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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 11
By Locutus
Date: 5/21/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 11
Golden Hams of the Day:
  • "Rabid" Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo). He announced a while ago that today would be his last stage, as the mountains hit in earnest tomorrow. He was therefore extremely motivated to win, and made the perfect move in the finale: he jumped ahead of the Domina Vacanze train and went through the final dangerous corner first, his outstanding handling skills serving to launch him to his second stage win of the Giro. Even if there hadn't been a crash, his positioning likely would have won him the day. Now he's off to defend his Green Jersey for the Tour, looking in fine form and having put all of his early-season problems behind him.
  • Mirko Marini and Sergei Lelekin (Tenax). These two were the only ones brave enough—or silly enough—to go out on a long solo escapade today. With the pan-flat profile and the sprinters licking their chops, their ride was doomed from the start. Still, they gave it a good go and got lots of good publicity for their sponsors.

Ham-Gazers of the Day:
  • The climbers. Sure, they had to work a little to maintain good positioning, especially heading into that final circuit, but most of that work was done by their domestiques. Today's job for riders like Garzelli and Simoni was to wear a rain slicker, keep warm, stay rubber-side down, and prepare for tomorrow's showdown in the mountains.

Ham-Brained Move of the Day:
  • Isaac Galvez Lopez (Kelme-Costa Blanca). I really like the Spanish sprinter, but his ham-brained move in the finale caused him to crash and take out the World Champion in the process. McEwen got it right, charging ahead of the Domina train on the inside heading into that last corner and clearing them in time to lead the way with a safe line. Cipo came around his train to be 2nd wheel in the corner, sensibly going a bit wide to make it through clean. Galvez Lopez tried to jump after McEwen on the inside, but he timed it too late. Still, he kept charging on the inside, trying to beat Cipo to the corner, and he didn't actually reach Cipo until they were in the corner itself. His wheels slipped on the wet asphalt, and he slid right under the Italian legend's wheels, taking them both hard into the barriers. It was a horrible blunder and a spectacular crash. Fortunately, both Galvez Lopez and Cipollini were able to walk away. Here's hoping that both riders are feeling well enough tomorrow to continue the race through daunting climbs.
  • The Giro Race Organizers. On the last two flat stages, they have included a nasty bend in the road right near the finish line. They do allow the riders to do a circuit through the city once, which gives the riders a chance to see the corners and get their measure. Still, both finishes were dangerous and could have caused much more serious injuries than they actually did. Especially on rainy days like today, such hard corners near the finishes put the riders in the position of having to take extreme risks for victory. It may be a necessary evil from the perspective of the sponsors and the towns, but it really seems unnecessary from a sporting perspective. And can we do something about those roundabouts in northern Europe?…
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