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Giro d'Italia: The Prosciutto Report - Stage 13
By Locutus
Date: 5/22/2004
Giro d'Italia: The Prosciutto Report - Stage 13
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Yaroslav "Jiffy Pop" Popovych (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago). He had the best time on the course after the climb at 29.8km, and he held on over the flat section to finish in 3rd only 34" adrift of Honchar. This was enough for the Ukrainian Popovych to snatch the Pink Jersey by a mere 3" over his compatriot Honchar. It also announced that he is ready to seriously challenge for the top of the podium this year in Milan. Simoni, Garzelli, Cunego, Pellizotti and the rest of the climbers had better take some serious runs at him in the mountains, because he's in dynamite form and now has a substantial (though clearly not insurmountable) lead in the GC.
  • Serhiy "Spellcheck" Honchar (De Nardi). Sergei, Serhei, Gontchar, Gonchar, Honchar… however you spell this Ukrainian's name, he went out and pounded the course to take another impressive stage win in a Giro time trial. He fell just three seconds short of taking the Pink Jersey, and you can bet he'll battle his compatriot Popovych for the next few days to try to eliminate that deficit before the big mountains. While he'll surely lose time to Simoni and the pure climbers in the mountains, Honchar is now a good bet to finish in the top five in Milan.
  • "Mad" Bradley McGee ( Bradley continued his excellent Giro with a 2nd on today's stage. McGee tends to excel in time trials between 10-30km, but on today's longer course he showed how he's improved as he finished only 18" behind the specialist Honchar. Going into the final week of the Giro, McGee is in 3rd place at only 1' 02" behind Popovych. While he will likely fade in the deep mountains, with the form he has shown so far, he may just be able to sneak into the top ten in Milan. Who would have thought that McGee would turn into a Grand Tour GC threat? This is clearly the result of a lot of hard work, and it's good to see such an effort pay off for such a nice guy.
  • Franco "Goldilocks" Pellizotti (Alessio-Bianchi). He rode the best time-trial of the climbers, coming in 9th on the stage at 2' 18" behind Popovych. This put him in 5th on GC at the end of the day, only 1' 32" behind Popovych and 5" behind Simoni. With McGee and Honchar in front of him on GC, Pellizotti has a serious shot at the podium in Milan. With his climbing skills, he is now in position to even challenge for the overall victory.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Damiano "The Omen" Cunego (Saeco). The young guy gave it everything he had, and he finished the stage 23rd at 3' 02". He lost the Pink Jersey, and he now sits in 6th on GC at 1' 48". He will now focus all his energy on helping catapult his teammate Simoni into Pink in the mountains to come. While he didn't win the battle today, Cunego has shown with his two stage wins and six days in pink that he will be a major force in the campaigns to come.
  • Alessandro "The Great" Petacchi. I just wanted to point out that Petacchi didn't win today (he was 53rd at 4' 23" behind Honchar), because he will probably win on the relatively flat stages tomorrow and Monday. He's gunning for the modern record for stage wins in a single Giro, and it will take something special from the other riders to keep him from getting it.
Grazed Hams of the Day
  • Gilberto "Mountain Monster" Simoni (Saeco). He was setting a good time at the first check (6th at 11"), but then his crash really took the wind out of his sails. Like the great champion he is, he rallied and limited his losses by the end of the day. He finished the stage in 15th at 2' 31", and he is now 4th on GC at 1' 27". Last year, Simoni took out his big mountain stick and beat his rivals into submission when the grades got steep. Simoni will have to recover from this crash quickly as the big mountains hit on Tuesday. Then, I fully expect him to take out that mountain stick again and whack his way into the Pink Jersey before Milan.
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