Mario Cipollini always finds the way to make the headlines, either on purpose or not, either because of his wins, suits or ,,. the pile-ups he's involved in. And today it was reason number three: Cipo briefly talked of his "stage end" to Alessandra De Stefano: "I found Aug in front of me, then bumped his wheel, and went down. I have got bruises everywhere. A cut to my shinbone, and maybe a broken ankle. I hope nothing is broken, but I don't know whether I will be at the startline tomorrow". Thankfully nothing was broken, and a few stitches were all the Lion king "earned" from his daily misadventure, such that Super Mario will likely be at the startline of Thursday's fifth (and favorable for the sprinters) stage. Even if a definitive decision shouldn't come earlier than tomorrow morning.
Alessandro Petacchi finally put a end to his negative streak, that started after his first victory at Alba three days ago, and featured the stealing of his bike that same day, his poor performance in Monday's stage, and the crash he was involved in early today, and more : "I thought I could lose today, because after the crash I had to change my bike, and the one I was riding had some derailleur problems. I wanted to use the "11" in my rear wheel but it wouldn't shift. So I had to push the "13" in the last 300 metres, then try again with the; I succeeded this time and ... well, I don't know how I got it, but in the end I managed to win".
A victory that came at the end of a difficult stage for him: "After I went down, I thought my Giro was over. I couldn't stay in the saddle, as my tailbone was hurting. I waited a moment just to see if I could continue, and then all of sudden the pain vanished. I lost about a minute there but, with the help of my teammates, rode hard on the ascent and regained the bunch. I'm not a good climber of course, but I was ok despite falling: and in the 60 kms. afterwards I realized that my legs were still fine, so I told my teammates that I was going to compete the sprint. As you may have seen, it was a dangerous sprint, as the road was very slippery. I hope that tomorrow I will not suffer any onsequences from today's accident".
More words concerning the final kms. and the sprint, that saw the guy get a perfect leadout from his teammates. Something we are getting accustomed too. One more time Petacchi congratulated the likes of Ongarato, Sacchi, Tosatto and Velo ("Today also they set up a great train. Velo really made the difference"). And added that "To stay at the front in the last kms. of the stage wasn't easy, because of strong headwinds, but my teammates, along with the Dominas, set up a great train and rode as fast as possible to keep the peloton stretched out and avoid possible crashes". Speaking of crashes, did Petacchi see Cipo hit the ground during the sprint ? "Nope. I was told about it only after I crossed the line. I couldn't see much because my glasses were blurred with water. I just saw the 200m sign and told myself "go!"; and I did. I put forth an excellent sprint, but didn't realize what was happening behind; (even if you asked me) I couldn't tell you the point where the accident occurred. But I'm very sorry for Mario and hope he may be at the startline tomorrow".
And after being given credit by his team leader, Fassa's super leadoutman Marco Velo is also given the opportunity to talk to "Gazzetta dello Sport": "We are a great team. I know you (the journalists) always mention the last men of the leadout train, but credit goes to all riders of our team , including those who take the race into their hands when there's still 10 km. top the line. We just put the icing on the cake. but it's the likes of Cioni, Bruseghin, Codol, Gustov that make the cake".
And again "We stopped and waited a little bit after Petacchi fell, as his tailbone was hurting. But were back riding soon, and I think we showed one more time that we are a good team. We got boxed in the final kms., but I managed to take him (Petacchi) to the front, then he started his sprint, and nobody could stop him. I saw that McEwen was on his wheels, but he couldn't even come out. I took some risks, but it's part of the game in stages like this, where many a good riders want to compete the sprint, and the overall contenders rightly wanna to stay at the front in order not to lose seconds".
Gilberto Simoni had his own version of Wednesday's "hectic" sprint :"We were going very fast, also due to strong tailwinds blowing in final straight. It looked like even the "53x11" wasn't enough. Then, all of a sudden, it looked like the World had stopped turning for a second. I saw one of my teammates, Andrea Tonti, flying, I pulled the break, but it was looking like I simply couldn't stop; nonethelesss I found enough room to pass. Hope Cipollini may stay in the race, as losing him would be a big blow for the Giro".
Simone Cadamuro managed a more than excellent third place finish, but when talking in front of the RAI 3 cameras, said that: "I wasn't involved in the crash, and I think I even benefitted from it, as Cipollini was contesting for victory, and I without that I may have finished fourth. But the sprints are also a matter of luck, after all. Just look at Cipollini: he was in a good position at first, but in less than a second lost Petacchis' wheels and had to choose a different direction in order to come out; maybe his choice was good, maybe not: honestly I don't even know all the specifics. I just know that things worked out fine for me. And I must thank my team that, without burdening me with excessive reponsibilities, always bolster my morale and give me the chance to do well".
Besides Cipollini and Acqua & Sapone's Kyrylo Pospyeyev, the rider that prolly suffered the worst consequences in the pile-up, other guys that went down today were Belgian Nico Sijmens (LBK-Colnago), Holland's Jan van Velzen (Chocolade Jacques Wincor-Nixdorf), Australian Matthew Wilson (FDJeux.com) and Spain's Juan Manuel Garate and Francisco "Patxi" Vila Errandonea (Lampre).