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Sacchetto ... and Stage 19

So the Giro d'Italia boils down to seven more hours of dreaded mountains, with Ivan Basso on cruise control (if such words can describe any new father) and Jose Gutierrez gamely hanging on to second place as the ex-champs start circling like vultures. Damiano Cunego has almost 8 minutes between himself and Gutierrez, so he'll be settling for fourth at best unless he runs away and hides tomorrow. Meanwhile, third-placed Gilberto Simoni needs to find 4:30 tomorrow to move up a podium step. The wildcard is that Gutierrez, whose lack of resume makes his placing a shocker, dug awfully deep today. As we know, grand tours aren't merely about who can climb but who can keep climbing, keep bouncing back, for three weeks.

  • Too much happening at the Tour of Belgium, I'll do a separate post.
  • T-Mobile archives the Bayern Rundfahrt so I don't have to. Sprints today, ITT tomorrow to decide who wins.

More news (a/k/a drugs) on the flip

  • OK, the drugs... Information is still sketchy, but Eurosport files an update.
  • Other big news is Ullrich's departure from the Giro near the end of today's stage. Anyone watching saw this coming, and the good news is it's not a knee problem. The always-candid T-Mobile site gives a litany of reasons, all boiling down to "saving it for the Tour," which sounds more sensible than the back tightness (a/k/a lack of fitness) cited by Pez.