Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2010 Giro d'Italia, Stage 16 Results

Plan de Corones, 25 May: The report by the Gazzetta dello Sport:

Stefano Garzelli takes unexpected control of the extremely difficult inclines of the time trial from San Vigilio di Marebbe to Plan de Corones, the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia. The Varese native crosses the finish line before Cadel Evans and Frenchman John Gadret while Ivan Basso (sixth) shoots forward to second place in the general classification behind Spanish racer David Arroyo, who keeps his pink jersey with a 2'27" lead on Basso.

Garzelli, with a "king" size grin, says: "This happened on a day that I wasn't expecting. I wanted to place among the first five, having won such a difficult and sought-after stage is like a dream. It was the best one of the Giro, and maybe the best one of my entire career. The secret? Pacing, managing the Furcia Pass well, eating and staying well fed." 16th place, (at 2'16" behind Garzelli) Arroyo comments: "I came out of this day a stronger racer. It was a test for me to understand how far I could get. Now I can say that I can start dreaming. I will fight with my team day after day to defend the pink jersey."

12 kilometres and 900 metres of a terrifying climb, with 5.3 kilometres of dirt roads and a maximum incline of 24%. The route is a ski trail, but uphill, obviously. After the initial sparks, with an excellent result by the Polish racer Szmyd (Liquigas), the hard-hitters climb up on stage. Everyone is expecting a time-distance duel between Evans and Garzelli with an eye on Arroyo to see how much the two men in classification are able to gain on the pink jersey. But then the fantastic trial of Stefano Garzelli appears out of the blue: the Varese native, with an absolutely spectacular second half, he registers 41'28" that is unattainable for the others. Vinokourov, who is not racing on his own turf, carries a delay of 1'37". Sastre arrives with a 2'31" delay on Garzelli, notwithstanding Ferrari racer Alonso is cheering him on from his motorcycle. He comes in 19th and may very well be kissing the podium good-bye. Scarponi, one of the most disappointing: the difficult final inclines, well suited to his talents, force him to slow down to the point of losing 1'07". Cunego has a 2'10" delay on the Varese native and ends up in 15th place.

Garzelli is out of reach, even for the most favored among his rivals, Evans and Basso. Evans is pedaling on his feet - as usual - while Basso is seated, calm and composed. Both are racing with the same artillery for the very first kilometres but then the Aussie gets the upper hand and closes his trial at 42'10" (a 42" delay on the time trial leader) while Basso loses some territory along the fiercer inclines and concludes his trial in 6th place with a 28" behind the world champion and 1'10" behind Garzelli. The young racer Porte holds his own pretty well but he loses 2'17" as well as second place in the classification (Basso is now in second place). Pink jersey Arroyo does even better: the Spanish racer registers a delay of 1'20 at the intermediate time mark to then gain speed and close at 43'44", curbing the damage and keeping his first place in the general classification. Basso is now right behind him at 2'27", Porte steps down to third place at 2'36" and Evans is fourth at 3'09".

Tomorrow the Giro is transferring from Val Pusteria to Val di Sole with a 173 kilometer race from Brunico to Peio Terme. The first portion is all slightly downhill, but after Bolzano the lengthy climb (18 kilometres) begins towards the Palade Pass (1st category KoM), that features a maximum incline of 16%. There is a long downhill from the peak preceding the final climb of 9.5 kilometres, not particularly selective, to Peio Terme.

Photos by Bettini

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