30 May 2009

A Good Giro

With just the final time trial left ahead, this year's Giro d'Italia has probably already been decided, with Denis Menchov holding a 20-second lead over Danilo Di Luca and more than a minute and a half on his next closest competitor. And while that doesn't leave a lot of drama for the 14.4-km time trial around the sites of Rome, I think this year's edition of the Giro has been one of the more (positively) memorable Grand Tours in recent history.

The 3-week stage races have too often been characterized by passive riding by the self-proclaimed contenders. Afraid to risk the very real spoils of their top-10 placings, there has been a lot of sitting in over the years, particularly when Mr Armstrong had a stranglehold on the Tour de France.

But this year's Giro was full of aggression and risk-taking. After losing the pink jersey to Menchov in the exciting time trial, Di Luca repeatedly and ferociously attacked Menchov on just about every climb. Stefano Garzelli, Ivan Basso, Carlos Sastre, and Franco Pellizotti, 4 of the next 5 places on the general classification (Mr Armstrong's teammate, Levi Leipheimer, is the 5th), have all taken their shots at moving up, sometimes succeeding in gaining time or the stage win, and sometimes cracking. Whatever the consequences for their compensation, it has made for exciting racing.

Hopefully we'll see that carry over to the Tour and the Vuelta.

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