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Posts tagged ‘Giro del Trentino’

Il Forcing: Basso Wins Giro del Trentino

No doubt he is hoping next month to see that headline alter just a tad.

The Giro del Trentino came down to the final climb of the day today, the road to the mountain town of Pejo Fonti. With the help of Danilo Diluca of LPR Brakes, Liquigas forced the tempo up the final climb. Race leader Janez Brajkovic of Astana looked lonely with no team support to be found, and soon fell off the pace. Ivan Basso needed only four seconds to take over the lead, and it was clear long before the finish line that he would claim them.

With just a few kilometers left to ride, Domenico Pozzovivo of CSF-Navigare attacked from the leading group in an effort to steal the show. Not so fast, said Ivan Basso, and the Liquigas captain went to the front. Basso ended Pozzovivo’s bid for freedom, towing Diluca and Giampaolo Caruso of Ceramica Flaminia, among others, along for the ride. Diluca outjumped Caruso and Stefano Garzelli of Acqua e Sapone to take the stage win. Basso glided in 4 seconds behind in fifth, his overall win secure. Though he missed the stage win, Giampaolo Caruso took home the mountains classification, thanks to his solid riding in the steep bits.

In his post-race comments, Diluca said that he started the race “on the wrong foot,” when he rode a less-than-stellar opening time trial. On the Alpe di Pampeago on the following day, he suffered a coughing fit close to the finish. Maybe he has allergies, or maybe it was the suddenly wintery weather of the higher altitude. Anyway, though Diluca tried during stage 3 to win the stage, he had “no luck,” and Robbie Hunter outsprinted him for the win. Today, it all went right for the rider from Abruzzo. “I finally found again the beautiful sensations of success,” said Diluca, celebrating his first win of the season. “Certainly, the victory makes me happy, but I am also tranquilo in view of the Giro.” Diluca will return home to Abruzzo to put the last touches on his Giro form.

For Basso, meanwhile, the win at Trentino marked his first victory after serving a two year doping suspension in connection with Operation Puerto. He dedicated the victory to his family who “in these very difficult two years have suffered along with me, and then, have believed in my return to racing.” Basso also thanked the President of Liquigas, his team, and his tifosi for their support (Signor Liquigas lent Basso his private plane for the trip to Liège). “I am very happy to return to victory… The open parenthesis is now closed, but its mark remains on my career and on my personal life,” he said of his suspension from racing.

Gazzetta proved quick to celebrate Basso’s victory and declared that he had not only returned to his best form, but also “recovered his credibility.” It remains to be seen, though, whether the tifosi on the roads of the Giro Centenario feel the same. In the two years of Basso’s suspension, frequent signs of hostility appeared and more than one sign read “Basso abbasso,” or down with Basso. For some fans, it may prove impossible to close the parenthesis, and all the internet posts about training numbers and blood values, will not convince them that Basso has reinvented himself into a clean rider and left behind the habits of the past.

For me, the Smiling Assassin remains a guilty pleasure. A charming rider with a beautiful style on the bike, especially in the high mountains. But do I believe his assertions of transparency? As the eight ball says, Ask Again Later.

Post-race comments from tuttobiciweb.it and Gazzetta dello Sport.
Full Stage Results.
Final General Classification.

Next time, something funny!

Giro del Trentino: Diluca Attacks, Hunter Wins

Today’s third stage of the Giro del Trentino finished in a bunch sprint, despite the determined efforts of LPR Brakes to force a split. Robbie Hunter of Barloworld won ahead of Stefano Garzelli of Acqua e Sapone and Danilo Diluca of LPR Brakes. The general classification remained unchanged with Janez Brajkovic of Astana leading Ivan Basso of Liquigas by 4 seconds. According to Gazzetta, Basso made the whole thing look easy, finishing without a hair out of place.

The climby bits came early in today’s stage, which crossed two summits in the Gruppo Sella, the Sella and the Gardena. Giampaolo Caruso of Ceramica Flaminia won the KOM on both peaks. Said Caruso later, “I have trained very well, and it is heartbreaking not to be able to ride the Giro.” Ceramica Flaminia did not receive an invite this year. After yesterday’s third place finish on the Alpe di Pampeago and today’s efforts on the climbs, he should take home the mountains classification.

