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By Fabio
Date: 5/27/2002

Fassa Bortolo's leader Francesco Casagrande didn't sound like the happiest guy on earth after Sunday's TT. He hardly does even when he wins, so you may guess how he sounded after he lost more than 1'40" to Tyler Hamilton and dropped to 4th place overall. But nonetheless, he didn't sound particularly depressed either.

Interviewed by Italian TV journalists, "Big House" (English trasalation of his surname) said that "My result has been relatively good. Maybe I had one bad moment at halfway point, but I recovered in the final part. You know, I'm not a TT specialist. I expected to lose 2 and a half minutes to Hamilton, because he's very strong. As for Frigo, I thought I was going to lose 40 seconds or so, I lost a little more, but in the Queen stage I'll try to make up for the time I lost today".

"The other main contenders will have next Saturday's TT on their side, but I'll try and give it all in the Dolomite Mountain stages. The two queen stages will proven decisive".

As to his current condition, Casagrande said "It's more or less the same as before. I think that when I came to the Giro I was in a very good shape, a little better than the others I would say, but they have improved recently. Some riders can match me in the climbs, but I hope I'll be able to do something good in the coming week. We haven't found very steep ascents yet. Now the Corvara and Folgaria stages are coming, with the Marmolada and Santa Barbara climbs. We'll see further good things there."

After Garzelli and Simoni were out of competition, some thought Casagrande could already claim victory, or maybe just Dario Frigo would be able to put his lead in danger. But Saturday's and Sunday's stages proved there are two more serious GC threats: Tyler Hamiton and Cadel Evans, a great Time-Triallist and a man who showed he can do well both against the clock and in the climbs."Both may be dangerous contenders. Hamilton can make the gap in the Time-Trials, and hold on in the climbs, but on Saturday, for instance, he lost 20" in a relatively easy ascent. We'll see what's going to happen in the queen stage ...".

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