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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 16
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/26/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 16
 
Golden Hams of the Day:
  • Alessandro "Imhotep" Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). Another impressive victory in what is becoming a legendary Giro for the Italian. As Pod noted in our live coverage, Petacchi looked like a mummy with all the bandages he had on the left side of his body today. His left knee and arm (and the left side of his back, which had a huge patch of road rash) were heavily bandaged after his big crash yesterday. It was a miracle that he even made it to the finish today, but he not only finished, he won the sprint. His teammates busted their butts all day to set him up, and Petacchi delivered the goods with his 5th stage victory, one short of Mario Cipollini's 6 wins of last year.

    Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze-Elitron) led the peloton through the final corner, with his teammate Bennati right behind him and Petacchi third wheel. The leadout was perfect, and Bennati had a clear shot right up the middle of the road at the finish line. Petacchi easily came around him on the left as Jimmy Casper (FDJeux.com) dove around on the right and Jan Svorada (Lampre) came up the barriers on the far left. Petacchi won easily ahead of Casper, Svorada, and Bennati, and as he crossed the line, Petacchi only lifted his arms a bit to the side like a sagging 747…it looked like he was going to lift his arms all the way over his head, but the scabs on his heavily bandaged back probably prevented that. He will now have a day to recover––I hope he sleeps on his right side—and prepare for another flat day on Stage 17. Today's victory shows once again that when SuperMario retires, the Italian sprint crown will rest on Petacchi's very deserving head.

Ham-Gazer of the Day:
  • Gilberto Simoni (Saeco). The Maglia Rosa finally got a day off after a hard day in the mountains and an excellent time trial. All he had to do was sit in the slipstream of his very strong team and stay out of trouble. He will have a rest day tomorrow, and then another day watching his teammates' hams on Stage 17. The race isn't over, but it will take something extremely dramatic to take the Pink Jersey from Simoni now.
 
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