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88th Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Awards Stage 4
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/11/2005
88th Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Awards Stage 4
 
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Baden "Capo" Cooke (FDJeux.com). My my, the Australian-Italian War of 2005 took another very dramatic turn today. After Lancaster took the first Pink Jersey, then Bettini surged to take the prize for Italy. Then the Petacchi/McEwen rivalry heated up after allegations of the Aussie Champ using suspect tactics to box in the Italian star while taking the Pink Jersey. Then today, Bettini—once again in the Pink Jersey—took that left turn on the way to the finish line that sent Cooke somersaulting off the barriers. Cooke had ridden the perfect race, and was in the process of coming around Bettini to smoke him in the sprint. Then BOOM! an irregular move by Bettini costs him the race. Bettini's attempts to apologize were testily rebuffed by Cooke, and then the war of words between the Italians and the Aussie Sprint Mafia took it up another notch. Tomorrow is another day for the strong men, so the sprinters will have a rough go of it. However, there are hard feelings all over the peloton now and the serious "flicking" will be sure to escalate in the days to come.
  • "No Di" Luca Mazzanti (Panaria-Navigare). So a funny thing happened on the way to the finish line: Mazzanti made an excellent move, but was coming up short at the finish. Still, he was riding hard for that 3rd place. Then Cooke crashed, Bettini was relegated, and huzzah! Mazzanti became the stage winner. Veterans will tell you that you never give up in a race, and this is a good example of why: Mazzanti could have totally sat up once it was clear that Bettini and Cooke were going to beat him to the line. But by pushing it all the way home, Mazzanti put himself in position to benefit from an unexpected turn of events. Make no mistake: despite the great ride put in by Cooke and Bettini, this was a hard fought and well earned victory, and Mazzanti deserved to pop the cork on the champagne.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) and Juan Manuel Garate (Saunier Duval-Prodir). These two GC riders were the biggest losers in the chaos of the final kilometers today. Both men were caught out by that crash, and were stuck in the 2nd group on the road that finished 43" back of the winner. This means that both riders gave up 39" to men like Cunego, Simoni, Garzelli, Basso, and Honchar. This will hurt down the road, as in a Giro with this many talented GC men 39" could spell the difference between two or three places on GC. Both Savoldelli and Garate will have to rally in the mountains to come.
  • Alessandro "Heavy Sigh" Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo). The stalwart Italian stud keeps hanging in there, today finishing in 20th at 4". He hasn't hit the jackpot yet, and the pressure continues to mount on the man who won almost half of last year's stages. Tomorrow doesn't look promising either. If Petacchi can just remain patient and keep his head up, the wins will come. But that won't be easy with the increasing scrutiny and the growing acrimony amongst the riders.
 
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