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88th Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Awards Stage 12
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/20/2005
88th Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Awards Stage 12
 
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Alessandro "Italian Stallion" Petacchi. His team came to the front at just the right time, fought off the challenges from other trains, and gave their big gun a clear shot at the line. When Grillo jumped on the left, Petacchi easily jogged over to grab his wheel and then blew right by him. This was a dominant victory, the kind that makes Petacchi look far faster than any other sprinter around. However, this is the first time we've seen that dominance at this Giro. Maybe he's just finding his legs, or maybe the mountains have taken a bit of the stuffing out of men like McEwen. Whatever the case, it's good to see Petacchi back to his blistering best.
  • Paride Grillo (Panaria-Navigare) and Isaac Galvez (Illes Ballears). These two sprinters have been near the front in almost every sprint so far. Today Grillo finished up in 2nd and Galvez came in 3rd, proving that they have come through the first mountains stronger than many other sprinters. With lots more mountains to come this weekend, we could see Grillo or Galvez finally taking a stage next Monday when the road gets flat again. But they'll have to get by Petacchi, which will not be easy
  • José "Rápido" Rujano (Selle Italia-Colombia). Rujano has almost lapped the field in his quest for the Green Jersey. He got the maximum 10 points today to take his total to 41; that is 20 points better than 2nd place Koldo Gil of Liberty Seguros. As today's stage showed, Rujano's team has also made his Green Jersey their top priority: he had his team leader and another teammate off the front with him in a four-man break up the climb today. With such strong support and such clear pop up the climbs, I don't think anybody will be able to take the Green Jersey away from Rujano for the rest of this race. The only one who might even threaten him is Basso, and that would only come as a side effect of the Italian's quest for the Pink Jersey.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto). He came in a lowly 7th today, which is not up to par for the Little Emperor. He still holds a 7 point lead over Bettini in the race for the Ciclamino Jersey, and Petacchi still has a lot of ground to make up (4th at 22 points back). Still, the poor performance of McEwen today might indicate that he's starting to back off and save himself for his main priority of the season: the Tour de France. It's doubtful that he'll drop from the race (as planned) while wearing the Ciclamino Jersey, but I wouldn't be surprised to see McEwen soft-pedaling it a bit and hoping for someone like Di Luca (3rd at 20 points back) to take that jersey off his back before next Monday. Then again, he could decide to just have at it and try to win this competition in Milano.
  • Ivan Basso (CSC), Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi), and Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita). Their teams did a lot of work today, but these men just sat on the wheels, smiled at the cameras, and rested up for the big showdowns this weekend. With the climbs on the next two stages, the hierarchy established yesterday could be completely reconfigured. With so much still up in the air, it should be a blast to see how things shake out when the whip comes down. I can't wait.
 
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