti) @ 2hr 47min 1sec
  75. Martin Hvastija (Ballan-Alessio) @ 2hr 47min 35sec
  76. Oscar Pellicioli (Polti) @ 2hr 47min 54sec
  77. Ruslan Ivanov (Liquigas) @ 2hr 48min 11sec
  78. Andrea Klier (TVM-Farm Frites) @ 2hr 51min 46sec
  79. Angel Edo (Kelme-Costa Blanca) @ 2hr 53min 9sec
  80. Andrea Tafi (Mapei-Quick Step) @ 2hr 53min 18sec
  81. Dario Pieri (Navigare-Gaerne) @ 2hr 53min 27sec
  82. Diego Ferrari (Riso Scotti-Vinavil) @ 2hr 55min 5sec
  83. Simone Bertoletti (Lampre) @ 2hr 56min 41sec
  84. David Navas Chica (Banesto) @ 2hr 56min 45sec
  85. Santos Gonzalez (ONCE) @ 2hr 56min 53sec
  86. Gian-Matteo Fagnini (Saeco) @ 2hr 57min 15sec
  87. Biagio Conte (Liquigas) @ 2hr 58min 20sec
  88. Marco Gili (Amica Chips) @ 2hr 58min 34sec
  89. David Canada (ONCE) @ 2hr 58min 43sec
  90. Filippo Simeoni (Riso Scotti-Vinavil) @ 2hr 59min 38sec
  91. Michel Lafis (TVM-Farm Frites) @ 3hr 0min 45sec
  92. Serguei Smetanine (Vitalicio Seguros) @ 3hr 1min 1sec
  93. Gines Salmeron Martinez (Vitalicio Seguros) @ 3hr 3min 39sec
  94. Eduardo Hernandez (Kelme-Costa Blanca) @ 3h 3min 40sec
  95. Matteo Frutti (Lampre) @ 3hr 6min (Lampre) @ 3hr 6min 19sec
  96. Rodolfo Ongarato (Liquigas) @ 3hr 6min 46sec
  97. Alain Turicchia (Riso Scotti-Vinavil) @ 3hr 7min 3sec
  98. Massimo Apollonio (Vini Caldirola) @ 3hr 7min 28sec
  99. Samuel Schiavina (Riso Scotti-Vinavil) @ 3hr 8min 9sec
  100. Paolo Fornaciari (Mapei-Quick Step) @ 3hr 8min 9sec
  101. Carlos Sastre (ONCE) @ 3hr 9min 39sec
  102. Gabriele Balducci (Navigare-Gaerne) @ 3hr 9min 54sec
  103. Fabio Baldato (Ballan-Alessio) @ 3hr 12min 12sec
  104. Maruo Radaelli (Vini Caldirola) @ 3hr 17min 3sec
  105. Carlos Marino Bianchi (Riso Scotti-Vinavil) 3hr 17min 41sec
  106. Guido Trenti (Cantina Tollo) @ 3hr 19min 30sec
  107. Denis Zanette (Polti) @ 3hr 19min 54sec
  108. Massimo Strazzer (Mobilvetta-Northwave) @ 3hr 19min 57sec
  109. Giuseppe Calcaterra (Saeco) @ 3hr 24min 20sec
  110. Andrea Brognara (Cantina Tollo) @ 3hr 24min 53sec
  111. Stefano Faustini (Lampre) @ 3hr 25min 8sec
  112. Francesco Arazzi (Amica Chips) @ 3hr 25min 28sec
  113. Nicola Minali (Cantina Tollo) @ 3hr 27min 21sec
  114. Alessio Galletti (Saeco) @ 3hr 32min 56sec
  115. Miquel Van Kessel (TVM-Farm Frites) @ 3hr 37min 3sec
  116. Hendrik Van Dyck (TVM-Farm Frites) @ 3hr 48min 49sec

Points Classification:

  1. points jerseyLaurent Jalabert (ONCE): 175 points
  2. Fabrizio Guidi (Polti): 170
  3. Massimo Strazzer (Mobilvetta-Northwave): 126
  4. Paolo Savoldelli (Saeco): 117
  5. Ivan Gotti (Polti): 110

Climbers' Competition:

  1. green jerseyJosé Jaime Gonzalez (Kelme-Costa Blanca): 61 points
  2. Mariano Piccoli (Lampre): 45
  3. Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Stp): 44
  4. Ivan Gotti (Polti): 33
  5. Gilberto Simoni (Ballan-Alessio): 33


  1. blue jerseyFabrizio Guidi: 58hr 47min 30sec
  2. Massimo Strazzer (Mobilvetta-Northwave) @ 2sec
  3. Gian-Matteo Fagnini (Saeco) @ 24sec
  4. Biagio Conte (Liquigas) @ 2min 2sec
  5. Matteo Tosatto (Ballan-Alessio) @ 2min 13sec

Team Classification:

  1. Vitalicio Seguros: 300hr 39min 35sec
  2. Kelme Costa Blanca @ 22min 11sec
  3. Polti @ 22min 45sec
  4. Lampre @ 29min 16sec
  5. ONCE @ 58min 57sec

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1999 Giro stage results with running GC:

Saturday, May 15: Stage 1, Agrigento - Modica, 175 km

Ascent: Contrada de Veninata

  1. Ivan Quaranta: 4hr 38min 51sec. 37.655 km/hr
  2. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  3. Mario Cipollini s.t.
  4. Guido Trenti s.t.
  5. Romans Vainsteins s.t.
  6. Gabriele Missaglia s.t.
  7. Fabrizio Guidi s.t.
  8. Fabiano Fontanelli s.t.
  9. Engel Edo s.t.
  10. Edrio Leoni s.t.

