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Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report - Stage 3
By Locutus
Date: 5/14/2007
Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report - Stage 3
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Alessandro "Rocket Pants" Petacchi (Team Milram). Yeah, baby! Today's sprint was pure grand tour chaos: top-flight sprinters were everywhere, no team was able to control the final kilometers, and it was just a complete free-for-all in the finale. After not being able to nail it yesterday with a powerful leadout from his teammates, Petacchi emerged from the chaos today to shoot up the left side of the road and hold off all his rivals. As he crossed the line, he raised his arms in victory and a big imaginary monkey went flying off his back to tumble on the pavement behind him. It was a brilliant and powerful performance under less-than-ideal circumstances, and showed two things: 1) Petacchi is back, and 2) Petacchi can still win without an armchair leadout. Wednesday's uphill finish will see the GC favorites come to the fore, but then look for Petacchi and his Mad Milkmen to be back on the job in the sprints for the rest of the week. In the meantime, Petacchi will get to wear the jersey of the Points leader as he has a 2 point lead over McEwen.
  • Robert "Frosty" Förster (Gerolsteiner). His teammates did a lot of work to help chase the break. They also helped string things out for the finale. Then Förster found a seam up to the left of Petacchi and almost snuck by him on the barriers. Petacchi held him off, but it was a great effort for Förster, who ended up with 2nd on the day for his troubles. With the quality of the sprinters at this Giro, that bodes well for both his form and his sprinting prowess as he heads into the flat stages to come.
  • Enrico "Fermi" Gasparotto (Liquigas). He only came in 8th today, but his placing was good enough to take the Pink Jersey back from his leader Danilo "Nuke" Di Luca. The young sprinter must be happy: this time he dons the ultimate Italian prize not because of a mental error, but because he earned it on the road. He'd better enjoy it while he can: he'll get dropped faster than Brittney Spears's latest husband on Wednesday's uphill finish.
  • Giovanni "The Count" Visconti (Quick Step) and Mikhail "Ignition" Ignatiev (Tinkoff Credit Systems). They were off the front almost all day, working hard to build up a lead of over 7' and shedding all the other men with breakaway dreams. They kept up the pressure, and forced the peloton into an all-out chase that included riders from several different teams. After about 170 kilometers, they were pulled in by the sprinters' trains. However, their powerful riding and defiant attitude kept it really interesting today: they forced all the sprinters teams to shoot some of their bullets before the finish line, leaving that final sprint wide open.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Robbie "Napoleon" McEwen (Predictor-Lotto). McEwen and his team rode well today, but the Little Emperor wasn't able to pick his way through all the traffic. He ended up coming across the line in 4th, which caused him to lose his points jersey to Petacchi. But McEwen isn't here for the points jersey: he's here for the stage wins, and expect to see at least one more victory from the Belgian Aussie before he packs it in to save the rest of his legs for the Tour.
  • Danilo Napolitano (Lampre) and J. J. Haedo (CSC). The stage was perfect for them, and their teams put in a lot of effort to put them into position for the finale. Still, Napolitano could only manage 5th and Haedo didn't make the top ten. They are both still young and learning their way through the grand tour sprints, so they can chalk this up as another lesson from the experienced masters. But look for them to start teaching some lessons of their own soon.
Grazed Hams of the Day
  • Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole). Yesterday, Hushovd was off the back by over 8' and looked like he wouldn't make it very far into the race. Today, after his teammate Nicholas "Super Daddy" Roche launched an attack in the final kilometer, Hushovd seemed in good position to contest the sprint with a free draft off his rivals. Then something happened and Hushovd went down hard. He didn't look too injured, but he did look extremely annoyed and a bit bruised up. This has been a Giro to forget so far for the big Norskie, and Wednesday's uphill finish will make life even tougher for him.
  • Damiano "The Omen" Cunego (Lampre) and Gilberto "G-Man" Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir). The former teammates and ardent rivals both hit the deck in the final kilometer. Neither seems too badly injured according to the early reports, and here's hoping that later medical follow-ups come to the same conclusion. They'll both need to be at the top of their game Wednesday, when they will cross swords in their much-anticipated first showdown in the mountains.

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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