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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Interviews
By Fabio
Date: 5/25/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Interviews

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 15 Interviews and Comments
After stage comments from: Riccardo Ricco, Alberto Contador, Gilberto Simoni, Danilo Diluca and the other combatants. Updated

"I dont know what to say. Thank you so much to Baliani, to Perez, to the whole team. Thank you for real, boys" Emanuele Sella said.

Navigare's Fortunato Baliani said that he's pleasantly surprised by Sella's accomplishments.

More from the stage winner, whose second stellar performance in a row was jeopardized by the silly behaviour of some "fans" and "supporters", that got a bit close to the rider in the last few kilometres, and might have made him fall. It's not the first time it happens in cycling, and we think it's not the last one either, unfortunately: "

Cheers from fans are a pleasant thing, and a huge morale boost. They give me more grinta. But those fans were quite dangerous". More from the guy: "I didn't think I could react like this to all my previous misfortunes. I discovered a "new Emanuele Sella". I don't think I can make the hat-trick tomorrow though, I spent a lot over the past two stages, so it wouldn't be that strange if I paid the price of such efforts in tomorrow's ITT".

Riccardo Ricco speaks.... Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

In after-stage interviews Riccardo Ricco kept whining about his ITT misfortunes: "I would be wearing the Maglia today without that fall in the ITT". He can make a point, but as the same time he seems to forget that also Alberto Contador had some problems in this sense.

Alberto Contador after the finish of stage 14. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Alberto Contador may have moved into the overall leadership of the race today, but he wasn't too "all smiles" after the stage. The Spaniard conceded that he's not having the best stage race in his career: "I had a hard time on the Giau, but ate something and recovered. Then my rear wheel broke in the last part of the final climb. Well, after all tomorrow is another day. But I think that Riccò is a stronger rider than myself at the moment".

Contador's team manager Alain Gallopin somehow echoed Alberto's statements: "I am more confident than I was yesterday. We held on today. We went through some hard times on the Giau, but things went fine in the end. It's not going to be easy though: Simoni, Riccò, Di Luca and Menchov are all strong and dangerous challengers to Alberto".

Gilberto Simoni's after-race smile could be a sign that he was not that exhausted at the end of such a demanding stage; "but my legs are exhausted" he admitted. Adding that "I gave it everything I could today. But this is a high-level and tight race; one may try and attack, but can' make much of a gap. I saw that Contador was struggling at some point, but he recovered well later. I am 36 but I keep fighting anyway. I did last year, so why shouldn't I do it this time again? One year can't change everything".

A determined look on Danilo Di Luca face after the finish of stage 14.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Danilo Di Luca conceded not being as good as he was the past year, but this doesn't mean that the gutsy man from Abruzzo is giving up the battle. Quite the opposite: "My condition is basically the same as in the year 2005. And I'll keep fighting to the end. The race will be a close one until the finish at Milano".

Sella was just great today, but so was the whole CSF Group-Navigare climbing machine. One of their least-known members is Domenico Pozzovivo, whose main after-stage words were as follows: "Both Emanuele (Sella) and I are tiny climbers, but with different ambitions. He's always hungry to get into some breakaways, and my goal is to stay in the group with the best ones and enjoy its "top of the overall" atmosphere. I'll see what I can do in the ITT tomorrow, but it's not going to be easy forme: I'm not accustomed to its gradients".

Joaquím Rodríguez
The Italian Emanuele Sella reiterated the success he already had yesterday in the 91st Giro d’Italia and won stage 15, a short one with only 153 kilometers to go, but a very hard one and considered as the queen stage of this Giro. The course presented many difficulties before the finish at the top of the Passo della Marmolada, and the bad weather made things worse.

Joaquím Rodríguez, who finished the stage at rank 13, was once more one of the heroes of the stage.

“I really feel very well”, told the rider of Caisse d’Epargne after he crossed the line. “I've had very good feelings since the start of the Giro and today, in spite of the efforts I did yesterday, I had perfectly recovered, which gave me the possibility to go one more time with the winning breakaway. But like yesterday we could do absolutely nothing when Sella attacked. He is really too strong. Anyway, I am satisfied because I was able to be ahead in both the big mountain stages and we will keep on trying to win a stage. We really deserve it!"

Jens Voigt Climbs the Manghem. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Team CSC
Nicely Fought by Voigt and Larsson
Jens Voigt and Gustav Larsson made their mark on Sunday's 153-kilometer queen stage of Giro d'Italia. The route went from Arabba to Passo Fedaia and the rider in the Mountain Jersey, Emanuele Sella (CSF Group) made a repeat performance and took another solo victory.

The peloton had to climb five very tough mountains and the mode was aggressive from the beginning, where among others Sella and Voigt were very active in creating a break. They succeeded on the first mountain and a group of nine was formed.

The break lasted for half the stage but on the third mountain Voigt and five of the others from the group had to let go. Behind them the peloton was also separated, when about 15-20 riders left the others behind and Voigt managed to tag along with this favorite's group all the way up the fourth mountain.

Further back was Chris Anker Sørensen and Gustav Larsson in a group with Andreas Klöden (Astana) and a few others. This group also counted about 15-20 and managed to maintain a lead of one and a half minute to the Voigt group.

