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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 16 Team Comments
By Staff
Date: 5/27/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 16 Team Comments

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 16 Team Comments
Astana, Lampre, Rabobank, Saunier Duval/Scott and CSC weigh in on the finish at Plan de Corones Kronplatz "The Giro isn't over yet -I'll fight all the way to Milan."

Astana Report
Alberto Contador’s Pink More Secure On His Shoulders

Astana Cycling Team's Alberto Contador successfully defended his pink jersey in the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, an individual mountain time trial to Plan de Corones (Kronplatz) over 12.9 K. With today's win the pink jersey is more secure on his shoulders. Yesterday Contador claimed the Maglia Rosa on the Marmolada climb. In the overall classification he now leads with 41 seconds to Riccardo Riccó, and 1.21 to Gilberto Simoni.

Alberto Contador celebration after defending his maglia rosa.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The terrible climb to Plan de Corones included 5.3 K sterrato – bad gravel roads touching 24 percent gradients. "It was a new experience for me," commented Alberto Contador. "I had to use a 34x30 gear. It was necessary to prevent slipping away on some parts where you could not come out of the saddle. This morning I went to check out the climb very early. Honestly, I liked what I saw. This was something for a real climber like me. After my performance of yesterday, I was more confident before the start of the race than I had been at the start of Sunday's stage. Plus today I did not have any technical problem like I did yesterday when I had to do the Marmolada climb with a defective wheel."

Alberto Contador continues to surprise the cycling world. "I am surprised as well," claims the Maglia Rosa. "I am happy that I have reached this level with the poor preparation I had. Fortunately, the weather is not too good here. That helps me."

The Difficulties Ahead
After tomorrow's rest day there are still a few difficult stages. "The Giro is not over yet. I am glad that riders like Di Luca, Bruseghin and Menchov lost time, but I have to stay awake for Simoni and Riccó. In theory the final time trial suits me better than them, but some other stages still can put me in difficulties. Especially the stage with the Mortirolo can be dangerous. Fortunately, I have a strong team. I strongly believe that they all will work for the same goal: bringing that pink jersey to Milano."

For Astana Cycling Team, it is once again a super week. Besides the performances in the Giro d'Italia, the team won the team classification in the Volta a Catalunya. Astana Cycling Team increased their number one position in the ProTour Team Classification. The team adds to the count of its 15 victories this season.

Saunier Duval/Scott Red Birds Report
Good timing for Riccò in the mountain time-trial; he's now 41" behind Contador
Riccardo Riccò´s still one of the riders who can wear the "maglia rosa" of the 91st Giro d´Italia. The leader of the Saunier Duval/Scott squad in Italy has kept his 2nd place in the GC, after today's mountain time-trial to Plan de Corones.

"The Giro isn't over yet -I'll fight all the way to Milan."

Riccardo Ricco in the Maglia Bianca climbs. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

"La Cobra" came in 5th, 30" behind the winner, losing only 13" to Simoni and 8" to Contador and stealing time from his rivals: 34 seconds from Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre), 1:15 from Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes), and 1:19 from Denis Menchov (Rabobank). In fact, Di Luca and Menchov were the riders who lost the most today. In the first part of the race (Km. 7.6), Riccò had been bested by Sella (16") and Contador (5") only. The second part included Pellizotti´s great response, gaining over 20" and thus scoring the stage win. Riccò lost some seconds in the tough final kilometre, but his great performance enables him to go on dreaming of the "maglia rosa." He´s now standing 2nd in the GC, just like yesterday, 41" behind Contador. Tomorrow, the riders are having their second rest day.

Riccardo Riccò: "I really feel happy; I believe my performance was very good today. Pity I couldn't do better, my rear wheel slipped a bit when I decided to give out-of-the-saddle a go. I felt strong enough, but that affected all climbers alike. We all had a good stage today, as you can see all of us finished 30" or less behind Pellizotti. Congratulations to Pellizotti and Contador, who were great today. The Giro isn't over yet -I'll fight all the way to Milan."

