A break of 22 riders got clear today and put a hefty gap into the rest of the race. The break nearly succeeded is stripping Pinotti of his leader's jersey. Thanks to T-Mobile scrambling in the closing kilometers, along with the help of Saunier-Duval, Pinotti was able to retain his jersey a little longer, by a scant 28 seconds. That was close...
The day's winner from the break, which did contain a pair of Tinkoff riders, was Kurt-Asle Arvesen of CSC, just narrowly beating a hard-charging Paolo Bettini. Poor Paolo has been nipping on the heels of a win the whole Giro it seems, so it is likely he'll finally get one as he keeps improving his form over the race. Arvesen is yet another former stage winner (exactly 4 years ago in 2003) to win a stage this year. It's like deja-vu all over again. So far, this Giro has been great to watch, but hasn't yet produced any surprise winners.
Tomorrow, on paper anyway, should be another chance for the sprinters to grab a win. I thought today would be too, but the big break put a stop to that. The stage finishes near the home of Petacchi, and he won there in 2004 as well, so expect him to be mighty motivated to get win number three in this year's race. As I suspected yesterday, it is reported that McEwen is not feeling at all well. The Pocket Rocket is feeling the effects of a stomach problem. It is very common in races like this, where you are racing for days on end and eating in strange hotels each night, or suffering from dehydration, ingesting gobs of vitamin supplements, etc for the stomach to go on strike. Many a rider has had their race end early from stomach problems. It's sometimes something that riders recover from- especially when a rest day is near- but others just don't. Hopefully Robbie will "flush" out his system and get back into the race at the front. He does make it more interesting... that's for sure. So, once again, my money is on Petachi for tomorrow... however, so is everybody else's money. That means that a surprise is very possible. Maybe Bettini will get that win. Maybe Hushovd will. Should be interesting, just the same.