May 13, 2011

Giro Stage 7

Blogger was down last night so this went up on Facebook instead:

It’s nice to see Alessandro Petacchi sprinting well in a variety of situations. Long known as the guy who put the exclamation point on the end of one of the most fearsome lead-out trains in cycling (Velo, Tossato, Baldato, Kirchen, Bossoni, Hauptman, and Aug among others) Petacchi has instead shown a true affinity for the nuance of the pack sprint this year. Exhibits 1 and 2: I mentioned the prowess shown by Petacchi and his leadout guy Danilo Hondo at the end of stage 2. Yesterday, however, he showed he has the high level fitness that took him deeper into the maglia ciclamina jersey prior to the first mountain finish. He didn’t win, but he did pounce and isolate any of the other sprinters buy quite a few points. I’m betting he can wear red into Milan.

Stage 7 offers up the first of 8 summit finishes. The Santuario di Montevergine climb averages “only” 5% - but it does so for 17 kilometers and is a lovely climb for the first summit finish, meandering and switchbacking it’s way up a regional park. Will the big dogs come out to play or leave it to the ambitious aspirants? My guess, based on the first couple of climbs thus far….the big guns will take a run at the finish just to see if they can shake out any of the pretenders, but the real action will be saved for another day as a small group or riders will leap from the attack and counter-punching of the GC contenders on the lower slopes. Then again, someone WILL be looking for a few seconds advantage. Someone like Le Mevel (only a few seconds out of Pink), or Di Luca (desperate to redeem himself). Here’s how it looked in 2007:

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