89th Giro d'Italia - Stage 17 Interviews
Rider and Team Interviews after the race today...
Unlike some of his colleagues, CSC's boss Bjarne
Riis shared the decision to shorten the stage
"It was a pity that we couldn't get to the summit, as this would have made
for a great stage for sure. But organizers have to make the best decisions for
the riders, you know. And I think they did today".
Ivan Basso climbs on Piepoli's wheel, ten days in the Maglia Rosa and a dominant
show, but again humble and cautious statements after the race. Photo c.
After-race comments from Ivan Basso,
"I don't think I would have won the stage in case of a
finish at Plan de Corones as planned. Piepoli is a pure climber, and steep
climbs like that are more suitable to him. I'm used to ride Corones as planned.
Piepoli is a pure climber, and steep climbs like that are more suitable to him.
I'm used to ride better on easier slopes, but as I'm on form, I can do well also
in such tough ascents in this period. I suffered because of the cold today, and
because of the temperature changes: a few days ago we were racing in
temperatures over 30°C, and today it was below zero. The road to Milano? Well,
I'm happy and serene now, but there's still three tough stages left, and it
wouldn't take more than a bad day for me to lose everything; I still have to be
Vittoria Pieopoli!!! Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
Leonardo Piepoli dismissed allegations
from Basso that he would have succeeded in dropping the CSC rider from his wheel
in case of stage finish at Plan de Corones, and added a few more tidbits on his
"It's kinda ironic that I've always struggled in
weather conditions like this, that I've never been comfortable in rain and cold
... and that I just got two of my best career wins in rain and cold weather. I
wouldn't have dared to attack today if it wasn't for Simoni though. I just
couldn't think about stage victory In such weather, you know, but Gibo persuaded
me to go, he told me that I had to attack, that I could do it. So I did, and I
must thank Simoni again, perhaps even more than at the end of the La Thuile
Pietro Algeri might have been annoyed by the decision to shorten the
stage (before Piepoli's winning climb to the line at least ...) but
another former rider now in the Saunier Duval staff, the Italian-speaking
Swissman Mauro Gianetti, was all smiles later today:
"Well, Piepoli didn't even want to participate in the Giro. It took some time
for us to persuade him. But he came to the race in the best possible conditions.
Today he has waited for Simoni to tell him to go and win. Both guys are having a
good race, also Gibo who's currently sitting in third place on the GC, and could
make the podium again at Milan. I just hope that both of them are going to
continue with us (next year)".
Leonardo having his own renaissance in the 89th Giro!
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
Damiano Cunego clearly agreed with the
decision to shorten the stage:
"They made the right choice. That climb is so tough in
good weather, just fancy (what could happen) in conditions like today's. We
could have put our hobnailed shoes on and walked up to the summit maybe. The
same goes with Passo delle Erbe: we could get frozen on the ascent already, so
you can imagine what was going to occur on the descent".
Talking about the performance he had today, the 2004 Giro winner - but too
far from the 2006 podium - added that "I wish I could
snatch a victory. That would be great for myself, the team, the sponsors. But
unfortunately the opposition is very strong. I tried today and didn't succeed,
but the result I got will no doubt bolster my morale".
If the Maglia Rosa holder was serene, The Flying Trullo was pleasantly
surprised by his "rainy" victory, his
Saunier Duval team boss Giannetti was all smiles, and Damiano Cunego's morale
was boosted by today's result ...
Paolo Savoldelli wasn't anything like
that. The Falco perfectly represents the other side of the coins in days like
these, and the words he has said in front of the RAI cameras today (but it
wasn't that different yesterday) have left no room for doubt:
"I don't even try to stay with best ones any longer. I'm
not up to the task in this period. I just climb at my own pace, period. I'm
hanging on because I'm the team leader and everyone is helping me, so I think
the right thing for them is that I keep going. Things got a little better today,
also because of the weather, but - again - I cannot be true competitor, I'm
struggling all the time, I just don't have the legs. All I can do is try and
limit my losses".
Team Comments after stage 16
Historic Win for Basso and Team CSC
With a splendid demonstration of power Ivan Basso and Team CSC
took a beautiful, historic victory in the 16th stage of Giro d'Italia from
Rovato to the top of Monte Bondone.
”It was a fantastic feeling to win on a mountain wearing the pink jersey. I
think it's something all riders dream about, certainly it's always been a big
dream of mine ever since I became a pro. Of course all victories are important,
but this one will always be special to me. The team set me up perfectly, so I
was able to do my bit at the end to try and finish the job. It's really hard for
me to put into words, how I feel, and I have a very tough day ahead of me
tomorrow. But I do feel very happy with what we've accomplished today. The Giro
is far from over and I won't preconceive me winning, but today is a day I'll
never forget that's for sure,” said Ivan Basso after having won the
”What Ivan did out there today will most likely pass over into history as one of
the great stage wins in the Giro. Today he displayed some of the enormous
potential, he has as a rider. At the moment he's in a league of his own and the
rhythm, he found on the mountain today was fantastic to watch. He proved that
he's the strongest rider in the Giro and probably one of the greatest riders in
the sport at the moment. Tomorrow is an extremely difficult stage, but with the
way the team and Ivan are performing at the moment it's surely something to look
forward to,” said Bjarne Riis after Team CSC's third victory in this the 89th
edition of Giro d'Italia.
Damiano Cunego Lampre/Fondital
"Tomorrow I will try to keep on struggling, also to thanks my team mates that
today helped me": this is Cunego's comment after the 16th stage of Giro d'Italia
(Rovato-Monte Bondone) in which Damiano finished in 24th position at 4'37" from
Basso, the winner of the stage and the leader in the overall standing (Cunego is
8th at 13'55"),
Beautiful start in Rovato, birthplace of the sport director Giuseppe Martinelli,
tough final climb on Monte Bondone, during which the Csc team imposed a high
speed form the first kilometres, causing difficulties to most of the racers.
Cunego tried to keep this speed, but then went on with his pace, helped by his
The bike had to be changed today due to the change in route but this is a photo
of Damiano's bike. Photo courtesy of Lampre Fondital.
Tomorrow stage will start from Termeno and will end with the suggestive final
climb without asphalt of Plan de Corones. In order to cover this tough climb,
Lampre-Fondital's cyclists will use a with a compact (52-34) and
particular tubulars, the same used for Roubaix.