Simoni Takes Zoncolon, DiLuca Stays Pink, ASO Still Clueless

May 30 2007

Monte Zoncolan – need I say more? I’m not sure why people would build roads on such a thing, or where you would find engineers perverse enough to design them, but they’re there, so why not race bikes up them? Giberto Simoni put in an 11th hour attack in his 4th consecutive Giro, and for the first time, came away victorious. Not as victorious as he would have liked, of course, since maglia rosa Danilo DiLuca lost only 30 seconds in the end, but at age 35, Gibo is probably satisfied with whatever wins he can get.

Leonardo Piepoli continued to solidify his lead in the “best teammate ever” classification by handing away yet another stage win, while the magic Breathe-Right strip failed Giro surprise Eddy Mazzoleni at the critical moment. DiLuca now enters the final TT with a healthy 2:24 margin on CSC’s Andy Schleck, which most would say guarantees DiLuca the GC win in Milan. But let’s keep in mind that a lot can go wrong for a climber in the Race of Truth, and that, according to the ads, Schleck the younger is the future of cycling.

Schleck’s manager at CSC, Bjarne Riis is certainly part of the past of cycling, and may soon be history. With all the clarity and concision of an Alzheimer’s patient, ASO President Patrice Clerk insisted that, though he has “no interest to work together” with Riis, the Dane should “explain the secret of his success” and that his team sponsor should do something as well. What, if anything, Clerk actually meant may never be known – either because of the Frenchman’s impending senility or Cyclingnews’ fading ability to put a news blurb together. There’s been a bit of attrition there recently.

Whatever the sport’s oligarchs may or may not think, the riders don’t seem especially bothered by the revelations. Dave Z didn’t even mention Riis’ confession in a recent interview, and Dario Cioni seems to think that the peloton is changing its ways, partially as a result of confessions and convictions in recent years and months. Perhaps the old model of waiting for riders to test positive, and then suspending them from riding really does work – at least most of the time.

Indeed, the riders seem more concerned about politics than performance enhancers, with Stefano Garzelli stumping for more wild cards in the Grand Tours. Certainly, would agree – the TdF just chose its lucky three, and the star-crossed Swedish outfit found itself snubbed, despite a remarkably successful spring campaign, in favor of no-result French squad Agritubel. But hey, if the sponsor can’t even spell “company” right on their webpage, their cycling team must be gangbusters, right?

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