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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 19 Interviews & Photos
 
By Staff
Date: 6/1/2007
90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 19 Interviews & Photos
 

90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 19 Interviews
After race interviews... with Iban Mayo, Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas D.S. Stefano Zanatta, and CSC's D.S. Alain Gallopin.

After Stage 19 Interviews:
Iban Mayo was all smiles after storming back into limelight in a Grand Tour "The team did fine today and I did not waste the chance I was given. And I am happy at that. We have got four wins with as many riders, and Gibo can climb the final podium, so I think we had a great Giro. Today Leo (Piepoli) forced the pace on the (Pian delle Fugazze) climb to try and put some pressure on Di Luca, but Di Luca was just too strong and we chose to go for stage victory".


Podium stage 19, winner Iban Mayo. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

“I´m on top of the world with this victory. Even before today, I was content with what I'd done in this Giro. I´d said before the start that I hoped to catch up as stages unfolded. And this was exactly how things turned out. I rode to help the team because I knew Simoni's overall victory was at stake, but today I felt it was my last chance, especially when I saw it was cold and raining, since this kind of weather suits me. I was part of breakaways right from the start, and in the cat-1 ascent we put the leader to the test. Piepoli set a fast pace, but Di Luca showed he was very, very strong, so we chose to focus on the stage win.”


Iban Mayo Greets fans. Photo c. Saunier Duval/Prodir

“When I broke away with Losada, I thought they'd reel us in. But when I noticed signs of fatigue in him, I put in a solo attack. I didn't really believe I could win this race until I was about to cross the finish line, as I had a lot of first-rate riders just behind, and the gap was rather narrow. However, I really enjoyed the home straight, because this kind of beautiful moments don't tend to come in twos. I remembered all I'd been through, especially over the past months, and I thought of the people who had always stood by me: my family, the team, my fans, who followed me in the Dolomites for four days. I can´t tell whether this has been the most important triumph in my career, since last year I scored in Dauphiné Liberé after many unsuccessful years, but no doubt it's been a special victory, because this is my first season with SAUNIER DUVAL-PRODIR and my first ever time in Italy's Grand Tour. So imagine how I'm feeling after all this ego-boosting!”


A focused Simoni and Mayo on stage 8. Photo c. Saunier Duval/Prodir

The Saunier Duval/Prodir Red Birds Report
"Red Bird" Iban Mayo took his first Giro win and gave Saunier Duval/Prodir their 4th success in this edition of the Italian Tour, after Piepoli, Riccò and Simoni. The 29 year-old Basque rider attacked to start his solo bid on the Passo Ballino and held over the following 17 kilometres to win on the rain-soaked roads to Terme di Comano. The move that brought Mayo his victory was formed on Pian delle Fugazze (at Km. 101), when he joined an escape with Marco Marzano (Lampre-Fondital), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), Alberto Losada (Caisse d´Épargne), Evgeni Petrov (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and Giovanni Visconti (Quickstep-Innergetic).

Fifteen kilometres later, Mayo attacked with compatriot Losada, to leave him behind on the Passo Ballino climb. This has been his 24th triumph as a pro, his 1st one in the yellow squad, and number 18 for Saunier Duval/Prodir team this season. Tomorrow's penultimate stage will be a 43-kilometre individual time-trial from Bardolino to Verona, and it will reveal whether Di Luca (Liquigas) can go on wearing the "Maglia Rosa" in the face of the final podium.

Danilo Diluca, Maglia Rosa
Danilo Di Luca not only fought off attacks from Saunier Duval and Mazzoleni, but also made his own move late on the Piano delle Fugazze, either to avoid other attacks (as Liquigas' team manager Stefano Zanatta said) or dealt a moral blow to his rivals and show them all who is the boss. Or perhaps both things.


A determined Di Luca leading the pack at the bottom of the last climb up to the finish line in Briancon in stage 12 Photo (c)  Team CSC & Tim De Waele 

Before going to his hotel and recovering from today's efforts in the cold, as well as take a hot shower and his daily amount of massages, the holder of the overall leader's mantle showed up in the RAI after-stage talk show and confessed that he did not expect such moves from the red bird team, but at the same time praised them for their attacks as they won Saunier the stage with Mayo.

He had very good words for his own team too "we have always kept the race under control; with three of us left in the front group at the top of the climb and six at the end of the descent, I was very comfortable. This further proved that we are a strong team".

Talking about tomorrow's crucial (?) ITT, Di Luca said he has a good margin over Schleck, and the fact of starting last and subsequently knowing the intermediate times of his challengers will be of help, but added that he is not underrating anyone, and that he'd better not take it too easy. Losing up to about one minute and thirty seconds to Schleck would be fine enough with him anyway.


Best Young rider, CSC's Andy Schleck here on the sunnier stage 12 shows off his Maglia Bianca. Andy has a 2:55 lead over Saunier Duval's Riccardo Ricco' with the time trial stage tomorrow and the final parade into Milan he looks secure to take the classification.

Liquigas Directeur Sportif Stefano Zanatta
His team manager Stefano Zanatta partially echoed Di Luca's comments, and gave us a few more details on the Liquigas attitude in the stage "We knew it was going to be  a tough today, but we responded well. With some help from the race dynamics too, as the early breakaway prompted other teams to do the chasing, so that we could stay comfortably inside the bunch.

On the (Pian delle Fugazze) climb we worked to keep the squad together as much as possible. Danilo made his move later in order to avoid further attacks. But when on the descent he kept a slower pace so that more teammates could regain the peloton. And Lampre, that saw Petrov as an overall threat (to Cunego), did much of the job in the last portion of the stage".

Zanatta also made his point when the discussion was back the "Liquigas' behaviour throughout the race" topic: "I think that we have been doing fine since the kick-off at Caprera. Until a few days ago, we were the only team with all riders left, and now there are still eight of us.  The overall leaders jersey has been on our shoulders throughout almost the whole race, a brief spell at T-Mobile aside, and this all speaks volumes about our performance".

CSC's Alain Gallopin
The Team CSC man in front of the RAI cameras on Friday afternoon was not Andy Schleck, but his "Directeur Sportif" Alain Gallopin. Who told us something more about the Giro revelation anyway.

"Schleck is mentally strong for his own age. VERY strong mentally, and determined, even if needs to improve tactically. Initially he wanted to go on the attack all the time, he was vying for some stage victories, but I persuaded him to focus on a top ten result overall, and learning how to handle himself in a Grand Tour, because I think that he will win a GT one day. I think he'll be ready to win the Tour de France in 2 to 3 years."

Gallopin sounded more uncertain about Schleck's result in the upcoming individual TT. "I don't know (how he'll be faring), because he has never raced an ITT like that, you know; but he's confident, so we shall see…".

Paradoxically or not, the CSC team manager looked more sure about David Zabriskie's performance "Yes, I think he is one of the main suspects to win the stage tomorrow. He already knows how to win a Giro d'Italia ITT, and he can do it again.

 
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90th Giro d'Italia - Stage 19 Live Coverage Part 1

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