92nd Giro d'Italia - Stage 5 After Stage Interviews
Lance Armstong, Levi Leipheimer, Danilo Di Luca,
Denis Menchov, Damiano Cunego, Marzio Bruseghinand Lars Bak and more comment on the days events and
results. Karen Lambrecht Venice photos
The sunny presentation day in Venice and Gondola rides are are abruptly over as
the roads tilted skyward for the favorites. Danilo Di Luca, Carlos Sastre,
Gilberto Simoni and Lance Armstrong ready for a ride around the canals of
Venice. Photo © 2009 Karen Lambrecht
Lance Armstrong: "Well, definitely we are all tired, that was a hard
climb and, you know, I knew that we'd be behind, so we just tried to ride our
tempo and to limit our losses, maybe two minutes, but it was closer to three,
but that's okay. I think, like I said in the beginning, the first half is not
gonna be my half, I mean I have to ride another race and still get my condition
back after that, I can't expect to be on the front".
Levi Leipheimer: "It was hard today. Ivan was strong, but also Di Luca
and Menchov, they can go so fast. I can't jump with Di Luca, he's very
explosive. I think Lance is doing very well. I saw him two weeks ago, and now
he's much better. I think he's content".
A pensive Danilo Di Luca with Damiano Cunego at the Giro's
conference with all the favorites. Photo © 2009 Karen Lambrecht
Danilo Di Luca: "There were many of us still left up front in the end,
and this is a proof of how long, tough and difficult this Giro is, with so many
rivals for me. I saw Sastre attack early, I followed his wheel, then I saw
Menchov go. I tried to counter but his progression was great. I realized that I
couldn't get better than second and turned back (to see where Lovkvist was)
because my goal was to claim the jersey. I think I'm basically as fine as I was
two years ago, but not better. Now I want to enjoy the jersey, then we'll see
(how things pan out in) the ITT.
Tomorrow's stage is good for breakaways, but not very dangerous unless we'll
have a rainy day. I have a strong team that will try and have the situation
under control. I believe Menchov when he says that he's aiming for overall
victory. He did fine the past year too, and I think he prepared even better this
time and is more confident. The parcours suits him well, he'll take advantage of
the ITT too, so he's going to be a tough opponent for sure. I think Armstrong is
here to win a stage, but we'll see the true Lance starting from the ITT.
And he'll definitely go faster at the Tour".
Denis Menchov: "When I saw Sastre make a move, and Di Luca go too, I
realized it was time for me to respond and give it everything. The last 350
metres looked hard and very long to me, but I ended up first, and that's what
really matters, doesn't it? My current condition is good, but there's a long way
to the finish; all I know is that I wanna fight to get the best possible result
in this race. I think you can expect everything from a great rider such as
Armstrong, but after three years, and the recent accident, it's hard also for
him to be at one hundred percent".
Damiano Cunego maintained his smile despite the bad stage finish and
poor result. Perhaps he just realized that all he could do in a day like this
was to accept defeat: "I wasn't fine late today. I was simply unable to follow
the best ones, period, so I had to keep riding my own tempo. Now I must live day
to day and see what I can get".
“I suffered from the high pace on the last climb. After having tried to go
hard in the early kilometres of the climb, at 5. km to go I understood that I
was at my limit and so I chose to go on with a regular pace. I know that for the
overall standing things are quite complicated, but I accept the situation and
I’ll try to give my best to realize something good in the next stages”
Marzio Bruseghin analyzed his
performance, saying “Today stage was too short for my characteristics, usually I
need more kilometres and maybe one more climb to be at my best. Even if I had
warmed up before the start, I had to suffer, but I did not think I would lose so
many seconds. I’m sorry for Damiano difficulties too”.
There was some good progress made today with Carlos Sastre's 7th place finish,
the best result for a Cervélo TestTeam rider, in the 5th stage of the 100th
edition of the Giro d'Italia.
"Currently I am about 2 kilos more than what I was last year when my climbing
weight was just right. When I am skinny I can climb very well," said
Ignatas Konovalovas. "Carlos is not a man
who asks for a lot of help, just - bring him the water bottles, ride a little
bit in front if there is side wind, so it's pretty straightforward, we do what
he needs. For the last kilometers today, what he really needed was for somebody
to push harder, but I don't know, he did have Vlody (Volodymir Gustov) with him.
So we did what we should."
Di Luca and rivals in Venice. Photo © 2009 Karen Lambrecht
"For sure I am still feeling pain from yesterday's crash and I think it will
take a few days for it to get better," said Philip
Deignan. "But it's not so bad. Give me a few days."
"The stage today was a bit similar to the one from yesterday," said
Serge Pauwels. "We again tried to keep Carlos
well protected in the front, and today he came 7th, so I can definitely see that
he's improving every day which looks good for his GC."
"Today's second mountain stage was a hard uphill climb, much harder than
yesterday," said Jean Paul van Poppel. "We
knew what we were up against so we used the same tactic as yesterday - don't
lose time! Carlos hung in today very well, with six riders to go - that was
fantastic. He's in good shape and he is in a position now to go for a really
good Giro GC. We planned it so we could give him the chance he needed and the
whole team gave him their support. Carlos proved again today he is worth our
efforts because he could be the big surprise in this Giro. Maybe not at this
moment but there still is another 2.5 weeks to go. His legs are strong enough to
do small attacks with 400 meters to go. It's all in the game, I mean there are
different ways to get there and you never know what's going to happen. He did
lose a little bit of time on Menchov, but all the rest was ok, I think. All
together it was a good job today. So, off to the next race, the next really huge
stage for GC. Tomorrow is going to be more easy. A longer time. Maybe rain, we
don't know, but we still have something to work for. It's good. All positive."
Saxo Bank's Lars Bak, crossed the line in the same group as Lance
Armstrong about three minutes behind Menchov. "I felt very good today. When you
can follow Armstrong to the top of a mountain, it can not be totally bad", said
a delighted Jutlander.
But Lars Bak is still focused on each stage: "I'm still going for stage
victories during the race, and the next days are looking interesting so I will
definitely go for it. It is no use waiting in the group of favorites. I'm
primarily here to win stages, but one does not necessarily preclude the other.
If I can get to the finish line in a small group well ahead of the peloton, I
can take a major leap in the overall standings. But I'll take it day by day".
And sports director, Lars Michaelsen, totally agrees: "We had no
expectations from the riders before today's stage more than they had to save
their strength for later when we have a chance of achieving our primary goal -
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