Sunday, May 16: Stage 2, Noto - Catania, 133 km

Ascent: Melilli

  1. Mario Cipollini: 3hr 18min 12sec. 40.262 km/hr
  2. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  3. Dario Pieri s.t.
  4. Gabriele Missaglia s.t.
  5. Ivan Quaranta s.t.
  6. Massimiliano Gentili s.t.
  7. Fabrizio Guidi s.t.
  8. Gian-Matteo Fagnini s.t.
  9. Gabriele Balducci s.t.
  10. Andrea Noè s.t.

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Mario Cipollini: 7hr 56min 43sec
  2. Jeoren Blijlevens @ 4sec
  3. Ivan Quaranta @ 8sec
  4. Massimo Apollonio @ 14sec
  5. Dario Pieri @ 16sec
  6. Paolo Valori s.t.
  7. Gian-Matteo Fagnini @ 18sec
  8. Gabriele Missaglia @ 20sec
  9. Fabrizio Guidi s.t.
  10. Angel Edo s.t.

Monday, May 17: Stage 3, Catania - Messina, 176 km

Ascent: Portella Mandrazzi

  1. Jeroen Blijlevens: 4hr 53min 49sec. 35.94 km/hr
  2. Jan Svorada s.t.
  3. Massimo Strazzer s.t.
  4. Nicola Minali s.t.
  5. Endrio Leoni s.t.
  6. Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero s.t.
  7. Gabriele Balducci s.t.
  8. Fabrizio Guidi s.t.
  9. Alexandre Gontchenkov s.t.
  10. Alain Turicchia s.t.

GC after stage 3:

  1. Jeroen Blijlevens: 12hr 50min 24sec
  2. Mario Cipollini @ 8sec
  3. Ivan Quaranta @ 16sec
  4. Matteo Tosatto @ 22sec
  5. Massimo Apollonio s.t.
  6. Dario Pieri @ 24sec
  7. Mariano Piccoli s.t.
  8. Paolo Valoti s.t.
  9. Gian-Matteo Fagnini @ 26sec
  10. Fabrizio Guidi @ 28sec

Tuesday, May 18: Stage 4, Vibo Valentia - Terme Luigiane, 186 km

Ascent: Torre Galli

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 4hr 23min 49sec
  2. Gian-Matteo Fagnini s.t.
  3. Davide Rebellin s.t.
  4. Oskar Camenzind s.t.
  5. Alexandre Gontchenkov s.t.
  6. Romans Vainsteins s.t.
  7. Paolo Savoldelli s.t.
  8. Viatcheslav Ekimov s.t.
  9. Alain Turicchia s.t.
  10. Enrico Zaina s.t.

GC after Stage 4:

  1. Jeroen Blijlevens: 17hr 14min 11sec
  2. Laurent Jalabert @ 18sec
  3. Gian-Matteo Fagnini @ 20sec
  4. Matteo Toatto @ 24sec
  5. Fabrizio Guidi @ 26sec
  6. Mariano Piccoli s.t.
  7. Davide Rebellin s.t.
  8. Romans Vainsteins @ 30sec
  9. Angel Edo s.t.
  10. Oskar Camenzind s.t.

Wednesday, May 19: Stage 5, Terme Luigiane - Monte Sirino, 144 km

Major ascents: Passo la Colla, Monte Sirino

  1. José Jaime Gonzalez: 4hr 11min 47sec
  2. Danilo Di Luca @ 5sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 6sec
  4. Marco Pantani s.t.
  5. Ivan Gotti s.t.
  6. Paolo Savoldelli s.t.
  7. Dario Frigo s.t.
  8. Davide Rebellin @ 8sec
  9. Gilberto Simoni @ 9sec
  10. Oskar Camenzind @ 16sec

GC after stage 5:

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 21hr 26min 18sec
  2. Danilo Di Luca @ 7sec
  3. Davide Rebellin @ 14sec
  4. Paolo Savoldelli @ 16sec
  5. Marco Pantani s.t.
  6. Dario Frigo s.t.
  7. Ivan Gotti s.t.
  8. Gilberto Simoni @ 19sec
  9. Oskar Camenzind @ 26sec
  10. Niklas Axelsson s.t.

Thursday, May 20: Stage 6, Lauria - Foggia, 242 km

  1. Romans Vainsteins: 5hr 55min 43sec. 41.325 km/hr
  2. Fabrizio Guidi s.t.
  3. Gabriele Missaglia s.t.
  4. Matteo Tosatto s.t.
  5. Paolo Bettini s.t.
  6. Guido Trenti s.t.
  7. Marco Magnani s.t.
  8. Alessandro Petacchi s.t.
  9. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  10. Giuliano Figueras s.t.

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 27hr 22min 1sec
  2. Danilo Di Luca @ 7sec
  3. Davide Rebellin @ 14sec
  4. Paolo Savoldelli @ 16sec
  5. Marco Pantani s.t.
  6. Dario Frigo s.t.
  7. Ivan Gotti s.t.
  8. Gilberto Simoni @ 19sec
  9. Oskar Camenzind @ 26sec
  10. Niklas Axelsson s.t.

Friday, May 21: Stage 7, Foggia - Lanciano, 153 km

  1. Jeroen Blijlevens: 4hr 12min 6sec. 37.366 km/hr
  2. Romans Vainsteins s.t.
  3. Fabrizio Guidi s.t.
  4. Paolo Bettini s.t.
  5. Mariano Piccoli s.t.
  6. Alessandro Petacchi s.t.
  7. Gabriele Balducci s.t.
  8. Gabriele Missaglia s.t.
  9. Angel Edo s.t.
  10. Gian-Matteo Fagnini s.t.

