Few doubt that the guys at Mapei-Quick Step will remember this "cursed weekend" for a long time.
A weekend that began with Stefano Garzelli's much talked about doping affair continued with the abandon of their fastest (but sick) wheel, South Africa's Robert Hunter, and is about to end with another hard blow to the italian squad: the almost certain drop-out of Paolo Bettini.
In today stage, spectators certainly noticed the Cricket's problems. He got dropped, even by the likes of Marc Streel, not exactly a mountain goat, on the ascents: on climbs he would normally tackle in a completely different way.
It seems that the Tuscan, today racing in his own region, was suffering from serious muscular problems with his left calf, and that made him lose plenty of time to most riders, and will almost certainly force him out of competition. The chances to see him at the start of tomorrow's longest and undulating stage are practically reduced to zero.
A big loss for the Tour of Italy, Paolino's fans and the several Fantasy Giro players who chose him. And of course for the once dominating team of this year's Giro, which could definitively go from from heaven to hell in a couple of days, should counter-analysis confirm (as they usually do) the results of Stefano Garzelli's anti-doping tests.