Saturday, May 29, 2010

Titantic battle on Mortirolo shows Liquigas team clearly strongest - again - I blame the ToC

It's been a great Giro, full of drama - and it's not over yet. But I can't help feeling that it could have been better if the teams had been on a more equal footing. To me Liquigas looks strongest and has acted tactically and strategically as though they want to win. Whilst Evans, Vino and Sastre have had to rely on individual brilliance to stay in - or out of - contention. Now I can't blame Liquigas for bringing the strongest team, working with other Italians or choosing a strong combo like Basso and Nibali, but it does weaken the competition overall. To me the simultaneous running of the Tour of California overly distracted the other teams and caused a split of resources - not just riders but of all resources - that has dented the Giro and made it both wonderfully diverse and pathetically predictable at the same time. Diverse in the individuals who have made it happen, predictable in that the "super team" will win. I hope I'm wrong (much as I'd like to see Basso win) but I just feel it's become  a race for the minor places. Still better than Le Tour but way less exciting than it could have been. Oh well, who knows - tomorrow's horror stage may indeed be the bloodbath when the weaker teams get away.

Giro D'Italia: Stage 19, Route Maps & Results |
Ivan Basso blasted open the 19th stage and the Giro d'Italia itself, shedding his rivals on the Motirolo with the help of his Liquigas-Doimo teammate Vincenzo Nibali, and donning the maglia rosa for the first time since 2006. The third man in the group, Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli – Diquigiovanni), took the stage win..

The attack from the Liquigas pair took place on the day's biggest climb, the Mortirolo, with over 40km and another unclassified hill-top finish still to go. One by one, the morning's leader David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Cadel Evans (BMC), Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) and Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) were ridden off the train, while only Scarponi could hold the pace of Basso and Nibali.