Voigt was unable to keep up when the favorites took turns attacking, but behind him Gustav Larsson got across the last climb in good shape so he maintained his chances of moving back into the overall top-10.

Kim Andersen "Again we've gotta hand it Jens Voigt who had yet another great day. He's up there all the way till five kilometers before the end of the queen stage, which shows both great form and will power – very impressive. He's definitely a possible candidate for a stage win before this race is over. Gustav also fought well and I think he's in great shape still also."

"Unfortunately today was most likely the end for Chris Anker as far as the overall standings go. He had a really bad day and this was not the stage to do badly in. He's done his best and we couldn't ask for more. This year's edition of the Giro has been grueling and you pay the price if you have a couple of bad days," said Team CSC sports director Kim Andersen after the tough stage.

Stage 14 Comments Update

Team Lampre - Marzio Bruseghin
A good day for Marzio Bruseghin. In the 14th tough stage of Giro, Lampre's rider showed a very positive performance: he pedaled with the best riders on tough Manghen climb and then he began the last climb to Alpe di Pampeago at his own pace and in the last kilometers he overtook most of the opponents that approach the climb at full speed.

"My legs were hard because of the cold, I was not in a perfect condition - Bruseghin said - So, when the best riders began the last climb at full speed, I preferred to keep my own pace, it was the right decision".

Bruseghin moved into 3rd at the end of the stage. Other blue-fucsia cyclists: Smzyd was brilliant until 3 kms to go and he reached the arrival in 28th position at 11'40", Spilak was 68th at 23'28", Loosli was 73rd at 26'01", Baldato was 94th at 29'43", Gavazzi was 114th at 36'04" and Bossoni was 116th at 36'25", while Lorenzetto had to abandon after a fall in the first part of the stage. Before the start in Verona, Damiano Cunego met his team mates, encouraging them in view of the last week of Giro.

Team Caisse d'Epargne
The riders of the team Caisse d’Epargne, Joaquím Rodríguez and José Rujano, finished third and the fourth in Stage 14 after they were part of a breakaway which started at km 13 km. Another rider of the team Caisse d’Epargne, Fran Pérez, was the same break.

“The team Caisse d’Epargne showed one more time that it is really competitive and always present in the important stages”, commented Eusebio Unzúe after the stage. “With three riders in the break, we could hope to win the today stage. Fran Pérez did a great job so that Rodríguez and Rujano arrived in the best conditions at the foot of the Passo Manghen, but when Sella attacked they just could do nothing, just let him go. Since the beginning of the Giro, we try to go in the breakaways, but there is no way to win a stage. We already tried with Joaquím Rodríguez in the first stage, later with Fran Pérez and Pablo Lastras, and again today. I hope that our job will at least get a reward. We will try again till the end of the Italian race.”

Team CSC
Brilliant Stage 14 Win by Sella
The guy with the Mountain Jersey completely stole the scene during Giro d'Italia's first tough mountain stage. Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare) crossed the finish line solo almost five minutes ahead of his closest pursuer after the 195 kilometers from Verona to Alpe Di Pampeago.

Jens Voigt was part of a break with 12 others – one of them Sella, when they reached the first of two very grueling mountains, Paso Manghen. During this particular climb Sella left the rest of the break behind.

Voigt fought hard to hang on but had to give in and on the final climb he was caught by the favorites, who had kept a low profile for a surprisingly long time considering the amount of attacks in the Giro so far.

The favorites were separated somewhat during the last two or three kilometers, but Team CSC had both Chris Anker Sørensen, Nicki Sørensen and Gustav Larsson among the last 20 riders in the favorite's group. However at the very end all three of them had to give in when Denis Menchov made a move and was the first from the group to finish.

Behind them Giovanni Visconti was fighting for the Pink Jersey but had to let go in the end and Gabriele Bosisio (Team LPR) took it instead.

D.S. Kim Anderson commented, "Jens was up front for a long time and showed great strength and generally speaking I definitely think our effort today was good. The climb towards the finish line was extremely steep and Gustav fell a bit short. There's no doubt he's better on the long less steep climbs. Chris and Nicki did well also until Menchov split the favorite's group and when the pace increased they couldn't keep up. It's been a tremendously tough race so far and it's no wonder all the riders are feeling a bit worn out now."

Tinkoff Credit Systems
Vasil Kiryenka's Stellar Performance Atop Alpe di Pampeago

Stage 14 of the 91st edition of the Giro d'Italia marked the beginning of the mountains for the peloton, the stage took shape a mere 10km into the stage with a large breakaway of thirteen riders which included Tinkoff's Vasil Kiryenka. The Belarussian would cross the finish line in second place 4'38" behind Emanuele Sella (Csf-Navigare).

Sports Director Orlando Maini said of the stage, " the team unbelievably thrilled at the outstanding performance today of Kiryenka. The stage was extremely difficult and very important for the general classification, and from the very outset of the Giro, we stressed to our riders to be attentive at opportunities to escape, even if the distance was a sizeable one from the finish. Kiryenka rode beautifully and cleverly to finish second."

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