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 31hr 34min 7sec
  2. Danilo Di Luca @ 7sec
  3. Paolo Savoldelli @ 16sec
  4. Davide Rebellin @ 20sec
  5. Marco Pantani@ 22sec
  6. Dario Frigo s.t.
  7. Ivan Gotti s.t.
  8. Gilberto Simoni @ 25sec
  9. Serguei Ivanov @ 31sec
  10. Oskar Camenzind @ 32sec

Saturday, May 22: Stage 8, Pescara - Gran Sasso d'Italia, 253 km

Major ascents: Valli Olmo di Bobbi, Ovidoli, Gran Sasso d'Italia

  1. Marco Pantani: 7hr 9min 0sec. 35.385 km/hr
  2. José Maria Jimenez @ 23sec
  3. Alex Zülle @ 26sec
  4. Ivan Gotti @ 33sec
  5. Andrea Noè @ 42sec
  6. Daniel Clavero s.t.
  7. Dario Frigo s.t.
  8. Serguei Gontchar @ 58sec
  9. Massimo Codol @ 1min 0sec
  10. Oskar Camenzind s.t.

GC after stage 8:

  1. Marco Pantani: 38hr 43min 17sec
  2. José Maria Jimenez @ 38sec
  3. Ivan Gotti @ 45sec
  4. Dario Frigo @ 54sec
  5. Laurent Jalabert @ 55sec
  6. Andrea Noè @ 1min 5sec
  7. Daniel Clavero s.t.
  8. Oskar Camenzind @ 1min 22sec
  9. Niklas Axelsson s.t.
  10. Danilo Di Luca @ 1min 30sec

Sunday, May 23: Stage 9, Ancona 32 km individual time trial (cronometro)

Ascent: Poggio del Massignano

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 40min 36sec
  2. Serguei Gontchar @ 25sec
  3. Marco Pantani @ 55sec
  4. Oskar Camenzind @ 57sec
  5. Dario Frigo @ 59sec
  6. Daniel Clavero @ 1min 8sec
  7. Alex Zülle @ 1min 15sec
  8. Ivan Gotti @ 1min 23sec
  9. Niklas Axelsson @ 1min 38sec
  10. Andrei Zintchenko @ 2min 0sec
  11. Enrico Zaina @ 2min 3sec
  12. Marzio Bruseghin @ 2min7sec
  13. Paolo Savoldelli 2 2min 8sec
  14. Andrea Noè @ 2min 9sec
  15. Andrei Teteriouk @ 2mn 10sec

GC after stage 9:

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 39hr 24min 49sec
  2. Marco Pantani s.t. (@ .1sec)
  3. Dario Frigo @ 58sec
  4. Serguei Gontchar @ 1min 9sec
  5. Ivan Gotti @ 1min 13sec
  6. Daniel Clavero @ 1min 18sec
  7. Oskar Camenzind @ 1min 24sec
  8. Alex Zülle @ 2min 4sec
  9. Niklas Axelsson @ 2min 5sec
  10. Andrea Noè @ 2min 19sec

Monday, May 24: Stage 10, Ancona - Sansepolcro, 189 km

Ascents: Valico di Bocca Serriola, Anghiari

  1. Mario Cipollini: 4hr 28min24sec
  2. Ivan Quaranta s.t.
  3. Massimo Strazzer s.t.
  4. Francesco Arazzi s.t.
  5. Endrio Leoni s.t.
  6. Serguei Smetanine s.t.
  7. Gabriele Balducci s.t.
  8. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  9. Fabrizio Guidi s.t.
  10. Alessandro Petacchi s.t.

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 43h 53min 12sec
  2. Marco Pantani s.t.
  3. Dario Frigo @ 58sec
  4. Serguei Gontchar @ 1min 9sec
  5. Ivan Gotti @ 1min 13sec
  6. Daniel Clavero @ 1min 18sec
  7. Oskar Camenzind @ 1min 24sec
  8. Alex Zülle @ 2min 4sec
  9. Niklas Axelsson @ 2min 5sec
  10. Andrea Noè @ 2min 19sec

Tuesday, May 25: Stage 11, Sansepolcro - Cesenatico, 125 km

Ascent: Passo di Viamaggio

  1. Ivan Quaranta: 2hr 53min 41sec
  2. Mario Cipollini s.t.
  3. Jan Svorada s.t.
  4. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  5. Endrio Leoni s.t.
  6. Matteo Tosatto s.t.
  7. Dario Pieri s.t.
  8. Massimo Strazzer s.t.
  9. Luca Cei s.t.
  10. Marco Gili s.t.

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 46hr 46min 49sec
  2. Marco Pantani @ 4sec
  3. Dario Frigo @ 1min 2sec
  4. Serguei Gontchar @ 1min 13sec
  5. Ivan Gotti @ 1min 17sec
  6. Daniel Clavero @ 1min 22sec
  7. Oskar Camenzind @ 1min 28sec
  8. Alex Zülle @ 2min 8sec
  9. Niklas Axelsson @ 2min 9sec
  10. Andrea Noè @ 2min 23sec

Wednesday, May 26: Stage 12, Cesenatico - Sassuolo, 168 km

  1. Mario Cipollini: 4hr 7min 7sec
  2. Ivan Quaranta s.t.
  3. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  4. Luca Cei s.t.
  5. Matteo Tosatto s.t.
  6. Nicola Minali s.t.
  7. Serguei Smetanine s.t.
  8. Jan Svorada s.t.
  9. Endrio Leoni s.t.
  10. Vladimir Duma s.t.

GC after Stage 12:

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 50hr 53min 56sec
  2. Marco Pantani @ 4sec
  3. Dario Frigo @ 1min 2sec
  4. Serguei Gontchar @ 1min 13sec
  5. Ivan Gotti @ 1min 17sec
  6. Daniel Clavero @ 1min 22sec
  7. Oskar Camenzind @ 1min 28sec
  8. Alex Zülle @ 2min 8sec
  9. Niklas Axelsson @ 2min 9sec
  10. Andrea Noè @ 2min 23sec

Thursday, May 27: Stage 13, Sassuolo - Rapallo, 243 km

Ascents: Passo della Cisa, Passo del Brattello, Passo di Cento Croci, Passo di Malanotte

  1. Richard Virenque: 6hr 55min 34sec. 35.085 km/hr
  2. Santiago Blanco s.t.
  3. Davide Rebellin @ 21sec
  4. Roberto Sgambelluri @ 22sec
  5. Andrei Teteriouk @ 34sec
  6. Andrei Zintchenko s.t.
  7. Gerrit Glomser s.t.
  8. Giuliano Figueras s.t.
  9. Enrico Zaina s.t.
  10. Oskar Camenzind s.t.

