Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Giro update

OK, so things changed substantially after the hills....

We now have the following riders inside 2 minutes...

General classification after stage 10 (all links today from Cyclingnews)
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 39.29.40
2 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.34
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 1.48

We knew both Basso and Cunego would have a go on the hilly and long stage 8, and Cunego made the decisive move. Basso countered and overtook, leaving Cunego to just hang in as best he could. But it shredded the GC. Savoldelli and Di Luca had a bad day, but so did most of the contenders.

It's hard to imaging anyone taking back more than 5 minutes to overtake Basso, so let's look at the GC list after the top 3 are excluded:

Franco Pellizotti for Liquigas is a surprise just 2.05 back. Paolo Savoldelli for Discovery Channel is at 2.35, so he'll be looking to pull back some time in the mountains (perhaps on a descent?). Serguei Gonchar of the T-Mobile Team is next, then Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas and Gilberto Simoni from Saunier Duval-Prodir. Simoni could get away on a climb, so he'll be looking to peg back some time and Di Luca will be hoping to hang on the coat-tails of Basso, Cunego and Simoni when next they fly.

It's a sizable gap back to Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel at 3.31. Again a noted climber but he'll support Savoldelli unless the unexpected happens. Some other climbers lie under 5 minutes but they all have support duties for their leaders, so apart from stage wins or luck going against their leaders the best they can hope for is top 20. Which is a pretty good result in a Grand Tour!

Of the Aussies,
Michael Rogers is 33rd on GC at 9.50. He'll be looking to improve and recover some time if he can, but equally he needs to support teammate Gonchar. McGee has dropped out and McEwen is taking it day by day. He leads the sprinter's category and has 3 stage wins and a fourth place so far. Whilst he expects to pull out in the coming week he will also be hoping to claim another win when the stage suits.

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