Riccardo gets his kisses and another maglia bianca after Monday's stage.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Lampre Blu & Fucsia Team Report
Marzio Bruseghin in 4th - Bossoni Retires
After Plan de Corones time trial, Marzio Bruseghin’s situation in the overall standing didn’t changed. Blue-fucsia captain, 7th in the stage (time 41’30”) with a gap of 1’04” from the winner Pellizotti, is still 4th in the overall classification, at 2’ from Contador: Bruseghin is preceded by Riccò (2nd at 41” from the leader) and Simoni (3rd at 1’21”), while behind Marzio there are Pellizotti (5th at 2’05” from Contador), Di Luca (6th at 2’18”) and Menchov (7th at 2’47”).

For Lampre, Szmyd obtained the 16th place at 1’37” and he’s 19th in the overall standing at 15’18”; Spilak was 27th at 3’24”. Bossoni had to abandon the race, having exceeded the time limit.

Bruseghin out of the saddle for the finish.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Bruseghin’s comment about the race: “Before the start I was willing to battle for the victory, but the route revealed to be more suitable for the pure climbers, for the lighter ones: I’m the first in the standing among the non light weight riders. I pedaled in a regular way, trying to keep a good pace, but I could not express power in the tough last part. So, I’m a bit upset because I didn’t win, but I’m satisfied about my position in the overall standing.

Rabobank Team
Denis Menchov Not up to the Best.
After two days of battling in the general classification, Denis Menchov could not keep up with the best during the nearly inhuman climb time trial to Kronplatz on Monday. The Rabo-captain dropped two places to number seventh due to his tenth overall final time, at 1.49 from winner Franco Pellizotti. "We had expected a little bit more," admitted Erik Breukink openly. "We had hoped for the time loss to be thirty seconds less, but he did not have such a great day."

It wasn't for a lack of effort that had Menchov losing time.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The Russian had explored the track in the morning, but not the final - for one's feeling a very long - kilometer. "Denis knew what would be in store for him," said the team boss. "It is a very steep climb, which is not made for Denis." Breukink was not allowed to ride behind his captain during the climb. But, according to him that did not really matter. "It is the rider who must use up every ounce of his energy, not me. When he experiences a disappointing start, you know that he could potentially lose a lot at the end."

Of the five classification riders, Menchov and Danilo Di Luca lost the most time. Leader Alberto Contador strengthened his position, while Gilberto Simoni and Riccardo Ricco could also reflect back on the battle against the clock with contentment. If Pellizotti had not had such a phenomenal second part, then Emanuele Sella could have pulled off an amazing hat trick, but the CSF-rider now finished second. The favorites will have the chance to recover from the three heavy Dolomites stages on Tuesday, even though the riders will have to move a lot as well.

Bram de Groot also clocked a fine time. After the second block of fifty riders he was in twelfth place. Obviously, he would sink to the middle bracket later on. "He did rather well," said Breukink, who is concerned, however, about Mathew Hayman. "It took him 51 minutes to compete it. Therefore, I think he did not finish inside the time expiration limit due to Pellizotti's superb race." If that is really the case, then the Australian contribution to the team will be reduced to zero, after the exit of Graeme Brown earlier.

Team CSC
Splendid Performance by Voigt

In Giro d'Italia Jens Voigt delivered a brilliant effort in the somewhat extreme 12.9-kilometer mountain time trial to Plan De Corones. The German Team CSC rider took a great 11th place in the stage and Gustav Larsson was not far behind in 14th place.

"It was a spectacular stage and luckily there were no major complications. Something, which would not have been possible had it been raining. Gustav got through fine and again Jens was in a league of his very own. The perfect scenario for us right now would be a stage win before the end of the Giro and the way things are looking at the moment Jens is our guy," said Team CSC sports director Kim Andersen after the stage.

Most cycling experts would probably agree that this was the toughest time trial route in any recent Grand Tour and definitely not tailor made for riders like Voigt and Larsson. But that just makes their performances today that much more impressive. For a long time Voigt was in the top-three but he was pushed back once the contenders for the overall victory started to reach the finish line.

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