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Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report - Stages 5 and 6
By Locutus
Date: 5/18/2007
Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report - Stages 5 and 6
Golden Hams of the Last Two Days
  • Robert "Frosty" Förster (Gerolsteiner). He had come close in stage 3 with a 2nd place behind Petacchi. In the Stage 5 finish, which was a snaking, dangerous, elbow- and fist-flying finale, it was pretty much every man for himself. A gap opened in the middle of the road at the right moment, and Förster jumped into it before anybody else. He banged his way through the chaos and around Hushovd to take his first stage win of this year. By winning the final stage in Milano in last year's Giro, he's already shown that he has the staying power to fight for the sprints for three full weeks. Look for him to continue to challenge Petacchi long after most of the other sprinters have packed it in to prepare for the Tour.
  • Thor "Thunder Thighs" Hushovd (Credit Agricole). After looking positively abysmal during the first several stages, the big Norskie rebounded for a strong 2nd place in stage 5. It's not the victory he was looking for, but it was a good sign that Hushovd is starting to ride into form. Now he'll try to get a stage over the next few days before the big mountains send him packing.
  • Luis "Green Machine" Laverde (Panaria). The Columbian went on the big move in Stage 6, and he was clearly the strongest climber in the break. He won every climb on the day, and by the finish he was safely in the Green Jersey by three points. He also worked well with Pinotti and earned a brilliant stage win. With a few flat stages coming up, he's likely to stay in that Green Jersey for awhile. That's excellent work for a team that invariably livens ups the Giro with their brilliant and daring attacks.
  • Marco "Naughty" Pinotti (T-Mobile). The veteran was a rock out there today, struggling to keep in touch with Laverde in order to keep alive his shot at the Pink Jersey. He knew that Liquigas was looking for the right guy to hand off the Pink Jersey to, and he worked his butt off to make sure he was that guy. By taking 2nd on the stage, his lead is now a massive 3' 30" over Hubert Schwab (Quick Step) and 4' 12" over Danilo Di Luca. The huge lead will allow him to live every Italian cyclist's dream: he'll now probably stay in the lead until the uphill finish on stage 10. His team is down to only six men, but with the sprinters' teams looking for more stage glory, T-Mobile won't have to look far for allies to control the race until then.
Ham-Gazers of the Last Two Days
  • Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto). He had a shot at the opening that Förster shot through in the final meters of stage five. When he's on top form, McEwen is usually the first to hit such holes and elbow everyone else out of the way. Either McEwen was just having a bad day, or he's still got some work to do before the Tour. But he won a stage already, so his job is already done.
  • Liquigas. The team of Danilo Di Luca dominated the first week of the Giro. They smoked the opening time trial, and kept their men in the Pink Jersey all week long. In stage 6 they played it smart and let the right kind of break get away: none of the men in the break was a long-term threat to win the Giro. Now Pinotti and T-Mobile will give everything to stay in the Pink Jersey as long as they can. This means that Liquigas will no longer have to ride in the wind at the front of the peloton, giving them a chance to take a back seat and relax until they are ready to take the Pink Jersey for good.

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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