Today turned out almost like I thought it would, but not quite and not with the riders I thought would be the antagonists. A break did get away and DiLuca did give up the jersey... but that's about all I got right.
The day was marked by a break that got away early and rode away to a large advantage over the field. Surprisingly, a Tinkoff rider was in the break... oh no, wait, it was no surprise. It was one Tinkoff rider who initiated the early break, less than 50km into the race. Once that break was caught, another Tinkoff rider attacked and launched the break that ultimately won the race. Daniele Contrini of Tinkoff set off on his break and towed along 4 other riders- including the two riders who would end up 1st and 2nd as the stage winner and new race leader. Luis Laverde (Ceramic Panaria-Navigare) is another previous stage winner from last year's Giro and he managed to work well enough with Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile) to secure the win. Since Pinottii would take over the lead of the race if the break worked, it was in his best interest to work with Laverde. Laverde was, in essence "gifted" the win in exchange for Pinotti taking the leader's jersey... but they still had to stay away to make it all happen. Which they did...
Coming in a little over a minute and a half after the two, were Christophe Kern (Credit Agricole) and Hubert Schwab (Quickstep-Innergetic). And about 2 minutes later was Daniele Contrini of Tinkoff, the rider who began the winning move. Sooner or later, one of these Tinkoff riders will get the win. I just hope it happens sooner than later- they've certainly earned it.
The day's major climb up the Monte Terminillo was not as big a deal as I thought it might be. Liquigas kept the break in check, so as to not let the race slip away for good, but the pace was easily comforting to the main field. Heck, even Alessandro Petacchi finished 7th on the stage taking the field sprint. The field had a chance to let the race happen up the road, while allowing themselves a chance to relax a little before the real racing begins in a few more days.
Tomorrow looks to be even easier- by relative terms- than today. It is the longest of the race, but rolls along relatively flat roads. I'm sure a Tinkoff rider or two will try an attack- you can practically bet on it. The cool thing about the stage is that it finishes on an F1 race car track. Expect to see the rubber burning when they hit the race track and look to a sprinter with a long sprint (Petacchi) to pull off the win. With a nice open road surface and not too many turns, it should prove to be a very fast finish indeed.