90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Rider Interviews
"Red Birds" Gilberto Simoni, Riccardo Riccó, Liquigas'
Danilo Diluca and Stefano Zanatta, and Lampres' Damiano Cunego weigh in on
today's stage in the Dolomites after the finish on Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Gilberto Simoni attacks on Stage 14....
Photo c. Team CSC & Tim De Waele
Gilberto Simoni sounded satisfied about
the "Red Bird show", despite not making any gains on Di Luca and perhaps losing
most (all?) of his chances to become the oldest ever winner of the race. "I
wanted to challenge the best riders in the Giro today, but also wanted my team
to win. Had I been given a chance, I would have tried not to waste it, but with
two guys like Riccó and Piepoli in the team I was comfortable anyway, I knew
that Saunier was going to get a great result regardless of the toughness of the
stage, and so we did".
Young Gun Ricardo Ricco leads the attack in the final kilometer Stage 15.
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
Riccardo Riccó wasn't a happy man today;
he a was a more than happy man at the end of what he understandably
dubbed "the best day of my career" "I must thank Gibo. Once more he told me and
Piepoli to go take the stage. He wanted us to win. We rode fast today, we
struggled a lot, but in the end got it. I must thank Simoni also for taking me
with him when he checked today's route this past winter. I was reluctant to go
initially, but I did the right thing in going with him". Had Riccó stayed with
the (in) famous breakaway one week ago his Giro d'Italia 2007 overall bid could
have a different meaning today "yes, I know I made a mistake that day, but you
can make such errors, especially when you're young. And I'm just more than
Danilo Di Luca race leader. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
Danilo Di Luca was arguably the other
"winner of the day" and replied to all those criticizing his team, as according
to some pundits Liquigas was not up to the task today: "Well, my team have been
working a lot since the early stages of the Giro, and they did a good job also
early today. Then, when Savoldelli picked up the pace on the Giau, they lost
contact, but it wasn't much of a problem. When they're not around, it's up to me
to handle the situation. I think I did it well today; Mazzoleni aside, all my
overall challengers are well behind after all. And now I think there's only the
Zoncolan climb between me and the eventual victory; I took the initiative on the
final ascent today and I think I'm going to also on the Zoncolan, not in order
to win the stage but just to put some time into Mazzoleni, my nearest rival. At
this point my only goal is the Maglia Rosa".
His team manager Stefano Zanatta echoed
Danilo's words about "Liquigas' poor performance": "We think we had a good
handling of the situation. We let Piepoli and Riccó go because they were no GC
threats; Di Luca's team-mates were dropped only when Savoldelli made his pace
forcing on the Giau, but after working a lot for him. I think the team passed
If all guys interviewed above had some reasons to smile, things were a little
different for Damiano Cunego, once more
unable to be a real factor in a stage. "It was a bad day, because of the weather
and everything. I've tried and tried today, but the race took a bad (for him)
turn with that breakaway. But cycling is like this, you know, sometimes you win,
sometimes you lose. I'll be trying again, just like I've been every day. We
shall see ..."
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