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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 10
By Locutus
Date: 5/20/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 10
Golden Hams of the Day:
  • Gilberto Simoni (Saeco). He attacked on the penultimate climb like an old-time rider, confident that he was the best man in the race and could ride everyone else off his wheel. And geez, he did ride all of his GC rivals off his wheel. He caught everyone else with there breeches down, and once he had bridged to the few remaining breakaway riders, he showed his tactical savvy as he slowed his pace enough to gain three allies for the long descent to the finish. The outstanding work put in by the four-man group put the screws to Garzelli and the others, and Simoni walked away with a well-deserved Pink Jersey. It was a helluvan attack on a helluva stage, where Simoni rode like a true champion.
  • Kurt Asle Arvesen (Team Fakta - Pata Chips). The big Norwegian Champ was in the original breakaway of sixteen riders on this killer stage, and was one of only three from that group to survive the vicious attack of Simoni. He has hovered in the top fifteen of a few stages, staying near the front and looking for opportunities. Today, his good form and patience finally paid off as he hung with the little mountain monster and took the final sprint for a very impressive win. Hei Norge! Tonight there will be partying on Karl Johanns Gate!
  • Paolo Tiralongo (Ceramiche Paneria - Fiordo) and Leornardo Bertagnolli (Saeco). These were the only other two breakaways to hang with Simoni when he attacked. Tiralongo put in some monster pulls in the breakaway, especially on the climbs, and he still had the legs to come up second behind the superior sprinter Arvesen. Bertagnolli played a great role in Simoni's attack, getting up the road in the breakaway and then giving everything to help his team leader get the Pink Jersey. Both showed excellent legs and a lot of heart over the 202kms of cruel climbs.
  • Francesco Casagrande (Lampre). He was the only other major GC rider with the strength and the will to help Garzelli today, as he took huge pulls at the front in pursuit of Simoni. Sure, he lost time, but he showed that he is still one of the elite climbers in the race who will be a force to be reckoned with in the mountains still to come.

Ham-Gazers of the Day:
  • Stefano Garzelli (Caldirola Sidermac - Saunier Duval). He rode his heart out, taking long, lonely pulls on the front after his Sidermac domestiques burned themselves out in chasing Simoni. He ended up losing his Pink Jersey by a mere 2", which may be a blessing in disguise: Simoni's Saeco squad will now bear the burden of defending the Jersey for the next couple of days, giving the Caldirola boys a chance to rest. Garzelli took it in the shorts today, and if it hadn't been for Casagrande, his losses would have been much worse. However, his hard chase kept him in perfect position for the battles yet to come in this magnificent war of a Giro.
  • Pavel Tonkov (Lampre), Andrea Noe' (Alessio), and Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre). When Simoni attacked, they just sat and watched Garzelli and Casagrande make the chase, either unwilling or unable to help. They lost contact with the Garzelli group over the final climb, but were able to quickly rejoin them on the descent. Still, they were anonymous today, and lost 25" to a big rival. They really look like they are riding for 3rd, willing to let Garzelli and Simoni fight it out for the top spot. And the tactics of Lampre are still unclear: was Casagrande riding to defend Rumsas today, or was he riding for himself? Time will tell.
  • The sprinters. Cipo, McEwen, Petacchi, and the rest of the flatlanders formed a grupetto early on and saved their energies for tomorrow. With the pace and ferocity of the racing at the front, that was probably a wise move.

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