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As you can see, this blog hasn't gotten any love in many years... But you can now find me on my site jessicatravels.com.

13 May 2006

Giro d'Italia: Going Up

Today's stage of the Giro was the first with mountains, so there were a few meaningful changes on the GC. The winner today came from the breakaway group - Belgian Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis) had only enough energy as he crossed the line to raise one hand from his handlebars and point a finger to the sky. He was spent. And the peloton, which had been steadily closing the one-time seven minute gap on the break, was coming up quickly behind him. He had just enough oomph to get to the line before the pack.

Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), last year's winner, had been hanging out in the peloton for the whole climb - near the front, but never that far up. And his team wasn't really doing any of the work, either - Team CSC and Lampre were working the hardest. So with 1km to go, Savoldelli had the legs to jump away from the field and take 2nd on the stage. He got himself a time bonus for that, too, which helped make up the time he'd lost on the team time trial. Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) both finished well; Simoni lost so much time on the team time trial, however, that he's still only in 20th place on GC, nearly two minutes behind the maglia rosa.

Danilo di Luca (Liquigas), who said before the race started that he felt like he could win this year, suffered badly in the heat and humidity. He finished in a reasonable place, but expended a ton of effort throughout the day as he kept getting dropped by the peloton and had to chase back on. He remains in 9th position on GC - it'll be interesting to see how he manages tomorrow's hills.

Oh, and how did My Boyfriend do, you ask? Ivan Basso (Team CSC) looked fabulous all day (of course) on the climbs - his team was one of the ones at the front, and they looked great. When many of the riders around Basso were standing on their pedals to get more power up the steep climbs, he remained seated, as if this were a walk in the park. He finished 6th on the stage, just outside the time bonuses, and is in 3rd overall (11 seconds back).

The leader after today is Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile) - he regains the maglia rosa after relinquishing it for a day to teammate Olaf Pollack. Gonchar was ecstatic to put the jersey back on again, pumping his fists in the air and kissing the jersey just before he got his post-race smooches from the podium girls.

And in a bit of looking ahead, Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), who was relegated to perpetual bridesmaid status during the Lance Armstrong reign over the Tour de France, is riding the Giro as part of his training for this year's Tour. He will likely not do terribly well on some of the bigger climbs in the Giro, as he's just not ready yet, but he looked quite good today. It should be a great Tour.

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