Our man Andrew Hood found himself with a little extra time on his hands Friday (okay, a lot of extra time), and so he shot a few snaps of what he called the "unique" opening ceremonies of the 2007 Giro d'Italia, which entailed ferrying the riders, support staff, organizers, officials and press to the deck of Italy's only aircraft carrier — to say nothing of a fair amount of just sitting around, waiting for something to happen. Finally, it did, and Andy sent us the pix to prove it.
With Operación Puerto eliminating defending champion Ivan Basso and potential contenders Michele Scarponi and Tyler Hamilton, the list of potential winners is much shorter. This will lead to a more uncertain Giro, but the podium is almost sure to be contested by the big four: Cunego, Simoni, Savoldelli and Di Luca.
Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre-Fondital
Giro highlights: Overall winner, four stage wins and 11 days in the maglia rosa in 2004, 4th overall in 2006 (but almost 20 minutes back), 18th in 2005, 34th in 2003.
The skinny: After being zapped by mononucleosis in
UCI PROTOUR TEAMSAg2r (F)Race numbers: 51-59GC contender: New team leader Rinaldo Nocentini (I) is most interested in winning a stage.Best sprinter: Alexandre Usov (Blr) had a top-three stage finish in the 2004 Giro. Other rider to watch: Carl Naibo (F), a late replacement, is a useful climber.Giro will be a success if: Nocentini wins a stage.Astana (Swi)Race numbers: 11-19GC contender: Paolo Savoldelli (I) is looking for his third Giro title after contending and then falling sick in 2006Other rider to watch: Eddy Mazzoleni (I) is a strong climber riding support for Savoldelli.Giro will be a
The course for the 90th Giro d’Italia offers something for everyone — but the climbs in the final week should decide the winner. The May 12-June 3 grand tour has eight “flat” stages, five “mixed” stages, five mountain stages (with four summit finishes), two individual races against the clock (one of them a hill climb), and an opening team time trial that could see a bitter battle between the top teams — with CSC, starting with world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara and U.S. TT champ Dave Zabriskie, the favorite.
Indeed, the opening stage TTT is a challenging 25.6km long, linking the
The 2007 Giro d’Italia will kick off May 12 with a team time trial on the island of Caprera, ascend the feared Monte Zoncolan — a 10.1km ascent with an average gradient of 17 percent — and finish in Milan on June 3, organizers announced Saturday in Milan.
"It will be a beautiful tour," said 2006 winner Ivan Basso, who will be racing in Discovery Channel colors next year. "It's more varied than last year and should be more open. I think it will be a spectacular race."
The 90th running of the Italian national tour includes eight stages for the sprinters, five mountain stages, another five
Tom Danielson, weakened by fever and sinus problems, ended his Giro d’Italia just two days shy of finishing but Discovery Channel officials revealed that he’ll reload for the Vuelta a España as the team’s GC rider.
Danielson, who was sitting 16th overall at 23:24 back, didn’t start Saturday’s 20th climbing stage over the Gavia and Mortirolo when his conditioned worsened overnight Friday and team sport director Johan Bruyneel decided to pull the plug on his Giro.
“He'd been suffering from sinusitis and taking antibiotics ever since the stage to La Thuile last week," Bruyneel told
Thus far in the Giro d’Italia, the key mountain stages have all featured a singleclimb at the end of an otherwise flat of rolling course. It has been apattern that’s proved perfect for race leader Ivan Basso. Every time —on the Passo di Larciano of stage 8, the Colle San Carlo on stage 13 andMonte Bondone on stage 16 — the CSC team leader has ridden away from allof his chief opponents. Indeed, Wednesday's Stage 17 would have featured a huge climb in the middle, but weather forced the eliminationof the Passo del Erbe from what was to have been the "Queen stage" of theGiro.Perhaps it will
If there was a shred of doubt about who was going to win the 89th Giro d'Italia going into Tuesday's climbing stage up Monte Bondone, Ivan Basso emphatically erased it with a dramatic statement high in the Italian Dolomites.
If Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval) was racing on pride on his "home mountain," Basso was looking to carve a defining moment in what's been a flawless and dominant performance for the 28-year-old Varenese. With just under seven kilometers to go on the steep Bondone climb, Simoni could only watch Basso and the race leader's pink jersey slip away as Basso
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) has won just about every major mountain climb in Spain, including a stage victory in the 2004 Vuelta a España, but the veteran Italian climbing specialist had never won in the Giro d’Italia.
Piepoli, 34, has spent much of his 12-year career racing in Spain and all of his wins since 1999 have come on Spanish roads. The featherweight Italian changed that with an emphatic victory in Saturday’s rainy and cold 13th stage over the Colle San Carlo high in the Italian Alps.
Piepoli was the only rider strong enough to follow Ivan Basso (CSC) when he turned on the
After the Giro d’Italia’s second long transfer, this one taking therace from Pescara on Italy’s east coast to Pisa on the west, riders wereusing the rest day in Tuscany to scout out Thursday’s time trial courseand take stock of the race before heading into the upcoming week of climbsand more climbs.
Stage 11 is a Tour de France-style time trial on a completelyflat 50km circuit around the Arno Valley between Pontedera and Pisa. JanUllrich scouted the course during an April training camp and likes it alot: “Flat and straight — perfect!” Race leader Ivan Basso predicts thatUllrich will ride a