On the climb up the torturous Mortirolo, Ivan Basso had Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans had terrible flashbacks.
With the help of his young Liquigas teammate, Basso attacked, gaining three minutes on Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre and Alexandre Vinokourov. He also knocked David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) out of first place and slipped on that beautiful maglia rosa.
Meanwhile Cadel Evans was having a recurring nightmare, the one where he’s alone and exhausted on a mountainside with no other rider from his squad to help. The jersey read BMC but it felt exactly like Silence-Lotto, his former team.
Thus his grand tour hopes one again come to a disappointing end, not for a lack of talent, training or will power but simply because he’s playing solitary. A great game for a one day classic or world championship race but a disaster in a three week tour.
“It was pretty tough day. Like they’ve done all week, Liquigas was really strong and can ride a really high rhythm on the climb,” said Evans. “There’s five of them and there’s one of me.” Sadly, there’s no arguing with that math.
There’s been much talk about Evans and Basso both being coached by the same man, Alberto Sassi. According the Sassi, Evans is physically more gifted but Basso is the more mentally tough and tenacious.
The one big difference Sassi failed to mention was on display during the 195 kilometer stage from Brescia to Aprica: Basso had plenty of lime green on his side as usual while Evans rode without back-up.
In the stage four team time trial, BMC could only manage 12th place, 1:21 off the winning time of the strongest team in the Giro d’Italia: Basso’s Liquigas-Doimo squad. In a three week tour like the Giro or Tour de France the final leaders jersey isn’t often won by soloists.
We suspect the only time Cadel Evans gets any help from his team is at the dinner table when he asks someone to pass the fettucini and salad bowl. Twisted Spoke feels for a rider who’s clearly on form, but also completely on his own.
In Mendrisio, Switzerland Cadel Evans won the rainbow jersey of road race world champion with a powerful and confident attack. On Montrilo he was once again exposed as a massive talent still searching for a team as talented as he is.