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Giro d'Italia: The Prosciutto Report - Stage 11
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/20/2004
Giro d'Italia: The Prosciutto Report - Stage 11
 
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Emanuele "Seat of his Pants" Sella (Ceramiche Paneria Margres). The young Italian made quite an impression today, attacking solo to bridge up to a break of over 20 men and then dropping them all in short order. His solo flight to the line with over 40km left put the hurt on the chasers, the peloton, and the Pink Jersey. While he wasn't able to snatch pink by the end of the day, he certainly captured the attention and admiration of the fans along the road and around the world. His victory today was daring and impressive (and dramatic, especially his trip into the grass on one descent), and tomorrow his name will be on the front page of every newspaper in Italy. I get the feeling that this is not the last time we'll be hearing his name called as winner of a bike race.
  • Juan Manuel Garate (Lampre). After struggling on the last mountain stage, the Spanish climber went on the attack in the final 20km today to drop all of the big GC men and bridge up to the chase group. By the end of the day he was only able to take 19" out of his rivals (6th place), but his attack showed that his legs are back. He clearly enjoys the steeper climbs, and there will be plenty of those in the final week of this Giro. He's currently 17th on GC at 2' 58", but I would be surprised if he didn't make the top ten by Milan, and the way men like Garzelli are riding, a top five finish wouldn't be out of the question.
  • "Mad" Bradley McGee (FDJeux.com) and Serhiy "Spellcheck" Honchar (De Nardi). These were not easy climbs today. These were some nasty, steep, painful climbs that at times hit 18%. Sure, they're nothing compared to what the riders will see next week. But on a day when Garzelli was yo-yoing off the back of the peloton on these climbs, McGee was riding at the front and attacking. His attacks didn't stick, but the fact that he went after Saeco and forced Simoni himself to chase him down speaks to how good McGee's form is right now. McGee is currently 13th on GC at 1' 58", and on Saturday in that long time trial, I would be surprised if McGee didn't win the stage and reclaim the Pink Jersey. His only real challenger should be Serhiy Honchar (De Nardi). The man who changes the spelling of his name for every race is also showing great form, and while he's been relatively quiet so far, he sits in 8th on GC at 1' 17". The time trial this Saturday is ideal for a man of Honchar's talents, and you can bet he's had that stage circled on his calendar for months. That will be the day where Honchar makes his move.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola Nobili). He struggled today on the steep sections of the climbs, getting shelled at a couple of moments when the pressure was high. He did a good job to get back on to the peloton both times, but you can bet that men like Simoni took note of Garzelli's problems with the steeper grades. I have to question his team's tactics today as well: they had two men up the road (Zampieri and Mason) in a chase that was clearly not going to catch Sella. When the Saecos were struggling to control the peloton, they recalled Bertagnolli from that chase group to help set the tempo for Simoni and Cunego. This worked very well for them. But while Garzelli was struggling off the back of the peloton, his teammates were attacking the chase up that same climb. What were they thinking?
  • Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego (Saeco). The men in red were put on the defensive today, and for the first time in the race they looked a little vulnerable. Simoni and his boys rode wisely and didn't crack, doing a good job of neutralizing the attacks and defending the Pink Jersey by the end of the day. However, they had to expend a lot of energy, and there is still over a week of racing left with the hardest days yet to come. Simoni and Cunego are still the men to beat, but today most of their rivals will draw hope from what happened out on the road.
 
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