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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 7
By Locutus
Date: 5/18/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 7

Ham-Gazers of the Day:
  • Francesco "The Scarecrow" Casagrande (Lampre). He was supposed to challenge for the stage win today, but he faltered early on the final climb and finished in 12th, losing a whopping 2' 33" to Garzelli and Simoni (not including time bonuses). He could rebound and be a factor, but with his lack of time trialing skills his chances for overall victory are likely gone. Hopefully the sadness and frustration he must feel won't lead to another Mike Tyson episode like last year, and he'll be able to storm back for a stage win down the road. That is, if he isn't ordered to ride for Rumsas (see below).
  • Aitor Gonzalez and Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo). It's lucky for Fassa Bortolo that Petacchi dominated the first week with his three stage wins and mastery of the Maglia Rosa. Last year's Vuelta winner Gonzalez finished in 39th today, 5' 37" behind Garzelli, and Frigo was 48th at 6' 17". Gonzalez claims he's trying to peak for the Tour, which means that he might start to show some legs in the final week. Frigo rode like an animal in March, so he seems to have peaked too early. With their two GC riders out of the big picture, look for Fassa Bortolo to focus on stage wins… especially during the flat stages where they can set up Petacchi again.

Golden Hams of the Day:
  • Stefano Garzelli (Caldirola-Sidermac-Saunier Duval). His vigilance and hard riding in the early stages put him in 2nd on GC heading into today, so all he had to was hold the wheel of Simoni and the other climbers to take the Maglia Rosa. Easier said than done, right? Well he not only held Simoni's wheel, he outsprinted him for his 2nd stage win and an impressive (if still relatively slim) 31" lead on GC. The former champion has redeemed himself after his bizarre disqualification last year, and has shown that everyone else has their work cut out to try to pry that Pink Jersey off of his shoulders.
  • Andrea Noe' (Alessio) and Pavel Tonkov (CCC-Polstat). A perennial also-ran, Noe' showed a lot of toughness today as he yo-yoed off of Garzelli and Simoni's wheels on the final climb. He finished only 2" behind them, and surprised everyone by leaping up to 3rd on GC at 44". Former champ Tonkov also looked solid, finishing in 4th at 14" behind Garzelli. With their rides today, Noe' and Tonkov look like they might very well battle each other for a podium position all the way to Milan. It should be fun to watch.
  • Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre). Well his 3rd in last year's Tour de France showed that he could ride at an elite level, but the Giro was supposed to belong to his teammate Casagrande. Not anymore. Rumsas is far superior to Casagrande in the time trials, and his 7th place today at 38" behind Garzelli showed that his climbing legs are better than Casagrande's too. The Saturday night discussions at the Lampre table should be very interesting indeed.

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