Tschopp Wins Penultimate Giro d'Italia Stage and Ivan Basso Keeps Overall Lead

News & Results

05/29/2010| 0 comments
by Reuters and Roadcycling.com
Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Tschopp Wins Penultimate Giro d'Italia Stage and Ivan Basso Keeps Overall Lead

Ivan Basso leads the 2010 Giro d'Italia ahead of David Arroyo Duran, Vincenzo Nibali, Michele Scarponi, Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Alexandre Vinokourov, and Carlos Sastre before tomorrow's decisive individual time trial.

Ivan Basso leads the 2010 Giro d'Italia ahead of David Arroyo Duran, Vincenzo Nibali, Michele Scarponi, Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Alexandre Vinokourov, and Carlos Sastre before tomorrow's decisive individual time trial.

Ivan Basso moved within touching distance of his second Giro d'Italia title when he extended his overall lead on a snowbound penultimate stage on Saturday.

The Italian Liquigas rider, winner in 2006 before a two-year ban for attempted doping, finished third on the 20th stage behind winner Johann Tschopp.

Another solid showing in the northern Italian mountains meant Basso increased his race advantage over Spain's David Arroyo to one minute 15 seconds with just a time trial in Verona to come on Sunday.

The 32-year-old produced a perfectly judged assault on Friday to take the overall lead but is still staying grounded.

"The Giro still isn't over," he told reporters.

Australian world champion Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing), second on the stage but still not in a podium place, believes Basso has been too strong.

"Liquigas and Ivan have been at a very high level here, better than me," Evans, who has lacked help from his BMC team, commented.

"I was trying to close the gap toward fourth and third on GC and possibly get the stage win," Evans added and concluded "Tomorrow, the goal is the same as usual: to go from the start line to the finish line as fast as I can."

There was so much snow on the fearsome Gavia peak that organisers considered altering the 178 km route from the ski resort of Bormio.

However, weather conditions stabilised and the peleton ground its way up the mountains with Basso having enough energy at the end to win a sprint finish for third with Michele Scarponi.

Basso's team mate Vincenzo Nibali, a late call-up for the Giro after Franco Pellizotti was withdrawn after a doping probe, is third overall with Scarponi just behind.

"This penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia has been special for me and my team. It was the only option we had to be able to try something different, so we tried it from very far to seek the maximum. After winning the Tour and being on different podiums and often among the top-10, it was worth the risk. I started with the maximum, but it's difficult in this Giro to find riders who will work well together. Without a lot of communication between us, we were not able to achieve too much. I am pleased to have tried and have fought to the end of this Giro, which Liquigas has controlled from the beginning to end," Carlos Sastre told Roadcycling.com after today's stage.

The three-week race, without big names Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador as they prepare for July's Tour de France, finishes with a 15 km individual time trial through the ancient streets of Verona.

Basso will be cheered on by thousands of Italian fans having largely been forgiven for his involvement in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal after he owned up and co-operated with authorities.

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