Giro score: Cavendish and Columbia 5, LPR Brakes 4.
Note to other 20 teams: you playing or not? The Two Team Giro continued today with Mark Cavendish nailing the win in Genoa on stage 11 and Columbia-Highroad taking back its lead over Danilo di Luca’s LPR Brakes team. Once Cavendish slid in behind his train in the final kilometer, the outcome was guaranteed and the race for second place began. Tyler Farrar and Alessandro Petacchi looked beaten before they even got out of the saddle.
Giro Boss Angelo Zomegnan is known for his creative approach to planning a grand tour. Perhaps he needs to add extra incentives to encourage the other teams to race. How about determining hotel accommodations by how each team finishes the stage? The best teams gets the Four Seasons hotels and the lower places team get the cheap motels with the lumpy beds out by the freeway? That would motivate riders. Or Zomegnan could ration the dinner for teams that under-perform each day. Half a bowl of pasta and no dessert or cappuccino in the morning. I think we’d see some really aggressive racing when riders know their meals and hotel depend on it. You want to see a successful breakaway? Make sure the rider knows that if he doesn’t ride at the limit, there’s no hot water for a shower.
Mr Zomegnan could try all sorts of ideas out: making riders walk to their hotels, taking away their team bus parking privileges, no spare wheels from the neutral support vehicle or making the riders sign in using pens with invisible ink. No mints under the hotel pillows — that sends a message. Anything to get the other 20 teams to race the Giro.
*A special salute however must go to Vladimir Isaichev of the chronically under-performing Xacobeo Galicia team for his solo breakaway attempt. He reached an 8:00 advantage before being reeled in. Get that man a nice hotel tonight and a glass of vino.