Savoldelli Wins Stage 11 of Giro; Basso Takes Maglia Rosa
Ivan Basso (CSC) has donned the maglia rosa. The former under-23 world champion dominated all of his rivals save one en route to overall leadership of the Giro d?Italia. The exception was 2002 Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), who won Stage 11, a mountainous, 150-km stage from Marostica to Zoldo Alto, in 4:13:43. Savoldelli withstood Basso?s attacks and beat him in a two-up sprint. Two-time Giro champion Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) finished third at 0:21.
The warm, sunny weather that has been with the riders throughout this Giro followed them into the Dolomites. At seven km, Benoit Joachim (Discovery Channel) attacked and gained 4:00 by 23 km. Lampre rode tempo to peg the lead.
On the Passo de Cereda, the Lampre-led pursuit made inroads. The bunch caught Joachim on the descent, and Lampre raised the tempo on the Passo Duran. Simoni attacked, but Basso, Savoldelli, and Di Luca took his wheel. Defending champion Damiano Cunego was dropped and would eventually lose six minutes. Sixteen riders were in the lead group.
Basso made the first of several moves. The CSC rider?s attacks dropped everyone except Di Luca, Savoldelli, and Simoni. Savoldelli and Di Luca were dropped for a time, but they got back on.
On the descent, Savoldelli, one of the best descenders in cycling, showed why he is called Il Falco (The Falcon). The Discovery Channel rider forged a 20-second lead over Basso, Simoni, and Di Luca. At the base of the last climb, Basso bridged up to Savoldelli. Simoni followed the CSC rider.
With four km, Basso attacked and dropped Simoni. Two km later, Savoldelli stopped working. He took the sprint easily.
After the race, Basso said that he had prepared for this stage. ?I had this stage on my mind for a long time,? Basso said. ?I did two days of training in the Dolomiti six weeks ago and rode the final part of the stage twice. Today, I really wanted to test myself, to ride my own race and not see what my adversaries were doing.?
In the overall, Basso leads Savoldelli by 0:18 and Di Luca by 1:04. Stage 11 will not change this state of affairs. The 178-km run from Alleghe to Rovereto features the Passo San Pellegrino early in the stage, but the last 150 km are downhill. Will a bunch finish or an escape win this stage? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!