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Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 20
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/31/2003
Giro d'Italia Prosciutto Awards, Stage 20
 
Golden Hams of the Day:
  • Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze-Elitron). On today's last road stage, with most of the sprinters gone and most teams greatly diminished, it was a free-for-all full of exciting attacks as everyone tried to walk home with a stage win. When the smoke settled, Lombardi stood atop the heap with his animal-print pajamas proudly displayed on the winner's podium. Lombardi's huge counter-attack brought back Mazzoleni, and he still kept enough in his tank to take the finale with ease. "SuperGio" has shone with SuperMario out of the race; like last year, Lombardi managed to find his way into a good breakaway and take a stage win with his outstanding sprint. Lombardi is an unselfish rider who is the best leadout man around, but when he has the chance he has shown time and again that he is a winner. Another well-earned victory today for the amazing zebra-clad Italian, who provided yet more evidence that JML should see the light and include Domina in the Tour.
  • Eddy Mazzoleni (Vini Caldirola-Sidermac). For some reason, he's gone all out to improve his GC position and chase stage wins over the last two days. Today he got into the break, won the Intergiro sprint, and came in 2nd on the finish line. He began the day in 11th on GC at 21' 45", but he managed to take 1' 42" out of Wladimir Belli (Lampre) who was the man ahead of him; with his 18" in time bonuses, Mazzoleni took a full 2' from Belli to jump into 10th on GC with a gap of 32" over the Lampre rider. If he can ride a good time trial tomorrow, he can shore up an excellent top ten finish in his national tour. That's something to tell the grandkids about.
  • Lampre. Despite not being able to get the stage win for Svorada, they managed to take 1' 38" out of the super-strong Saeco squad today. Heading into the final time trial tomorrow, the Lampre boys trail Saeco by only 44" in the all-important Team competition. With an automatic invite to all of next year's grand tours on the line, Lampre will need Raimondas Rumsas to overcome his struggles in the last time trial and smoke the course to help close the gap. With Simoni safely through the final road-race stage, Saeco will likely turn their attention to the team competition and go all out for the rare triple-victory in the GC, the Points competition, and the Team competition. The Lampre-Saeco battle should be a very fascinating subplot to the GC battles in tomorrow's time trial, as the outcome will remain undecided until the last man on the road (Simoni) crosses the line.
Ham-Gazers of the Day:
  • Jan Svorada (Lampre). Svorada was the only top-level sprinter other than Lombardi left in the race. He wanted to try for the Points jersey and the stage win today, but he missed the break and his zebra-clad rival won the stage. With tomorrow's time trial the only chance to gain more points, it looks like it will be Simoni walking away in the Points jersey from this year's Giro.
  • Gilberto Simoni (Saeco), Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola-Sidermac), Yaroslav Popovytch (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago). Simoni just tried to keep his nose out of the wind and make it to the line in one piece today. He succeeded in that, and only needs to stay upright tomorrow to win his 2nd Giro. Still, he will likely go all-out both to honor the Maglia Rosa and to help his squad in the Teams competition. Garzelli and Popovytch also had quiet days as they rested their legs in preparation for tomorrow's big battle for the lower spots on the podium. Whatever the outcome, these riders have shown nothing but toughness, talent, grace, and class on the roads of Italy this year.
 
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