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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 6
By Locutus
Date: 5/16/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 6

Ham-Gazers of the Day:
  • Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze-Elitron). When he started his sprint today, he saw Petacchi and Galvez Lopez shooting around him on both sides and he just sat up. He clearly felt that he didn't have it, and this latest failure will surely hurt his morale and the morale of his team. With a Tour de France bid on the line, Mario's less-than-super form might lead to beach time instead of racing time in July for the wild zebra-men. He will have to dig deep and find the courage to make it over the mountains in order to contest the sprints to come.
  • "Rabid" Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo). His team helped with the chase of the breakaways, but where was Robbie at the end? He finished in 141st at 46" behind Petacchi, so he clearly sat up long before Mario did. Hopefully McEwen will recover and make it over the mountains in shape to liven up the sprints down the road.
  • Most of the GC Contenders. With the exception of Garzelli (see below), the GC men sat on and saved their strength for the big climbs tomorrow. Unfortunately for them, they also gave up a handful of seconds to Garzelli. Doh!!

Golden Hams of the Day:
  • Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). Once again, he showed he's the best sprinter in the race. He also raised his lead to 1' 09" over second-place Garzelli in the GC. Hopefully this lead won't make him delusional so that he tires himself out tomorrow trying to defend the Pink Jersey over the mountains. He should focus on riding in the grupetto and preserve his amazing sprinting legs for the clashes to come. Whatever happens, he has already had the race of his career, holding the Pink Jersey for six days and winning three stages. By the way, he STILL hasn't finished lower than 4th on a stage so far in this year's Giro, and he has a monstrous lead in the points competition. Very impressive.
  • Giovanni Lombardi and the Domina Vacanze-Elitron wild zebra leadout train. Cipollini's teammates did everything possible to set up their man today. They helped chase back the breakaways and they gave Mario the perfect leadout, with Lombardi doing the final pull to deliver the World Champion to the last couple of hundred meters in perfect position for a victory. The disappointed look that Lombardi gave over his shoulder to Cipollini at the end said it all today, and this result will be a big blow to the team's morale. They are by far the best leadout men in the business, and they deserve a victory soon.
  • Magnus Backstedt (Team Fakta-Pata Chips), Constantino Zaballa (Kelme-Costa Blanca), and Christian Moreni (Alessio). They really hammered on their long breakaway, flying through the roads of Italy and forcing a fierce chase from the peloton. It took several teams going all out to bring them back in the last few kilometers. Backstedt's last-second attack was noble, but there was simply too much impetus from the sprinters' teams for the breakaways to overcome. If Lotto-Domo and Domina Vacanze-Elitron had known how McEwen and Cipollini were going to ride at the end today, they would have probably sat up and let the trio of breakaways have the victory.
  • Stefano Garzelli (Caldirola-Sidermec-Saunier-Duval). Once again he mixed it with the sprinters and finished in 5th ahead of specialists like Graham Brown (Ceramiche Paneria-Fiordo) and Cipollini. More importantly, he was the only GC contender to survive the split in the field that occurred when Cipo's wild zebra-men put the hammer down in the final couple of kilometers. Garzelli ended up taking 8" out of Simoni, Pantani, Casagrande, Frigo, Caucchioli, Aitor Gonzalez, and everyone else who matters. He is in 2nd on GC with an 18" lead on Casagrande and a 23" lead on Simoni. Garzelli's morale will be high heading into tomorrow's big test, and unless Petacchi does something spectacular, Garzelli has just to hold his ground with his rivals to take the Maglia Rosa.

Grazed Hams of the Day:
  • Isaac Galvez Lopez, Kelme-Costa Blanca. Lopez crashed 30km from the finish, but he toughed it out to put in one helluva sprint for 2nd place today. He has gotten some good results, but this is his best finish so far in the race. Given Kelme's propensity for climbing, Lopez could come out of the mountains with the best sprinting legs and take a stage or two down the road.
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