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Giro - Who Will Win?
By Podofdonny
Date: 5/30/2002
Giro - Who Will Win?

This afternoon's events on the cruel slopes of Folgaria Passo Coe' will certainly go down in the legends of cycling as one of the truly great days of stage racing. In what has always been a wide open race, today's events saw the race take yet another dramatic twist and has led to a nailbiting time trial on the penultimate stage.
After today's incredible stage (Click Here to read live commentary) the general classification looks like this:

General classification after Stage 17:

1 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia 80.37.11
2 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio 0.55
3 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC Tiscali 1.28
4 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre-Daikin 1.39
5 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Lampre-Daikin 3.08
6 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Team Coast 3.19
7 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 5.32
8 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 7.54
9 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 8.12
10 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 9.41

Tomorrow's stage, Rovereto/Brescia, is tough, but more in a classic one day race than a stage to lose minutes on - and there may be a big loser on the day - but it is hard to see there being a major reshuffle of the top ten. Click Here for stage details.

So we come to the decisive time trial - the perfect test of the tour cyclist - 44 .2 kilometres ending on a nasty uphill finish on the "Madonna del Bosco."

If we look at those in the top ten on General Classification as regards to performance on the 30 km time trial at Numana the results are as follows:

1 Tyler Hamilton (USA) CSC 41.21 (43.97 km/h)
4 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto 0.52
5 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Kelme 0.55
6 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 0.59
8 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre-Daikin 1.07
9 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner
10 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio 1.15
14 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia 1.35
15 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Team Coast
31 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Lampre-Daikin 2.33

The race for the pink jersey is now down to 5 men:

1) Paolo Savoldelli lost enough time in the last time trial to Caucchioli and Hamilton to be ruled out mathematically - however the man in pink at this stage always puts up an astonishing performance and the Falcon seems to be getting stronger as the race goes on.

2) Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Alessio lost 155 to Hamilton in the time trial but now leads him by 55 - last year's double stage winner, ranked at 99th in the world, has been a major surprise, and a good indication how strong a team the Alessio lads are. On the time trial he will be on his own - though I think the winner of last year's San Remo stage might have a lot to offer on this course.

3) Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC Tiscali - mathematically should take the pink jersey on the stage. But he has had a hard race (early crashes) and looked desperately tired after today's stage (as did most riders - what an incredible race this is!) - still favourite for the stage - but the pink?

4) Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre-Daikin - as Tonkov was reeling in the years, the muscle man from Irun was waiting patiently in the wings. Ever the team player, he launched his own attack only when Tonkov's victory was assured - good outside bet.

5) Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Lampre-Daikin came in a long way down on the last time trial - but now everything has changed - long odds - but he does tend to speak in terms like "The Giro is the race I love..."

What a great race this has been!

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