Danilo Di Luca talked to the RAI journalists both straight after winning the stage and minutes later: "we were a strong team today, with 4 guys (Di Luca himself plus Cioni, Garzelli and Noé) on the front. Garzelli was our man for the sprint, but things turned chaotic in the last 600m. and I happened to be on the front - with Bettini on my wheel, perhaps I even hampered him - so I made my own bid at winning, and things went well. Good for me, but also for the whole team: we did a great job, hope we may continue like that. It's a pity that Koldo Gil had a mechanical when he was off the front on the climb, but we were so strong today that we would have reeled him afterwards anyway".
Di Luca also hopes that the battle between himself and Bettini - currently tied - may continue into the next stages, maybe with both guys winning on their respective "home soils", Danilo in the stage finishing at L'Aquila and Il Grillo at Pistoia in his own Tuscany, but also sounded well aware of the fact there's many other riders both guys should watch out for.
Di Luca's uberdomestique Andrea "Brontolo" Noé: Today's action has been planned before. Someone thought Di Luca was a "done rider", but he doesn't look a "done rider" to me. We came here with the intention to win, and Di Luca knows that. We were given the opportunity to lead him to victory today, and we had a good ride. I think we deserved the win, and I'm happy for him as well as for the whole team. And I'm also happy that Paolo (Bettini, Noé's former teammate at Mapei) clinched the jersey. He certainly deserves that".
Paolo Bettini wasn't that satisfied immediately after crossing the line today though. And who can blame a man who didn't get higher than sixth in the stage ranking, and ... wasn't aware of having just taken the overall leader's jersey back? It sounded like he was accepting his defeat anyway: "Things have not gone well for me today. Perhaps I got boxed in the sprint, but I don't want to stir up any controversy. Perhaps it was my fault, as I mistook the last turn, and Danilo (Di Luca) was smarter, he came out of the last turn at the front and won. Cycling is like that after all, you know ...".
Interviewed minutes later, after he finally got to know that he'll be wearing the Maglia for the second time so far in his career, Il Grillo was a more smiling person. He praised Di Luca and his Liquigas teammates, with whom the Quick Step guys worked well together - a lot - during today's stage, and even if he regretted one more time the way he mistook that last turn - a mistake that might have costed him the stage victory - added that "things can't go well all the time, after all. I did well at Tropea, and won the stage; I made a mistake today, and didn't win". But also admitted that things went very well when it was about recapturing the jersey, which - Il Grillo confessed - he'll try and defend over the next stages, going for some bonus seconds whenever possible, and for a good result in the difficult stage finishing at L'Aquila, with having the Maglia Rosa on his shoulders as the Giro hits the roads of his home region Tuscany as his main goal.
Four days into the race, we could finally see the reigining champion come out and look to regain the spotlight, or more simply go for the line honors. And perhaps not just that, 'cause as Gazzetta dello Sport reports, after he crossed the line the man immediately asked whether he had taken the Maglia Rosa. Had this very motivated version of Damiano Cunego succeeded in his bid for stage victory, it wouldn't have been the first time, as we already saw the wonderboy from Verona dominate in more than one small bunch sprint, both in Giro d'Italia stages and elsewhere, the last time being as he opened his 2005 account at the recent Tour de Romandie about a dozen days ago. But this time he found a certain Danilo Di Luca, and his current sensational form, on his way. The Lampre leader (co-leader?) in fact gave the stage winner a serious challenge and got close to come around him in the last metres of what started as a one-man show and turned out to be a very close sprint, but eventually had to settle with second place only.
Cunego wasn't too satisfied with this result, but nonetheless quite happy about his current form "Danilo comes from a great spring campaign, he's gone very fast. But my legs were also good today, so I had a shot at winning the stage. I did something wrong though, and found myself with no teammates around in the last km. Sometimes in the past, I managed to get out of situations like this, but today I couldn't. I gained several places and came close, very close, but Di Luca had taken too much of an advantage before, and in the end it's the rider that crosses the line first who wins. I've had positive signs (about my condition) anyway, even if the real Giro hasn't really yet started. But I'm not complaining, both myself and Gibo are in good form, and we've got a good team too. Sure that if we were given any other chances (like today), we shouldn't waste them".