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Gossip dello Giorno

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Salita edition!

Franco Pellizotti has renewed his contract with Liquigas. He will wear the blue and yellow stripey kit for another two seasons. Dario Cataldo, who won the U23 Giro in 2006, and Alessandro Vanotti have also renewed.

On today's post-race show, we learned how Bettini signals for a potty stop, with a little leg shake. This is truly vital information for every Giro fan. Would it work on the local group ride? Only if you have a rainbow jersey.

Of course, everyone who is not living under a rock knows that Andrea Moletta is out of the race thanks to his father's decision to drive about Italy with 82 packets of viagra and assorted doping substances in the back of his car. Papa Moletta claims he was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. Indeed. Here at the Gossip we can not condone such activity. But we also can't help wondering, did Moletta finally meet the podium girl who nearly sent him to his knees last week? And did he perhaps need a little assistance? After all, stage racing can be a little rough on the, erm, hormones. Basta with Moletta and his troubles. We have far more important matters to consider.

For all eyes now turn to the high mountains of Italy. RAI's Andrea Fusco on the processo stole Simoni's line: Tomorrow begins the real Giro. We hardly needed Fusco's help, since Simoni himself looked unabashedly gleeful at the thought of all those mountains. Mmmm, mountains. Very large, thoroughly steep, and profoundly unforgiving mountains. The last time the Giro climbed the Pompeago, Simoni beat Garzelli by 35 seconds. This was 2003, for those playing along at home. Can he repeat this feat? Rebellin seems to think so, though Rebellin has decided not to stay around to find out. He leaves the race tomorrow. For his part, Simoni says that he is getting better day by day, while others, whom he refused to name, are "running out of gas." (The Gossip thanks Malabrocca for this so very vital bit of smacktalk.)

But Pantani has also won on the Pompeago, and surely Ricco will want to emulate his idol's feats. Really, Ricco's fetish with il pirata borders on the creepy. The Ego will rely on the services of Peeps, but speculation abounds as to just how well Peeps will climb after he mixed himself up in the caduta with Visconti on the way to Cesena. According to an interview in Gazzetta, the two easy stages have helped him recover, and he expects to be "quasi-bene" on the Pompeago. He also said, without giving names (C'mon Peeps, spill it!), that his team leaders are not always thankful for his hard work on their behalf. Nonetheless, he remains a dedicated gregario to Ricco, and rides "not for the newspapers or for the television." "I am strange, eh?" "I ride for my friends, who after a stage... tell me 'bello corso, bravo!'" Should Ricco not have the legs, Peeps would love to chase a stage of his own. Perhaps on the Corones he will have his chance.

Who's afraid of the Big, Bad Ego? Not Alberto Contador. The Accountant said today, "Ricco does not scare me." But Simoni? "Yes, because of his experience." Contador was among those who lost 13 seconds at the conclusion of today's stage. The Gossip feels certain that he will not miss them after tomorrow's adventures. Klodie shares his team-mate's disdain for the Ego, saying that he "talks too much." "Ricco is not a champion, and will not win this Giro," said the German turned Swiss. Apparently to escape the German press, Klodie has moved to Switzerland, where he lives down the street from good friend Jan Ullrich. Who is this Jan you speak of? The Gossip is being forgetting. Klodie also loves techno, supports Bayern, and is a fan of Bode Miller. We hear his favorite color is blue.

In other Klodie-related news, he says he never called CSF a bunch of doperz, and really, he's very, very sorry. At the time of the Richeze positive, Klodie commented that some teams have better internal controls than others. The CSF DS took offense and threatened to sue. Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean it. One tidbit to emerge from this particular DRAMA came from Gazzetta journo Claudio Gregori, who tells us yesterday on the post-race show that Klodie told him that Rebellin had only submitted to one doping control the entire season. It must be true, Klodie said so. Talk about secondhand information. Though we love to revel in such (slightly) sordid details here at the Gossip, we can't help but wonder how it is that Klodie knew such a thing. Perhaps he also lives next to Rebellin.

The first 7-8 km of the descent off the Passo Menghin is Savoldelli territory (If Savol misses his chance on Saturday, the descent off the Passo Giau is also more than worthy of his talents. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.) In 1999 when the Giro last rode the Menghin, Savoldelli attacked on this very descent. He was caught on the lower slopes, which become significantly less "insidioso," which it must be admitted is one of the Gossip's newest most favoritest words. That year, Pantani went on to win the stage on the Pampeago, which with an average gradient of 9.9% is truly the territory of the scalatore puro. The Wisdom of the Internet, which the Gossip always takes very seriously indeed, suggests that only a very small, elite grupetto will reach the summit together.

Certain not to be among them is sprinter Mark Cavendish, who hopes merely to "survive" the mountain stages. During today's sprint, Benna left the gate wide open for Cavendish to sneak up along the barricades. Would Cavendish do the same? Not necessarily, said the cheeky Brit.

In weather-related news, it has been snowing on the Pordoi. Also, predictions call for 0 Celsius above 3000 meters. Dudsmak.

That's all from the Gossip for today. Almost we are sad to see the mountains, for it means less podium time for our favorite sprinter, who is oh-so-easy on the eyes. :-O~........

à presto!