Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stage 20, Part II: Menchov's Sprint

ANAGNI (Frosinone), 30 May 2009 – The sign of surrender is at the peak of an intermediate sprint in Frosinone. Danilo Di Luca – who has 18 seconds to make up on Denis Menchov in the ranking - let himself be led by Alessandro Petacchi and, as always, the Russian was breathing down his neck. However, then the fixed image of the Centenary Giro changed. The pink jersey moved to the left and climbed at full speed, forcing Petacchi to pass first. The result: a time bonus of 4 seconds to Menchov and 2 seconds to Di Luca.

MENCHOV’S SPRINT — "I never expected to do such an important sprint in an intermediate sprint,” admitted the leader of Rabobank, on his ninth day in the pink jersey. “Danilo is so close that I can’t yet say I’ve won. There’s still the time trial; I have to remain focused like I have over almost three weeks." LPR-Farnese’s version of the episode reads like an admission of guilt, "We didn’t think that the road was uphill," said Fabio Bordonali. "Menchov got ahead of me. My view was blocked by some houses; there were a lot of curves and I lost my bearings," Di Luca added. Di Luca and his team’s Giro d’Italia, however, remains more than positive. "I won two stages, one in the pink jersey. I’m wearing the cyclamen jersey and I did more than many predicted. Usually getting second place bothers me, but in this Giro there were some great champions."

METRE AFTER METRE — The last act remains: the time trial in Rome (14.4 km) in the extraordinary set provided by via dei Fori Imperiali, piazza Venezia, via della Conciliazione, and the Coliseum. "Danilo has to fight up to the last metre,” highlights Stefano Garzelli.”It’s a time trial with a lot of curves, and Danilo knows how to race well in these situations." The Russian who is strong at time trials, climbs and intermediate sprints knows this. It will be very difficult to surprise him.

After the Giro we'll get back to "regular programming": everything from A to Z about Italian cycling. Stories, including cycling trip stories, for the Italian Cycling Journal welcome; contact

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