But the main action in today’s race came from Diluca’s LPR Brakes team. After 19 kilometers of racing, a 20 rider break escaped, which included three riders from LPR: Gabriele Bosisio, Riccardo Chiarini, and Aleassandro Spezialetti. In a move that should have surprised no one, Danilo Diluca set off alone from the main field to bridge the 2.38 gap to the breakaway. On the descent off the Gardena, Diluca made it across to the lead group. Behind, Acqua e Sapone led the chase.

With 60 kilometers to ride, Gabriele Bosisio attacked from the lead group. Alone at the front, Bosisio survived 40 kilometers. With just 20 kilometers to ride, it was gruppo compacto. The final kilometers of the course climbed steadily at a gentle gradient. Diluca attempted to anticipate the sprint, after a nice set-up from his team, but Robbie Hunter spoiled the LPR party. Hunter won the stage, followed by Garzelli in second and Diluca in third. Race leader Janez Brajkovic and second-place Ivan Basso finished comfortably in the main field. Likewise for Giro fave Gilberto Simoni.

No one seems to have hung around for post-race comments. This is very disappointing. Perhaps something will turn up later.

Tomorrow the Giro del Trentino concludes with a jaunt up the Passo Mendola, 15 km averaging 6.5%, and finishes on a 9 kilometer climb to Pejo Fonti. The finish isn’t especially steep, just 4%, but after 214 kilometers of riding, it should smart a little.

Giro del Trentino: Climbing to the Snow

Today’s stage finished on the Alpe di Pampeago, scene of Marco Pantani’s famous win in the 1999 Giro. Random factoid: Gilberto Simoni finished second that day. Today, it snowed at the summit.

Ivan Basso gave notice that he is ready for the high mountains of the upcoming Giro. The Varesino set a torrid pace on the steep slopes of the Pampeago, whose average gradient of 8.7% is not for the faint of heart. Only Giampaolo Caruso of Ceramica Flaminia and Przemyslaw Niemec of Miche Silver Cross could hold Basso’s wheel. With 1500 meters to go, Niemec jumped free. The 29 year old Polish rider, who missed the 2007 season recovering from an accident, celebrated a solo victory at the summit. Niemac called the victory a dream come true, “Every year I have ridden strong, but I have never won.”

Basso finished 22 seconds behind Niemac and moved up to second in the general classification behind Janez Brajkovic of Astana, who took over the lead from his team-mate, Andreas Klöden. Klödie won the opening crono, but found the steep slopes of the Pampeago considerably less to his liking. “I am very happy,” said Basso after the stage. Contento, if not tranquilo. “I rode hard the whole climb, then Niemec jumped away like a spring,” he explained. All the same, he called the stage “an ideal test.” Basso looks well-prepared for the start in Venezia in two weeks time. Though his opening crono did not inspire confidence, after his hard work today, Basso trails Brajkovic by just 4 seconds. Niemac is currently third, 22 seconds down.

For some of the other Giro favorites, it proved a less optimal day. Gilberto Simoni has suffered from the flu over the past few days, and was disappointed with his fourth place finish on the Pampeago. Today’s stage passed over Simoni’s local roads and no doubt he’d like to have collected one more win on the Pampeago. Simoni finished 45 seconds down on Niemac and 23 on Basso. “This was the first test and I hoped to ride well,” Simoni said after the stage. “I did not go well, as is clear,” he concluded. Danilo Diluca of LPR Brakes finished still further behind at 1.50, but the former Giro winner believes that his form is “building.” “I am not on top form,” he admitted, but today’s stage was only the “first hard finish.” Diluca remains optimistic about his chances, when the Giro d’Italia starts in two weeks time.

Tomorrow’s stage of the Giro del Trentino is a hilly affair that crosses the border into Austria. Full results and stage information at steephill.tv.

Post-race quotes from Gazzetta dello Sport.

Giro del Trentino Preview

The four-day Giro del Trentino starts Wednesday with a super-flat 17.5km crono. Definitely one for the specialists, though it’s short enough for the climbers to survive. The rest of the race is all about mountains, anyway, so the climbers have plenty of chances for revenge.

The race orgs have posted some barely comprehensible interviews on youtube. They pretty much sound like the parents talking in a Peanuts cartoon. Basso says something about how hard the race is, the Giro is coming, Amstrong won’t be at Trentino, and the team is… tranquilo? Just guessing on that last one. It wouldn’t be a pre-race interview without some tranquilo in there somewhere.

I have a full preview up over at steephill.tv.