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Garzelli: Comments After Stage 5

– Reported From Gazzetta dello Sport –

On his first place climb the pink jersey demonstrated physical force and a winning mentality: “It went like I wanted it to and I expected it to, but the Giro is not finished”.

LIMONE PIEMONTE (Cuneo), 17 May 2002 – If it continues like this, Stefano Garzelli, more than just winning his second Giro, will merit a place among Allessandro Magno and Hannibal, or even Erich Rommel. His tactics are like those of the great military strategists: like them, he is demonstrating how to win his battles thanks to intelligence and knowledgeable tactics. The rest he does with the best legs of his career and with a squad that has the characteristics of a battleship that he hurls at the overwhelmed opposition.

The captain of Mapei-Quick Step and the pink leader’s jersey began to win the fifth stage of Giro, the first with a mountain top finish, at the start line, when he brought himself close to Casagrande and spoke to him in quiet tones. That which they said was seen on the terrible slopes of the Colletto del Moro, almost 4 km of climbing at 8,9% average, the steepest slopes being 21%, the first real climb of the Giro: at the bottom Garzelli let fly with an attack by the extraordinary Bettini, who climbed after the Dutchman, Engels who had arrived at the climb as part of an escape. Bettini flew to the top while on his heels climbed Garzelli and Casagrande, shoulder to shoulder, forcing the pace. Only Simoni and Hamilton were able to hold on, while on the descent Frigo recovered as did Gotti, Tonkov and Pellizotti. Question were asked for on the Colletto del Moro, and the replies came, unequivocally. “It went as I wanted it to and I expected – said an extraordinarily fresh Garzelli at the finish – On the Colletto del Moro, harder than the climb to the finish, I was limited to only hold the rhythm and stay behind, so that it didn‚t appear that I was attacking. The legs replied very well, so I tried to win the stage: on the last climb Simoni attacked, I sat on Pellizotti and arrived well. I wasn‚t searching for the victory at all costs, but to get it does my morale good”.

Having captured the pink jersey on the second stage, won in Liege, and reinforced with the success at Limone Peimonte, it will be a long war of muscles and nerve, one that Garzelli could win because Evans and Noи are the type of gregari that in the mountains a captain must have. “Right now the problem is to hold on to the jersey for two more weeks: the Giro is not finished, we could lose it. Casagrande has confirmed to be exceptional in the mountains, Simoni‚s form is growing and I‚m sure that his loss at Liege was only an episode. At this moment, the three of us are playing, but Frigo could recover and Hamilton is a dangerous threat because he is an excellent time trialist. I‚m calm, I‚m feeling great in the mind and in the legs. Forty three seconds on Casagrande and a minute on Simoni are good advantages after no more that one week and I can‚t say that I haven‚t hope for this: I‚ve said it, I repeat it, I‚m here to win, therefore don‚t be amazed if you see me always in the front”.

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