In one of Sunday's Giro-related broadcats, Italy's RAI3 TV Channel casted a glance at how the Italian press covered Saturday's opening leg of the nation's number one cycling race. And below are some extracts from today's newspapers.
Needless to say, it was Gazzetta dello Sport (that are race organizers too) that had the biggest coverage of the Prologue in today's edition of the paper, with the spotlight on Brad McGee, the "Kangaroo in Rosa", and also pointing out what a difference four years make: the Aussie was "Maglia Nera" (literally "black jersey", the Giro version of the better-known "Lanterne Rouge" you can find al Le Tour) in the year 2000, when he finished the race at the very bottom of the GC, just to turn things upside down as he moved to the other extreme of the ranking after Saturday's stage. The Rosa Paper also mentioned Rebellin's bad luck in the prologue: the Amstel/Fleche Wallone/LBL winner had his saddle broken right before the start, and had to replace it with another, different one, such that also his position on the bike was different than usual by a couple cms. And this was not of help to the "waterboy" fron Veneto.
But whereas the Gazzetta prologue coverage was as excellent as usual, the same thing can't be said of the Rome-based Corriere dello Sport-Stadio. There was no mention the Giro D'Italia in the front page of today's edition of Italy's #2 sport paper, focussing on sports like football, football and ... football. Readers might find Giro news in inner pages, and they focused more on Garzelli's poor start than McGee's victory (which got some coverage anyway, of course ...). Needless to say, also Mario Cipollini's prologue suit enjoyed broad coverage on the Corriere dello Sport-Stadio pages.
Corriere dello Sport-Stadio's all-football front page was an exception to the rule anyway, with nothing like that in other significant papers. Turin-based Tuttosport had a small mention of the Tour of Italy in its front page, highligthing the warm welcome Genoa reserved to the race, and the upcoming first duel betwen Cipollini and Petacchi in today's stage. "Tuttosport" focused more than the two previously mentioned papers on Gilberto Simoni and his good (according to the paper) results: "To have the Maglia Rosa on my shoulders was a huge moral boost for me. And made me take some risks in a few turns" were words from Gibo one could read in Sunday's Tuttosport edition. When it comes to Stefano Garzelli, Tuttosport's headlines is "Riscatto sull'Appennino" (Redemption on the Appennines"); and a good performance in Tuesday's first Appennine stage, with the uphill finish into Corno alle Scale, is certainly what the Giro red hot favourite aims for, after his quite disappointing prologue. Tuttosport dedicated some lines also to the Cipo v Petacchi challenge, that could start in Sunday's leg.
Garzelli's debacle made the headlines in Sunday's Corriere della Sera (not a sport paper, but beloging to the same RCS group as Gazzetta dello Sport) too,; they also mentioned Brad McGee's great (though not unexpected) performance in the headlines, and called Rebellin's performance "impressive" and Cipo's prologue result "good". The unexpectedly huge crowd that saluted the Giro start got well-earned praise in Gianfranco Josti's Corriere article.
To some more non-sport newspapers now: Rome's "La Repubblica" daily wrote "Prima Maglia a McGee. Simoni meglio di Garzelli" (First jersey to McGee, Simoni better than Garzelli). Their Turin-based counterpart "La Stampa" had a great pic of the Prologue winner and his little daughter on the podium in its front page instead. And they also highlighted McGee's "Io vinco senza doping!" (Literally. "I win without doping") statement (or message, if you like). Back to Rome with Il Messaggero: and its "Un canguro in Rosa: L'australiano McGee Domina il cronoprologo" (A Rosa Kangaroo, Australian McGee dominates the Prologue") title.
All the above mentioned papers had different takes on the prologue, but with one thing in common: Yarsolav's Popovych excellent result got almost no mention in their articles. The Ukrainian hit the podium in last year's edition, is one of the main GC contenders this time too, and started on the very right foot with an outstanding top 3 finish, but most of the Italian press opted for different riders. But should the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago continue his excellent performances into the next three weeks, Italian media would have a different take on him for sure.