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85th Giro d'Italia (GT)

Italy, May 11-June 2, 2002

News for May 31, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cadel Evans
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

The 85th Giro d'Italia is not over yet, and it won't be decided until Saturday's time trial from Cambiago to Monticello Brianza. Today's second Dolomite stage was a killer, 60 kilometres longer than yesterday's and run in hot and humid conditions. A five and a half hour prelude set things up for an exciting finale over the Santa Barbara and Passo Coe climbs, with several of the favourites losing big time today.

As Pavel Tonkov attacked was riding towards the stage win on the final climb, there was carnage behind him in the leading group. First to go was Dario Frigo (3rd on GC), followed by Aitor Gonzalez (4th) and then with 9 kilometres to go, maglia rosa Cadel Evans, who simply ran the engine dry and had to finish the stage at a tourist pace in the company of his two teammates Andrea Noe and David Dario Cioni. Still, Evans' performance in his first grand tour did more than raise a few eyebrows - he showed he has got what it takes.

Then there was the battle for the maglia rosa between Tyler Hamilton and "best of the rest" Paolo Savoldelli. 'Il Falco' flew up the final kilometres of the Passo Coe to put 1'50 into Hamilton and take the jersey, with Caucchioli getting in between to move into 2nd on GC and Hamilton 3rd at 1'28.

On paper, Hamilton looks to be the favourite for Saturday's 42.9 km time trial. But he needs to put 1'28 into Savoldelli, who will have the advantage of being Italian and in the maglia rosa. It could well be a brains vs. brawn match for the final GC of the 85th Giro d'Italia.

Stage 17 full results & report
Live report
Photos

Post stage comments

Pavel Tonkov (Lampre, 1st stage)

Pavel Tonkov
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

"I am not finished as a rider and I wanted to show it. I've had so much bad luck these past few years. This season, I returned to Lampre and I feel good there. At the beginning of Giro, I was about at 70 percent of my best because of bronchitis. I had trouble recovering. It is a pity because I've gone well in the third week."

"In this stage, I was afraid of Perez Cuapio after the attack he made on the Marmolada (stage 16). But he was not confident, he told me that we would not make it. I finished by telling him 'Ciao, ciao'."

"Now, I will think of the Tour de Suisse and the Vuelta. Last year, I had prepared to ride it. But I did not find a team after the problems of Mercury (Tonkov's team in 2001). This is a victory that I dedicate to my wife and my son, Alexandre, who was born at the beginning of the Giro. He is my second child. I am very happy with the thought of seeing my family in Spain very soon".

Paolo Savoldelli (Index-Alexia, 1st GC)

Paolo Savoldelli
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

"I've been very close (to the Maglia Rosa) a few times, so today is a great satisfaction for me, even to have the Maglia Rosa for one day. I never thought of this when the stage started today; I was just trying to not lose time to riders who were stronger than me. When I made my move, I saw Evans in trouble and so did Hamilton. He went and I followed him. I passed Hamilton and thought he was on my wheel but when I looked around, I could see he was hurting too so I literally sprinted for almost a kilometre. Later I paid for it."

"Compared to 1999, when I finished second in the Giro, I've improved in the mountains. I am undoubtedly not as strong against the clock."

"To win the Giro? It's simple: it is necessary me to be in front of Hamilton after the time trial. On that day, I can do well or badly. It is one month that I will remember. May 7 was my 29th birthday. In the morning, I lost my wallet. In the evening, my partner told me that she was pregnant".

On Cadel Evans: "I am in my 6th Giro and I've ridden 3 Tours de France; even though Evans had a bad day today, he's done great things in this Giro."

Dario Frigo (Tacconi, 33rd stage)

"I lost 15 minutes on the last climb. I didn't bonk today; my legs just weren't going - so maybe three weeks of racing aren't for me."

Dr Aldo Sassi (Mapei manager)

"Cadel hasn't really prepared for a three week race; he was supposed to peak for (Tour of) Romandie and help Garzelli at the Giro."

Maglia Rosa bio: Paolo Savoldelli

Date of Birth: May 7, 1973
Place of birth: Clusone (Lombardy, Italy)
Height: 1.80 m
Weight: 72 kg
Teams: Roslotto (1996-1997), Saeco (1998-2001), Index-Alexia (2002)

Palmares

2001

2 stages Tour de Romandie

2000

1 stage + overall Tour de Romandie

1999

2nd overall Giro d'Italia
Trophˇe Laigueglia
1 stage Giro d'Italia
3 stages + overall Giro del Trentino

1998

Giro del Trentino
9th overall Giro d'Italia

1997

1 stage Hofbrau Cup

A new team for Pantani?

Marco Pantani, who abandoned in stage 16 of the Giro, is talking about a new team for next year, as Mercatone Uno will probably not renew its sponsorship. "My team hasn't been invited to the Tour de France because I'm no longer a competitive rider," he conceded.

"I don't understand what happened in this Giro. I had trained more than for the other Giros d'Italia. Tests showed that the motor was good. Maybe I should have undergone mental tests. In this profession, serenity is essential, and I have not been in that situation."

"It's because of my absences in the big stage races that Mercatone Uno is pulling out (of sponsorship). I'm going to work to rebuild a new team with a new sponsor. My fans still believe in me. Cycling has always been generous to me, so I have to give something back."

Pantani, 32, won the Giro d'Italia in 1998, the same year in which he won the Tour de France. His last big win was the stage to Courchevel in the 2000 Tour de France.