Well, the year's first grand tour is a wrap, and in the process has laid down a marker that will be tough for the other two to match. As echoed below, the Giro was a hit with the fans for a number of reasons, and also survived without the specter of doping cropping up, as far as we know. Maybe in a day or two RCS will announce whether there were any positive tests; hopefully that will end whatever lingering speculation is out there. Assuming there are no surprises waiting for us, the 90th Giro d'Italia may go down as when Cycling the sport struck back.
- Danilo DiLuca is the subject of a few features here and there, including this interview with CN.
- His team and personal sites are understandably slow to catch on, probably having better things to do. The Liquigas site has no text but does have pictures in the sidebar of the trophy presentation. DiLuca's personal site is current as of his Giro 2005 ride, but is still worth a look, either for the superhero graphics or the running video of the 2005 Fleche Wallonne sprint.
- Pez with the Giro-closing hat tip to its staff and some photos from the final day.
- VeloNews wins the head-scratcher of the day: their wrapup article likens DiLuca's conquest to a typical Lance effort at Le Tour, in that DiLuca, like Lance, grabbed the jersey early, let it go when he felt like it, and took it back as soon as the race got heated up. Not mentioned is the fact that Lance was an ace in the highest mountains and long time trials, while DiLuca rode defensively in these stages, winning instead on medium climbs and shorter attacks. Like Lance, DiLuca controlled the race, but IMHO that's where the similarity ends. DiLuca, for his part, thinks he won like Hinault... that sounds more like it. Right down to the old school style.
- Somewhere in yesterday's proceedings RCS announced that next year's Giro will start in Palermo. Just like it did in 1949! And 1986. Sicily has some beautiful features for the Giro to use, as one would expect.
- Speaking of 1949, Oscar Gatto won the maglia nero for last place, after American Aaron Olson blew it in the last few stages. Apparently someone was asking him about the illustrious history of finishing last. "Malabrocca... Malabrocca... I am not strong up the climbs, or in the history of cycling," said Oscar Gatto. Malabrocca was the tragic figure of the 1949 race. There's an explanation in the Buzzati book about how people would take up a sypathetic collection for the last-placed rider, which eventually became one of the more lucrative places in the GC. Anyway, for the record, Gatto is a very young sprinter on his first Giro, not a hopeless gregario.
- DiLuca now promises to race a few crits, then chill in Pescara for a week or so before honing in on his second season. He'll be a fixture in August, skipping le Tour for the DeutschlandTour and the summer classics, plus taking aim at the Worlds, where he merits the support of the Italian team, so far. DiLuca's win puts him in control of the Pro Tour jersey, which he is bent on securing this season again. His 207 points places him comfortably ahead of Davide Rebellin (157) and Alejandro Valverde (107), though if Valverde wins the Tour they'll be tied. The perverse effect of the Pro Tour jersey appears to be that you never see it. As soon as someone accomplishes something to take it over, they have to rest. Anyway, if Valverde doesn't win the Tour, DiLuca will be sporting it in Germany.
- Outside of the Giro, check out the Saul Raisin Tour de Life book due out soon.
- Finally, does this ever happen to you?