On the eve of the business end of the Giro d'Italia, Paolo Bettini finally saved face with a nice little sprint, coming around his Milram "leadout" for a win over hard-charging Olaf Pollack. A fun finish, after several pretty nondescript hours of riding that was so flat, CSC didn't even bother to hold the front. That was left to the sprinters' teams, who were chasing an early break, and Milram, T-Mobile, and the Quick Steppers spent most of the day in front pulling back the four breakaway riders. No terrible crashes (that I saw), no changes, a nice finish, and a day of relative calm... where even a local Bergamasco rider was let to ride ahead to greet his family.
Anyway, Bettini earned his stripes, but he still managed to be an asshole about it:
Nice. If I were one of his teammates, who spent an awful lot of time trying to help him today, I'd be really motivated to ride tomorrow, or more to the point, in Sunday's finale to Milan when he'll need help again.
- While you were out: I completely lost track of the Volta a Catalunya, which apparently blew up on Saturday when Carlos Castano gave back 5 minutes, clearing the way for Canada's #1 son, David Canada. For perspective, Castano finished the day's climbs in a group that contained noted mountain goats Daniele Nardello, Fumiyuki Beppu, Stuart O'Grady, and so forth.
More roundup on the flip:
- Race reports: CyclingNews or BiciRace. Also, Pez reports on Bettini the bunch sprinter, which he is, now that most of the other bunch sprinters have dropped out.
- Story of the day, which we covered earlier, is Hoste's move to Davitamon. Eurosport has the coverage.
- Sam Abt on how only Basso can beat Basso.
- Mick Rogers talks about the toothache that ate the Giro.
I'm getting punchy now. Back to bed.