Gilbert wins Giro stage 20; Allan Davis robbed.
If they awarded a jersey for Most Frustrated Rider, Allan Davis, the sprinter for Quickstep, would be wearing it with pride.
Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) stole the last hope for the last sprinter in the Giro, snatching the win with a powerful move in the final kilometer. Talk about frustration. Davis must be feeling cursed and abused by the Cycling Gods. First, Boy Racer Mark Cavendish (Columbia) destroys any chance of winning the early sprint stages. And if it wasn’t Cavendish, it was Alessandro Petacchi (LPR BRakes). But when Cavendish bailed out before the big mountains, Davis must have thought to himself, “okay, I’ll crawl and suffer and cough blood and get the mountains and I will be rewarded on stage 20. I’ll be the only fast man left.”
That’s a tremendous amount of self-inflicted pain to win a Giro stage but well worth it. He’d be the QuickStep hero, with Tom Boonen at home with his cocaine habit. After all, what other sprinters were left? Cavendish was now on vacation with his girlfriend and doing press for his new book. Petacchi’s legs were dead from working in the mountains for Di Luca. Who was faster than him now– Julian Dean, Ben Swift? The 203k stage from Naples to Anagni was as good as his.
The only hitch in the plan was Gilbert who had his own designs. He’d also marked this stage for victory and when he came round on the first lap through town, he picked his launch point. He caught the last sprinter in the Giro by surprise. A great win for the classics rider and a catastrophic turn of events for Allan Davis, the Giro’s Most Frustrated Rider.