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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 19
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/30/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 19
 
Golden Hams of the Day:
  • Gilberto Simoni (Saeco). He has dominated the mountains the entire race, and on the final mountain of the Giro the "Mountain Monster" gave his rivals another solid beating for good measure. He took the stage and pushed his GC lead past the amazing 8' mark. Also, his attack lifted the lead of his Saeco team in the Teams competition to 2' 22" over the 2nd placed Lampre squad. Simoni is riding like a champion, and will hopefully carry this form to France to challenge all comers.
  • Andrea Noe' (Alessio) Today he took time back on most of his rivals, coming across the line in 4th only 10" behind Simoni. It is highly unlikely now that he can overtake Popovytch or Garzelli for a podium spot, but he put some distance on Totschnig in the race for 4th place. He has ridden consistently for the entire Giro, and has shone for Alessio while his teammates Caucchioli and Pellizotti have disappointed.
  • Yaroslav Popovytch (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) and Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola-Sidermac). With Simoni riding away to hide from everyone else, these two have turned their dual into the main drama of the race. Popovytch started the day a mere 11" behind Garzelli on GC, and on the final climb he went all out with Garzelli dying a thousand deaths holding his wheel. Popovytch eventually dropped Garzelli, but the Italian fought all the way to the line to only lose 9" to his rival. This means that Garzelli now holds a slim 2" lead for the 2nd podium position, and while this lead will likely vanish in the time trial, Garzelli has shown his toughness the last two days fighting through his crash injuries and conceding nothing to the Ukrainian. The big question today, however, is why was Garzelli's teammate Eddy Mazzoleni up the road chasing Simoni when his team leader was struggling behind him? Mazzoleni had no hope of catching Simoni, and his 11th position on GC isn't nearly as important as Garzelli's 2nd position. Perhaps the Caldirola team has already conceded 2nd to Popovytch, even though Garzelli himself has conceded nothing.
Ham-Gazers of the Day:
  • Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner). This late in the race, it's hard to give ham-gazer awards because everyone who is left has really had to ride their guts out to get here. Especially after yesterday, when the race jury turned cruel and cut a huge chunk of riders on what proved the most difficult stage of the race, anyone still rolling along is a winner. Totschnig was the man who lost the most today, as he came across the line in 13th at 46" behind Simoni. This means he conceded 36" to Noe' in their battle for 4th, and now has a gap of 46" to make up in the time trial. He still looks in good position to pass Noe' on the final day, but he just made his job 36" harder.
 
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