GC after Stage 13:

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 57hr 50min 4sec
  2. Marco Pantani @ 4sec
  3. Serguei Gontchar @ 1min 13sec
  4. Ivan Gotti @ 1min 17sec
  5. Daniel Clavero @ 1min 22sec
  6. Oscar Camenzind @ 1min 28sec
  7. Alex Zülle @ 2min 8sec
  8. Niklas Axelsson @ 2min 9sec
  9. Andrea Noè @ 2min 23sec
  10. Paolo Savoldelli @ 2min 48sec

Friday, May 28: Rest Day (giorno di riposo)

Saturday, May 29: Stage 14, Bra - Borgo San Salmazzo, 187 km

Major ascents: Montemale di Cuneo, Colle Fauniera, Madonna del Coletto

  1. Paolo Savoldelli: 5hr 22min 13sec
  2. Marco Pantani @ 1min 47sec
  3. Daniel Clavero s.t.
  4. Ivan Gotti s.t.
  5. Richard Virenque @ 3min 28sec
  6. Andrei Zintchenko s.t.
  7. Pietro Caucchioli s.t.
  8. Hernan Buenahora s.t.
  9. Cristiano Frattini s.t.
  10. Roberto Heras s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

  1. Marco Pantani: 63hr 14min 0sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 53sec
  3. Ivan Gotti @ 1min 21sec
  4. Daniel Clavero @ 1min 22sec
  5. Daniel Clavero @ 1min 22sec
  6. Laurent Jalabert @ 1min 45sec
  7. Serguei Gontchar @ 3min 47sec
  8. Gilberto Simoni @ 5min 1sec
  9. Oskar Camenzind @ 5min 18sec
  10. Roberto Sgambelluri @ 6min 13sec

Sunday, May 30: Stage 15, Racconigi - Santuario di Oropa, 160 km

Ascent: La Serra, Santuario di Oropa

  1. Marco Pantani: 3hr 47min 31sec. 38.766 km/hr
  2. Laurent Jalabert @ 21sec
  3. Gilberto Simoni @ 35sec
  4. Ivan Gotti @ 38sec
  5. Daniel Clavero s.t.
  6. Nicola Miceli @ 44sec
  7. Paolo Savoldelli @ 49sec
  8. Andrei Zintchenko @ 54sec
  9. Daniele De Paoli @ 56sec
  10. Davide Rebellin @ 57sec

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Marco Pantani: 67hr 1min 19sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 1min 54sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 2min 10sec
  4. Ivan Gotti @ 2min 11sec
  5. Daniel Clavero @ 2min 12sec
  6. Serguei Gontchar @ 5min 40sec
  7. Gilberto Simoni @ 5min 4sec
  8. Niklas Axelsson @ 6min 8sec
  9. Oskar Camenzind @ 6min 27sec
  10. Daniele De Paoli @ 7min 58sec

Monday, May 31: Stage 16, Biella - Lumezzane, 232 km

  1. Laurent Jalabert: 5hr 51min 36sec
  2. Marco Pantani s.t.
  3. Gilberto Simoni s.t.
  4. Roberto Heras @ 3sec
  5. Marco Velo s.t.
  6. Davide Rebellin s.t.
  7. Oskar Camenzind s.t.
  8. Paolo Savoldelli s.t.
  9. Giuseppe Di Grande s.t.
  10. Nicola Micelli @ 6sec

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Marco Pantani: 72hr 52min 47sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 2min5sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 2min 6sec
  4. Ivan Gotti @ 2min 33sec
  5. Daniel Clavero @ 2min 43sec
  6. Gilberto Simoni @ 5min 48sec
  7. Serguei Gontchar @ 5min 57sec
  8. Niklas Axelsson @ 6min 25sec
  9. Oskar Camenzind @ 6min 38sec
  10. Daniele De paoli @ 8min 18sec

Tuesday, June 1: Stage 17, Lumezzane - Castelfranco Veneto, 215 km

  1. Mario Cipollini: 5hr 42min 49sec
  2. Matteo Tosatto s.t.
  3. Dario Pieri s.t.
  4. Serguei Smetanine s.t.
  5. Massimo Strazzer s.t.
  6. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  7. Alessandro Petacchi s.t.
  8. Gabriele Missaglia s.t.
  9. Biagio Conte s.t.
  10. Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero s.t.

GC after Stage 17:

  1. Marco Pantani: 78hr 35min 36sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 2min5sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 2min 6sec
  4. Ivan Gotti @ 2min 33sec
  5. Daniel Clavero @ 2min 43sec
  6. Gilberto Simoni @ 5min 48sec
  7. Serguei Gontchar @ 5min 57sec
  8. Niklas Axelsson @ 6min 25sec
  9. Oskar Camenzind @ 6min 38sec
  10. Daniele De Paoli @ 8min 18sec

Wednesday, June 2: Stage 18, Treviso 45 km individual time trial (cronometro)

  1. Serguei Gontchar: 52min 55sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 17sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 41sec
  4. Martin Hvastija @ 42sec
  5. Marco Velo @ 57sec
  6. Niklas Axelsson @ 1min 29sec
  7. Marco Pantani @ 1min 38sec
  8. Victor Hugo Peña @ 1min 41sec
  9. Andrei Zintchenko @ 1min 50sec
  10. Ivan Gotti @ 2min 17sec

GC after Stage 18:

