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88th Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Awards Stage 13
 
By Locutus
Date: 5/21/2005
88th Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Awards Stage 13
 
Golden Hams of the Day
  • José "Rápido" Rujano and Ivan Parra (Selle Italia-Colombia). Boy oh boy, these non-ProTour teams just keep racking up the prizes. Today Rujano and Parra were the big animators of that monster breakaway of nineteen men. Parra gave Rujano a leadout over the first four climbs, and Rujano responded by racking up enough mountains points to take a massive lead: he now holds the Green Jersey with 73 points, and the nearest competitor who is not his teammate is Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros) with a mere 21 points. Parra not only rose to 2nd in the mountains competition with 28 points, but he also bolted away up that final climb to take a magnificent stage win on the hardest day of the Giro. This talented team of alpinistas took this race by the short ones today, and proved that they are a major force to be reckoned with. To top it all off, Rujano moved up into 8th on GC at 4' 23".
  • Juan Manuel Garate (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Pietro Caucchioli (Credit Agricole). These two GC riders had been having a bad Giro, until today. They worked hard with the Selle Italia boys to keep a huge lead over the field, and it paid off by the end of the day. Garate finished 2nd on the stage at 23", picked up a total of 14" in time bonuses, and now stands in 5th on GC at a mere 2' 39". For his part, Caucchioli came across the line in 4th at 27" and he now sits in 6th on GC at 3' 25". They may pay for their efforts tomorrow, but these two men both did a magnificent job today and put themselves in the race for a top five finish in Milano.
  • Paolo "Blue Falcon" Savoldelli (Discovery Channel). Despite having no teammates near him on the final climbs, Savoldelli never looked in trouble today. He sat in, stayed calm, and when the right moment came… BOOM! he took off like a shot. Savoldelli countered Simoni's blistering attack on the final climb, but once he saw Basso in trouble he dropped Simoni like a bad habit and kept on flying down the road. He eventually came across the line in 9th at 4' 00", but he also picked up 1' 08" on Basso to take the Pink Jersey. Now the "Blue Falcon" has a 50" lead on GC, and has to face his biggest problem: he didn't have a single teammate finish within thirty minutes of the winner today. While full of men who can really power on the flats and smaller climbs, Discovery is very weak when it comes to the high mountains. Add the fact that Ryder Hesjedal didn't finish the stage, and now Savoldelli is down to six men of limited climbing ability to help him defend his lead through some major mountains to come. Today's stage proved one thing: no one rider or team seems capable of controlling this incredibly difficult and competitive Giro. If Savoldelli wants to hold onto the Pink Jersey, he'll have to continue to find allies like Simoni and Di Luca. But now that he's in pink, he now has the target on his back, making such cooperation seem unlikely.
  • Gilberto "G-Man" Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) and Danilo "Nuke" Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi). Simoni went on the attack early today, jumping off the front with teammate Cunego to try to take some of the fire out of Basso's legs. The attack worked: Basso struggled to respond, and it took the work of his teammates to finally drag him back up to Simoni before the top. Then on the final climb, Simoni jumped again put the hurt to Basso. Di Luca countered Simoni, and once Savoldelli flew the coop these two riders worked together to keep the Blue Falcon in check. Simoni and Di Luca finished 10th and 11th respectively, and gave up only 7" to Savoldelli by the end. They both held their positions on GC and picked up ground on Basso: Di Luca is still 3rd at 53", and Simoni is 4th at 2' 16". Really, both of these men have a shot to win the whole thing with so many climbs left and so many twists already. More importantly, both have strong teams with serious climbers who can help them keep the pressure on both Savoldelli and Basso over the next few mountain stages. That could turn out to be the deciding factor in this wide open Giro.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Ivan "Bello" Basso (CSC). Well, it appears that TDD (The Dreaded… Diarrhea) may yet take down a major rider in this race. After today's stage, CSC director Bjarne Riis confirmed that Basso was suffering from "stomach problems" that weakened him. Basso still holds 2nd on GC at 50", and if he recovers quickly he can still win this Giro. But TDD is a fearsome foe that has claimed many riders in the past. Here's wishing Ivan a good dinner, a better night's sleep, and a healthy belly for tomorrow's rematch through some more mean, mean mountains.
  • Paolo "Teeny" Bettini (Quick Step). He went with that group of nineteen riders that attacked early on, but he eventually fell of the pace and didn't get anything out of it. The real coup for Bettini happened before the race even started: like he promised, Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) pulled out of the race to go prepare for the Tour de France. Dropping out of a grand tour while wearing the jersey of a major competition is considered bad form, but Bettini won't mind: he inherited the lead in the points competition and now owns a slim 8 point lead over Di Luca in the race for the Ciclamino Jersey. With Bettini's all-around ability and the quality sprinting form he has displayed so far this Giro, he is now the clear favorite to take that competition in Milano.
 
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