Garzelli In Pink: “It’s My Place”
– Translated from Gazzetta dello Sport by Daimeon Shanks –
Leader of the general classification: “The Giro is not decided already and I will not kill myself to defend the jersey. But I am here to win and this isthe first step”
ANS (Belgium) 13 May 2002 – Stefano Garzelli knows exactly what to do. “When I won the Giro two years ago, it could’ve been considered a surprise. Today, no more: I’ve come to reach Milan in the pink jersey, I have a team capable of helping me in thas task, this is my place”. Garzelli is at the top of theclassification already, after only the second road stage of the race. It
means nothing that the mountains arrive only after two weeks, or if now the responsibilities are already his: Stefano Garzelli, from Varese, 29 years old, a past and present winner, holds between his hands the symbol of
command and will not let it slip away: “We are happy to hold the jersey already, also we will not massacre ourselves to defend it at any cost. I will give everything in the final seven days of the race. In the mean time I
need to keep myself in the second or third position and stay away from trouble”.
He has said at the departure from Colonia that this would be an uneventful stage, instead “it happened that we arrived at the climb of Saint Nicolas at a great speed, Casagrande went to the front to force the rhythm and I couldn’t escape”. The rest was a consequence, a pocket sprint for Garzelli who, in
these short tests, is one of the strongest. An impressive show of power, put in act without the help of a great lieutenant like Bettini, victim of ill luck: “Today Paolo was at my disposition”. Now, the best placed of his rivals for the final podium is Francesco Casagrande, 31″ behind, while Frigo is at 41″, Rebellin at 50″, Simoni and Hamilton at 52″, Pellizotti at 1’11”,
Tonkov at 1’39”, Pantani at 1’44”. “Casagrande and Frigo are the most dangerous rivals, and not only because the classification says so: the first was extremely good on the Saint Nicolas, the other is an expert time trialist. Simoni is a little behind, but the gaps are made in the mountains”.
Garzelli waits for the real climbs to begin, and has made his preparations. “I don’t know if I am already at my maximum and if it has arrived too soon. I only know that in respect to the last five seasons, my preparation for the Giro has not changed at all. However, I say that I will live for the day, without the need to defend the jersey at all costs. Therefore, it’s better to have a few seconds advantage rather than a deficit”. So says Garzelli deliberately, only 3 days of his career in pink, but they seem to be worth 30.