  1. Marco Pantani: 79hr 30min 0sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 44sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 1min 9sec
  4. Ivan Gotti @ 3min 12sec
  5. Serguei Gontchar @ 4min 19sec
  6. Daniel Clavero @ 4min 47sec
  7. Niklas Axelsson @ 6min 16sec
  8. Gilberto Simoni @ 7min 22sec
  9. Andrei Zintchenko @ 8min 33sec
  10. Marco Velo @ 9min 10sec

Thursday, June 3: Stage 19, Castelfranco Veneto - Alpe di Pampeago, 166 km

Major ascents: Cima di Campo, Passo Manghen, Alpe di Pampeago

  1. Marco Pantani: 5hr 13min 15sec
  2. Gilberto Simoni @ 1min 7sec
  3. Roberto Heras @ 1min 27sec
  4. Ivan Gotti @ 1min 29sec
  5. Daniele De Paoli @ 1min 54sec
  6. Oskar Camenzind @ 2min 32sec
  7. Roberto Sgambelluri s.t.
  8. Paolo Savoldelli @ 2min 46sec
  9. Niklas Axelsson @ 2min 52sec
  10. Oscar Sevilla @ 2min 54sec

GC after Stage 19:

  1. Marco Pantani: 84hr 43min 12sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 3min 42sec
  3. Ivan Gotti @ 4min 53sec
  4. Laurent Jalabert @ 5min 24sec
  5. Daniel Clavero @ 7min 58sec
  6. Gilberto Simoni @ 8min 33sec
  7. Niklas Axelsson @ 9min 20sec
  8. Serguei Gontchar @ 11min 49sec
  9. Roberto Sgambelluri @ 12min 5sec
  10. Andrei Zintchenko @ 12min 26sec

Friday, June 4: Stage 20, Predazzo - Madonna di Campiglio, 175 km

Major ascents: Passo Durone, Madonna di Campiglio

  1. Marco Pantani: 4hr 39min 58sec
  2. Massimo Codol @ 1min 7sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert s.t.
  4. Gilberto Simoni s.t.
  5. Ivan Gotti s.t.
  6. Hernan Buenahora s.t.
  7. Roberto Heras s.t.
  8. Oskar Camenzind @ 1min 29sec
  9. Daniele De Paoli s.t.
  10. Niklas Axelsson s.t.

GC after Stage 20:

  1. Marco Pantani: 89hr 22min 58sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 5min 38sec
  3. Ivan Gotti @ 6min 12sec
  4. Laurent Jalabert @ 6min 39sec
  5. Daniel Clavero @ 9min 51sec
  6. Gilberto Simoni @ 9min 52sec
  7. Niklas Axelsson @ 11min 1sec
  8. Serguei Gontchar @ 13min 30sec
  9. Roberto Sgambelluri @ 14min 0sec
  10. Roberto Heras @ 14min 7sec

Saturday, June 5: Stage 21, Madonna di Campiglio - Aprica, 190 km

Marco Pantani was ejected from the Giro before the start of stage 21 after a blood test revealed he had a hematocrit over 50%

Major ascents: Passo del Tonale, Gavia, Passo del Mortirolo, Aprica, Valico di Santa Cristina

  1. Robert Heras: 5hr 57min 7sec
  2. Gilberto Simoni s.t.
  3. Ivan Gotti s.t.
  4. Paolo Savoldelli @ 4min 5sec
  5. Laurent Jalabert @ 4min 45sec
  6. Serguei Gontchar s.t.
  7. Daniele De Paoli s.t.
  8. Niklas Axelsson s.t.
  9. Richard Virenque @ 6min 19sec
  10. Oscar Mason @ 8min5sec

GC after Stage 21:

  1. Ivan Gotti: 95hr 26min 13sec
  2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 3min 35sec
  3. Gilberto Simoni @ 3min 36sec
  4. Laurent Jalabert @ 5min 16sec
  5. Roberto Heras @ 7min 47sec
  6. Niklas Axelsson @ 9min 38sec
  7. Serguei Gontchar @ 12min 7sec
  8. Daniele De Paoli @ 14min 20sec
  9. Daniel Clavero @ 15min 53sec
  10. Roberto Sgambelluri @ 17min 31sec

Sunday, June 6: 22nd and Final Stage, Boario Terme - Milano, 170 km

  1. Fabrizio Guidi: 4hr 29min 43sec
  2. Dario Pieri s.t.
  3. Massimo Strazzer s.t.
  4. Serguei Smetanine s.t.
  5. Samuele Schiavina s.t.
  6. Mariano Piccoli s.t.
  7. Andreas Klier s.t.
  8. Gian-Matteo Fagnini s.t.
  9. Angel Edo s.t.
  10. Willian-Chann McRae s.t.

1999 Giro d'Italia Complete Final General Classification

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The Story of the 1999 Giro d'Italia

This excerpt is from "The Story of the Giro d'Italia", Volume 2. If you enjoy it we hope you will consider purchasing the book, either print, eBook or Audiobook. The Amazon link here will make the purchase easy.

Starting in Agrigento in Sicily, the 1999 Giro route made its way north, mostly on the Adriatic side. When it hit Le Marche, the race headed west for a trip into the Alps, then east across Italy into the Dolomites for the final drama in the high mountains. The drama in the high Dolomites did decide the race, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The race was made for climbers. Or perhaps, a climber. The most popular sportsman in Italy, by a wide margin, was Marco Pantani and a second Giro win for the Pirate would send the tifosi into delirium. With five hilltop finishes and a large serving of mountains, it looked like Pantani’s race to lose. His spring looked good with a win in the Vuelta a Murcia and a third place in the Giro del Trentino.

The problems uncovered by the Festina scandal remained unresolved and two riders with hematocrits over 50 percent were not allowed to start.
The first day’s racing under the hot Sicilian sun was slow. Ivan Quaranta took the first stage with some smart sprinting, becoming the first Pink Jersey. Cipollini won the second stage and the lead, followed by Jeroen Blijlevens doing the same in the third stage.

