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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 16 Interviews
By Fabio
Date: 5/26/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 16 Interviews

Franco does an interview with Rai TV.      Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Our roundup starts with today's "king of the clock", Franco Pellizotti: "After this stage victory I can say that I am truly satisfied with my Giro performance already. The more I'll be able to get in stages to comes, the better. I knew from what I did the past two days that I was in excellent shape. My handling of the situation was good today: I started fast but still had enough steam left to give it everything I could in the final part, and I think it couldn't have gone any better than this". Asked about (what some Italian journalists a bit too often playing armchair quarterbacks see as) the lack of true attacks on Contador by the Italian contingent, today's stage winner responded that: "well, we were the only ones that tried and attacked him yesterday. I gave it at go on Passo Giau when I saw he was having a hard time, but nobody helped me. I ended up losing time but I tried at last, and I think I proved that I can give the would-be winners of this race a run for their money"; he didn't rule out the chance that some alliance may come into being in the next stages.

Stage 15 podium Sella signs for his second stage victory.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Emanuele Sella lost the battle, but not his smile: "If I told you that I wasn't aiming for stage victory today, that would be a lie. But I'm glad that Franco won. He deserves that. And I'm satisfied with finishing ahead of so many world-class riders. A hat-trick would have been great, but that's okay, it could come in the next days; plus, I've improved my GC position, so now I just want to enjoy what I'm doing".

Danilo Di Luca wasn't all smiles, but wasn't in despair either: "My finishing time was not as (good as) I expected today. I kept a regular pace, but maybe I wasn't strong enough in the last portion of the stage. Well, that's fine anyway. Now let's wait and see what's going to happen the next days".

Riccardo Riccò: "I'm satisfied, I think I had a good performance. I gave it everything. It was just too bad that the wheels were slippery in the last, unpaved kilometres. All climbers had this same problem. Kudos to Pellizotti, he was fast today, and kudos to Alberto, he was fast too. But it's a tight race and I'm still in contention (for overall victory), you can gain forty seconds as easily as you can lose them. I'll keep fighting for victory until Milano. I'm not going to give up".

Alberto Contador had the same problems as Riccó late in the stage: "My goal was to keep the maglia rosa today, and to increase my advantage if possible. I lost some time in the last kilometre because of slippery wheels, but I'm happy. Now I'm going to take some rest today and tomorrow, and enjoy the jersey".

Gilberto nears the final kilometer.  Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

On with some words from Gilberto Simoni: "I was aiming for stage victory today, also because I'm at ease on unpaved roads. I heard Riccò and Contador talk about their wheel problems and well, I think they should do some MTB in the winter; they would get more accustomed to such roads. I said that us in the peloton were a bunch of sheeps (in the Pampeago stage), but now I think that such attitude helped us save some energy in such a tough race. Prior to these stages, many teams had two or more presumed leaders, and this was keeping some riders from attacking. But now that the hierarchy is clearer the race could become more hectic. With the Mortirolo and other climbs still ahead, the Giro is far from finished, even if those riders are tough guys (he was possibly referring to Alberto Contador and his squad). The final ITT could change something too, even if it not shake-up the GC profoundly. But it's gonna be difficult for us Italians to forge an alliance against Contador, you know. Sure I don't give up. I never did, and I'm not going to now".

Giovanni Visconti was quite satisfied with his ITT performance, even if he struggled a lot on the climb: "you just cannot take it easy on a course like this. You just have to push hard and hope that this can come to an end as soon as possible. But it's okay. I hope that I can do some more good good things in one of the next few legs".

The Maestro Eddy shows Alberto how to get his pink jersey on.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Last but certainly not least, some comments from the strongest bike racer of all time, Eddy Merckx, who was at the finishing line today: "This is a close race, and nice to watch. With 5-6 riders in such small time gaps, and more tough stages ahead, one can't tell who's going to win. Pellizotti was great today, and so was Simoni. And Sella, impressive. And also Riccó and Contador (did fine). Contador is a strong climber, has got the jersey and a strong team on his side. It's also true that Astana were a last minute addition to the Giro, and didn't have enough time to prepare well for the race, and this could be their weak point, but after two weeks of racing they can get back in top form, and the fact they have the maglia is of help. But still, the race is not over".

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