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Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report - Stage 2
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/13/2007
Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report - Stage 2
 
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Robbie "Napoleon" McEwen (Predictor-Lotto). One of the hallmarks of greatness comes when everybody involved in the race, including and especially your rivals, know exactly what you are going to do and still can do nothing to stop you. Everyone knew that the Little Emperor was going to sit at the back of the leadout trains of the other teams and then pounce in the final 200 meters. Sure enough, Team Milram gave him the perfect leadout for a relatively easy victory. Today was a tough day, with some pretty stiff climbs, and McEwen still had the legs to smoke everyone. With his obviously good form and that first taste of victory, he's going to be that much more difficult to stop tomorrow, and the next day.
  • Pavel "The" Brutt (Tinkoff Credit Systems). He was the strongest man in the day-long breakaway: he won the big climb of the day, and with the peloton closing, he finally dropped his breakaway companions and drove it like crazy. Alas, the work of Quick Step and Predictor-Lotto put paid to his valiant ride. But he still gets to wear the King of the Mountains Jersey tomorrow, and that will ease the disappointment of missing out on the stage win. Now if we could only get him to give that Euro-mullet a trim.
  • Danilo "Nuke" Di Luca (Liquigas). Finally, he got his Pink Jersey. "Nuke" stayed out of trouble and kept near the front, avoiding that big crash in the final kilometer and finishing in 12th. This put him ahead of his teammate Gaparotto on points, and allowed him to move into the top spot that should have been his the day before. Now he gets to waste his energy (and that of his team) too early in the race defending his lead. Lucky for him he looks good in Pink.
  • Emanuele "Seat of His Pants" Sella (Panaria). With about 8km left, Sella shot out of the peloton and gave an impressive charge. His attack came to nothing, but it's a good sign that the attacking Italian is on form and showing his trademark attacking style. Today he didn't win, but I'm sure we'll see more of Sella's orange Panaria jersey off the front again soon.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram). His teammates left him hanging out in the wind a little too early in the final sprint. Sure, they did a great job of jumping to the front and stringing things out. They even had the perfect position along the left-hand barriers so that McEwen or anybody else would have to come around on the right. They did it all perfectly until the final leadout man ran out of legs too soon. This meant that Petacchi had to start his sprint early, and he could only manage third place. Don't despair, Petacchi fans: he is still finding his legs after that terrible crash a year ago. The fact that he managed third on such a very hard stage means that he has some form, and it's only a matter of time before he and his leadout men get it just right.
  • Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole). I hate to give ham-gazer awards to guys who might be sick. Hushovd was unable to keep the pace today on the climbs and finished 8' 50" back. He looked so bad that he must be either sick or on very bad form. Here's hoping that the big Norskie can make it through this bad patch and get up there into the sprints again soon.
  • Danilo Napolitano (Lampre) and J. J. Haedo (CSC). These two young sprint monsters were off the back on the climbs today: Napolitano finished 2' 17" back, and Haedo finished 2' 25" back. Both of these guys have won races already this year against the best competition around. Unfortunately, they lacked the climbing legs to keep up with the old men who battled it out for the win. Tomorrow is a lot flatter, however, and will be much better suited to their talents. Don't be surprised if these to step it up and start an all-out generational war in the sprints.

    Locutus, a.k.a. Patrick Sharp, is the author of the new book Savage Perils from the University of Oklahoma Press.
 
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