It was billed as the ‘Queen stage’, but it was actually a tad anti-climactic, nonetheless Basso put even more time into every one that matters AND our boy hogged the TV screens of Europe for a good part of the afternoon.
PEZ: “It was good to see you on TV today Dario.”
Dario: ‘It was OK but even when we went away, Simoni’s team was on the front so we knew there was little chance of success but I wanted to show myself. I feel I have under-performed in this Giro, apart from the time trial I was not content with the way things have gone.’
PEZ: “Was it a pre-planned move or just decided on the road?”
Dario: ‘No, we planned to go with early moves today and tomorrow, there is a chance of success but also it can be used as a platform for another of the team coming across.’
Cioni went to work off the front on the cold, miserable day to the Kronplatz.
PEZ: “Was Monsieur Poilvet a good breakaway companion for you?”
Dario: ‘Yes, we worked well together but we knew we had little chance, Saunier were keeping on top of things. I needed a change though, something different instead of being in the bunch.’
PEZ: “How did your injuries feel today?”
Dario: ‘I think I am recovering OK, I cannot go to my maximum yet but it’s difficult in a stage race because you cannot rest, there is always the next stage. My confidence is returning though and that is very important.’
PEZ: “How did you finish on the stage?”
Dario: ‘I finished alone in front of the grupetto, I rode the climb OK, I just took it easy, there was no need to push myself.’
PEZ: “What about the pre-stage protest?”
Dario; ‘We knew the weather at the top of Kronplatz was bad with snow and also at Passo delle Erbe it was raining and just above freezing, that was a worry because the descent is risky; it would have been very cold and dangerous so it was agreed to go around rather than over the pass. We didn’t actually know we were not going all the way to the top of Kroonplatz until during the stage, the race jury decided to shorten the climb for safety reasons.’
Cioni opted for a little more restful day in the field today – if restful can be a word used for today’s constantly up and down stage.
PEZ: “Franco Pellizotti rode well again.”
Dario: ‘Yes, he is up to fifth now and riding solidly; the podium is possible for him I think.’
PEZ: “Danilo Di Luca suffered badly again.”
Dario: ‘Our focus now is on keeping Franco in the top five or even on the podium, we also have Andrea Noe riding well so we are still thinking maybe the team race is possible still.’
PEZ: “Basso looked a little tired for the first time.”
Dario: ‘Maybe a little less comfortable but it’s normal on days like this where it is freezing cold and in the rain.’
PEZ: “What about tomorrow?”
Dario: ‘It will be very hard, I think there will be many attacks; it will be a tough day to be in the grupetto because there are maybe 100 kilometres from the big climb to the finish.’
We’ll back on the cell phone to Dario on Friday to get more low-down on those high peaks.