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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 8
By Locutus
Date: 5/18/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 8
Golden Hams of the Day:
  • Mario "SuperFabio" Cipollini and the Wild Zebra-Men (Domina Vacanze-Elitron). Okay, I'll say it: It's about freakin' time! After wasting a few perfect leadouts by his teammates, the big blond Tuscan finally nailed the sprint today on his home turf to tie Binda's record of 41 stage wins in the Giro. The World Champion looked mentally beat at the end of Stage 6, but he toughed it out through the mountains of Stage 7 and came back strong today. Lombardi and the rest of the zebra train once again showed their absolute brilliance in giving Mario a perfect leadout over the last 3km of the race. Once Mario and his boys get some momentum, they're hard to stop…don't bet against Cipo breaking the record in the next two days. Viva Mario!
  • Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) and Stefano Garzelli (Caldirola-Sidermac-Saunier Duval). Once again, their vigilance has gained them 10" on their rivals on a flat stage. Simoni came in 11th and Garzelli came in 18th, both of them making the split caused in the peloton by the hard-charging Domina boys. This kind of attention to detail is what can win a Grand Tour. It looks like these two are really going to go at it for the rest of the race, and I for one can't wait to see how it turns out.
  • Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) and Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). They came in 2nd and 3rd in the sprint respectively, but they didn't give Mario anything: they both hammered hard, with Petacchi charging early around the left of Cipo and McEwen making a late run around the right. Mario followed his leadout perfectly, powering right up the middle of the road and taking his victory by a half-wheel. It was a clean, hard-fought sprint that was truly appropriate for the tying of such a great record, and McEwen and Petacchi will definitely keep the heat on Mario to make him earn whatever victories he gets.

Ham-Gazers of the Day:
  • Andrea Noe' (Alessio), Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre), and Pavel Tonkov (CCC-Polstat). Noe' was 27th, Rumsas was 31st, and Tonkov was 43rd on the stage. They each missed the split in the field at the end of the stage and lost 10" to Simoni and Garzelli, something that they can't afford to do. To put it in perspective, Noe' lost five times as many seconds today on a flat stage as he did on the hard climb yesterday (when you don't include yesterday's time bonuses). It's starting to look like a two-horse race, with everyone else lining up for that third spot on the podium.

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