Giro Talk: Day 4 Diaries & Comments
Magnus Backstedt: Day 4! “Today was a very good day for me. I had really good legs. Already at the team meeting I asked for the team to help me out if I ended up getting over the climbs. I was pretty confident I would, but they turned out to be harder than I thought. I got to the 1 km to go mark on the big climb of the day in the front group, but then the speed got to me and I decided to let go just a bit and stick to my own tempo instead of going for another couple of hundred meters and then blow up completely.
As I passed the King of the Mountain banner I turned around just to see that the World Champion was coming back with 4 of his Zebra coloured boys. I decided to wait for them and let them bring me back to the front. When we got back on I went straight to the front. As we came down to the bottom of the decent we just turned back up again for about 2km. I had no problem staying with the boys in the front.
With 9 km to go we hit the last climb of the day, I was informed by Kim that Cipollini, Svorada, Furlan were dropped. This made me even more determined to stay with the front group knowing that some of the best sprinters were out of contention. When we got over the top we had 5 km to go. Kurt came up to me and took me on the wheel and brought me up to the front. He looked after me all the way in to the final 500 meters. I got a bit blocked in against the barriers in the beginning of the sprint as I had to get around
first Kurt and then another guy.
When I finally got out I was coming back at the boys in the front, so I definitely have the speed and the legs to be up there with the big boys. I was loving every minute of the last 5 km. It has been such a long time
since I did a sprint for myself and even longer since I had someone looking after me on the way in to the sprint. I will definitely have a go on the next sprint again. I think if I get a couple of sprints under my belt I will work out where to put myself before they even open up and then who knows!
So I have to say a big THANKS to the boys especially Kurt and Scott. But I had the whole team behind me all the way. Speak to you in a day or so as we have a really busy day tomorrow with first a boat trip over to Sicily and then a flight up to Napoli after the stage.
Rider Comments reported By Michele Tomasi
Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo): “Today it has been a very very very difficult stage to me. I kept hard and at last kms I just tried to stay behind Petacchi’s wheel. Im really glad especially after what’s happened in Matera’s stage. I will leave Giro at the 13th stage, but I hope to have some other chances for another victory”.
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa): “I’m really upset. I really wanted to win this stage with the Pink Jersey. It’s my dream. I won in front of Mario Cipollini, with the World Champion jersey, and I was looking for the one with the Pink. But McEwen passed me in the last 5 metres. Perhaps because he’s a pure sprinter and smaller than me, so he uses more agility. And…this final had a little downhill. I’m really sorry for my team-mates. They worked hard in the last kms and I got problems to stay behind them. It’s many days that I’m pushing hard and I hope I will be able to keep this jersey until the real first hilly stage”.
Mario Cipollini (Domina-Vacaze): “This stage wasn’t very good to me. And perhaps I’m not at 100%, so I’m paying with bad results. I’ve to say thanks to Ongarato and Scirea, the only 2 my team mates who has been close to me”.
NOTE: ***He looks really upset, and it seems that there are problems into his team since Gent-Wevelgem. His team mates are not so close to him, especially in the bad situations like this stage. – MT
Gilberto Simoni (Saeco): “These last stages has been really difficult and not very easy for nobody. Anyway I saw all my opponents very good. About Pantani, if hes the real one, we’ll have fun on the hills. At today stage I was around 20th position, and there has been a lot of
confusion. Before the last 200metres I braked for dont crash!!!”