Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Giro d'Italia 2007- Stage 16 & 17

So I'm still busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest... you'll have to forgive the delayed posting.

Stage 16- Stefano Garzelli gets win number two of this Giro and does it without any hint of motorbike controversy. Garzelli launched an impressive attack, solo, with about 50km remaining. He managed to hold off the chasers and win solo. The win marked his eighth ever Giro stage win and he was the overall winner in 2000. As I've said before, Garzelli has always struck me as a classy rider who simply does his job and doesn't say too much. Suffice it to say, I'm happy for his win. The other GC contenders spent the day preparing for the brutal climbs of stage 17...

Stage 17- Monte Zoncolan is one of the most feared climbs in Giro history and in all of the Grand Tours. It's one of the steepest and most brutal climbs around. In other words- it sucks to have to climb it at race pace. Gilberto Simoni rode to a sweet win on the climb today, thanks to the selfless support of team support rider and mega climbing domestique Leonardo Piepoli. Piepoli could have taken the win for himself, but as the loyal lieutenant, he soldiered on for the Captain and brought him to the line for their 1-2 finish on the steepest climb of the race. The stage is like the l'Alpe D'Huez of the Giro and is among the most prized for climbers. Simoni is nearing the end of his career, as he openly admits these days, and really wanted to get the win (he won on the same climb in 2003). He'd hoped to also take more time out of DiLuca and take the leader's jersey, but DiLuca proved strong enough to battle ahead and retain his lead and salvaged his time loss, keeping it to just 31 seconds in 4th place. Thanks to his very gutty performance, Danilo retains the race lead and is all but assured of the win now. Saturday's time trial is the last major test for him, as Andy Schleck is a formidable time trialist... though it is unlikely he'll be able to retake the 2:24 he trails DiLuca. It ain't over... but it's close.

Tomorrow is a nearly board flat stage. Petacchi is almost the only real sprinter left in the race, so if he is not overly cooked from today's hard climbing, he should be able to outsprint any remaining riders brave enough to get in his way. That said, Bettini could surprise with a well-timed attack. He's yet to get a win this Giro and he clearly wants one, so look for him to try.

Ok, back to spreadsheets...


1 comment:

Bill Shearer said...

So you pop up from the spreadsheets long enough to call the stage for Pettachi. Nice work. True, you half heartedly threw out a back up plan, but I'll give you credit for this one.