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Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report, Stage 17
By Locutus
Date: 5/24/2006
Giro d'Italia: Prosciutto Report, Stage 17
Golden Hams of the Day.
  • Ivan "The Terrible" Basso (CSC). If there were a "mercy" rule in the Giro, this race would be over. Basso put the wood to everyone—again—on the final climb. I guess there was some mercy in today's stage: the race organizers eliminated one big climb and the hardest section of the last climb due to snow. While some might say that Basso might have suffered on the steepness of the final climb, I doubt that would have been the case. As that final climb got harder, the more fewer men there were able to keep up with Basso. In the end, Basso didn't sprint for the victory and took 2nd place in the same time as the winner. And why should he try to take another stage? As it was, he increased his lead in the race for the Pink Jersey to 5' 43" over Gutierrez and over 10 minutes to the number three rider. He increased his lead in the Mountains competition to 15 points over Piepoli, and took a 2 point lead over Bettini in the Points competition. The worst part is, there are still two more mountain stages to go. This Giro is getting ugly….
  • Leonardo "Piccolo" Piepoli and Gilberto "G-Man" Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir). Another amazing stage win for Piepoli moved him into 2nd in the Mountains competition and 12th on GC at 18' 19". Simoni was only 8th on the stage, but he was only 48" back of his mate Piepoli and 40" faster than Savoldelli. This allowed Gibo to move up into 3rd on GC at 10' 34", and he is looking like a good bet for the final podium in Milano. While Saunier Duval started the Giro with their eyes on the top step of the podium, their powerful presence in the breakaways and the peloton along with Simoni's GC position and the two stage wins by Piepoli will keep their sponsors very, very happy.
  • "Handsome" Julio Perez (Panaria). He'd had a pretty quiet Giro so far, but today the Lucky man from Mexico found some of his old climbing legs. He set a blistering pace up the final climb, and pushed Basso and several other riders to their limit. In the end, Basso and Piepoli were too strong, and Perez came across the line in 5th at 28". But Perez is now finding his best form, and there are still some big mountains to come. Look for more of this magic Mexican soon, and don't be surprised if you see his winning smile on the podium at least once before Milan.
  • John "Gadfly" Gadret (AG2r-Prevoyance). The French Cyclocross Champ was at it again today, hanging with the big boys up that final climb. He finally fell off the pace, but his 6th place finish at 37" back is yet another marker of his quality. He has shown in this Giro that he will be a force in the mountains for some time to come, and if he can get into the right move, he just might make a big splash with a stage win. That would drive the French fans absolutely batty with joy.
Ham-Gazers of the Day.
  • Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel). Alas, Salvo's woes in the mountains continued again, and once again he ended up getting towed to the line by Chechu Rubiera. Savoldelli was 16th on the stage at 1' 29", and this dropped him into 4th at 24" behind Simoni and 10' 58" behind Basso. Savoldelli can still make that final podium, but his climbing legs will have to show up very soon for that to happen.
  • Wladimir Belli (Selle Italia). The veteran Italian only managed 23rd today at 1' 41". This cost him his 5th place on GC, which he lost to Pellizotti, and now he sits in 6th at 13' 00". With the gnarly climbs remaining in the race, anything could happen. Belli might even climb up onto the final podium. But with the quality men in front of him, Belli would probably have to whack somebody for that to happen.
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