May 22 2005
Parra makes it 2, Basso loses.
Ivan Parra scored a second consecutive stage win for himself, Team Columbia-Selle Italia and non-ProTour teams, while Ivan Basso got shat so far off the back that he hadn’t managed to finish by the time the OLN broadcast ended. Rujano was first over the top of the Stelvio today, and all but wrapped up the KOM competition. What he couldn’t quite wrap up was himself, as he struggled for several entertaining seconds before finally getting his long-sleeve on as he crested the Cima Coppi. Emanuelle Sella bridged the gap to the winning break, ripping up that odd 53-23 gear he used. Ivan Parra apparently noticed this and cross-chained his way up the final climb, getting clear of the break before descending to victory. Ivan Basso lost any shot he had at winning, leaving it basically a two-man race between Simoni and Savoldelli, who are both former winners of the event. So what I can’t figure out is why all the other teams (today, Lampre and Domina) are pulling tempo in the grupa maglia rosa. Savoldelli has no teammates who can hang in the climb. Make him work for it in the climbs if no GC threats are up the road. Simoni’s attack today maybe made up as much time as he’s gonna lose in the next time trial. C’mon guys, try a little strategy.
Now, I shouldn’t complain about OLN. Honestly, the fact that I can even watch a European professional bike race in America is great. But man, their coverage is terrible. How do you detract from the enjoyment of watching one of the most eventful races in the world while three of the most informed and well-spoken anglophones in cycling chatter in the background? Simple; throw in stupid bullsh!t every 30 seconds, like repeated cuts to a poorly-animated screen explaining the 4 jerseys, or yet another “CYCLISM II” ad. Or, worst of all, another innane Chris Carmichael segment, with “inside tips” on fitness that wouldn’t get you a passing grade in 8th-grade gym. Plus the guy has the camera presence and teleprompter reading skills of a dyslexic leper. Fer cryin’ out loud, just let the riders and commentators do their jobs.