|Golden Hams of the Day|
Ham-Gazers of the Day
- Brett "Don’t Call Me Burt" Lancaster (Panaria-Navigare). The young Aussie track star finally got a big-time tour stage perfectly suited to his talents, and man did he make the most of it. Lancaster smoked the short 1.5 km course in a blistering 1' 20", earning himself the biggest victory of his road racing career and the coveted Pink Jersey. While Lancaster's stay in the pink will likely be short, his ride today has already made this a successful Giro for his team: one of only two non-Pro Tour teams in the race, Panaria struck a blow for little guys everywhere today.
- Alessandro "Rocket-Pants" Petacchi and Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo). It's going to be a long Giro for any sprinter not named Petacchi. Tosatto, a key engine in the Fassa leadout train, put in the 2nd best time today only a hair behind Lancaster. Mr. Rocket-Pants himself managed to pump those mighty thighs to a 3rd place finish. While this stage won't mean much for the General Classification, it provided a clear measure of how those men who make their money on short bursts of speed are going right now. Petacchi will likely take the Pink Jersey tomorrow, and begin to pile up those stage wins just like he did last year.
- Paolo "Blue Falcon" Savoldelli and the Canadian Disco men (Discovery Channel). Of the men with GC aspirations, Savoldelli was the clear victor today coming in 4th only 1" behind Lancaster. When Savoldelli won the Giro in 2002, he did it in the mountains and the time trial of the final week. If Savoldelli can hang with the crazy climbers like Simoni and Cunego (Lampre-Caffita) during the early mountains (big if), he just might be able pull of the biggest surprise since… well, since, last year, when Cunego won. The ride of his teammates also bodes well for the Discovery Channel's chances: Michael Barry came in 15th at 3" back, and Ryder Hesjedal was 18th at 4". Many have criticized Discovery for bringing a weak team to the Giro, but these two tough Canadians are clearly on form and ready to mix it with the best.
- Nick Gates (Davitamon-Lotto) and Trent Wilson (Selle Italia-Colombia). Well, the race had Aussies concentrated at both ends today. While Lancaster was winning and Stuey O'Grady (Cofidis) was powering to an impressive 6th, Gates was suffering along in 195th and Wilson was 197th (or dead last, if you're counting). Of course, these men are both suited for the longer, flatter stages and are invaluable members of their teams' plans to capture some stage wins. With that in mind, we'll surely see a lot of these two pulling hard at the sharp end of the peloton in the days to come.
- Unai Osa (Illes Balears). In 2001, Osa finished on the podium in Milano as his strong ride in the mountains put him just behind winner Simoni and runner-up Abraham Olano. This year he's off to a less-than-auspicious start, as he came in 183rd at 13". Sure, prologues don't always mean much… just look at how crappy Pantani was in the Prologue the year he won the Tour de France. However, even a short effort like this can show who is coming into the race with good form and who is still struggling to find some. Osa could just be saving it for the mountains; we'll know for sure by the end of the week.
For those of you who don't remember, here is the scientific language that the DP's linguistic engineers created to describe that certain aspect of the sport of cycling: ham-gaze verb: 1) in cycling, the practice of watching other riders make the race; to sit on while other riders take off down the road. 2) the act of staying in the peloton and watching the "hams" of other riders in front of you. 3) the visual aspect of going off the back when other riders increase the tempo. noun: ham-gazer. synonyms: ass-watch, rear-view. antonyms: attack, hammer.