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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Rider Interviews
By Fabio
Date: 5/27/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Rider Interviews

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 happy now".

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 the exam".

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 ..."

Tour de Life,  by Saul Raisin, with Dave Shields is available for pre-purchase at this time for readers through special arrangements with the publisher. Info & purchase here.

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