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Giro d'Italia: The Prosciutto Report - Stage 17
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/27/2004
Giro d'Italia: The Prosciutto Report - Stage 17
 
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Pavel "Truck" Tonkov (Vini Caldirola Nobili). He has ridden like a diesel the entire Giro, sacrificing himself for the struggling Garzelli and pushing a lot of wind. Today, however, was his day to shine, as the former Giro champion stormed away from the Pink Jersey group, caught the two men in the breakaway, and shelled them hard. With the exception of Zanotti's good sprints, the Vini boys have had little to feel good about. Now they finally have a victory, which should lift the whole team's spirits as they head into the hardest days of the Giro.
  • "Mad" Bradley McGee (FDJeux.com). Yep, he was mad all right. He was penalized 20 seconds by the judges on the last stage for supposedly holding on to a car. Bradley was so mad about this phantom transgression that he almost quit the race. However, as he put it on his website, "no pissweak lying coward of a commisaire" is going to keep him from playing fair and finishing the race. Today he hung with the big GC contenders over the climbs and then beat Pink Jersey wearer Cunego (Saeco) in the sprint for third. This got him back 8", and also probably a measure of satisfaction. With Figueras bonking today, McGee also moved up into 5th on GC at 4' 04". He'll probably slip a bit more tomorrow, but McGee is looking like a lock now for the top ten in Milano.
  • Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola Nobili). The climbs weren't that hard today, but Garzelli seemed to finally find his legs. He launched a few attacks, and while the day belonged to his teammate Tonkov, Garzelli started to show some signs that he might actually become a factor in this last week of this Giro.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Giuliano Figueras (Ceramiche Paneria - Margres). Well, he is either sick or he just had a really bad day. On the big climb of the day, Figueras dropped anchor and ended up falling back to the group that contained the sprinters like Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) and Rodriguez (Acqua & Sapone). He ended up in 119th at 13' 53" for the stage, and fell from 5th on GC to 21st at 14' 45". He can still recover and threaten for a stage win, but his GC hopes are over for this year.
  • The Sprinters. Guys like Petacchi, Rodriguez, Murn (Phonak), Furlan (Alessio), and Pollack (Gerolsteiner) are sticking it out so far. They ended up 13' 53" behind Tonkov today, but the real test will be tomorrow with the ascent of the dreaded Gavia Pass in the middle of the stage before an uphill finish on the Bormio. It's only 118km long, but tomorrow's stage will likely claim a lot of men as they finish outside the minimum time. The sprinters who survive can look forward to the ride into Milano, where they will get to lock elbows once more in their final bid for glory.
Grazed Hams of the Day
  • Tadej "Mahal" Valjavec (Phonak). The Slovenian Champion hit the deck hard today, but he came back and still finished in the Pink Jersey group (19th at 2' 49"). Quietly, the man who helped Tyler Hamilton win the Tour of Romandie has snuck up into 10th on GC at 5' 40". Valjavec is a strong climber, and he's far enough back that the big men might not chase him if he attacked for a stage win. If he can shake off the effects of his crash, he could end his Giro by making a lot of noise before the final ride into Milano.
 
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