After a trip up the instep of the Italian boot, the Giro hit its first hilltop finish in stage five. José “Chepe” González, Andrea Peron and Danilo Di Luca were able to escape early in the ascent of Monte Sirino. Zülle, back to racing after serving his suspension because of his part in the Festina affair, was driving the pack, trying to close the gap.

During the last five kilometers of the climb, Di Luca and González took turns attacking each other, really hard, resulting in Peron’s dispatch. Close to the top González dropped Di Luca and took the stage win. Laurent Jalabert and Pantani, leading the first chase group, just made contact with Di Luca at the line. With the first hint of who was here to race, the General Classification had taken this shape:
1. Laurent Jalabert
2. Danilo Di Luca @ 7 seconds
3. Davide Rebellin @ 14 seconds
4. Paolo Savoldelli @ 16 seconds
5. Marco Pantani @ same time

In fact, Pantani was feeling super. Pantani and his team took advantage of the windy weather by making an attack that split the field so badly that half the peloton never regained contact. Excellent riders like Pascal Richard, Richard Virenque and Roberto Heras were caught napping and lost anywhere from two and a half to over seven minutes.

The next morning, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) sent technicians to make unannounced blood and urine tests on riders of three teams. As usual, the riders screamed bloody murder, complaining about “unhygienic” conditions. Perhaps the riders feared a competent authority performing the tests rather than the toothless UCI. Pantani led the usual call for a strike that was silenced by the team directors who said that CONI was within its rights. Further angering the rest of the peloton, the owner of the Mapei team said his team was happy to work with CONI. The other riders were so incensed they reduced Mapei team member Andrea Tafi, one of the finest riders of his time, to tears with their taunts and insults. Two of the riders tested in the CONI blitz were positive for dope. From inside their doping-culture bubble, the riders couldn’t see how sick their attitude was.

Pantani, Jalabert, Cipollini, and Oscar Camenzind held a press conference and said that if the CONI intruded any further upon the testing regimen, which heretofore had been the responsibility of the UCI, they would stop racing. Camenzind tested positive for EPO in 2004 and retired after receiving a two-year suspension.

The stage eight ascent to a hilltop finish at Gran Sasso in Abruzzo was ridden in near freezing rain. Once on the climb, Pantani’s team drove hard, catching all of the early breakaways. Not content with dropping Pink Jersey Jalabert and most of the rest of the peloton, Pantani put his hands on the drops and headed for the sky. He didn’t jump hard. He just got out of the saddle and rode the peloton off his wheel. The last man on Pantani’s wheel was Ivan Gotti, who looked perfectly miserable.

As he climbed, Pantani looked back at Gotti and yelled at him to pull through, but Gotti was suffering all the tortures of Hell just hanging on, and taking a pull with Pantani while he was in full flight was probably beyond any rider in the world. Finally Gotti did go to the front and the pair predictably slowed. Enough of that! Pantani shot away and, clearly not sparing the watts, put lots of time between himself and everyone else.

Pantani came in alone, and to the joy of his ecstatic fans, became the leader of the 1999 Giro d’Italia. Scattered behind him, anywhere from a half to a full minute, were the other Giro hopefuls: José Maria Jiménez, Gotti, Dario Frigo and Alex Zülle.

Marco pantani with Laurent Jalabert and Oskar Caminzind

Marco Pantani (out of saddle) leads Laurent Jalabert (in pink) and Oskar Camenzind (rainbow jersey).

The General Classification stood thus:

1. Marco Pantani
2. José Maria Jiménez @ 38 seconds
3. Ivan Gotti @ 45 seconds
4. Dario Frigo @ 54 seconds
5. Laurent Jalabert @ 55 seconds

Jalabert, a former time trial world champion, won the 31-kilometer time trial at Ancona in Le Marche. Pantani also blistered the course, coming in third, only 55 seconds slower than the Frenchman. Jalabert took back the lead, being ahead of Pantani by one-tenth of a second.

This extraordinary time-trial ride of Pantani’s began setting off bells and whistles among the more clear-eyed racing fans. Pantani, a light, small racer, weighed only 125 pounds (57 kilograms). His climbing was remarkable because his power relative to his weight was astonishing. But to continue to believe this small man could naturally generate sufficient wattage to drive his bike fast enough in time trials to challenge the larger, heavier chrono specialists required a suspension of rational doubt.

The next day CONI officials showed up to perform more blood tests on riders. UCI boss Hein Verbruggen had earlier told the riders they didn’t have to submit to the tests. Only riders from the Mapei team gave samples. Gotti, among others refused.

At Cesenatico, Pantani’s hometown, the Giro finished stage eleven and started stage twelve. The only change to the standings was that Jalabert won an intermediate sprint and now had a four-second lead on Pantani.

The UCI performed blood tests and found nothing amiss. But La Gazzetta knew about the “surprise” tests in advance and published the names of teams who would be tested. The riders and their handlers knew how to reduce a rider’s hematocrit in advance of a test. They would take saline solution injections along with aspirin and in no time the hematocrit was within the legal limit.

Stage thirteen came before the only rest day, taking the Giro over the Apennines to Rapallo on the Ligurian coast. Even though the roads were tough, there was no change to the top of the leader board. Jalabert hung on to his Pink Jersey by just four seconds, saying he knew he’d have to give up the lead when the Giro faced the first real day in the mountains.

Jalabert didn’t have to wait long for the roads to rise. The first stage when the racing resumed was into the Piedmontese Alps. Paolo Savoldelli, soon to be nicknamed Il Falco Bergamasco (“The Falcon of Bergamo”, his hometown), took off on the final climb, the Madonna del Coletto, and then used his breathtaking descending skills to carve a path ahead of everyone else to Borgo San Dalmazzo. Just behind him, the trio of Pantani, Daniel Clavero and Gotti arrived. Pantani was again the maglia rosa.

