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Stage 12 Winners and Losers

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Ah, the joys of blogging, where I can make a regular event out of passing judgment on the giants of Cycling because I have a computer 6000 miles away... As for winners, besides us I mean. For a brief moment last night, prompted by reading about Coppi's exploits in "Uphill Battle," I began to curse tomorrow's time trial. The logic went, today's stage was going to be truly majestic, but tell us little, where as tomorrow's time trial will be where the race shakes out at last. And how dare some piddly 17km slope steal the thunder from two of the most beautiful climbs in all of Cycling!

But of course, the riders made the race again today, as they so often do.

  • Danilo DiLuca: Winner!

An obvious call as far as today's action goes, but there is much more to DiLuca's victory than the stage. He is one mountain time trial away from seizing control of the race. If he matches Simoni tomorrow, he will have the pole position going into the last three big mountain days, needing only to follow Simoni's wheel. Maybe the Zoncolan will prove too much, but even there, he may have enough of a lead to hang on. It all hinges on tomorrow... but he's been the strongest rider of the Giro so far.

  • Andy Schleck: Winner!

A GC threat now, just like his big bro. And he's given CSC reason to live. He should keep the white jersey with ease, though there are a lot of obstacles between him and pink.

  • Gilberto Simoni: Winner... sorta

Simoni wanted to use his team to crush the opposition... didn't happen. Then he wanted to use his own attacks to melt them away... didn't happen. Now, we're into the mountains, and he's last on GC among the contenders. Still, he showed everyone he's the best pure climber, and the road ahead looks good for him. I think he spent a little less today than Cunego and DiLuca.

  • Riccardo Ricco: mezza-mezza

Blew up and melted away from the front group, after doing his work dutifully... he then led the charge from behind, showing that while this isn't his year, it might not be far off. Of course, he helped bring Sella and Arroyo back, and both of them now lead Simoni on GC. But that will be forgotten in a day or two.

  • Paolo Savoldelli: Loser

No joy in saying so, but these climbs just aren't for him. Unless he wins the prologue next year, he's seen his last maglia rosa.

  • Damiano Cunego: Slight Loser

He clearly didn't have the climbing strength of Simoni or DiLuca, but there is more to the Giro than going up. He still leads Gibo by 0.24 on GC after punting 30 seconds in the finale. We will find out what he's made of... he fought bravely today, but he also went deeper into the tank than the others. I don't think he'll win the Giro without an amazing ITT ride... and I mean the flat one.

  • Yaro-Pop: Loser

Again, not especially fair... it wasn't his choice to flop at the line yesterday, but he rode hurt and it showed. 5' down, his chances for overall are gone.

  • David Arroyo: Loser

Another unfair selection? He has Wim Van Huffel to thank for a few of those seconds, as the former took him down in a ridiculous error on the first descent. The Giro giveth... and taketh. But the real message is that Arroyo had slipped behind the leaders by then anyway, so it's hard to consider him a favorite for anything going forth. He's still ahead of everyone but DiLuca and soon-to-be-gone Bruseghin, but he's one of Bruseghin's peers, not DiLuca's.

  • Eddy Mazzoleni: Loser!

Well, winner in the sense that he took over his team's captaincy with a ride that matched the race's best. But everyone hated how he rode today, being the only one of the first five not to do anything at all. Even Gigli didn't get panned this heavily. Bad juju Eddy...

Arguments? Other names to rate??