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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 9
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/19/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 9
 
Golden Hams of the Day:
  • Mario "SuperFabio" Cipollini and his Wild Zebra-Men (Domina Vacanze-Elitron). They did it again!! Lombardi and the Domina boys gave Cipollini a perfect leadout to the line, flying through the final corners so hard that it wiped out some of his rivals. Cipo sealed the deal, showing that his legs are firmly under him now as he took his record-breaking 42nd Giro stage win. The World Champion not only broke Binda's record, but sent a special message to Jean Marie Leblanc and the Tour de France selection committee: while he's excluded from the Tour, he's still the grandest old sprinter of them all!
  • Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo). He once again came in 2nd to Cipollini, but given the incredible banging of shoulders and jostling for position leading into the finale, that was a major victory. Several sprinters elbowed, shouldered, and even punched one another trying to get Cipo's wheel, and in the end it was only McEwen who could really give Mario a run for his money. McEwen came around hard on the right, closing fast on Cipo, but the Italian had timed it perfectly. Still, it was a good show by McEwen, who demonstrated that he has the legs and is ready to defend his Green Jersey title in the Tour this July.


Ham-Gazers of the Day:
  • Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). Petacchi fought hard today, but at the end was shaking his head as he watched Cipollini and McEwen fight out the finale. He still came in third and kept his Points Jersey, but he won't be happy with how the race turned out today.


Ham-Brained Move of the Day:
  • No, this isn't the part where I talk about Jean Marie Leblanc. The first award ever in this new category goes to the Latvian rider Andris Nauduzs (CCC-Polstat). Nauduzs has earned the ire of his fellow riders with his overly aggressive riding while fighting for position in the sprints during the Giro. The sprinter has gotten shoves, shoulders, and shouts from the likes of Cipollini, Petacchi, and McEwen on several occasions. Today, however, he went way too far. In the final few kilometers, there was a bit of a jostle as two riders bumped into one another, and then bumped into Nauduzs' left side as they all were trying to jump on the Domina train. Petacchi was passing Nauduzs on the outside right, and the Latvian was bounced hard into Petacchi's back wheel. Petacchi reacted quickly, throwing down his arm in what looked like a defensive shove; however, Petacchi was already by Nauduzs, and his violent arm gesture caught nothing but air. Petacchi also looked to have some choice words for Nauduzs.

    Clearly thinking with his head between his hams, Nauduzs then crossed over to the outside behind Petacchi, sprinted up to him on the right, and then gave him a backhanded sucker-punch across the face and head as he passed. While there was a lot of hardcore banging and shouting going on, this is a standard thing for sprinters in the final few kilometers, and certainly no reason to punch somebody. Nauduzs clearly lost his cool, and his punch to Petacchi should get him thrown out of the race.

    To top it off, Nauduzs lost it in the final corner. The riders had already been through the corner once the previous lap, so everybody knew it was there. It was a hard right-hander, and the Domina squad bombed through it in their excellent lead-out of Cipollini. Everyone seemed to be making it through just fine, but then Nauduzs, who had slipped to about eighth wheel, overcooked it and had his back tire slide right out from under him. In the process, he almost took out Maglia Rosa wearer Garzelli (Stefano was barely able to squeeze around him on the left-hand barriers, but had to slow to a near stop). Garzelli lost no time due to the fact that the corner was in the last kilometer, but I'm sure he didn't enjoy having his day ruined by the orange-clad sprinter from Latvia...Garzelli was once again in position to gap his rivals, and Nauduzs' crash screwed that up for him.

    For those kids reading at home, remember this: don't think with your hams while riding in a bike race…it's dangerous and will probably get you thrown out.

 
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