Pantani was looking like the boss of this Giro:

1. Marco Pantani
2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 53 seconds
3. Ivan Gotti @ 1 minute 21 seconds
4. Daniel Clavero @ 1 minute 22 seconds
5. Laurent Jalabert @ 1 minute 45 seconds

Set ’em up and I’ll knock ’em down. That seemed to be Pantani’s motto when he destroyed the peloton on the climb to Oropa, a 1,180-meter-high mountain west of Milan. Hoping for a stage win, Jalabert had gone early with Roberto Heras and Nicola Miceli. His fellow breakaways weren’t going fast enough, so Jalabert dropped them. Eight kilometers from the summit, Pantani looked to have a jammed chain. He was an excellent mechanic and without any sign of panic, performed the repair himself.

While he was stopped, attacks started going off the front, the pace of the race at that point being white hot. Savoldelli tried to orchestrate a fair play slowdown rather than take advantage of Pantani’s mechanical. Pantani’s teammates waited for their leader and pulled him up to the peloton. Pantani relentlessly made his way through the scattered riders, even blowing by Roberto Heras, a fine climber. Now only Jalabert was away and with three kilometers to go, Pantani overtook him, winning the stage by 21 seconds.

The General Classification now:
1. Marco Pantani
2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 1 minute 54 seconds
3. Laurent Jalabert @ 2 minutes 10 seconds
4. Ivan Gotti @ 2 minutes 11 seconds
5. Daniel Clavero @ 2 minutes 12 seconds

There were four important stages left: the stage eighteen time trial followed by three high mountain stages in the Dolomites. Jalabert said he hoped to regain the lead in the time trial but felt he was really racing for second place because Pantani would take so much time out of him in the remaining mountain stages.
Jalabert couldn’t do it. He was only able to pull 57 seconds out of the Pirate. Savoldelli, however, turned in a wonderful ride, coming in second to Gontchar and beating Jalabert by 24 seconds. That left Pantani the leader by 44 seconds over Savoldelli and 69 seconds over Jalabert. Tight race.

From here on there would be no good news for Jalabert. The next stage ended at the top of Alpe di Pampeago, eight kilometers of ten-percent gradient with a stretch that tilts to sixteen percent. On the penultimate climb, Passo Manghen, Pantani had his men turn the screws and at the crest of the Manghen there were only twelve left in the maglia rosa group. Savoldelli tried a suicide descent but couldn’t get enough time to distance himself once the Pampeago ascent began. Midway up the Pampeago, Jalabert was dropped. Gotti looked awful while Gilberto Simoni looked cool and at the front, Stefano Garzelli was doing yeoman’s work for the teammate on his wheel, Pantani.

About four kilometers from the summit, Heras attacked and drew Pantani. Pantani waited a few seconds before countering with a display of climbing power that was simply unbelievable, showing that no one could climb a mountain on a bike like he could. Gilberto Simoni was the first chaser in at 67 seconds, his ride confirming his promise as a coming talent in Grand Tour racing.

At this point Pantani was leading in the Points, Mountains and the General Classifications. After the Alpe di Pampeago stage the General Classification was thus:

1. Marco Pantani
2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 3 minutes 42 seconds
3. Ivan Gotti @ 4 minutes 53 seconds
4. Laurent Jalabert @ 5 minutes 24 seconds

Stage twenty was a hilltop finish at Madonna di Campiglio. Before the riders started the stage, fifteen of them were required to submit to blood tests. All were deemed clean and good, giving everyone a high degree of confidence that the Giro would not be facing any more doping troubles. It was on the final kilometers of that mountain that the real action occurred. With fifteen kilometers to go, Pantani came out of the peloton and exploded off the front.

Again, the rest of the best cyclists in the world could only watch and limit their losses as best they could. The Pirate was well and truly gone. The first group came in as the day before, 67 seconds later. Pantani’s performance in this Giro so far had been absolutely masterful.

Marco Pantani wins at Madonna di Campiglio

Marco Pantani wins at Madonna di Campiglio

The new General Classification:
1. Marco Pantani
2. Paolo Savoldelli @ 5 minutes 38 seconds
3. Ivan Gotti @ 6 minutes 12 seconds
4. Laurent Jalabert @ 6 minutes 39 seconds
5. Daniel Clavero @ 9 minutes 51 seconds

The next day’s stage—number twenty one—promised only more of the same for a peloton riding under Pantani’s tyranny. Leaving from Madonna di Campiglio, where stage twenty had ended, it was to be the tappone with the Tonale, Gavia, Mortirolo, Valico di Santa Cristina and a hilltop finish at Aprica. Surely Pantani, who had so far won four stages in the Giro, would again have his way with the other riders.
That morning in Madonna di Campiglio, Marco Pantani was awakened in his hotel room so that a blood test could be administered. His hematocrit of 52 percent resulted in his being ejected from the Giro. The effect of his squalificato was profound. The cycling world was stunned. Pantani partisans were sure that some sort of conspiracy was afoot to deny Italy’s most popular sportsman a second Giro victory. It was said that this was a giallo (yellow, an Italian idiom meaning something with dark conspiratorial undertones) case. It hit cycling fans far harder than the 1998 Festina scandal because of Pantani’s heroic image and the adoration the tifosi had for him. He had triumphed over what should have been a crippling accident and had stuck with and won the Tour de France in its deepest most troubling time. Distraught, the rest of the Mercatone Uno team packed and left the Giro as well.

Nearly all Italians expressed disbelief that Pantani would have taken any performance enhancing drugs. Almost to a man, racers lined up to express their support for the expelled rider and a belief in the cleanliness of his bloodstream. How many of them actually believed what they were saying is difficult to know, but I suspect damn few.

Pantani knew the night before that he was going to be subjected to a blood test in the morning. Like many pros of the era (two-thirds of the 1998 Festina squad owned battery-powered centrifuges so that they could “manage” their hematocrits) he had his own centrifuge and tested himself before going to sleep, satisfied with his 48.6 percent hematocrit. Riders who do not manipulate their blood have no need of a personal centrifuge.

