After announcing that he saw today’s today’s stage as “an appetizer” (that’s “anitpasto” en italiano), Gilberto Simoni rode it as just that; not a filling meal, but certainly enough to whet his appetite for later. While Ivan Basso came back from the dead to claim the stage (a much easier thing to do when you’re 42 minutes down on GC…), Gibo, along with Wim Van Huffel and Jose Rujano (remember when he was just a KOM contender?) left maglia rosa Savoldelli behind with 6k to go. Il Falco kept his fast-becoming-trademark cool, and lost just over 40 seconds, leaving him a slim 58 up on Il Ragno (“The Spider;” ie, Simoni). Not so lucky was the reborn DiLuca, who lost nearly 3 minutes, dropping him to 4th overall, all but out of contention.
Tomorrow’s TT would seem to favor Savoldelli, but the parcours is hilly enough that any of the remaining contenders could make it interesting. GOSH! I am excited! The Giro is like these every few years; you’re lucky if the Tour gets this interesting once a decade.
Only one bit of random other news today. The only American ProTour squad, Discovery Channel, announced its roster for the USPRO Championships today. The selection of 10 riders contains all of three Americans; Epstein-Barr stricken Mike Creed, career domestique Tony Cruz and former Tour de Georgia stage winner Pat McCarthy. With proven European professionals Max VanHeeswijk and Leif Hoste on board, it seems unlike the D-men will be pursuing the Stars and Stripes Jersey. This is in stark contrast to France, where last year, Brioches la Boulangere (nowadays known as Bouyges Telecom) threw 14 guys into the French National Championships, in hopes that one of them would win the maillot tricolor and give their team some relevance. The end result: ever heard of Thomas Voeckler? Yeah, that Thomas Voeckler. National Champs Jerseys tend to bring out the best in riders; maybe DC should take Wachovia a little more seriously.