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Pearl Izumi

85th Giro d'Italia (GT)

Italy, May 11-June 2, 2002

News for June 2, 2002

Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones

Stage 19 wrap up - Il Falco flies

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Paolo Savoldelli
Photo: © Sirotti

Today's 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia was the decider, raced over 44.3 kilometres between Cambiago (starting outside Ernesto Colnago's factory) and finishing in Monticello Brianza. It was gradually uphill and not particularly technical.

By the finish, Paolo Savoldelli had all but claimed the overall victory in this year's Giro, placing third behind Spaniard Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme) and Serguei Gontchar (Fassa Bortolo). In doing so, he put time into his two closest rivals, Tyler Hamilton and Pietro Caucchioli, although Hamilton did move up to second overall after a solid ride.

The Giro will finish tomorrow with a short stage from Cantu to Milano, traditionally the "processional stage" in the three week long grand tour.

Stage 19 full results & report
Live report

Post stage comments

Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Kelme-Costa Blanca, 1st stage, 6th GC)

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Aitor Gonzalez
Photo: © Sirotti

"It was a perfect course for me. I started quickly, but I found a good rhythm immediately.

"However I would readily exchange my stage victories for a place on the final podium. It was my objective when I decided to participate in this Giro. I missed out only because of my failure in the last mountain stage on Thursday.

"The good news is I have the feeling that I can be successful in a major three week race. Next year, I will return to win the Giro.

"My contact with Acqua E Sapone? We are in discussion - let's just say that I am interested."

Paolo Savoldelli (Index Alexia, 3rd stage, 1st GC)
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Got it
Photo: © Sirotti

On his performance today:

"When I saw the course the morning, I said to myself that it should be appropriate for me. I prepared myself well with a 60km warm up in the morning; I then knew my legs were feeling good.

"I rode the first 10 kilometres flat out as if it was a short prologue. Psychology is very important in time trials, and I knew I had to show Hamilton that I wasn't going to lose any time. When I heard I was actually beating him, my morale was very high.

"At the Intergiro I still had 1'38" (on Hamilton) and I thought: 'It will be tough for him, I just need to hold this rhythm.'

"This pink jersey repays me for all the sacrifices I've made. When you're a boy in Italy, everybody dreams about winning the Giro but I never thought I'd do it.

Last Sunday, the day of the first time trial, I was far from thinking of the maglia rosa - I thought more of a place within the general classification, maybe sixth or a seventh place.

"I recovered well during the day of rest, and was not dropped on the Marmolada. I then realized that I had of good legs. In the following stage on Thursday, I saw Hamilton in difficulty, and I could smell the maglia rosa.

"I am not a rider like Indurain or Armstrong, who I know well. He (Armstrong) is somebody who has exceptional capability and is convinced by it. I am a good rider, but it is necessary that everything must be perfect to do well."

"I've had lots of problems with my back in the last two years and couldn't push hard on the pedals. Now I feel back to my best and I've shown it."

On the doping scandals that appear to be a perennial occurrence at the Giro:

"I'm sorry about what has happened in the last three weeks but I'm enjoying the Giro. "Unfortunately there are problems in every sport and in every aspect of life - companies have tax problems and even butchers have to deal with health inspectors.

"But I want to enjoy winning the Giro and I'm going to celebrate tomorrow in Milan. I want to live to 85 and have good health."

Tyler Hamilton (CSC-Tiscali, 4th stage, 2nd GC)

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Tyler Hamilton
Photo: © Sirotti

Not surprisingly, the gracious Hamilton has conceded the highest spot on the podium to Savoldelli. Immediately after the stage, he said "All I can do is ride my hardest. It looks like Savoldelli is the strongest."

"I gave it my best - that's all I can ask. It wasn't as good as last week. Today was disappointing but I finished second overall which is not too bad."

Do you think you can win next year? "It's possible. It's hard to say if I didn't have my accidents, who knows what would have happened? I never felt myself after the stage 5 crash. I had a good first time trial but it's a lot shorter than some of those mountain stages. I never felt 100% in the mountains, but I minimized my losses."

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