Always trying to do damage to the drug testing programs, riders and managers cynically expressed criticism over the reliability of the hematocrit test. In fact Pantani’s blood was tested twice and after it was shown to have a high hematocrit, three more tests were performed in the presence of Pantani’s team doctor and team director Giuseppe Martinelli. Averaging the five tests gave a result of 53 percent. The rules, allowing for a margin of error, require that the average be reduced a point. Thus, Pantani’s 52 percent.

The doctors who had performed the tests on Pantani’s blood retested the samples when they returned to their hospital in Como. The Carabinieri later seized the samples and delivered them to yet another doctor for testing. The results remained unchanged. Later DNA tests were done to certify that the blood samples were indeed Pantani’s. They were.

Pantani was distraught. When told the news he smashed out a window in his hotel room. He then quietly returned home. After a few days he held a short press conference where he forcefully asserted his complete innocence. He said that on his way home he had a blood test performed and the hematocrit reading was 48 percent, dreadfully high, but legal.

To me the entire affair has a sense of mystery about it. We’ve seen there were standard procedures teams used to lower a rider’s hematocrit. The team knew Pantani was going to be tested in the morning. They even knew the time. Why wasn’t his hematocrit brought down before the test? The team doctor spent much of the evening and early morning before the test at a disco, which Pantani’s agent Manuela Ronchi thought strange given the importance of the coming stage. The test was administered a little after 7:30 in the morning, but the doctor, who so far has refused to discuss that day, didn’t show up until after nine (although in one statement, he said he delivered Pantani to the testers but didn’t stay while Pantani’s blood was extracted because he went to get another rider, Marco Velo). It has been asserted that without medical assistance Pantani couldn’t use the normal methods of achieving a short-term reduction in his hematocrit. Yet, on other teams, even the soigneurs knew how to put a bag of saline into a racer to get a temporary three-point reduction in a rider’s hematocrit. Willy Voet wrote it was part of pro cycling’s standard operating procedure and took about 20 minutes to do the job, which probably explains why Pantani was habitually late to his blood tests that require the rider to show up within ten minutes of being called. The conflicting accounts make it hard to understand exactly what happened that morning. But whether he didn’t think he needed help to cheat the tests, based on his previous evening’s hematocrit, or he just didn’t have a technician available, he was a goner.

I’ve noted that Pantani’s girlfriend has described him as having a severe inferiority complex and he was later clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His actions from that day at the Madonna di Campiglio and the tragic events that fill the few years left to him can be explained by those insights. Falling from the extraordinary heights to which he had risen, the most adored sports personality in Italy, to doper hounded by the law, was a descent that his fragile ego was unable to handle while his manic-depressive tendencies made his impulsive tendencies all the worse.

The racers didn’t threaten to strike this time. Many riders were tested that day and only Pantani’s hematocrit was above the allowable level.

With Pantani booted, the next three places in the General Classification were close together in time, close enough that the queen stage would probably decide the winner. Savoldelli was now the leader, but he refused to wear the Pink Jersey.

After the Tonale and Gavia, the riders were together at the beginning of the Mortirolo. It was here, just as the gradient began to hurt, that Gotti made his move. Only Simoni and Heras were able to stay with him, Savoldelli and Jalabert chasing as best they could. Eventually the front trio formed a smooth working break and on the Mortirolo, Gotti didn’t look back while he led the other two all the way to the top. The crowds who had wanted to see Pantani ice his Giro victory were huge. There was a banner that summed up the profound emotion of aspiration, joy and hope Pantani made Italian cycling fans feel, “Pirata—farci sognare” (Pirate, make us dream).

Ivan Gotti on the Mortirolo

Ivan Gotti on the Mortirolo

Savoldelli went over the top 3 minutes 3 seconds behind the leading trio. He went down the technical descent of the Mortirolo hell-bent on getting back on terms with the Gotti group. He caught a strong group of riders on the false flat leading to Aprica and finding their pace not to his liking, dropped them and continued his pursuit. Despite these efforts, he was never able to catch the leaders and finished 4 minutes 5 seconds back.

Heras won the stage and improved his overall position while Simoni was, for now, up to second in the General Classification and Gotti was the new leader and winner of the 1999 Giro d’Italia. Later in the day it was announced that the times had been recalculated and Savoldelli was in second place after all, a single second ahead of Simoni.

Gotti’s victory was not embraced by the Italian public who felt their Marco was the true winner. As Gotti was putting on his new Pink Jersey in Aprica, whistles of derision from the crowd could be heard. Gotti was correct when he said that everyone knew and competed under the same rules, one of which was that racing with a high hematocrit was grounds for disqualification. Gotti said he was racing for second place before the Pirate was sent home because he knew “Pantani is the best and strongest rider in the world.”

Final 1999 Giro d’Italia General Classification:
1. Ivan Gotti (Polti) 99 hours 55 minutes 56 seconds
2. Paolo Savoldelli (Saeco-Cannondale) @ 3 minutes 35 seconds
3. Gilberto Simoni (Ballan-Alessio) @ 3 minutes 36 seconds
4. Laurent Jalabert (ONCE-Deutsche Bank) @ 5 minutes 16 seconds
5. Roberto Heras (Kelme-Costa Blanca) @ 7 minutes 47 seconds

Climbers’ Competition:
1. José Jaime González (Kelme-Costa Blanca): 61 points
2. Mariano Piccoli (Lampre-Daikin): 45
3. Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step): 44

Points Competition:
1. Laurent Jalabert (ONCE-Deutsche Bank): 175 points
2. Fabrizio Guidi (Polti): 170
3. Massimo Strazzer (Mobilvetta -Northwave): 126

Nothing was learned. A few days later four riders were kicked out of the Tour of Switzerland because they had high hematocrits.

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