Y’know what? This Giro would be a damned interesting race if it weren’t for a certain CSC rider all Lance-ing up the GC race. I mean, think about it – you’d have Jose Gutierrez about two minutes up on Savoldelli, who would in turn be 2-3 minutes up on like 5 different guys. Gutierrez has never been anywhere near the level he’s at now; would he crack like Nozal at the ’03 Vuelta, or go on to triumph like Cunego at the ’04 Giro? And Paolo’s allergy problems would sound less like an excuse (though I don’t think il Falco is the type to make excuses) and more like the promise of some exciting racing to come. I know few remaining stages are tough, but with two of the most prolific climbers gone, this race is starting to feel as finished as the ’02 Tour.
What’s that? You don’t believe me when I say that removing the lead contenders will make for a more exciting event? Just look at the Giro points competition, or the results from today’s stage – each “sprinters’ stage” is anyone’s race to win, and if Savoldelli does come around in the final week, he could end up taking home the “sprinters’ jersey”! Of course, the thrill is deadened somewhat by the knowledge that it’s just a bunch of b-listers out there desperately trying to make hay while the sun shines, but c’mon, you all enjoy watching “American Idol”, right? For Anglophonic audiences, Giro-watching even carries over the constant blather of highfalutin Brits.
One last, unrelated item today (lunch blogging limits my research capabilities) – Scott Sunderland attempted to score some points with Cervelo by hocking their bikes in his diary entry. I could point out how ludicrous it is to simply add “lead weights” to the fame instead of puting those 200 free grams to good use, or I could criticize him for paraphrasing Tour magazine’s article without listing any data. But what really hit me was his comment about “smooth Italian roads”. Mr. Sunderland better hope Stuart O’Grady doesn’t read his online diary, or, for that matter, Bjarne Riis; if this mess were two days off, and my assistant DS called Italian roads “smooth”, I’d fire him. Granted, things have improved a bit since that photo was taken, but lest we forget Angliru ’02 and Oslo ’93, steep grades, fresh pavement and frequent rains do little to improve cycling conditions.