Tomorrow, Milan, and the end of the torture in the hardest Giro that impresario Angelo Zomegnan has yet to devise. He claims he puts a little “art” in every stage but the riders would call it “agony.”
On the day before the final day time trial, we make a few observations and ask a few trenchant questions. Trenchant because, well, we just like the word.
1 Exactly how many gulps of champagne will Alberto Contador take on the podium and how many times between now and the Tour de France start in July 2nd will he answer questions about his CAS case? And how well will he recover before the Tour? He described one of the Giro stages was “the hardest day in my career” but also said today that “I’ve won this Giro in a relaxed manner.” There’s a yin and yang of recovery and Andy Schleck must be curious how that plays out.
2 Does Vincenzo Nibali have a realistic shot at overtaking fellow countryman Michele Scarponi in the time trial and taking 2nd place? He lost 22 seconds today on the final climb — was he dying in the red zone or figuring his best shot was to save whatever reserves he still had for the tt? Pulling back 56 seconds in 26k doesn’t seem likely but it’s possible for the Shark. But you have to give plenty of credit to Scarponi for measuring his resources — we thought Nibali would be more skilled in that task.
3 A chapeau to wild man John Gadret. Who thought we’d be talking about him in the top five before the last stage of the Giro? With teammate Hubert Dupont in 12th overall and Garmin-Cervelo’s Christophe Le Mevel in 15th, this Giro had a bit of France in it. Like they slipped a bottle of Bordeaux in the case of Barolo. AG2R certainly justified their role as the only French squad with ProTeam status.
4 What happened to Radio Shack’s Taigo Machado? Team manager Johan Bruyneel said he thought Machado was ready to step up a level and perhaps break into the top 10. He’s another ten places down from that in 20th. Bruyneel was disappointed with the result but at least nothing turned up in the police hotel searches. Maybe that counts as a win of sorts.
5 We had Igor Anton of Euskatel-Euskadi as a possible podium contender. His Giro was like the race route itself — up and down and up and down. Anton won stage 14 but generally underwhelmed. Orange is a long, long way from pink.